Friday, March 4, 2011

shake the dust

this week i finally learned that poetry is supposed to be read aloud. i've been told this many times, but i didn't figure it out until wednesday. i was reading a little john donne and george herbert for my brit lit class when i started to nod off. it was warm where i was studying and i was on my 10th consecutive hour of school that day. nothing was sticking, and the poems resisted the offensives of my weary brain. feeling a little frustrated i grabbed my book and my jacket and headed out to this courtyard:

JFSB Courtyard Redux

to finish my reading. i paced in circles as the sun and the crisp air colored my cheeks, and the impact of my feet encouraged the dust to fall from my frame. my mind quickened as i read the words out loud. the fresh air taken in to my lungs and then issued out again warmed the words on the page. they stirred and spoke back to me - my breath had given them breath. finally able to hear their voice, the message was no longer minutia, but staggering. as i finished with herbert's "love (3)" i found that i had stopped dead in my tracks and that the words on the page had blurred a little. the feeling was like when the dishwasher finishes its cycle and you didn't know how quiet the kitchen could be, or when you stand in a forest and realize what it's like without the din of the city in the background. the release of the pressure causes you to open your jaw and try to pop your ears. even though the city was mumbling behind me and the chatter of students bounced around the courtyard, i didn't hear them. all i could hear was that mild communication that happens in complete silence.

here's another poem that i like to hear aloud.

we all live in a yellow submarine

i found this to be a captivating short documentary. it seems so feasible. anyone could do it. i might start asking people questions of the soul even when, at any moment, our conversation could be ended by a sliding metal door. you never know what you could find. you could discover that the little old grumpy lady who looks like a character from the beatles' yellow submarine film is actually just lonely and looking to dance with someone. you might help someone realize how important religion is in their life. i'm not so different from the other person in the elevator. i guess we're all just trying to get to a higher level.