I've been re-reading Jane Hirshfield's Hiddenness, Uncertainty, Surprise. She quotes Cavafy: "From my most unnoticed actions, / my most veiled writing - / from these alone will I be understood." How to hide, how to be understood, both at once? I'm sure I don't know.
I've been reading Lorri Neilsen Glenn's Lost Gospels. A glorious book. One that I might not have found, had I not been a part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. When I agree to read, I know it's going to be difficult. I'm a shy person. I know there will be anxiety, odd amounts of stress and in short, I am pained by it. Sleep will be lost. I can laugh about it, but the difficulty and discomfort is real. I also think that shyness is an important place to speak from, read from and write from. It's not to be wished away.
I keep reading one poem in her book over and over, "Faith."
Uncertainty is the truth,
says the ajahn; sit and wait
for nothing to grow
but the small fire in your ears
which you can feed with anything you find nearby:
birdsong, perhaps, or the echoes
of trouble. Desire. Until the smoke
has cleared. Until everything goes.
The old country of awareness
has no record of your name.
Your name. You could do well
to give that up, too.
I'm glad I left the suburbs to hear Lorri read, glad that I emerged from my hiddenness, my suburban hermitage, for this poem that reminds me to feed the small fires, to give up my name. To find this poetic voice that is both so wise and gracefully uncertain.
Spring, I think, is a good time to think of uncertainty, about those things that can be given up. About faith. It always takes me a while in the spring to believe in green again, to feed the fires with it. To re-learn how to see it and to adjust to its many hues and variations. Also, to get over, to forgive, its long abandonment. To slightly recall.....
"...and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we slightly recall
being green again."