Saturday, June 17, 2017

Poetry and Rubem Alves

Call it age. Call it stage in life. Whatever. I am becoming more poet than anything these days.

This switching mediums is a cycle for me to which I am accustomed, so luckily, I embrace the change and I allow the immersion. Poetry feels to me, more intimate than expressive art. I think I will post a poem here and then I yank it down; too exposed. Often they are just stream of consciousness excuses to avoid punctuation. Always, they are expressive and allow me to release my clinical containers.

Over the last month I have devoured two books of essays/poetry by Rubem Alves. This guy is my dream writer because in addition to poet, he is also a theologian, philosopher, and psychoanalyst. (How appropriate? I found him because of an equally and severely beautiful client.) His "sneaky, creeps in and wakes up" style reminds me of the writings of Rabbi Friedman or CS Lewis. I especially love what he has to say about mystery and The church...but maybe it's because his writings are like looking from a dingy mirror into a clarifying mirror, or the freshness that comes after taking a deep breath, or the lightening that lifts upon setting down a heavy weight.

Anyways, here is one of his poems:

What is hope?
It is a presentiment that imagination is more real
and reality less real
than it looks.
It is a hunch that the overwhelming brutality of facts
that oppress and repress
is not the last word.
It is a suspicion that reality is more complex
than realism wants us to believe
and that the frontiers of the possible are not determined
by the limits of the actual
and that in a miraculous and unexpected way
life is preparing the creative events
which will open the way to freedom and resurrection . . .
The two, suffering and hope, live from each other.
Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair,
hope without suffering creates illusions, naiveté, and drunkenness . . .
Let us plant dates
even though those who plant them will never eat them.
We must live by the love of what we will never see.
This is the secret discipline.
It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved
in immediate sense experience
and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.
Such disciplined love is what has given
prophets, revolutionaries and saints
the courage to die for the future they envisaged.
They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.
- Rubem Alves


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