Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bridges & Pinsky

"Testament of Beauty" by Robert Bridges is a hymnal-twin volume of turn of the century British Laureate poetry - red, raggedy split-end binding. Picked it up at Powell's Books in Portland - saw it & knew that its heart was good.
Pinsky greeted me in the library with plasticized soft-cover binding, but his words are clear enough, and thorough. He hates God for some reason - for the reason that all men hate God: confusion - maybe a dead wife or child, brevity of life and its glaring vanity. Pain. He wrote a poem about the childhood of Jesus, called the same I think, that is clear, and wide-eyed and beautiful, and mocks the Christ with a dark confusion.
Read some Luke this morning. There are words that stack up toward heaven and become more and more like lies as they get higher. And then there are words that as they stack they get thinner and humbler, and more like dirt. Soon like air.
Scrap all of the sophistry, all of the techni-color words, and I know two things with the most basic kind of knowledge I have: that I will die, and that there is beauty. That makes a question. That makes a bubble in my stomach that has turned into a sour rock, hot as a firecoal. It changes my breath into light. I become a magic beast, suffusing smoke and light, rather than a hunkered monkey in a suit.
I will choose to see beauty, and therefore take on the burden of death. And when the burden of death grows too heavy, I will look for someone to take that burden from me - someone with wisdom-lit eyes more full than mine. Someone who can't be easily unwound down to desire, like Buddha's complacency, and Mohammed's bare desire.
Someone who confuses me.

1 comment:

Dinner Woman said...

Pinsky...Pinsky, I knew I had heard that name, but where. I searched the shelves and there I found, "The Sounds of Poetry." Picked it up, thumbed the pages, and said to myself, "I'll pick this up and add it to my collection of evening reading." Now my assortment of books to read spans: spiritual disciplines, canning & preserving food, vegetable gardening, and poetry-writing. Ah, the joy of having so much to learn!