In the morning After taking cold shower —-what a mistake—- I look at the mirror. There, a funny guy, Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin, —-what a pity—- Poor, dirty, old man, He is not me, absolutely not. Land and life Fishing in the ocean Sleeping in the desert with stars Building a shelter in the mountains Farming the ancient way Singing with coyotes Singing against nuclear war— I’ll never be tired of life. Now I’m seventeen years old, Very charming young man. I sit quietly in lotus position, Meditating, meditating for nothing. Suddenly a voice comes to me: “To stay young, To save the world, Break the mirror.” —Nanao Sakaki
Posted by Poetic Outlaws
Someone once said “Old age is a terrible thing to happen to a 12-year-old child.” That’s one of those things you wish you’d said and think perhaps you did.
The old man said “Yeah, that’s the truth all right. Doesn’t matter. You brush your teeth and go to bed. Soon enough you die anyway. Then you don’t have to think about it.” Sounds like a poem to me, I said.
He said, “I never wrote poetry. Maybe the guys who do don’t die. They’ll still get old though. So I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. Still, I guess I’d rather just grow old.”
Mary Oliver is such a poet as speaks to our hearts, our souls, without cleverness or opaqueness. She is open, and opens our love and pain with the beautiful pictures she paints of all of the states and passions we pass through.
Just in case there was something prior, More on words I dislike:
Eponymous. It seems so pretentious. Why not just say what it is? The title of whatever is the same as the person I’m writing about. Well OK, in fewer words. Or maybe it just annoys me as I had to look it up so many times as I kept forgetting what it meant. The word is just plain unfriendly.
Siblings. Hissssss. A cold word, an almost but not quite harsh word. It doesn’t sound at all like brother or sister. Maybe it’s good to use if you don’t like your family.
Facetious. Another pretentious word. It’s rarely spoken unless it’s the only three-syllable word someone knows. And then it’s used often.
And something to note about Yeats:
He is the only poet I’m aware of who has many poem titles longer than the poem.
I love & adore many of his short poems. There’s none better than “When You are Old,” “The Mask,” and “A Deep-sworn Vow.” “Leda and the Swan” is so powerful it can quite make you shudder. That poem is posted in full under “Myth and Mystery” in this blog.
Of course the Center Will Not Hold…there is no center. (This I discovered within Meditation.) Go ahead—look for your center.
And then, because there are no better words than those we receive from Rumi:
And thus it is I leave us for the day—to go sit on the patio, the dog and I—to watch the Thunderstorm, aye, by and by.
“And I’ll dance with you in Vienna, I’ll be wearing a river’s disguise. The hyacinth wild on my shoulder my mouth on the dew of your thighs. And I’ll bury my soul in a scrapbook, with the photographs there and the moss. And I’ll yield to the flood of your beauty, my cheap violin and my cross.”
“In Vienna I will dance with you in a costume with a river’s head. See how the hyacinths line my banks! I will leave my mouth between your legs, my soul in photographs and lilies, and in the dark wake of your footsteps, my love, my love, I will have to leave violin and grave, the waltzing ribbons”
Federico Garcia Lorca
The words and the music take my breath away, my soul jumps with joy. It doesn’t matter to me the obvious use of Lorca’s poem. I just want to give Lorca a little credit here. As T. S. Eliot famously said: immature poets imitate but mature poets steal.
The Cohen photo & his words to the song were posted by Ravenous Butterflies.