Monday, February 15, 2010

i laugh at myself

village girl sir george clausen


sometimes i catch myself
wondering
what you wonder about me.

wouldn't that be something -
to fully know another person!

i can only imagine
that it would be like
arriving
at the end of time.
the journey done.
the jigsaw completed.

"oh it looks just like the picture on the cover of the box".

and then what?
break the puzzle
into all its little pieces.
put it back into its box.

put it back on the shelf.

let it collect dust.

let it sink into the well of memory.
until partially or wholly forgotten
and then perhaps on a whim
reassembled.

~

i enjoy the mystery
the not-knowing.

~

i laugh at myself, old man, with no strength left
inclined to piney peaks, in love with lonely paths
oh well, i've wandered down the years to now
free in the flow, and floated home the same
a drifting boat.

trans. james sanford &.j. p. seaton

22 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

steven, here's another poem by shih-te translated by Bill Porter who lives not far from here. It's a lovely poem and an eloquent response to your contemplation:



Doesn't anyone see

the turmoil in the Three Worlds
is due to endless delusion

once thoughts stop the mind becomes clear

nothing comes or goes neither birth nor death

Kathleen said...

I, too, enjoy the mystery, the not-knowing. More and more all the time. What a fascinating post, Steven. I have some catching up to do...I briefly scanned your most recent posts and they are mesmerizing. Peace and you enter a new week~

Elisabeth said...

It is such a striking contrast here, Steven - the portrait of this stunning young girl and the old man laughing at himself.

Ah the power of self reflection and of the passage of time. Thanks.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

'...I've wandered down the years to now...' Lovely.

Golden West said...

As change is a constant, it makes me wonder if we can ever totally know someone else.

steven said...

golden west - you're right i think and then also - it's nice not knowing. sometimes (as i was alluding to in yesterday's post) it would be really nice if you could have a whole sense of yourself. but like mist it disappears into the air. ) have a lovely and peaceful day. steven

steven said...

bonnie - isn't that just beautiful!!! i'm glad you agree. steven

steven said...

elisabeth - when i came across her portrait i was captured by the visible juxtaposition of her age and her presence. she would be one of those people who are described as old souls i'm sure. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

kathleen - there's something in dan's comment to be learned about letting go of attachment to needing to know. i'm not sure i;m all that way yet but friends will tell of a steven who used to obsess about knowledge. if i could read every book and learn every learning then i would understand more. hmmmmm. not so!!! thank you for the kidn thoughts and have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

dan - i'm inching closer to understanding the idea of not thought but it's a very long journey for me although my own spiritual work - which has more closely paralleled sufi than buddhism, which has been contained in the work of gurdjieff's student john g. bennett took a nudge from my dad's buddhism. thankyou for this redirect - the words of shih-te speak clearly about something that confuses me. steven

Pauline said...

The thing I like about puzzles is that, though the result is always the same, you never put the pieces together in quite the same way. I'm with GW - we are constantly changing, so fully knowing someone else is an illusion, too. Love the Shih-te poem. Thanks for sharing.

Jenny Stevning said...

...so beautiful, Steven...no words...just some of these **********!

The Weaver of Grass said...

These wise words just flow along the page steven - beautiful.

willow said...

I was awe struck by the Village Girl. Just had to sit and gaze at her a while.

Reya Mellicker said...

What I always wonder about you is what your voice sounds like. Deep or not so much, gravelly or smooth, whatever. Would love to hear it sometime.

What a beautiful portrait at the beginning of your post! There is so much going on in her face. Wow.

Hey, this is not my favorite translation, and it's a LONG story, but for what it's worth, here's an online version of the Snow Queen.

hope said...

Hmmm, I see you more as the pages of a book than as a puzzle to assemble.

You're like a mystery book I can't put down, turning each page and expecting to be amazed.

And you never let me down. :)

steven said...

hello hope - thanks for that thoughtful insight. sometimes - when i look back - i can see the story - the plot even, but when i stand away from the present moment i only see fragments, threads that could resolve into a tapestry but they're unclear as yet. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

pauline it's so true - the process of assembling the pieces is never the same twice and then too is any of it real? i can point to details, experiences, whatever but were they real and what would the other people who were present have to say about my idea of what happened?! have a lovely evening and thanks for the thoughtful comment. steven

steven said...

jenny thankyou for the stars!! steven

steven said...

weaver! thankyou for your kind comment here. steven

steven said...

willow - i was dumbstruck when i first saw her. there's such depth, such presence!! she says a lot about my own sense of what i value in people - women especially! have a lovely evening at the manor. steven

steven said...

reay - i don't know how to begin to describe my voice. it isn't deep and gravelly i know that. it isn't high-oitched. it sits in the middle. my students say they love my reading voice - i read to them every day and for most of them that's the only time they're read to so i'm glad that it's a good voice for them!!! i really like the village girl's face. i know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover but i do - because i can tell a lot about what's going on inside a person through their face, through their mannerisms, through their presence. thankyou very very much for the snow queen link. i read online every morning so i'll blow that off for a couple of days and read this. steven