“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
- Leonard Cohen
On August 16, 2012, we drove a 26-foot U-Haul truck pulling a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle across the state line of Idaho. We live here now. Seven years in Idaho. What is in a date? What is in a cycle of sun and moon and earth? What is in months of remodeling a 1952 farmhouse? Of living in a basement with family? What is in the wood from a garage built in the 1940’s that is now our kitchen table? What is in a fiftieth birthday? What is in a family wedding or two? What is in meeting new friends in the desert? What is in four years working on a first feature film script? What is in four years afraid to work on a first feature film script? What is in a career change? What is in finding new music from Norway and Iceland? What is in meeting old friends outside the desert? What is in finding new authors to read? What is in finding the love of bicycling again? What is in starting a YouTube channel? What is in a moment? What is in time that it’s both ephemeral and eternal?
If poetry is “just the ash” as Mr Cohen describes above, these lines from T.S. Eliot’s “Choruses from the Rock” inspired me recently:
o perpetual revolution of configured stars,
o perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
o world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
*Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.