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.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Big Bro in Da House

Yesterday was my birthday party, an event that managed to rock out for almost 24 entire hours, with the last guest leaving at about 11.30 this morning. I wasn't even too inebriated, which makes a serious change!

I'm not sure I believe in the concept of 'best' anything, but for linguistic convenience, one of my very best presents came this year from my brother, who made a DVD filled with delights for me.

As he left the party in the early hours of this morning he gave me instructions.

"Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, feeling like shit and crazy - watch that film. I mean it, before you do anything else. Watch the film."

This morning I wake up, feeling like shit and crazy, and I go looking for the disc. I look for it for half an hour, becoming increasingly frantic and desperate, until I find it, looking innocent, in the corner of the living room. While Lou and Kit Kat put my flat back to rights around me, I sit perfectly still, watching the DVD my brother made for me. I cry and laugh and am surprised and joyful.

It is the first time in a long time that I have been swept with such an overwhelming appreciation for my relationship with my brother, something about birthdays maybe, that makes me appreciate the daily wonder of what I have. I chide myself again for thinking - often hard enough to bruise heart and mind - of what I do not have, over all the things I do.

So, this clip is for my brother, who brings out the wonder, the stardust and the very best in me. This is how your film made me feel today, my big brother - thank you so much. I'm so lucky. I love you x