Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wallace Steven's Of Mere Being

Last night, I attended an introduction to a seminar and heard this beautiful poem, written by Wallace Stevens, recited at the close:

Of Mere Being

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

I wasn't familiar with the poem before but I was haunted by it. It is true that happiness does not emanate from outside one's self. It is always a view from the inside. It is always about the position one takes in life. That's something worth remembering every day.

The sunrise, a majestic view, the peace of a quiet garden... all of these things have no human meaning on their own. It is what you and I agree they are. It is what you and I have made real.

October 27, 2010
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