Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mandalas And Angels

     Last December I was going through a tough stretch. I felt strung out, anxious, depressed. So I took some creative time off and started a drawing. What came forth was a colorful, balanced, luminous mandala--the very antithesis of all the difficult issues and emotions with which I'd been struggling! Working on it was the perfect mental, emotional and spiritual therapy. As I pondered the mandala I'd just created however, I realized my artwork needed a chaotic, Dionysian Yang to counterbalance the mandala's harmonious, Apollonian Yin. The completed drawing below is the result. A few days later I wrote "Genesis" its companion poem. This poem articulates my own interpretation of the meaning, relationship and dynamic involving these two contrasting elements in the artwork. But that doesn't exclude the validity of other interpretations as well. What does the interplay of these two contrasting energies mean to you?



I stake my soul on a Light I cannot see using just
everyday eyes     I gamble my bones on a Birth
that's impossible     yet keeps happening anyway
these are harsh times to be playing the Holy Fool
nevertheless I bet the farm     no going back now

which doesn't mean I don't stare into the abyss
don't hear there a howling that craves to destroy
horror's in me so deep it sucks ecstasy from death
but having a choice    I choose the serene Shining
a voice in my heart unclenches    shouting "Yes!"

then a wild universe of green worlds bursts free
each spawning life    abundant life    infinite life!
everything dark and raging inside's only a womb
its fierce emptiness aches to be filled   so I fill it
I nourish it with the radiant manna of the Divine


     A few months ago I hit a creative wall with my writing. This has happened before. I realize whenever it does it means I must change, must once again reinvent myself as a poet. This is the only way I know to keep my creative spirit green and growing. The direction of change this time pointed toward the prose poem--a tricky, ambiguous, unfamiliar form occupying a shifting borderland somewhere between the airy flight of poetry and the earthy stride of prose. So one day I spontaneously jotted down a list of 30 short, basic, commonly used words, such as "lamp", "branch", "face", "stone", etc. These words each provided both a title and a theme for one or another of the prose poems. And since the first word which came to me was "lamp," that word became the title for the series as a whole. A few days later the poem "The Lamp"  inspired the drawing which concludes this blog entry. As has happened at other key turning points in my life, a guiding Angel appeared in a vision to show me the good green path of the way. 

                          THE LAMP

     it's held aloft in the right hand of an Archangel     one who stands silently    expectantly     I don't know what this Messenger wants     but those unblinking eyes never leave my face     the enormous distance between us!     the impossible closeness between us!     the beams from that Lamp penetrate like an x-ray     every thought   feeling   desire   mercilessly revealed

     I can turn away     walk away     run away at any time     but I can no longer not realize I'm doing this     no longer not know that each step farther from that Lamp     from the Sentinel holding it     means more cracks splinter my heart     more phantoms poison my soul     my freedom to choose is devastating and unconditional

     so I endure the staggering intimacy     though this nakedness leaves me exposed   defenseless     I know I am seen    encompassed    transcended to the innermost core!     it's almost beyond what I can bear     but what I cannot bear is worse     if an Archangel no longer stood at the crossroads of my being     holding out a Lamp to drive back the dark


"The Lamp"


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