In the Beginning Is the Relation by Edward Hirsch

Following on from the last post the idea of the primacy of the relationship is beautifully expressed by Edward Hirsh. This time in relationship to poetry.

In the last post with the passage from “A Bridge to Unity” the idea of participation mystique comes up in the context of shamanism.

Moreno’s tele however is universal it is not a special event – not shamansm or poetry. Tele is ever-present and the stuff we work with in relationships.

Edward Hirsh puts it beautifully though:

Amazon

This is an excerpt from his book:

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love With Poetry By Edward Hirsch

I found it on the wonderful

PoetryFoundation site:

“In the Beginning Is the Relation
BY EDWARD HIRSCH

The message in the bottle is a lyric poem and thus a special kind of communique. It speaks out of a solitude to a solitude; it begins and ends in silence. We are not in truth conversing by the side of the road. Rather, something has been written; something is being read. Language has become strange in this urgent and oddly self-conscious way of speaking across time. The poem has been (silently) en route—sometimes for centuries—and now it has signaled me precisely because I am willing to call upon and listen to it. Reading poetry is an act of reciprocity, and one of the great tasks of the lyric is to bring us into right relationship to each other. The relationship between writer and reader is by definition removed and mediated through a text, a body of words. It is a particular kind of exchange between two people not physically present to each other. The lyric poem is a highly concentrated and passionate form of communication between strangers—an immediate, intense, and unsettling form of literary discourse. Reading poetry is a way of connecting—through the medium of language—more deeply with yourself even as you connect more deeply with another. The poem delivers on our spiritual lives precisely because it simultaneously gives us the gift of intimacy and interiority, privacy and participation.

Poetry is a voicing, a calling forth, and the lyric poem exists somewhere in the region—the register—between speech and song. The words are waiting to be vocalized. The greatest poets have always recognized the oral dimensions of their medium. For most of human history poetry has been an oral art. It retains vestiges of that orality always. Writing is not speech. It is graphic inscription, it is visual emblem, it is a chain of signs on the page. Nonetheless: ‘I made it out of a mouthful of air,’ W. B. Yeats boasted in an early poem. As, indeed, he did. As every poet does. So, too, does the reader make, or remake, the poem out of a mouthful of air, out of breath. When I recite a poem I reinhabit it, I bring the words off the page into my own mouth, my own body. I become its speaker and let its verbal music move through me as if the poem is a score and I am its instrumentalist, its performer. I let its heartbeat pulse through me as embodied experience, as experience embedded in the sensuality of sounds. The poem implies mutual participation in language, and for me, that participation mystique is at the heart of the lyric exchange.

Many poets have embraced the New Testament idea that ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ but I prefer Martin Buber’s notion in I and Thou that ‘In the beginning is the relation.’ The relation precedes the Word because it is authored by the human. The lyric poem may seek the divine but it does so through the medium of a certain kind of human interaction. The secular can be made sacred through the body of the poem. I understand the relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader not as a static entity but as a dynamic unfolding. An emerging sacramental event. A relation between an I and a You. A relational process.
Originally Published: January 12, 2006

BIOGRAPHY
Poet and author Edward Hirsch has built a reputation as an attentive and elegant writer and reader of poetry. Over the course of eight collections of poetry, four books of criticism, and the long-running  ‘Poet’s Choice’ column in the Washington Post, Hirsch has transformed the quotidian into poetry in his own work, as well as demonstrated his adeptness at explicating the nuances and shades of feeling, tradition, and craft at . . .

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.
by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

Source:
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London, Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 51-52.

http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/mourning.php 

wild and precious life

Mary Oliver (Wikipedia)

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

~

The Kingfisher
Mary Oliver

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world–so long as you don’t mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your
whole life
that doesn’t have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn’t born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the
water
remains water–hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could
believe.
I don’t say he’s right. Neither
do I say he’s wrong. Religiously he swallows the
silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and
easy cry
I couldn’t rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.

the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot:

(excerpt, East Coker V, Four Quartets)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older

the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated

Of dead and living. Not the intense moment

Isolated, with no before and after,

But a lifetime burning in every moment

And not the lifetime of one man only

But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

There is a time for the evening under starlight,

A time for the evening under lamplight

(The evening with the photograph album).

Love is most nearly itself

When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers

Here or there does not matter

We must be still and still moving

Into another intensity

For a further union, a deeper communion

Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,

The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters

Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

The whole Four Quartets follow

Continue reading

Poems Read by Ted Hughes

That last poem, by Robert Frost, I got to like because I had a tape, on my pre-ipod walkman. I listened to it over and over. I must find it and put it on my phone.

By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember – Ted Hughes

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

That line would resonate well as I listened while walking deep in the New Zealand bush.

Picking up quite late in life what I imagine American kids learn at school.


