The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Strength of Fields
by James Dickey

       ...a separation from the world, a penetration to some source of poser and a life-
       enhancing return...

Van Gennap: Rites de Passage

Moth-force a small town always has,

            Given the night.

                                               What field-forms can be,

            Outlying the small civic light-decisions over
                    A man walking near home?

                                                                  Men are not where he is

    Exactly now, but they are around him    around him like the strength

Of fields.    The solar system floats on

     Above him in town-moths.
                                                Tell, me, train-sound,
      With all your long-lost grief,
                                                 what I can give.
       Dear Lord of all the fields
                                                  what am I going to do?
                                             Street-lights, blue-force and frail
As the homes of men, tell me how to do it     how
       To withdraw     how to penetrate and find the source
           Of the power you always had
                                               light as a moth and rising
            With the level and moonlit expansion
         Of the fields around, and the sleep of hoping men.

           You?      I?      What difference is there?      We can all be saved.

           By a secret blooming.  Now as I walk
The night     and you walk with me     we know simplicity
   Is close to the source that sleeping men
            Search for in their home-deep beds.
            We know that the sun is away     we know that the sun can be conquered
   By moths, in blue home-town air.
             The stars splinter, pointed and wild.  The dead lie under
The pastures.     They look on and help.     Tell me, freight-train,
                               Where there is no one else
    To hear.  Tell me in a voice the sea
               Would have, if it had not a better one: as it lifts,
               Hundreds of miles away, its fumbling, deep-structured roar
                     Like the profound, unstoppable craving
                 Of nations for their wish.
                                                            Hunger, time and the moon:

                 The moon lying on the brain

                                                             as on the excited sea      as on
                 The strength of fields.  Lord, let me shake
                With purpose.     Wile hope can always spring
                  From tended strength.  Everything is in that.
                      That and nothing but kindness.      More kindness, dear Lord
Of the renewing green.    That is where it all has to start:
                  With the simplest things.  More kindness will do nothing less
                       Than save every sleeping one
                       And night walking one

                  Of us.

                            My life belongs to the world.  I will do what I can.

James Dickey, "The Strength of Fields" from The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992

Thanks G, you always know how to brighten my day!

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