The Three of Swords

Today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer was to write an animal poem. That, and an article I read in The New Yorker about philosopher Agnes Callard’s ideas about marriage, sparked this poem. I did like her ideas about marriage as an aspirational state, a pairing in which two people draw each other toward developing themselves into better people–individuals working on becoming more evolved themselves, and their relationship being a space which nurtures them both to imagine themselves as better than they are. But she seemed to see aspiration as the highest goal, negating contentment as a stagnating force to be avoided. I think a strong marriage lies somewhere in the paradox of those two poles: aspiration and contentment. In the end, as important as it is to me that my partner be someone who stimulates and challenges me intellectually (which he does), I don’t think the mystical-emotional aspects of marriage can be explained in intellectual terms. In much the same way that theology can cudgel living poetic spirituality to death, philosophically explaining marriage deadens the poetic aliveness of the magic of the pairing.

Here I am, trying to confront her ideas with philosophical structures of my own. And really, my poem does not disparage intellectual exploration of ideas–but it does call for integrating intellect with heart and soul and body.

Gratitude List:
1. The lasting pink! The cool weather and minimal rain have kept the pink on the trees much longer than usual. It would now be fine with me for us to get some good intense rains.
2. Integrating heart and mind and body and soul.
3. Personal day tomorrow. Rest and catch up on work.
4. The perfect temperature for my body’s comfort.
5. My current mantra: Restoring, re-energizing, rewilding. How the repetition of a mantra makes it grow inside me.
May we walk in Beauty!

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” —Louise Erdrich

“To light a candle is to cast a shadow…”
―Ursula K. Le Guin

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” ―Claude Monet

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” ―Malala Yousafzai

I called through your door,
“The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!”
“Leave me alone. I’m sick.”
“I don’t care if you’re dead! Jesus is here,
and he wants to resurrect somebody!”
―Jalaludin Rumi (trans. by Barks)

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
―Jalaluddin Rumi (trans. by Barks)

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
―Anaïs Nin

“Everything has boundaries. The same holds true with thought. You shouldn’t fear boundaries, but you should not be afraid of destroying them. That’s what is most important if you want to be free: respect for and exasperation with boundaries.”
―Haruki Murakami

“All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.” —Richard Rohr

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