Saturday, February 11, 2012

Repose

Heraklit

Repose

It is in changing that things find repose.
~Heraclitus



Between this breath and another
is that atoms' dance that abides forever
intrinsic parity, growing in declension
and likewise myself constant in tension
now new now dying change and remain
endlessly negated perpetually created
ocean sunned, a steam of water meeting flame.

Restless blue remakes the river drop by drop;
time's dry file rasps on vanity's hide
as friction cooks the soul to snakes of smoke.
All things set free their savor in a smolder
of the sum to nothing, intangible but plain;
we're brought to know each essence
by the brazier and the flame.

Rosehips and lemon wet on my lips
only kindle the dancing blaze, a salamander
that cleans itself with coals, whose breath turns anything
to a wild wisped arabesque of incense,
the airgrace  and deathgift of fire the same
from a  pinched wick as from a burning slum,
all rising from the identical artist’s flame.

So these lips, only tasted now by time, kissed
only by citrus, salt and hips of roses,
exhale their essence; between this breath
and another, spirit dies and comes again
as it did before the world moved on and does
once more, sweet as any smoke of mutable flame
that finds repose in what is born to change.




February 2012


Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub

Charles Miller of Metanoetic Poetics  is hosting at the pub tonight, and his theme is the exploration of philosophy through poetry. Come join us. Link in is live till Sunday Midnight.

"If all existing things were smoke, it is by smell that we would distinguish them."
You can find these and more of the words of Heraclitus which influenced this poem here at wikisource.

Image: Heraclitus, Detail of Rafaello Santi's "The School of Athens" (1510)

19 comments:

  1. Profound and perfectly versed. Especially resonant with me, tonight, as someone near died early this morning. As usual, at these times, when it comes to humans, I become strong and steady as a tree to support the mourners. Beautifully written, Joy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Indeed, indeed, this is so lovely in word and music. You've reflected on the nature of change and captured what can never be captured, since it is always changing. Heraclitus was the master of paradox, and your images bring the paradox alive in what we live as always becoming beings. You landscape your poet's awareness with an integrated vision of nature, a consciousness that I think old Heraclitus would have found quite amenable to his philosophy. Fortunately, you don't have his irascibility and the repose that I find in your words is like the world I want to live in. I love the fact that in the comment preceding this, Sherry mentions the death today of her friend and how this poem has brought her solace. That is something I would hope I could do in my own work, bring solace and joy to others. It is a task, I believe, that both poetry and philosophy share, a bit mundane compared to Platonic speculation, but more human and precious for it. You have done your poetic duty beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Charles. Especially meaningful after reading your own offering.

      Delete
  3. I really love the second verse, and I like those last two lines. I think, though, that this entire prompt left me in the dust. I'm gonna need a bigger brain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. goodness hedge this is great...for me it really picks up in the last 2 stanzas....the salamander, i like him...smiles....but the rose hips...and the round and round, cyclic feeling i get in the reading as well...i like ma'am

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very excellent poem. The whole thing is lovely, but I especially like the 4th stanza.

    I know Heraclitus well and it's a shame that he's not so well known. William Harris's translation is great:

    http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Philosophy/Heraclitus.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for the link, James, and for reading.

      Delete
  6. A very lovely poem - I especially love the wistful feel to the last stanza ...

    http://aleapingelephant.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-house-of-moon-madness.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. dang...the salamander
    that cleans itself with coals...what a great image and metaphor...an excellent poem about the all-present change and circles of life which can be seen in everything around us.. like it much hedge

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful poem!

    And thanks for your fun contribution to last week's Limerick-Off!

    ReplyDelete
  9. to a wild wisped arabesque of incense,
    the airgrace and deathgift of fire the same
    from a pinched wick as from a burning slum,
    all rising from the identical artist’s flame.

    This resonated very strongly with me. The theme of change was well conceived and beautifully developed in the poem

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a graceful, intelligent poem, with many great lines. I think it answers the prompt perfectly: merging verse with a true depth of intellect and emotion. It brings new imagery to the old paradox, escaping cliches and the mundane. Very well done...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely--very Keatsian! I think I actually like water parts best as so visual (to me at least, a swimmer.)

    ocean sunned, a steam of water meeting flame.

    Restless blue remakes the river drop by drop;
    time's dry file rasps on vanity's hide
    as friction cooks the soul to snakes of smoke.
    All things set free their savor in a smolder
    of the sum to nothing, intangible but plain;
    we're brought to know each essence
    by the brazier and the flame.

    Also love the idea of friction cooking--a kind of Brownian motion K.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gotta love that sibilance! "Endlessly negated perpetually created" - yes, for sure, and for all I know forever for the universe, but as for me (and not to turn forlorn), the rate at which nature (god, what have you) transforms me is always a beat ahead of my sovereignty: alas, I will lose!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow. This is so beautiful. I don't know if you used a specific form, but I love the repetition and the change--the rhyme scheme that adds to the development of your theme, and always ends in "flame." Fire, water, air--all the elements that alter--and that image of the salamander, with its double meaning. Brava, Hedgewtich, brava!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, ds. No form, just what I made up. Thanks for noticing that part. Heraclitus was big on the elements, especially fire.

      Delete
  14. "before the world moved on"

    Yesterday, I started reading the Dark Tower series again, so my mind immediately went there.

    This is deep, dark, and rich. In fact, it would be damn near perfect were it not for the smell of burning hair.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love the idea of change being tucked inside stillness. And it's inevitability so beautifully explored, hedgewitch.

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg