Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A favorite poem*

On Being Given Time
Sometimes it seems to be the inmost land
All children still inhabit when alone.
They play the game of morning without end,
And only lunch can bring them, startled, home
Bearing in triumph a small speckled stone.

Yet even for them, too much dispersal scatters;
What complex form the simplest game may hold!
And all we know of time that really matters
We've learned from moving clouds and waters
Where we see form and motion lightly meld.

Not the clock's tick and its relentless bind
But the long ripple that opens out beyond
The duck as he swims down the tranquil pond,
Or when a wandering, falling leaf may find
And follow the formal downpath of the wind.

It is, perhaps, our most complex creation,
A lovely skill we spend a lifetime learning,
Something between the world of pure sensation
And the world of pure thought, a new relation,
As if we held in balance the globe turning.

Even a year's not long, yet moments are.
This moment, yours and mine, and always given,
When the leaf falls, the ripple opens far,
And we go where all animals and children are,
The world is open. Love can breathe again.

May Sarton


*"Given", for Indecisivegirl.



4 comments:

Bruce Gee said...

Obviously, for me the weakest line of the poem is, "And we go where all children and animals are..."

But hey, that's why I call this blog PAGANS AND LUTHERANS.

Bruce Gee said...

And of course, the question that goes begging is: "Given by whom?"

The pagan wants to leave that question unanswered, or if answered, the answer is a perilous one.

indecisivegirl said...

Thanks so much for posting this for the indecisive girl. I had to read it a few times before I felt I'd begun to understand it.

My favorite lines were, "Something between the world of pure sensation
And the world of pure thought, a new relation,
As if we held in balance the globe turning..."
To me she sounds like she is describing the process of something moving from experience to memory, and how calling on those memories excludes the existence of time. "Even a year's not long, yet moments are..." I couldn't agree more.

Hopefully I didn't totally miss the point, but this is a poem I'll have to keep re-reading and absorbing. I assume that in the last paragraph she is speaking of death?

Thanks for posting this (as I had no luck finding it online anywhere).

Bruce Gee said...

Well, I think your analysis of the pure thought/pure sensation lines are very good. I hadn't thought of it quite like that before.

No, not death. She is speaking of what Cezanne and others referred to as "creating a world"--a rich space given in a moment when the ordinary boundaries of thought and experience are transcended and we find ourselves in a new place. "Happiness" may be the best word we normally use. Luther tells us something like: "when we want to be happy, happiness doesn't come. It isn't something we can call up at the drop of a dime". Well, he wouldn't have said it quite like that. Joy and happiness and "moments" are given, not demanded, not "on call". Expect them. They are pure grace.