Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Panic and pain

This is the second poem about ideas from David Henschel's Heres and Nows.

The metaphor of seeing ideas like races to be run suggests to me a distance between myself and the ideas, as though I could watch them from a little way away.

This is reminds me of the pool of thought in the poem Thought water. Once again, thoughts are not me, they are something separate, that one bathes in or watches.

Normally we are what we think, what we emote, what we feel. But the body and the heart are no more us than the thoughts that think in us.

Yet the poet gives thoughts, ideas, words a special value. Perhaps these are touchstone words of truth. Then there is yearning to pass this truth on to others before it is lost.

Panic and pain

Of course lifelong I had been finding
thoughts, or they found me.
But suddenly
it seemed I crossed a frontier to a land
as rich as spring with newnesses and
no more frontiers.
ideas like races to be run tore
open panic lest they should be lost
and beat like tides about the swiftening blood.

This is no land of milk and honey quiet.
Only the restless searchers come
here drawing words like water from
deep wells below their spirits’ hills:
to whom the printed page becomes
a joy too much like pain
yearning to be given
in others
birth again.

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