Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Unknown Bird

Painting by Chagall
In my previous entry, I revealed what I look for in a muse: courage, strength, and kindness. I want to be courageous and strong, and kind. I seek others who display these characteristics, for they give me strength. A poem by Edward Thomas called "The Unknown Bird" speaks to me of what it is like to hear the muse. Thomas writes:

Three lovely notes he whistled, too soft to be heard
If others sang; but others never sang
In the great beech-wood all that May and June.
No one saw him: I alone could hear him
Though many listened. ...

Oftenest when I heard him I was alone,
Nor could I ever make another hear.
La-la-la! he called, seeming far off--
as if the bird or I were in a dream.
Yet that he travelled through the trees and some-
Neared me, was plain, though somehow distant still
He sounded. ...

Listening to the muse is a deeply mysterious process, not unlike prayer. I see now the muse is the way inward, the part of the self that respects art. The muse doesn't judge. It only loves.


Paula said...

Lovely entry. Poem a lovely metaphor for listening to the muse. Very nice, T.

At first glance of painting, perhaps partly because of the way it loaded onto my screen, I thought the lovers were buried beneath the tree (and still see it that way)--perhaps equating love and eternity.

Submerging; going down; entering, merging with the earth--that is how I see everything. It is comfort, trueness, selfhood...

Vicky said...

I couldn't respond yesterday for some reason, so am happy to see that I can today. There is a a wistfulness about this poem, but also a closeness. This muse is yours, and in you, and only in you. I am glad you are listening, my dear.

Love, Vicky

Judith HeartSong said...

very lovely as always. judi

dreaminglily said...

Beautiful poem, I'd never read it before... Thank you for posting it.


Wenda said...

Thanks Theresa for encouraging me to stop and think of what I look for in a muse and to discover that we are similarily inspired, or do I mean mused?

Tom said...

Courage. Stength. Kindness. The muse I listen to has these qualities, too, and I listen to her as I write in my journal. My personal muse is female. At least, in my own mind.

The painting is lovely, and so is the poem. Thanks for sharing it with us, Theresa.

ggw07 said...

"never judges" "only loves"- Check out "Never Gonna Dance" from film SWING TIME (1936) with Fred Astaire. Reminds me of verse repeat. Got me humming- Thanks much!

ggw07 said...

"In art, as in life, everything is possible so long as it is based on love." ~ Marc Chagall

Thanks for the "never judges" too-

V said...

Theresa, that was lovely. Here`s another take on the Muses, by Goethe.

A Plan the Muses entertain`d

Methodically to impart

To Psyche the poetic art;
Prosaic-pure her soul remain`d.
No wondrous sounds escaped her lyre

E`en in the fairest Summer vight;
But Amor came with glance of fire,--

The lesson soon was learn`d aright.




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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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