Thursday, June 21, 2012

sometimes a flowering

Most people who engage in the practice of writing poetry, also have a working life, which can be quite separate from their poetic life.  Many poets are also academics, and many teach creative writing - and maybe this seems a bit closer to the poetic life, but in my admittedly limited experience with teaching writing, it only seems so. I never wrote less or felt less of an artist myself than when teaching.  Perhaps because of its all-consuming nature. (This is just me - I know many people who do just fine with this combination).

I know I'm constantly trying to strike a balance between work, home and family, writing. For quite a while I had this fantasy that I could X off work out of that equation, and then it would all be okay.  But I've mainly come to peace with the fact that I'm going to be working from here on in.  Even though I only work part time, it's one more thing to balance, that many more voices in my head, etc.  I like my job, in fact it's the best job I've probably ever had, causes me next to no stress, and is fulfilling and challenging in good ways.

But still, how to embrace these hours that could be seen as 'taking away' from your real work, your art, your writing?

I've been reading a book by David Whtye, the guy who brings poetry to corporations such as Toyota and American Express etc, so goes his bio.  How to bring poetry to the workplace, how to find the poetry in your work. Crucial to maintaining a grip on one's poetic soul. (I think this is true whether you hope to practice the writing of poetry or not).

Whyte talks about the hours of our days as "an advancing quality, a presence, a visitation, and an emergence of something growing inside us as much as it is growing in the outer world. A season or an hour of the day is a visitation whose return is not always assured." 

He also says, "The hours and the seasons are sometimes a flowering, sometimes a disappearance, and often an indistinguishable transience between the two, but all the hours of the day and the seasons of the year enunciate some quality in the world that has its own time and place.  To make friends with the hours is to come to know all the hidden correspondences inside our own bodies that match the richness and movement of life we see around us."  

When we are scheduled, what happens to our experience of the hours? How does that change how we see the world, meet the days, approach those around us, those who work beside us, those to whom we come home?

Whyte also says, "In many traditional cultures, a particular hour of the day is seen to have a personal, almost angelic presence, something that might be named - though only in hushed tones, and only in ways that reinforce its unknowingness."  In this way we may break into time, hear its annunciations, the private song of an hour, and come to know the personality such an hour might have.  Meeting this particular moment, coming to it, is like a conversation in which we are "privileged to overhear ourselves participating."

Yesterday I met with butterflies in a particular hour.....(lousy segue I know...).  I messed around with books and my paper butterflies on the grass.  Then sat down with my journal.  And along came this :

It didn't stay long and was only interested in the faded lilacs.


  1. I understand exactly what you and Whyte are saying. All the time I feel divided, wanting somehow to capture something, which for you, would be write -- but I no longer see myself doing such. I often feel a welled up emotion inside, wanting continually (while doing something mundane) to find a deeper meaning, knowing it is there. Then my divided self just wants to live in the moment and not need to do anything more.

  2. you say it so perfectly, Edna. that feeling. yes, i know it so well.

  3. What a happy visitor to your butterfly session! Lovely.


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