Week 1& 2 Poetry and Being

Thank you all for your wonderful level of participation in this first week of our exploration. Here are some of the materials we used this week.

First you will find the notes from the White Board. Second you will find the presentation itself (for this week and next week). After that you will find a link to the recordings for this week. .

Please also feel free to send me any poems that you have been inspired to write this week. Send them to michaelgriffith1@gmail.com:

Whiteboard for Week 1:

Andrew: interested in exploring the idea/ belief that no one religion has a monopoly on truth…. “All religions are one”- William Blake.

John…. I don’t necessarily understand the words of a poem,.. but if I read the poem aloud… I get the pulse and the rhythm. It gives a feeling and and impetus without me necessarily understand the words themselves.  This is wonderful comment from a musician who understands the way poetry communicates musically through rhythm and sound patterning.

Merton Questions

How did the shaping of words, images, rhythms in this stanza help Merton (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander) to  connect with what he spoke of as “the centre of our being”?

Martin: this is a description of something like pure being. …. Our original purity… diamonds…. Reflect light brilliantly- the essence of all of us…

Jonathan… connection between poem and prose… play of language “shouts.. spins… “ alliteration and rhythm…. Final line in a different musical mode….  This shows a powerful understanding of the way poetic language communicates musical states.

Colleen: The title of the poem is so important: We are all travellers… all have heavy burdens… but the poem begins with “light”… already the poem is  tuned into the lightness of his being….. alliterations and internal “s” become part of the incendiary music of the poem…  elms and appletrees are also part of the journey… he takes us into nature on a universal journey….

John Sheehan… the context of poem is totally exhilarating… elevated language… Key can we join Merton in this search through reading his poem? Does the poem animate our own searching?

Margaret Keys the word “vesture”- ( evocative of vestments… a garment to praise) lifts this phrase into a different dimension.  Creation is here singing like a liturgy of praise…

Janet…. It was an ordinary scene suddenly transformed into something extraordinary… the “vesture” added to this sense of holiness…

‘how the sun-shaft spins…” can we not see the sun -next time we see it-  differently? Poetry can have this transformative impact on our own experience of the world.

Dianne… the verbs carry us into that movement… “shouts, spins”… they bring us to the final action of creation singing…. Verbs themselves carry us into that final moment…

Martin:  where Merton saw all the people blazing with that invisible light of heaven in his celebrated essay “ A Member of the Human Race”, this passage is a parallel to that moment… Here again in this poem, he is recognizing this moment as inside himself.

Marie… In the last line he says “hear” creation singing. Up to this point in the poem he has been listing all the things he has been seeing, but now it is “hear”= the experience has become deeper and internalised.

Wright Questions

*What is the deepest yearning of Judith Wright’s heart as expressed in this poem? 

*Is it a spiritual yearning?

*How is this yearning realised in the imagery, sound and shape of the poem?

*Does the poem provoke an imitation of this yearning?

Jill…  The tree is personified, it brings out “one word of gold”, dreaming it has a voice.  Is she speaking as a narrator or as a tree?? There is a clear intermixing of her and the tree…

What does it mean for her to have a million images… how could she be a million images? How can we see this metaphor of the millions of wattle tree flowers as a metaphor for her own strivings?

Jock/Mary/ Marie– eternal regeneration is the basis of the whole poem… in the tree and in herself… as the gold is reflecting the vitality of the sun.

Leanne– earth water air fire… (Chinese philosophy)… root limb and leaf all the stages of the tree…

Colleen: is it a spiritual yearning? Most wonderfully so…. She looks to the tree… there is something beyond the tree “more than”… rooted deep in the ground… she sees herself reinvented… and very grounded…

Janet… pondering the whole question about immortality: it was as if Judith Wright is coming to fullness, but in a way where was her immortality? Is she part of the divine in everything… immersed in that scene..

The indigenous word for spiritual practice Dadirri comes to mind

Presentation for Weeks one and two:

Recordings for Week 1 Part 1 :

Passcode: 522387

Recordings for Week 1 Part 2

Passcode: 798433

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