Sunday, September 8, 2013

Form, Birth, and the Force of the New

I am too conscious, these last few days, of having died to myself. I say too conscious, because it is painful, depressing. It has led to conflict. It does not lead to a way out.

I say having died to myself, as I died to my former self at baptism.

So, when I take up an issue or desire or concern of my former self, it is almost like reaching into a grave, my own grave, to rifle through the belongings of a former life, to hold out some item for a keepsake, or to advance its worth.

What am I, that I should choose to be new, and yet hope that the past would be new too?

All is God's. All is the Lord's. This the contract to which I did not merely promise myself, but to which I signed my soul, and my life as I live it. This line of thought may sound strictly personal, but I promise that there is a strong formal element.

Writing poetry is a form of covenant, or so it strikes me. In our youth, we try our hand, we express ourselves - or we vehicularize our tendencies - in the form of poetry. Later, we may establish such work as we can take out into the world and champion.

Then, as we grow older, we find that the work and ourselves have become one and the same thing. The tendency to write is almost exactly identical to the writing. The tendency has become an iteration of "I."

Now, here is the strange part. Even as I have died to my former self, I have not died to poetry, or to the poems I wrote or who I had become having written those poems. Somehow, that element, perhaps a core element - who knows? - of myself carried over. Why is this?

My new self says, it is the will of God. My old self would have agreed, but I don't pay him much attention these days - or, at least shouldn't. My new life has not changed the color of my eyes, either, I suppose. Though they have always been more blue or gray, depending on light or context.

It would be interesting when one died to be presented with a vision of all the things one touched but never really understood. I imagine something like the closing scene in the first Indiana Jones movie. Crate after crate, piled high, aisle after aisle, some tired figure pushing on a trolley the Ark of the Covenant.

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