Inquiry & Yearning

I was doing some thinking back through the past two months of Inquiry and Yearning, as my discussion group declared March and April to be, and wrote some thoughts down from what I observed or was mulling over. They are probably a bit random, and I guess they feel a bit incomplete to me, but I thought I’d post them anyway.

I am called, with curiosity
Down to the deeps, trailing a hand
keeping me grounded—
Here the earth moves
And the water glows
Cities crumble and fall
Still I am here.
Water rushes by, snow falls,
A path is carved
It pools and flows downwards,
called insatiably
hungry for new knowledge,
gathered from the ground
that it overtakes.

I’ve been feeling a bit like one of the Called lately with all the exploring I’ve been doing. ^^ Maybe I should add Eddy County to my list of places to travel to, and see if I can find the Cleft?

I spent those two months itching for springtime, when I can go outside with more regularity and enjoy the world better. I like feeling connected to everything, which seems to be a much more present feeling on warm spring days.

Stars above me, ground below,
rocking me among the trees.
We are here, one among them
Stretched out naked to the universe—
what is there to hide
from what has been here all along?
What is there to hide,
When the breeze is one of us,
And the grass is our skin,
And we are all together?
It is all in us anyway.

The past few months have also brought me back into more contact with poetry, reading both new ones and old favorites, so it’s not been hard to start hearing lines in my head now that spring has arrived.

When the dawn washes over everything
that early morning yellow
And the breeze blows blue through my window
waking the curtains with their yawning rustle,
The mother mourning dove coos her soft
foggy song and
Our world is drenched freshly in diamond water.

Thinking about what yearning is involved in the artistic process:

There is something in the ringing, unfinished note
the incomplete artistry, the half-filled page
Which aches for completion: fill me
it cries
Bring me to an end and
pin me to the wall for all to see.

So the graceful curve of my drawing
calls me to pour myself in
spilling from my fingers
into the milky white page
And, having emptied myself
 of this—
my suspended paradox completed—
it asks me what I will do now,
and I have no answer left.

I enjoy Winter Sorbeck’s lecture about Design vs. Art far, far too much.

And last month I was also reading some classic scifi stories, which made me think of my grandfather’s expansive collection of science fiction paperbacks from the mid-20th century, all of which are gradually disintegrating, their covers bleaching, their papers taking on a certain aged yellow texture and dry smell which I’ve always found delightful whenever I’ve picked one up.

uncurl you like an old map
and breathe in your aging paper smell—
dusty and warm from decades of thinking;
crinkling at the edges but earnestly
conveying your contents,
yielding them up.
belonging to a different age,
you are shy and yet not unconfident,
filling up my senses—
so I spread out your pages
to be part of your story.

May is Imagination, so we’ll see where that takes me!

6 Responses to “Inquiry & Yearning”

  1. Angus Rockett
    | Reply

    Did you write the poetry? It is very good. You should submit it somewhere for a competition.

    • ellen
      | Reply

      Yes, I wrote the poetry. :P Thanks.
      I don’t really like the idea of submitting my poetry for a competition, having it pinned somewhere on a wall like a butterfly or dissection for critics to pass judgement on… but it might be cool sometime to do a little book with my poetry and some kind of art to go with it – my photography, typographic art, Photoshop work, or somesuch.

      • Sarah
        | Reply

        There are poetry and art magazines that aren’t about dissecting submitted work. Self-publishing is also a good option if you want your poems and artwork collected and ordered in a certain way. There are lots of options depending on what you’re interested in!

  2. Ariana
    | Reply

    Some strange thoughts of mine :)

    Firstly, I have to admit that I tend to be relatively disinterested in figuring out what poems are about… I am lazy and would rather just let them evoke in me whatever they happen to evoke. So that’s where I’m going.

    My reaction to the first poem is my heart is going the opposite way — kind of arguing with the poem, not that the poem is wrong in any way. That may very well be just my mood. I actually hardly ever think about the fleeting nature of my own life… so I’m not sure why I’m thinking about it now, but na ja. ;) I think it’s specifically the “still I am here” line that I’m reacting to… I feel like I won’t be here for very long, just a breath in light of eternity. I also think I’m rebelling against my connection to the universe… since I’m angry with God for not healing me yet, and the universe consists in Him, in my worldview. I don’t really like the idea of there being nowhere to hide (though there isn’t), because I want to withdraw in my anger and disappointment. So yeah, that’s that one…

    The second poem… as I mentioned, I love the diamond water line. I just really like that one in general. It does such a great job of evoking the experience of a spring morning. I still haven’t gotten over my relief at winter being over and spring finally being here… so it reminds me of how wonderful it is that color has returned to the world as we have finally woken from that dreary slumber/death [slash, hehe] that is winter. So the poem just reminds me of the feeling of breathing freely in a beautiful and familiar yet forgotten place.

    The third poem I very much understand in my soul. There is a tension in incomplete art… again it brings me and seemingly the work itself great relief when it’s finally done. This is apparently a theme for me today… the relief of things being done and over with. My life, winter, artworks… my illness. [Not that I want my life to be over yet, I just don’t want my earthly life to last forever.] Hmm. This is good to know. :) Thanks for inadvertently pointing out that I’m living in an uncomfortable tension.

    The fourth poem… I definitely think of this as a simile for a person. It evokes in me the thought of someone quiet who has faded into the background for years, but whose whole personhood is so valuable that the world has really been missing out. Not, as you say, because the person has been unconfident, but because the world is too caught up in itself to pay attention.

    Yep. That’s it. I hope this hasn’t been disappointing! You write good poetry, and it’s an honor to be able to read it. :)

    • ellen
      | Reply

      Yeah, I tend to be disinclined to find out what poems are “actually” about too, preferring to find what they mean to me (which is hopefully close to what it meant to the author). You know that’s why I like getting other people’s input as to what it means to them. So of course I’m not disappointed with your feedback!

      I’m a little confused what you mean about fighting with the first poem, although, actually, there are five poems, not four… and you talk about connection/nowhere to hide, so which were you referring to?

      I feel like I gave you pointers when we talked on Sunday. :P I’m glad you enjoyed some of those lines and that they could give you insight to yourself!

  3. Ariana
    | Reply

    Oh oops, I copied and pasted them to think them through and the first two accidentally got stuck together. They seemed to be rather different thoughts… but not too separate to be part of the same poem. ;) So yeah, I was “fighting” with the first poem in my heart I suppose, thinking about my finiteness and how I’m very limited in the things I’ll see come and go, the paths I’ll see waters slowly cut, etc… how God sees it all and I see almost none of it. The connection/nowhere to hide part was about the second poem. And yes they gave me great and important insight into myself!! :)

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