Friday, July 13, 2007

It is more immediate than any image of my making

Snow Leopard

I go searching for a poem that I know I have posted here before, but familiar things can be a great comfort. Today I'm due to receive my official training as a Peace Cafe volunteer. I hope there's a certificate. Something that reflects my newly discovered ability to make latte.

The poem is Brian Patten's Blade of Grass. It's about the inability to appreciate what is right in front of us, and the power of desire for what we don't have to foreshadow appreciation of what we do have. What I like best about it is that he manages to achieve this spiritual teaching in such a simple, beautiful narrative. If you have time, check out his poetry and the work of the other Liverpool Poets. If you like Patten, you'll probably also like Roger McGough.

A blade of grass
Brian Patten

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.

Searching for a Blade of Grass, I find a beautiful, gentle blog called Heartcrossings, which you should check out. The writer had also posted the poem, but had attached a quote from Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet and composer from the turn of the 20th century, which translates as follows:

"Much have I toiled, many roads have I traveled to see mountain ranges and the ocean. Only I have not cast my eyes to see, one step away from my door, one drop of dew on one blade of grass"

Thanks to Heartcrossings, and to syncronicity. I'm in France for the weekend, so I probably won't be blogging over the next few days. I'll miss ya.

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