PS

The following list may come in handy:

Earth-Moon: Information about Ted Hughes: By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember. Read and introduced by Ted Hughes (audio):

Contents:

Side A:

  • Introduction: Memorising Poems
  • William Shakespeare: ‘The Witches’ Song’ from Macbeth
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson: The Eagle
  • A. E. Housman: ‘On Wenlock Edge’
  • Rudyard Kipling: James I
  • Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken
  • W. H. Auden: The Fall Of Rome
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Inversnaid
  • W. B. Yeats: He Hears The Cry Of The Sedge
  • T. S. Eliot: Lines For An Old Man
  • Anonymous: Donal Og
  • William Wordsworth: Upon Westminster Bridge
  • Alexander Pope: From An Epistle To Dr Arbuthnot
  • Keith Douglas: How To Kill
  • Wilfred Owen: Anthem For Doomed Youth
  • Edward Thomas: The Combe
  • John Milton: On The Late Massacre In Piedmont
  • R. S. Thomas: Here
  • John Betjeman: Meditation On The A30
  • William Blake: The Tyger
  • John Keats: On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘Like Rain It Sounded’

 

Side B:

  • Anonymous: Mad Tom’s Song
  • Lewis Carroll: Jabberwocky
  • Andrew Young: Field Glasses
  • Walter De La Mare: An Epitaph
  • William Shakespeare: My Mistress’ Eyes
  • T. S. Eliot: La Figla Che Piange
  • Robert Frost: Provide, Provide
  • John Keats: La Belle Dame Sans Merci
  • D. H. Lawrence: Piano
  • William Wordsworth: The Solitary Reaper
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan
  • T. S. Eliot: Marina
  • W. B. Yeats: ‘A Woman’s Beauty’
  • F. R. Higgins: Song For The Clatter-Bones
  • John Betjeman: A Subaltern’s Love-Song
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Other Slow Arts’
  • William Blake: Long John Brown And Little Mary Bell
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spring And Fall
  • Thomas Wyatt: ‘They Flee From Me’
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun’
  • W. H. Auden: ‘Stop All The Clocks’
  • William Blake: The Smile
  • John Crowe Ransom: Blue Girls
  • John Donne: The Relique
  • Dylan Thomas: A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London
  • Ezra Pound: The Return
  • Seamus Heaney: The Skunk

 

Side C:

  • William Shakespeare: ‘That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold’
  • W. B. Yeats: Easter 1916
  • William Wordsworth: Tintern Abbey
  • Rudyard Kipling: The Way Through The Woods
  • Thomas Hardy: Beeny Cliff
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘There’s A Certain Slant Of Light’
  • William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence
  • W. E. Henley: Invictus
  • William Shakespeare: ‘The Heavens Themselves, The Planets’
  • Wilfred Owen: Strange Meeting
  • Robert Frost: The Runaway
  • Dylan Thomas: Poem In October
  • William Empson: The Small Bird To The Big
  • Sylvia Plath: Crossing The Water
  • W H. Auden: Musee Des Beaux Arts
  • Stevie Smith: Not Waving But Drowning
  • Philip Larkin: Livings (Part 2)

 

Side D:

  • W. H. Auden: ‘Carry Her Over The Water’
  • John Crowe Ransom: Winter Remembered
  • Wilfred Owen: Dulce Et Decorum Est
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds’
  • John Crowe Ransom: Bells For John Whiteside’s Daughter
  • T. S. Eliot: The Journey Of The Magi
  • Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Tir’d With All These, For Restful Death I Cry’
  • W. B. Yeats: Leda And The Swan
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘This World Is Not Conclusion’
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: Binsey Poplars
  • W. B. Yeats: ‘Come Let Us Mock At The Great’
  • William Wordsworth: The Simplon Pass
  • Thomas Hardy: The Darkling Thrush
  • William Shakespeare: ‘My Love Is As A Fever’
  • W. B. Yeats: Roger Casement
  • William Wordsworth: ‘A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal’
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Not Mine Own Fears, Nor The Prophetic Soul’
  • John Donne: Song
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘A Wind That Rose’
  • John Keats: To Autumn
  • William Blake: The Sick Rose
  • Robert Frost: Spring Pools
  • William Shakespeare: ‘To Be, Or Not To Be’ from Hamlet
  • T. S. Eliot: Mr Apollinax
  • William Shakespeare: ‘To-Morrow, And To-Morrow, And To-Morrow’
  • W. B. Yeats: Death
  • T. S. Eliot: Death By Water
  • W. B. Yeats: The Second Coming
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘There Came A Wind’
  • William Shakespeare: ‘Our Revels Now Are Ended’
  • Robert Frost: Neither Out Far Nor In Deep
  • W. H. Auden: This Lunar Beauty
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Musical Instrument