bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

Freedom of Speech >< 6 Talking About Talking, Part Two

The second poem i read was this:

The fire rises in me,
     and lights up my heart.
Like the sun!
Like the golden disk!
Opening, expanding, radiant --
     -- a flame!

I say again:
     I don't know
     what to say!

I'd fall silent
-- If only I could --
but this marvel
     makes my heart leap,
it leaves me open mouthed
     like a fool,

urging me
     to summon words
     from my silence.

Poetry Chaikhana | Symeon the New Theologian - The fire rises in me

Symeon the New Theologian lived nearly twice as long as Kahlil Gibran and did not begin to write poetry until he was past sixty.  He could have had worldly success, wealth, and power but decided to follow his spiritual director into a monastic life.  (How many or our contemporary politicians even have spiritual directors?  How many of those directors can take any pride in the policies that those they direct come up with?)  Symeon was sent into exilie, but you cannot send a good man into exile, you simply exile yourself from him.  A new and greater monastery just grew up around his hermitage.

Neither Kahlil's nor Symeon's ideas about words would satisfy a modern linguist, but then, their's would not satisfy a poet either.  It is hard for me to imagine communication without ideas, ideas without thoughts, or thoughts without words (or signs).  If words kill thought, then what gives thought life in the first place?  Our thoughts, our culture, our very selves, are much more a product of language than we can ever suspect.

Yet there are things we don't know, things perhaps that we can never know, things we can never think, that grab us and hold us in awe.  Yet, if someone asks us what makes our eyes shine and our hearts leap we can't just say: "i don't know," even though that would be the absolute truth. 

So we end up babbling, which is okay so long as no one takes us seriously.

Tags: sacred poetry, toward compassion, words
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