Thank you, poetry

Poetry breathes

Poetry

You are my refuge

The one place I can go to

To have my soul fed

The luminous place where I can dive so deep down

Or be born aloft on the wings of words

That others write

Which speak exactly of how it is to live

In world so overpowering

In its beauty, agony, ecstasy and terror

 

Poetry you are also my rock

One I know will never desert me

Even in the darkest of nights

Even when every other soul has left

And it is such comfort to my heart

That I can rest secure in the knowing

That whether I turn to you my weeping or smiling self

You will answer in a way

That always fulfils the empty spaces

And helps me more deeply

Know myself

On creativity, poetry and the journey to The Abyss via The Dark Night of the Soul

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The following is an excerpt from Linda Schirese Leonards book Witness to the Fire : Creativity and the Veil of Addiction.  

The necessity of facing death and going into a dark night of the soul is, according to Jung, essential to human development.  This dark night may be forced upon one (in the case of addiction or neglect) or it may be freely chosen, as in the case of the creator.  But, in any case, it is the way of the transformation process.  And as is the paradoxical nature of human kind…

When libido leaves the bright upper world, whether from choice, or from inertia, or from fate, it sinks back down into its own depths, into the source from which it originally flowed, and returns to the point of cleavage, the navel where it first entered the body.  The point of cleavage is called the mother, because from her the current of life reached us.  Whenever some great work is to be accomplished, before which a man recoils, doubtful of his strength, his libido streams back to the fountainhead – and this is the dangerous moment when the issue hangs between annihilation and new life.  For if the libido gets stuck in the wonderland of this inner world, then for the upper world man is nothing but a shadow, he is already moribund or at least seriously ill.  But if the libido manages to tear itself loose and force its way up again, something like a miracle happens :  the journey to the underworld was a plunge into the fountain of youth, and the libido, apparently dead, wakes to renewed fruitfulness.

(Carl Jung)

This describes the challenge for the addict (or depressive) who has fallen into The Abyss – to turn that addictive underworld journey into the fruitful return to life and creativity.

The poet takes the turn of transformation in The Abyss by giving expression to what he finds there.  In this respect, poetry, is a call to all of us to embark upon the nightsea journey.  It calls us forth, if we respond, into the dark unknown by jolting us from the ordinary with its unusual and powerful images.  Yet it is also an attempt, while in the depths, to articulate the numinous unknown – a primordial beginning to name that which emerges towards us from the depths.  Poetry invites us to accept momentarily the death of our ordinary ego world so that we may enter into a strange, often terrifying new vision, and from this extraordinary experience to return renewed  .. to a more differentiated level of human existence – one that can accept and dwell more consciously in mystery… revolting against the one-sidedness that has far too long rationalised existence.. (the artist must) confront those opposite unconscious chaotic forces that have too long been repressed.

Only if we confront the chaotic irrational power at the very depths of our being will we be able to transform them into something more meaningful.  ..

The readiness for the creative journey requires giving up possessiveness and expectation, dying to old ways of perceiving, daring to leap into the unknown, and being ready to open and receive what comes, be it something or nothing.

Perhaps everything terrible is its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.  

Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet

 

Psychologically, then, the “Dark Night of the Soul” is due to the double fact of the exhaustion of an old state, and the growth towards a new state of consciousness.  It is a “growing pain” in the organic process of the self’s attainment of the Absolute.  The great mystics, creative geniuses in the realm of character,have known instinctively how to turn these psychic disturbances to spiritual profit. 

Evelyn Underhill

 

In the act of creation, we wrestle with the elements.  To bring the new creation into being requires our standing in the struggle between that which shelters and conceals and self disclosing openness.  The artist is a gentle warrior who must stand between these opposing elements to allow and bring forth the new.

A field of sorrow

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There is so much beauty in life

When you open your heart

Sometimes it takes me completely off guard

Knocking me sideways

Stealing my breath

Making tears to flow

Most especially that found in nature

Or poetry

Today these lines from Sheenagh Pugh

‘The sun will sometimes melt

A field of sorrow

That seemed hard frozen’

Yes, oh yes my heart

Causing tears to fall

Bringing new life

Again

Sunshine

From out of the dark

Or a heart

Of sorrows

Wracked by storms

Wild Geese : Mary Oliver

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I love sharing poems on my blog by published poets, most especially the ones that speak to my heart and soul (and body).    The following is such a poem that forms part of William Seighart’s collection The Poetry Pharmacy which I have shared from before.  In his introduction to this poem by Mary Oliver which he prescribes as an antidote for self recrimination, Sieghart writes :

There is a small, wide eyed animal in each of us that doesn’t understand why we keep kicking it.  All we need do to overcome is to treat ourselves like a loyal pet with love, forgiveness and understanding.

Wild Geese

 

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies

and the deep trees and the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely.

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

 

Mary Oliver

Young poets : Nikita Gill : Miracle

Embers

I get so excited happening across new poets (new to me, that is!).  I used part of a gift voucher this afternoon to buy Nikita Gill’s collection wild embers : poems of rebellion fire and beauty which I had discovered about six weeks ago.  Check her work out if you can.  I would like to share a few of her poems on my blog…. this one really touched me.

