You at Least Write a Poem
“Failure never let anybody down.”
–Murshida Ivy Duce
Do you ever get that sad feeling there’s
A poem in the background and sure
You sketch out its outlines but tragic
You can’t cross some perhaps picket line
To those magic roses which maddeningly
You sniff out but cannot paint or draw
What shines like something preternatural
Atop the tower of truth and which after glows
Independently of anything we can understand:
You can’t quite reach across the abyss unless . . .
So you start with undermine depressing:
Remembering poetry is the art of the attempt
At expressing the inexpressible and so impossible
Becomes possible the intention becomes God
And if and as you fail you at least write a poem like this:
To the tomb of some unknown poem
Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:
“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”
In Sufism, the issue arises of introspection.
Socrates famously said, “Know thyself.”
This is especially important for people who want to be happy. (Yes there are–alas–those who don’t. And they often take people with them.)
Sabes por que?
A while back I called a blog post, “Sufism, the Science of Happiness.” But lately (see last post, Geometric Theorems, and also this one) I am noticing some important mathematical considerations, as well.
And so here is some geometry stuff left over from last post, “Geometric Theorems”:
I believe Euclid called them corollaries. But before any corollaries, come axioms (things taken as truth without proof) Like this, for instance:
A person is her own best doctor. (Why? Because it’s the doctor that sees the patient that has a leg up. And what we see in others is dwarfed by what we can see in ourselves. That’s to say we have the capacity to look inward. (Amazing stuff in there! Why am I excited? It’s because I’ve only just scratched the surface, and I’m into Pollyanna extrapolations.*)
Axiom Two: Different people need different things to be happy (either through differing tastes or capacities, experiences, etc)
As you can see, axioms are often just matters of common sense. Like the famous Euclidean one I mentioned last post, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”
Corollary (something that logically follows) :
It therefore behooves a sincere investigator to look within. And sure the mystics all warn about the ego that lurks inside. But you just have to get your ego to notice what is more fun. And fun is important because the ego is like a child. And I found during my stint as a first grade teacher (subsequent to my carpentry career), that first rate students occur when they are amused. Because it’s amazing what ancillary knowledge you can hang on the charm bracelet of a silly song and dance. And besides, you know where ego-centric comes in handy? By God then you know what you like. You know what’s (for you) fun. And with time what you like ripens into a fine wine. Or a finer one, at any rate. (Okay, it helps if you believe in reincarnation, and the fact of millions of lifetimes . . . ) But you always start with what your gut likes. Your gut knows it very well. And this is good training too, to “go with your gut.” Lud Dimpfl, my old Sufi preceptor, once said that to train your intuition (read: gut) you had to start to trust it. Sure there will be mistakes. But it’s like learning to walk. You don’t go gloomy on the fall downs.
But let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
Doesn’t it all come down to show don’t tell?
I mean all the small talk and banter on the platform about “looking within.” But isn’t that like saying a girl was beautiful instead of selling the sizzle of her discerning glance? The swizzle stick that got her to dance?
Because you are writing a story, and the neophyte writer would say, “He smiled a friendly smile.”
But you (the skilled artist) might say something more in this direction:
“He pushed out the result of an obvious struggle against whatever it is that doesn’t love a smile. And for that, it was a triumphant one–akin to the sun.”
God be with you,
*I used to have a frustrating hobby. I wanted to be a cartoonist but I couldn’t draw, at least not cartoons. It didn’t stop me from dreaming up the captions though. And every morning when I was unemployed (Happens a lot to union carpenters) I’d deploy my coffee and my large anthology of New Yorker cartoons. No, it’s not what you think, that I was cribbing from them (stealing as you might say).
But in my defense I say, No. Because if the cartoon I saw started out in a skyscraper, perhaps it ended up about chickens in a hen house. (for instance as the farmer is collecting the eggs, one sitting chicken says to another, “I understand they are all going to good homes.”)
I say sure there’s a connection. But it’s like with this story I’ve always remembered. It was an interview with the famous cartoonist Unger. (Wrote the Herman series, as I recall). He said something like “Here’s the difference between a creative person and an uncreative one. If you do a word association test on an uncreative person, and you say “shoes,” he will say laces. But if you say shoes to a creative person, he’ll yell “Strawberry jam!” Because he once had spilled strawberry jam on his shoes.)
You can see where I am going with this. I mean we’re all only six degrees of separation. Are we then all plagiarists?
But to undigress, one of my cartoon ideas was of two bums, one of whom was all excited–he had found a dime in the street. And the caption was to be, “Yesterday I found a nickel, and day before that, a penny. And I’ve done an extrapolation. At this rate by Christmas I’ll be worth a fortune!”
But alas I can’t draw. Not cartoons anyway (I need the crutch of something in my face, to reproduce). So any of you gentle folk who can draw cartoons, hey we could partner up!