“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create. So that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”
– Pearl S. Buck
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
LOVE AFTER LOVE
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Listen here to Derek Walcott reading this poem, courtesy of On Being with Krista Tippet.
Go Tell it on the Mountain
©Mr. Gee (Posted with permission). Click on the title or here to see a YouTube video of Mr. Gee recite this poem, dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, at the Sydney Opera House
I caught the falling feathers of an angel’s wing,
And I wanted it tattooed upon my spine,
Now you can call me a scavenger or a demonic thing,
Who cares for names if I can fly?
Who cares for names if I can rise?
Beyond the frame of gazing eyes,
Beyond the foot of this historic mountain,
Which casts a haze upon my life,
You know it’s impacting how I’m living,
You know it’s exact & unforgiving,
It traps my soul within a box,
And holds a lock to my upliftment,
I just wanna float away so high,
I just wanna break the colour lines,
Break the minimum wage & slavery,
Break the canons guns & knives,
That I can escape the prison time,
Escape the trips to courtroom trials,
Rewind the school exclusions,
When Daddy leaves & Mummy cries,
Am I wrong to want to escape this plight?
These angel wings give me insight,
To levitate my mental state,
& leave these shackles far behind,
But falling wings leave scattered feathers,
And I tried my best to just collect them,
But they were spread oh-so far apart,
To unite them all would take forever,
So I gathered just what I could,
Looked to the skies from where I stood,
That I could leave behind this mountain,
Behind this city, behind this ‘hood,
Behind this street, Behind this road,
Behind a past that leaves me cold,
I’ll fly so high that they’ll never find me,
And I’ll never go back to the days of old,
But as I flap & flap & flap,
There are no wings upon my back,
There is no magical elevation,
And my puppet strings are still attached,
I raise my eyes up to the sky,
Way beyond this mountain high,
I look to the heavens to just ask why,
This world won’t get off my back & let me fly,
I’m stuck at the bottom with my regrets,
With the single feather that I now possess,
One day I’ll reach that mountain-top,
But I’ll have to do it…. Step by step.
(c) Mr Gee
Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.
– Mary Oliver