Wednesday, April 11, 2012

after the lame goat in Rumi's poem


after the lame goat in Rumi’s poem

not everything is beautiful
said the gods of guilt
and fear

and I understood
after the mountain’s
height over the misty blue valley
and its rocks underfoot

that I like this hobbled life
with its three legs of joy
and one of wounds

for the pace
drummed slowly and syncopated
by that one

April 2012 

art note: "composition with a goat" by Marc Chagall
Rumi note: I am referring to the poem "The Lame Goat"


George said...

I really like the notion of liking "this hobbled life with its three legs of joy and one of wounds." That's better than most, and most of us would take it in a heartbeat.

I read this poem after reading the poem, "Questions," which was recently posted by Robert. Your mention of the "hobbled life" brings to mind his mention of the "boring middle."

I relate to the "pace drummed slowly," but I'm not quite sure—not that I should be—about the meaning of "syncopation by that one." Every poem, however, needs its mystery.

Well done, my friend, and interesting.

Kathleen said...

I like this hobbled life, too! And Rumi and Chagall. Thank you.

rosaria williams said...

We might not like that hobbled life, but it is what we have, and is enough for a lifetime. Something here is so peaceful and accepting, so soothing in its own way.

ksam said...

Rumi, Chagall, and then your lovely poem and syncopation...ahh what's not to like!! Somehow I find I really like syncopation, it gets you to wake up and pay attention, rather than the steady beat.

erin said...

I like this hobbled life
with its three legs of joy
and one of wounds

what more is there to say? you've said it for us. i too love this hobbled life))


Stratoz said...

I want to view life as three legs of joy

Barb said...

A little dark mixed with the light gives definition to life - but it's sometimes difficult appreciate when "not everything is beautiful."

hedgewitch said...

Things need their opposite perhaps for us to understand them and know them really and fully as themselves?...a very nuanced poem,Ruth, and Rumi's also. I like the sense of journeying on, first and last changing places.

Soul Dipper said...

However hobbled, balance is the goal. The source of that determination is infinite and ever serving.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me too of the lovely fettered horse that ran in joy of spring in Rilke's 20th Sonnet to Orpheus, which concludes:

He felt the distance without restraint
and O how he sang and received -- your cycle
of mythos, in him completed.
His image: my testament.

(transl. by Robert Hunter)

To Clara Rilke he wrote, in 1923: "Isn't that white horse charming? After all, nothing is lost!"

- Indeed, there are some fields that cannot be ridden, savored, written -- without the wound, much as it's a bitterness. I think it was Hillman who said the wounds slow us into life, lame us so that we're grounded, feel our gravity and earthwarness more heartily. We all have those wounds, that lameness, our cross to bear: I love this hobbled life, too ... B

Ruth said...

George, thanks so much. I agree with you that having just one hobbled leg is better than most; we are so fortunate.

I love Robert's existential poem with many questions.

And why am I disease, distraction,
Jealousy, anger, guilt, betrayal,
Elation and negation,
Perfection and putrefaction?

This resonates with me!

As for those final lines (thank you for welcoming mystery and being OK if a poem leaves you asking Huh?), I meant that the slowed and erratic pace is determined by that one wounded leg. I hope that is more clear. I think the preposition "by" and the subject "one" leaves it a bit ambiguous.

Thanks for your attention to my poem.

Ruth said...

Kathleen, I can tell that you are a kindred spirit. Thank you!

rosaria, yes there are moments when I do not like this hobbled life, and this perhaps is a declaration and a mantra. Liking and loving are different a bit, and I think in the bigger picture I love it. Yesterday I even liked it.

ksam, thanks a lot. I like what you say about syncopation. I appreciate the surprise of that sort of rhythm, in music and in life, though it has taken a while for me to feel both.

Ruth said...

erin, and you teach me.

Stratoz, they are what carry us, even while the fourth falters.

Barb, amen.

Ruth said...

Hedge, thank you for reading mine and Rumi's too. Inge and I had a long conversation last night about how we continue to reinforce the "wrong" systems in society, one of which is living it a breakneck pace. When jobs require that pace, it isn't easy to know how to slow enough to stay sane and centered. I wrote this yesterday morning when I decided I couldn't go to a meeting, I was just too dead tired and had a headache. The morning writing did me good, and helped me through an exhausting afternoon at work.

Ruth said...

Amy, what you say is wonderfully true and becomes more and more clear as time goes on.

Ruth said...

Brendan, I had Rilke's fettered horse also in mind, so thank you for the passage and your reflections. I love what Hillman wrote too, which in turn reminds me of the poem by Diane Wakoski "Ode to a Lebanese Crock of Olives" in which she asks if she would have loved food, and poetry, as much if she had been a beautiful California beach girl. Somehow her looks were not her bane, but opened a world to her that perhaps couldn't have been found had she looked like that stereotype. She always said that some obstacle usually/often makes a writer's writing more powerful. Thanks for singing this song, always.

Ruth said...

George, p.s. I changed the wording of that next to last line. I wonder if it works better for you?

George said...

Yes, Ruth, that makes it more comprehensible to me. Perhaps my mystical orientation led me to wonder if "that one" meant "that One."

Ruth said...

Thanks, George. Yes, I wondered if that was what was in your mind. And in some way, I like thinking of the wounded one as "that One" too (Man of Sorrows, for instance).

The Solitary Walker said...

we are all wounded & that is human as well as caprine & i love yr 3rd stanza and i agree with karin and syncopation is revelation

Ruth said...

Robert, I thank you for your response, and agreement about syncopation. I especially thank you for the word caprine which I did not know; it is beautiful.

ds said...

Thinking...will have to come back...syncopation is all, perhaps--the uneven spaces between...

Louise Gallagher said...

"that I like this hobbled life
with its three legs of joy
and one of wounds."

Such an affirming perspective. And as I read, I wondered.... what if we're not hobbled by our three legs of joy and one of wounds? what if, we are free to leap and cavort and wander mountainsides and valley bottoms filled with wonder? What if it is our wounds that add the beauty to our joy?

Miss Jane said...

Oh, dear heavens, did I need to read this! I have been slowed to such a snail's pace lately. I usually run run run all day at work and now I can barely hobble from one task to the next. I'm seeing that the lessons are patience and acceptance and self-care and trust, but, OH!, it's not easy, as you know. So, thank you for the lame goat. Here I am and I might even have a bell clinking on the downbeat and a jazzy swing in my head. Thanks for reminding me of joy even in difficult times.

erin said...

(i smile. i come back to tell you that your lame goat has become a part of the lexicon, the very fabric of my thinking. he has a bell. he comes calling often, his bell slipping with his irregular gait and i welcome him in. in other words, ruth, your poetry has legs:)


Ginnie said...

Man of Sorrows, yes, who knew the hobbled life and led us all at both the front and the back of the line. I love this, Ruth, and know that that one wounded leg slows you down...for a reason. Even though I wish I could heal it in a flash!