Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head / and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

Growing up in Harpswell, Maine, I was always conscious of the wind. The Atlantic Ocean was our front yard, and our house was completely exposed. Even playing in the woods as a child, I thought the wind was trying to tell me something.  I first heard Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind in 1973, during my last year in high school. Someone played it for me. Even though the song had come out 10 years earlier, when I was 7, I never owned the record as a young person. I didn’t have the money, and I didn’t have anything to play the record on.

As a child, I sensed the wind had a restless, secretive quality. The song’s argument that the answers to life’s vexing questions are blowing around in the wind and that you just have to listen to hear them resonated with me.

From the start, I knew that “Blowin’ in the Wind” was a protest song, that the wind was a metaphor for a rising countercultural movement in the ’60s. But for years, I heard the song solely as a lyric.

Now I experience the song differently when I hear it on my iPhone and put the lyric in today’s context. After Dylan’s acoustic guitar opens the song, his voice is remarkably melodic and softly insistent.

As he sings, the line that catches my ear reminds me not to overlook what’s right in front of us:

“Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head / and pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

Many of us walk past people living on the sidewalk asking for money and either ignore them or never see them. That’s what makes the song so special: The words constantly take on fresh meaning.

But much depends on where you hear them. In 1978, I went to my first Dylan concert in Augusta, Maine. He performed “Blowin’ in the Wind,” but it wasn’t quite the same as hearing his original recording.  There were too many people there for the song to be personal, and the song’s intent was brought down to an earthly level. Like the wind, the song is best experienced alone.

~ Elizabeth StroutElizabeth Strout on ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, As a writer grows up, a Dylan song changes meaning. (wsj.com, July 11, 2017).  Elizabeth Strout, 61, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of six novels, including her latest, “Anything Is Possible” and her Pulitzer Prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge.


Notes:

  • Photo of Elizabeth Strout
  • Inspired by: True singing is a different breath, about nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind.” By Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sonnet I.III,” in Duino Elegies & The Sonnets To Orpheus.

It’s been a long day

germany

Don’t be afraid to suffer—take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy,
the oceans are heavy.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Poetry of Rilke; “Sonnets to Orpheus


Notes:

It’s a Hard Time to Be Human

Parker J. Palmer, from It’s a Hard Time to Be Human: When I ran across this Ellen Bass poem recently, I was immediately drawn to the line, “It’s a hard time to be human.” I’m sure there’s never been a time when it wasn’t hard to be human. But this is our time, and our world seems to be spinning off course. And yet, as the poem’s title says, “The World Has Need of You.” It’s hard to credit that our little lives, words, and actions can make a difference, but they do. The “proof” is in the last three lines of this poem, which I’ll let you read for yourself…
[Read more…]

to see a good end in all that and to find a good beginning in myself

 future-forward

I had gone back again to my little house and stood up on its roof and wanted to see a good end in all that and to find a good beginning in myself. And now, let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been…And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been…

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from a letter to his wife in The Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke: 1892-1910

 


Notes: Quote – Anne Sexton Appreciation. Photo: DistantPassion

Lightly child, lightly.

lightly-wind-breeze-orange-sky

True singing is a different breath,
about nothing.
A gust inside the god.
A wind.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Sonnet I.III,” in Duino Elegies; The Sonnets To Orpheus in The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

 


Notes:

  • Oil Painting by Laura E. Pritchett . Poem: Thank you The Vale of Soul Making
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Running. With a Red Butterfly.

red-tailed-hawk-feather

I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real. 

I marinated in it for days.

And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”

So I must.

And I write.

A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.

5 a.m.

A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:

I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.

The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.

7 a.m.

From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

bottle-pitcher-blue

Perhaps we are here in order to say: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window . . .
To say them more intensely
than the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing.


Notes:

  • Quotes: Thank you Whiskey River
  • Photo: Mennyfox55
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Untouchable deliciousness

black and white, photography,portrait

I confess that I consider life
to be a thing of the most
untouchable deliciousness.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Sources: Poem – Make Believe Boutique. Portrait: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

I’m a falcon. A storm. Or an unfinished song?

MN10 peregrine in flight 112_7553

I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.
I am circling around God,
around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and still I don’t know
if I’m a falcon,
a storm,
or an unfinished song.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours


Credits:


Heart. Hammers. Tongue. Teeth.

portrait,photography,woman,black and white

Our heart survives between hammers,

just as the tongue between the teeth

is still able to praise.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Image Source: akimuby via blackandwhite.  Quote Source: youreyesblazeout


%d bloggers like this: