Monday, June 7, 2010

a life well-lived

each morning
as the sun rose
above the low hills to the east
he left his cottage
and made his way along the river path

christen købke autumn morning on lake sortedam

each day
in the course of this walk
he reflected on the improbabilities
so apparent in his daily
experiencing of life

work
in a world
in which work is a commodity

marriage
in a world
in which the conditional
defines the terms of a sacred trust

and then
after some time
he would
round a corner
and embrace
in his imagining
an impossibly beautiful
gloriously simple
representation
of all that he held
most sacred
and truthful


he knew it as
"the little space"

in the winter
it was a place of simple wonders
seemingly barren
and yet
filled with riches beyond any man's
reasonable expectation


camille pissaro brouillard à l’hermitage, pontoise

in the summer it became a place of exuberant wealth -
the fortune that nature bestows
upon a person who has lived their life well
a person who has made
kindness
and gentleness
their closest friends

camille pissaro l'hermitage pontoise

20 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Such wonderful seasonal contrasts here, Steven in words and images. Thanks.

Pauline said...

and the "little space" became the biggest space of all...

jinksy said...

Each of the three illustrations hold their own 'little spaces' out to us for our enjoyment...thanks!

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven how do you do it? All your words and thoughts come through so strong, potent, and true. Thank you!

willow said...

I love the stark contrast in Pissaro's two seasons. As always, lovely words, as well.

Dan Gurney said...

Wonderful post. Making kindness and gentleness your closest friends is indeed a wonderful investment in goodness that enriches life beyond imagining.

I saw the Pissaro painting, l'hermitage pointoise in person last month at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It was my favorite piece in the whole collection!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

and then there was spring with a burst of color and the most vivid of greens. have a wonderful day. i love the poetry & the illustrations.

alaine@éclectique said...

Another lovely place to live. I felt the warmth in the last pic. Words, brilliant as usual.

Noelle Clearwater said...

Steven,
It is I, Noelle. I like the use of the simple space in the woods as a metaphor for what you have carved out for yourself subconsciously. The workaday world and the world that betrays sacred trusts exist on the level of the ego and we recognize them as part of our conscious environment. They wear at us and we are lured away by them from our central focus of simple joy and happiness in what we have. But the space in the woods round the corner is where you truly live and experience the deeper vicissitudes of life. The summer is your reward for that endeavor. It reminds me of Frost's poem "Stopping by Wood's on a Snowy Evening". "The Woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." People always interpret that poem as a discussion of death, but I don't think it is. I think it is a discussion of a desire for a deeper life that he longs for. I have gone on too long.
Namaste,
Noelle

Annie said...

Hi Steven,

I enjoy the idea of a special place to visit and reflect, year round, appreciating the best of each season; going beyond the contracts we make with ourselves, as employees and even spouses, to find who we are, and how we wish to live.

I also appreciate these lines, reminding me this “little space” does not depend upon the physical world; it exists within ourselves:

"and then
after some time
he would
round a corner
and embrace
in his imagining
an impossibly beautiful
gloriously simple
representation"

I’ve read and re-read your poem, evaluating the words separately from the images, and found it to be meaningful on multiple levels. The seasons can be interpreted as a state of mind; and even in winter, when times may seem bleakest, in that “little space” of our own making, there are riches in abundance. Every time I read your poem I find a little bit more to think about. I agree that making kindness and gentleness our closest friend results in a life well lived.

steven said...

hello noelle, thanks for your overview. i can get caught up in the details of the surface of my experiencing and this becomes especially apparent when the specifics of my professional and personal lives take on a quality of complexity that clouds my sensing of the deeper life i am living through these surface experiences. the blog allows me to draw the deep mapping of my passing through this plane of existence up to the surface of my experiencing through the use of textural and visual metaphor. i am glad that you are along for the ride. really i am. steven

steven said...

alaine the post flows through to that very warmth and i am sure that held as you are in the depths of the australian winter it reached out and held you in its sunny arms! steven

steven said...

lizzy i am so glad you came here today!! steven

steven said...

dan you saw it!! you lucky lucky man!!! it hummed for me as soon as i saw it. i thought "man would i ever love to live there.. . . . . " i had to write about the man i would be if i lived there and so here it is. steven

steven said...

willow thankyou so much. pissaro is one of my fave artists. i don't entirely know why but there's something very human about his work. steven

steven said...

reya - i hear these words in my head and write them down. they're just there. really they are. they feel good to me. like real love. so i have to share them. steven

steven said...

jinksy you are very welcome. aren't they amazing! steven

steven said...

pauline it does open out into the big space. very much so. steven

steven said...

elisabeth - you are deeply welcome. steven

steven said...

hi annie - inside my self there's a space that is so small and yet - like any fractal - it is infinite in scope and dimension and allows for the deepest introspection. introspection in my own experiencing has always produced the most fruitful and meaningful creative work. this is what i felt when i placed these three images in conjunction. steven