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The Journal of Glenn Currier

Poet dead?
11/28/2006 03:14 p.m.
Recently I have wondered if the poet in me is dead or just dormant. I suspect this is me falling into fear again. For years I was depressed until finally I realized that it was mostly fear that anchored me in that gelatinous darkness. But, like a creature lurking below, it casts its sticky tentacle onto me and all but pulls me under.

Joy trickled into me yesterday when a poem finally came to me. I had watched a documentary about Leonard Cohen the previous night. I love his music. In the movie, Cohen tells of a rough time in his life and how he became a Buddhist monk. That shocked and delighted me. I had no idea that this was a part of his life and of who he is. The people they interviewed for the film spoke of Cohen's dedication as a writer and how much time he spends on a piece. It is funny the way real art seems so effortless to a viewer or listener. I first noticed this when I was watching the Houston Astros practice before a game in the Astordome eons ago. I remember watching the center fielder throw a ball back to home plate where the coach had been hitting fly balls to the players. He threw the ball perfectly from that great distance and his arm seemed to flow in a easy arc with the grace of a cat jumping up onto a chair. I knew from personal experience how hard it was to throw the ball a long distance, much less with accuracy. In that moment I began to understand the meaning of the word, professional.

So back to my poem. I was sitting in our garden room where we had assembled two large metal shelving units and Helen had taken in our plants for the winter. I had not yet sat in that room for any length of time this fall. But I noticed how I felt strangely calm yet in the presence of others. It was as if these plants were creatures with small gentle souls. I just sat for a while looking at their leaves and the way they leaned toward the light. How they were so unpretentious and without ego and seemed to be satisfied just BEING. I began to almost envy them, but more precisely, to admire them. And then the words of the poem began to come to me. And before long I found myself at the computer taking the words I had written in my journal and assembling them and populating them with new thoughts that came to me. I was in that "flow" that feels so natural and gentle and softly energizing. I came back to the computer throughout the day until finally late last night I got the poem into acceptable (to me) form and wanted to post it here.

I feel almost guilty and selfish about posting my poem here since I have been such an absent member of this community for so long. At the same time, I know my friends here and I know they will welcome me back with open arms. Leonard Cohen says something on that film that really impressed and helped me. He spoke about the experience of wanting to be a success at something and thinking you had failed. But being able to be in that place without feeling guilty. As I watched that film and took in the creative genius of this great artist, I had been thinking--before I heard him speak of this--that I was such a poor amateur compared to him. And then when he made this statement I remembered that great line from one of the wise men in my life: "Comparisons are odious." And I decided to focus instead on Cohen's wisdom and to remember the other song where he says that the cracks let the light in. That is such a profoundly human and spiritual idea. I get myself down when I see the cracks as fatal flaws rather than an essential part of being the creature God has made. Being human may not be as awful as I have pictured the species in recent weeks. Again comparisons… I have been comparing the human species to other so-called "lower animals" -- our cats for example -- and I have felt shame for us. And we have certainly done shameful thing and acted in shameful ways – and do so regularly—but then…. I find a Leonard Cohen and see his humility and his creativity and then I realize again that we ARE spiritual creatures trying to be human.

I am currently Peaceful
I am listening to the hum of the computer and the tick of the clock

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