I have only these days discovered the below poem by U.S. poet William Meredith (1919-2007), part of whose ashes, in line with his last will, were scattered above Bulgaria’s 10th-century Rila Monastery this week.
I was rather taken aback by the poem’s words – they are very simple, but to me they came across as rough, weary and somehow confrontational – the words of a person torn between his need to feel and give in, and his resistance to do so.
But let me not influence your perceptions any further and go straight to the work I am referring to:
Poems are hard to read,
Pictures are hard to see,
Music is hard to hear,
And people are hard to love.
But whether from brute need
Or divine energy,
At last mind, eye and ear,
And the great sloth heart will move.
…Powerful, isn’t it? Every word lashes out like a whip.
The messages of poems, pictures and music reach out to us and we long to relate, to accept and to reveal, but in the same time resist the embarrassing vulnerability of letting go. This battle between the drive to remain intact and the need to let in, we fight anew every day.
This poem of William Meredith’s reminded me a lot of a song I passionately love – Hey You, by Pink Floyd, whose desolate and brittle lyrics, highlighted by the ghostly drums, never fail to give me the goosebumps. The lyrics’ progression from monotonous darkness to a high-pitched scream of hopelessness gives me a most exquisite moment of anguish and catharsis that I want again and again.
I am particularly fond of the “out there on your own, sitting naked by the phone, would you touch me?” line. It paints a physically very crude, but metaphorically very powerful picture of alienation, embittered by a growing need for closeness.
I guess this late-night post is just the schizoid in me ringing up and complaining, as tomorrow I will have to take children to activities such as dance classes and birthday parties practically the entire day :). But the poem and the song are beautiful all the same. Also, the times that I’ll have to wait, I can dedicate to reading. So a silver lining after all.
Out there on your own, […]
Can you feel me?