Thursday, August 14, 2008

Provincetown 46


O Child, Do Not Fear the Dark and Sleep's Dark Possession
The title of this piece is taken from a poem by Delmore Schwartz.
The poem begins:
O Child, when you go down to sleep and sleep's secession,
You become more and other than you are, you become
the procession
Of bird and beast and tree: you are a chorus,
A pony among horses, a sapling in a dark forest,
Lifting your limbs and boughs to the sky, leafing.
And then you are one with the beaver, one
With the little animals warm in the sun
Resting and hidden when it is white winter:
And in sleep's river you sleep
Like the river's self and the marine
Beings who mouth as they glide, nosing
And sliding lithely and smoothly
Gleaming serenely and sleekly.
I had just been reading a collection of stories about the Buddha, and in several of the stories, the Buddha takes the form of an animal. In one of my favorites, he takes the form of an Ibex, and one of the lessons of the tale is not to kill for sport.
Schwartz writes about the river in another poem: "The River Was the Emblem of All Beauty: All":
The river was the abundant belly of beauty itself
The river was the dream space where I walked,
The river was itself and yet it was--flowing and freshening--
A self anew, another self, or self renewed
At every tick of eternity, and by each glint of light
Mounting or sparkling, descending to shade and black.
There is so much in this poem. The fecundity of a river, the renewal properties of the river. The river becomes all of life: joy (mounting or sparkling) and despair (shade and black). Yin and Yang.
This collage has a lot of personal meaning for me. It connects me to my thoughts about my river journey in 2005 and to my thoughts on life, death, and eternity. It also connects me to my childhood: my favorite toy was a mountain goat named "Oddie." I have written about Oddie here before. Oddie was lost but he has remained in my imagination and continues to be my muse.

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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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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
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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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