Today commenced a discussion course on the subject of "Story" in which I participate. Not all discussion groups are a success. But every now and then, there happens a small miracle and the group assembled seems to hold great promise for a truly passionate engagement. This group seems to hold the promise for genuine learning. We'll be reading Northrop Fry and a list of plays and novels as we go on.
Today we just tasted a few excerpts from this and that. One of these titbits was this poem, by Denise Levertov, a poet I heard about but never explored before.
Needless to say, I found the poem resonant, or else I wouldn't mention it.
Complaint and rejoinder/ Denise Levertov
There's a kind of despair, when your friends
are scattered across the world; you see
how therefore never is there a way
each can envision truly
the others of whom you speak.
Oceans divide your life,
you want to place all of it--people,
places, their tones, atmospheres,
everything shared uniquely with each--into
a single bowl, like petals, like sand
in a pail. No one can ever hear or tell
the whole story.
(And do you really think
this would not be so if you lived
all of your life on an island,
in a village too small to contain
a single stranger?)
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Thursday, January 10, 2008