Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where shall the word be found?

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice
--T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday

We seek and seek yet do not find.

Perhaps if we stopped seeking and were still.

If we stopped making noise and listened.

If we stopped directing our looking and simply beheld.

And he said, ‘Go and say to this people:
“Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.”
Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
and turn and be healed.’
--Isaiah 6:9-10
For those of us accustomed to urban environments it is so easy to walk through a multitude without meeting the eyes of a single person.

I spoke on the phone yesterday with someone who had moved to a rural area and had to explain to his son that in the country people wave and speak to strangers; that's just what they do.

What if just for a day we made a point of not "putting on a face to meet the faces"? If we drop our masks and meet the face of the other? If we set aside our surface judgments and labels and beheld? What might we see?

A particular curve of a jaw. The slight crookedness of a nose. The gradation in hair shades. Flecks of gold in someone's iris. The way she tilts her head when she ponders. The tension in his mouth. The gentle smile at the edge of eyes. Anxiety on a forehead. A wistful look. A universe behind someone's eyes.

The other.

The Other.

Or will tomorrow and the day after and the the day after that be the usual pretense, the usual hustle?
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

I commend to you all Laura's post with a poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. It merits the detour.

A snippet:
In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.

They are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.

Whose fate is to survive.
But what has gone is also not nothing:

by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

The Word speaks.

May we STFU and listen.

And turn and be healed.

--the BB


susankay said...

"there is not enough silence"


susankay said...

And so very sorry that the Dio Rio Grande voted against the more challenging candidate in Dio LA,

Paul said...

DioRio is not queer-friendly, but you knew that. No way in hell would they consent. Let's not get me started on holy mother church tonight.

Jane R said...


author said...

No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Thank you. O how this describes my city, my community. So many Marthas, no time for Mary