Letters to a Young Poet VI
September 7, 2018
Cherokee, North Carolina
I am writing from the heat of a southern mountain day after re-reading T.S. Eliot's 'The Wasteland'. Such a beautiful piece of literature. The 'Four Quartets' is seasonably palatable for the emotion, as well as 'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock'. Have you noticed weather can affect what you read? I lean toward hearthy poetry as summer closes. The imagery of warm morning fires and smell of food in the air, as though harvest has bloomed - not in the fields but the tables.
I was pleasantly surprised in receiving your message; it was an unexpected delight. Your commentary regarding my example of respectful discourse, as well as quality of poetry was humbling. We never know how others view us unless they take the time to express themselves. I love how poetry binds people of like-mindedness to connect on a more personal level. Particularly in absence.
Absence somehow amplifies the urgency to inform others how we feel. Perhaps we've experienced, to some degree, the painful realization of those we loved departing without knowing. The hollow echo remains throughout our own at not having voiced our feelings. While deeply appreciative of your concern, I assure you I am fine.
I would ask you not to worry about this perceived injustice, though I do understand as humans and artists we are compelled to defend the right of peaceful and respectful expression. Freedom is so paramount to our creative process. Our experience here is so minute compared to the infinite ones we'll choose. It was once said that each lifetime is a grain of sand; we could live 10,000 of them and barely remove a mountaintop.
For me, poetry lives between each space of choice, just waiting to be born. It would seem that way for you as well, in light of reading your work. For others it might be music, painting, and so forth. We, as poets, tend to focus on the beauty of creation, in addition to the emotions of experience, e.g. - love, pain, birth, death, loyalty, betrayal, and, yes, as you mentioned, injustice, to release and understand what we're feeling. To communicate our depths to others and ourselves.
No; I do not advise writing letters of complaint for my situation, or uprising. I do not possess that mindset for two reasons: firstly, I believe I have ordained everything I experience in order to evolve. A decade ago, maybe sooner, before this revelation, I would've resisted. Now, I choose to fully absorb the gamut of whatever arises. I am not referring to crimes such as theft, murder, etc. Or the defense of helpless victims such as children or animals. Those acts should be dealt with accordingly; Secondly, This situation isn't just about me, but others ( even yourself ). We're all a part of this to learn something from it. These types of circumstance push us from complacency and test our resolve truthfully.
Have we recently claimed how we would react during a certain scenario? Have we professed we trust the Universe or God to handle a situation? Have we sworn we would never do a certain thing? Times such as this test us and reveal how strong ( or weak ) our convictions are. Therefore, I would urge you instead to continue focusing on your poetry. Allow the art of words to inspire you and the expression of poetry to communicate not just with others, but those who will follow long after we're gone. Those who will read it as a homing beacon of recognition and realize their experience isn't alone.
And, most importantly, is yourself. In time to come you will see, through very words you pen today, just how far you have come. How each noun, adjective, conjunction, and verb is a stepping stone for everyone. I know I look forward to reading them.
Again, thank you for your thoughtful message and offer of assistance. It was appreciated more than you know.
I remain ever grateful,
P.S. - I found your last post poignant in its ability to draw forth deep emotion.
Thank you for sharing. I trust you understand for now it's best not to use your name in public.