Miracle 

it took 3.8 billion years

of triumphant evolution,

remarkable collision,

an unbelieveable confluence

made by sheer will and influence

of this infinite universe

and all of the stars

to get you here

 

I hope you never doubt again

that even when you are in pain,

that you are a miracle,

that every part of you is incredible.

 

Ghosts

Some Rilke medicine

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I love the poetry of Rilke.   I have been nourished and soothed by it for years, so I was so happy when yesterday a copy of Rilke’s Book of Hours that I put a request in for, turned up at my library.   I already have several favourite poems from it.   None of them have titles so I will just share this one from page 51 that spoke to my heart and soul.

I love the dark hours of my being.

My mind deepens into them.

There I can find, as in old letters,

the days of my life, already lived,

and held like a legend and understood.

 

Then the knowing comes: I can open

to another life that’s wide and timeless.

 

So I am sometimes like a tree

rustling over a gravesite

and making real the dream

of the one its living roots

embrace.

 

A dream once lost

among sorrows and songs.

 

The truth : rupi kaur

The following is just one stanza from a longer poem by rupi kaur taken from page 71 of the sun and her flowers.  It seemed to articulate something that resonated so deeply for me I felt the need to share it here.

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the truth comes to me suddenly – after years of rain

the truth comes like sunlight

pouring through and open window

it takes a long time to get here

but it all comes full circle

it takes a broken person to come searching

for meaning between my legs

it takes a complete, whole perfectly designed person

to survive it

it takes monsters to steal souls

and fighters to reclaim them

this home is what I came into the world with

was the first home

will be the last home

you can’t take it

there is no space for you

no welcome mat

no extra bedrooms….

Allowing : Rainer Maria Rilke and Jupiter in Scorpio

Let everything happen to you

Beauty and Terror

Just keep going

No feeling is final

Rainer Maria Rilke

I read a blog on the current astrological transits by WordPress astrologer Gray Crawford last night and he shared some other quotes on it by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.  I love his poetry, both the Duino Elegies as well as his Letters to a Young Poet and in his blog Gray shared the information that Rilke was born with Jupiter in Scorpio.  In astrology Jupiter was known as ‘the greater beneficent’ plantary energy.   Its influence is firey and expansive, in some cases it can have a tendency to go to extremes but when placed in Scorpio, the sign ruled by the lord of the underworld, death, regeneration, the deeper psyche and rebirth/transformation, Jupiter helps us to travel to deeper layers of ourselves with less fear of the depths of that darkness, we open there to embrace all our emotions as well as our reactions to them.  Rilke obviously knew this well.

To my mind one of Rilke’s most powerful gifts is in his acceptance of the inherently positive side of deeper, darker emotions and of his own willingness to see the dark night experience as transformative.  His poems have given me great comfort in times of darkness.  He reminds us to embrace rather than reject our suffering.  I am thinking of this theme a lot today as both my sister and Mum were born with Saturn in Scorpio, what Jupiter tries to open the door on and bring to light, Saturn tries to shut the door on and nail it firmly closed!  Those of us born with Neptune in Scorpio (1956 – 1970), Uranus in Scorpio (1975 – 1981) and Pluto in Scorpio (1983 – 1995) will sometime over the next year or so have Jupiter pass over it.  We will be wanting to open the door on our psyche to see what is hidden here.  The later two generations may be more willing to rebel and gain great transformative gifts from this transit.  And just maybe some of Rilke’s insights and wisdom my be helpful to us.  Just a thought!

Neptune in Scorpio

You and people of this age, tend to dream about matters of a secret and profoundly deep nature in an intense and passionate way. You may be interested in a strong way in matters to do with mysticism, hypnosis and sex. You may wish to get involved in religious or cultish organisations and share your deep held beliefs or searching for profound secrets, such as those related to life and death. You may be interested in matters related to spirits, UFOs, vampires, and other uncertain and vague phenomenon. You should avoid a tendency to believe in things just because they are mystic and profound. You may experience conflict between one part of you that is intensely selfish (or possessive of others) and another than is self-sacrificing. You may be able to refine this differences by dissolving the deep hidden issues into universal oneness.

Uranus in Scorpio

While you are a thinker (Uranus) and appear to be somewhat detatched, you are extremely emotional (Scorpio, the water bearer). You might tend to hide the emotional part of you. You may be unconventional in the way you show your feelings. You may make drastic and sudden changes, which might also be fundamentally transforming. You might change yourself through discovering and eliminating deep and passionate emotions, or you might help others with this skill.

Pluto in Scorpio

You delve deep into the hidden secrets in an intense and secretive manner, in relation to sex, the mind, occult studies and death. There may be obsession in areas concerning genetic engineering, creating (and destroying) life, and cloning. You may be interested in occult studies. In various kinds of research (not only science), discoveries made during this period may not be made public (secret).

Astro interpretations taken from Ken Ward Source : https://trans4mind.com/personal_development/astrology/LearningAstrology

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

Letters to a Young Poet.