Sunday, November 16, 2008

melancholy leaves me breathless.

 Mary Oliver, “Sometimes” in Red Bird

As she so often does, Mary Oliver speaks truth, but why would anyone want to read such truth? I read it because it is good to know that one’s feelings of sadness are shared by others, that the melancholy which leaves me breathless also leaves others breathless – and yet we can create art out of it which then helps us move through the sadness. It is why I listen to the blues. In the blues we hear the sadness and the art made from sadness, an art which helps us negotiate it. It is why I love the Psalms, too.

Here is one of my attempts to create something out of sadness.

There are days
when the truest
statement in the
creed is:
He descended into hell,
and when the
first truth of
Buddhism appears
its most profound:
Life is suffering.
Both also promise
a way forward.
The eightfold path.
Neither promises
that the way
is easy.
And the stay
in hell was
three days.

Trying to Create Beauty,


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