Friday, 11 November 2016

indelible lines

my journal: 
with scarcely a spare spot to write another word, 
is filled – in large part – with bits of poetry that did not grow wings 
and soar off the page in inspiriting breaths
and yet, for a few seconds, I must have thought 
something intriguing had alighted on my mind, as I put pen to paper, 
before entombing my reflection between dark smothering covers …

I wonder whether words-that-stir can be resuscitated, 
or do they only really hold that magic intensity, once … 
the first time they swoop to the top of consciousness 
and tumble down that ebullient waterfall of the mind 
in great jolts of apperception that can, never quite, be duplicated

perhaps, it is the memory of that moment:
that brief wild ride of cognition that leaves indelible lines within us … 
to splash evocatively to the surface of our thoughts, 
throughout our days


Golly, what a week.  Flu came through the door with the grandchildren and I am still under the weather.  Along with so many others, I have a lot of concerns about where this world is heading.  With the passing of Leonard Cohen, it feels as though the curtain is coming down – achingly – on the progressive and enlightened ethos of so much we hold dear … that nebulous, indefinable “je ne sais quoi feeling” that we were, slowly, going in a decent direction:  socially,  and even politically.
 
Artistically, the 20th century music revolution of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, John Lennon (and many others) and poets like Leonard Cohen and Maya Angelou (and many others) made us want to believe, we were starting to get it right.   But, clearly, we have lost our way.

And so, as I often do in unsettling times, I found myself turning to old poems – old friends from childhood – to try and rekindle that sense of constancy – without which, days feel bleaker – whether, indeed, they are or not … indelible lines … that shine a light, even in the darkest hours. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson (1830-86)


note:  apperception –  I can’t believe I haven’t come across this lovely word before.  It means (according to Merriam-Webster):  introspective self-consciousness; mental perception; especially:  the process of understanding something perceived in terms of previous experience.

photo:  Little Qualicum Falls – H. Bourke

 © 2016 Wendy Bourke 

21 comments:

  1. I am greatly affected by the death of Leonard Cohen too. I have ALL of his music, and my one regret is that I did not ever get to hear him in concert. I do wonder sometimes too if words can be resuscitated. Sometimes when you write them down for the first time, you think your thoughts are very inspiring....but when you turn back to these words sometime later, they have lost their luster many times. Yup, sometimes I fear the curtain is coming down too. We need to listen to the words of Leonard Cohen & rise up!

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  2. Well written tribute to Leonard Cohen He left his mark

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  3. Ah well... Leonard Cohen's death leaves us all sad. But what an incredible legacy to leave behind.

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  4. A beautiful deep write - thank you, much enjoyed.

    I googled apperception before reading your end note. Tis truly a wonderful word.

    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

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  5. brief wild ride of cognition... love that, it truly is the beginning of everything!

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  6. every verse a winner in these lovely lines to unborn poems - Larkin had 3 volumes of notebooks and took 2 years before he returned to complete 'Whitsun Weddings'
    p.s. We have lost one of our greatest lyricists in Leonard

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  7. I love the image of that full journal - echoing your days and thoughts.. indelible lines that define us and ones we are given and happily shared..

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  8. It's been a week of hell, and I have lacked word as well.. now they're slowly coming back... and I love the fact that Leonard Cohen's music still is there.

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  9. Thank you, thank you for your journal entry-poem! My poem this week also deals with what happens with words, and I hope some of my own prayers reach the beauty of the images captured in your poem! Your commentary and choice of Emily also touch my heart. Words that fly, words that splash--these "indelible lines" will stick with me.

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  10. So many wonderful lines stick with me... but mainly that thought that we somehow entomb our words in between the covers of the journals we keep. Great image and thought!

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  11. Beautifully done, and hang onto those snippets, they may yet grow wings.

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  12. Yes, my confession song was "Bird on A Wire:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boMZEe9v_SA
    ZQ

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  13. Wonderful tribute to Leonard. Many find an emptiness glaring with his demise!

    Hank

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  14. Thoses little pieces of us, those words written down are still part of us that can bloom again like flowers with the scent of times long past. What an enthralling post this is fertilised now doubt by the last events.

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  15. I wonder about this too at times, do words lose their luster? I hope not

    I wonder whether words-that-stir can be resuscitated,
    or do they only really hold that magic intensity, once …
    the first time they swoop to the top of consciousness
    and tumble down that ebullient waterfall of the mind

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  16. Words - the placement of them - the memory of them. What makes them be remembered- what places them in our heart. Thank you for a beautiful write...bkm

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  17. I love your journal poem, particularly 'that ebullient waterfall of the mind'. Your ebullience is not in question!

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  18. I hope you are feeling much better ~ Aren't words just magical and so elusive ~ I am glad you a keep a journal of words Wendy ~

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  19. How relatable - and delightfully so. Really enjoyed this.

    Hope you start to feel better quick. I got flu too a couple of weeks ago, during a London trip, and still haven't quite gotten over it.

    Yeah, the times have been feeling kind of weird, spooky, sometimes scary.

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  20. Wow, what a photo--stunning, with a lovely write to boot. I agree with Sherry, too--hang onto those bits which are still seedlings. Hope you are feeling much better!

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