Archive for 23 February 2020

“It is difficult/”   Leave a comment

to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

OK, W. C. Williams, I’ll bite. What’s “the news”? What is it that’s “found there” in poems and songs? Is it really different — better — more necessary — than other things, found in other places? If it is, how can you — or I — trust it?

How we answer these questions (any Bards worth their salt pose difficult ones) goes far to showing us for what we are, where we find what we need, and whether any number of us are dying from a lack of it.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could — at last! — track down that skittish, reluctant poem, lasso it, corral it, hog-tie it and get it to give up its … what?

For all its seeming colloquial innocence, the poem fragment threatens to stalk mythic ground. More about that in a bit.

/|\ /|\ /|\

There’s a funny, wry essay (if you’re into actually reading things called “essays”!) called “The Arrogance of Poetry”, by Mark Halliday. (It appeared almost two decades ago now, in the Georgia Review in 2003. Here’s a Jstor link to the first page of it, where you can get a taste, and see if you want to sign in and read the rest of it for free.)

Halliday speaks a common truth: “We are romantics: we keep expecting the marvelous ___ that will change our lives. We try to ___ intelligently, even skeptically, but we are ready to fall in love”.

Fill in the blanks from your own experience. Versions, versions. It’s no surprise that Halliday’s has “poem” and “read”, but I suspect you can do better, because it’s your life we’re talking about, after all.

Right now — Sunday, a sunny afternoon in late February, my belly reasonably full of a very late breakfast of eggs and toast — I’d fill the two blanks with “insight” and “live”: “We keep expecting the marvelous insight that will change our lives. We try to live intelligently, even skeptically …”

Maybe you write “deity” and “worship”. Or perhaps for you it’s “person” and “date”, or “high” and “use”. If you’re flush with cash, it could even be “decorator” and “remodel”, or “designer” and “dress”.

/|\ /|\ /|\

Poem, song, Other, Grail. We storm the castle, only to find it empty and cold. We hold the Grail in our hands, but then fail to recognize it before we set it down and walk away. Perceval, Lancelot, Galahad. Guinevere, Elaine, Isolde. So many stories.

Tennyson writes:

Then move the trees, the copses nod,
Wings flutter, voices hover clear
“O just and faithful knight of God!
Ride on! the prize is near”.

Yes. Always over the next hilltop, around the next curve. A sensible Druid might sit down and stretch out under the trees, instead, and listen to those wings, voices, leaves. Who knows who will get “there” sooner?

/|\ /|\ /|\

The “daily practice” I’m always yammering about is one of the few things I know for sure.

I bring the bowl to the Fountain, hold it out, and once again it fills. It’s not much, just a modest bowl, rough pottery, nothing fancy, carrying enough for a deep drink, or a day’s cooking. Tomorrow I’ll need to refill it. When I bring it inside, I set it by a window. Sometimes the sun glitters on the surface of the water. Then the sparkle flashes across the opposite wall, blinding bright for a moment.

/|\ /|\ /|\


I bring in the sheet of metal I’ll use to incise the runes of storm that Thecu asked for. I’d left the gray metal tilted against a stone in the backyard, a landmark in case a storm came and covered it before I’d fetched it in. Across the stone surface, a tracery of lichens — some green from snowmelt — say nothing.

Posted 23 February 2020 by adruidway in Druidry, grail, spiritual practice, spiritual quest

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: