Be Secret and Exult

It is National Poetry Month here in the US, so I thought I would offer one from my favorites:

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing

By William Butler Yeats

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

 

199 Hits
4 Comments

Puzzling Reflections

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Out



Modern translations of St Paul said 'puzzling reflections'
in describing perception, with a taunting, haunting interplay
of light and shadow, never the same for two minutes together,
which made better sense to him than the King James image

To see 'through glass, darkly' was like tilting with a shroud
You couldn't tell what was on the other side of cloak and gesture,
whose storyline it was, and whose the wider plot, when to engage,
and how to abstract meaning from a colloquy already begun

He liked landscape art that shimmered through a summer haze,
nothing clearly defined, merely suggested, sketched and stippled
Precision was death, the vanity of nailing flesh to a cross,
hoping the spirit would not escape to recite its lore elsewhere

Whereas hyperrealism, all diehard hues, stirred menace by osmosis,
Magritte, Chagall, Picasso, hit the spot, dredging themes and schemes
from where it mattered most. Those artists knew a thing or two
about immanence, hypnagogic dreams and shapeshifting metaphor

Such designs granted form to feeling, which delivered its own relief
without any rationale, the need to decode, or the knife-twisting alarm
at having been jumped from behind into action that didn't fit the fable,
Hamlet and Hedda Gabler a Disney parody, the diapason trashed

Putting a foot in the wrong camp was a hazard of moving and breathing
There was seldom signage to say where you were, no cue as to what
came next in the pantomime of human exchange. You had to hang around
until the swirling atmospheres kindled a vision you knew meant business

One dusk, passing the Stage Door, he turned into the Square to confront
a revelation of community. There, in the foyer, under constellations of lamps,
theatre-goers were sipping and laughing and gesticulating behind glass,
no script, no hard and fast plot; the miracle of doors parting on proximity

Next thing he knew was a stifling warmth and billows of babbling energy
He’d thought to be among long-lost friends, in limelight, the jester at the party,
but the baffling palaver made him feel like a spectre, an outsider on the inside,
so that he fled into night’s embrace, all lacerating noise and winking alarms

 

 

 

from Mysteries of Light (collection in preparation)

 

#AutismAwarenessWeek

312 Hits
4 Comments

The Architecture of Trees

The architecture of trees fascinates me.

How do the branches know how to grow?

Complexity theory?

Fibonacci Sequences?

Artificial intelligence?

A complex algorithm it must be.

In searching for its own light, the branch serves the tree.

What does the branch know of the tree?

The result seems always the same:

Spare beauty against the blue.

312 Hits
2 Comments

Sedona: A Serendipitous Journey

Taking yearly pilgrimages started after my serendipitous journey to Sedona.  What made that such a pivotal point, was the juxtaposition of entrapment with freedom.  During the preceding eight months of cancer treatment, I’d been closely monitored; by the clinical trials research company I worked for to see if I was able to do my job; by my family and friends to see how I was physically and emotionally holding up.  While my employer was difficult and my family and friends well-meaning, both made me want to escape to a place where I was free to move about, unnoticed. Between two business meetings out West, I took my trip to Sedona, Arizona.  If it had been up to me, I would have returned to North Carolina between those meetings, to see my husband and teenage sons so I wouldn't be away for so long.  But the company business manager suggested I stay in the area and travel.  After considering her idea, I thought she was right.  My mother had visited a friend in Sedona and said it was one of the prettiest places she'd ever seen.  Since it was within two hours of my first meeting, the business manager and I agreed that it would work. Unlike all the negative things that happened during my employment there, the support for me traveling to Sedona was serendipitous.  It was something good, beneficial that happened by accident at a time where I was seeing no other ‘happy accidents.’ Because it was not something I’d planned at length, like other things in my life, I was in a state of receptivity to what that new experience would offer.  I didn’t have a list of ‘must see’ places or companion travelers to work out the details of where to eat, or “What’s next?”  It was just me moving as I felt led, following that still small voice of God within me instead of a schedule. How freeing for a mother of teenagers, used to balancing work and family.  What a wonderful change from going to the countless appointments of those intensive months of cancer treatment. Instead, I drove around the red-rock-splendor and absorbed the beauty of each moment.  How nice it was to take a quiet hike at Oak Creek on a weekday, sitting in the grounding presence of the shadow of those rock formations. I lit a candle in The Chapel of the Holy Cross and thanked God for my life and for the unexpected time in Sedona.  It wasn’t something that I’d asked for; It wasn’t something that I knew I needed.  My heart was full of gratitude for the abundance God had provided. Throughout my toxic job and cancer ordeal, my go-to scripture was Psalm 40: 1-2 (NIV): "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."  Remembering that day when I drove into Sedona, I had a feeling that I had come home, like God my Rock was leaping off the page.  Of all the places I could go for that serendipitous trip, my 'happy accident' led me to a place of rocks-- and later I would learn, of energy and healing. Sedona opened my eyes to other ‘happy accidents.'  I see how good things have shown up in my path-- things I haven't asked for, things I didn't know I needed.  Now, when I see images of that special place, it reminds me that God my Rock is still leaping off the page. How About You? How have you experienced serendipitous events in your life? What impact have they had on your journey? 
299 Hits
4 Comments

Latest Comments

Ken Hartke Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
Thanks, Rosy, -- glad you liked it.
Ken Hartke I Promise
20 May 2018
I am so looking forward to your return -- I love your writing and wish you well. From my youth I've...
Stephen Evans I Promise
20 May 2018
Sometimes when I am dealing with deep anxiety I find that work (by which I mean writing), and the f...
Rosy Cole Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
I just love this, Ken. As appealing to the senses as a painting. Thanks :-)

Latest Blogs

  It’s hard to imagine that almost 130 years ago, Melbourne in Australia was considered the smelliest city in the world when today, it’s voted the ...
   I hear the rotating motion of the fan. My fingers typing on the keyboard.   It’s Tuesday, 4am. I hear my thoughts in this moment’s silence.   ...
My hypnotherapist said, “close your eyes and go to that place that brings you peace. Describe what you see.”   “I see Green all over, peaceful and ...
To get myself back on track. I am going to try.   A hypnotherapist is helping to quiet my mind. Residue from being hit by a bus a couple of years ...