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Poetic Imagination and HIgher Dimensions

July 20, 2013

To approach the infinite cosmic intelligence, love, or insight of which Bohm speaks entails that the knower has stepped aside altogether in favor of pure nondualistic awareness.
–Field Consciousness and Ethics, Renee Weber

Here are three poems by Mary Oliver–White Flowers, October, and The Ponds–that doyen of Satori…

White Flowers

Last night
in the fields
I lay down in darkness
to think about death,
but instead I fell alseep,
as if in a vast and sloping room
filled with those white flowers
that open all summer,
sticky and untidy,
in the warm fields.

When I woke
the morning light was just slipping
in front of the stars,
and I was covered
with blossoms.
I don’t know
how it happened—
I don’t know
if my body went diving down
under the sugary vines
in some sleep sharpened affinity
with the depths, or whether
that green energy
rose like a wave
and curled over me, claiming me
in its husky arms.
I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.
Never in my life had I felt so plush,
or so slippery,
or so resplendently empty.
Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body is done with
and the roots and the stems and the flowers
began.

October

There’s this shape, black as the entrance to a cave.
A longing wells up in its throat
like a blossom
as it breathes slowly.

What does the world
mean to you if you can’t trust it
to go on shining when you’re
not there? And there’s
a tree, long-fallen; once
the bees flew into it, like a procession
of messengers, and filled it
with honey.

I said to the chickadee, singing his heart out in the
Green pine tree:

little dazzler,
little song,
little mouthful.

The shape climbs up out of the curled grass. It
grunts into view. There is no measure
for the confidence at the bottom of its eyes—
there is no telling
the suppleness of its shoulders as it turns
and yawns.

Near the fallen tree
something—a leaf snapped loose
from the branch and fluttering down—tries to pull me
into its trap of attention.

It pulls me
into its trap of attention.
And when I turn again, the bear is gone.

Look, hasn’t my body already felt
like the body of a flower?

Look, I want to love this world
as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.

Sometimes in late summer I wont’ touch anything, not
the flowers, not the blackberries
brimming in the thickets; I won’t drink
from the pond; I won’t name the birds or the trees;
I won’t whisper my own name.

One morning
the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn’t see me—and I thought:

so this is the world.
I’m not in it.
It is beautiful.

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them—

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch
only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided—
and that one wears an orange blight—
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away—
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

–Mary Oliver

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