Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mistress Modesty

Modesty, by Giosue Argenti, circa 1866
I've been thinking lately about modesty, humility. It has been coming up a lot in my I Ching readings. In the I Ching, there are two hexagrams which deal with modesty. One is hexagram 15, earth over mountain, which is about how the low is raised high, and the other is 57, wind over wind, about the cumulated product of small, persistent actions. 

Modesty is also a part of hexagram 2, the receptive, earth over earth, and a fundamental virtue of the female energy, the yin, the receptive energy in the Chinese understanding of such things.
I'm a self-schooled I Ching reader, so it seems strange to talk about it here, but it keeps coming back to me as a message so I thought of sharing it. I even got it recently on my Yogi tea label, in German, "allow others to be better than you," or something like that.

So this is a real good summer for humility. I have not written as much as I wanted to. Humility. As the need for me to finish draws ever nearer, I feel less and less up to the job. Humility. I am in love with someone who does not want to be with me. Humility. But somehow, like the I Ching says, all this humility brings, and you may have guessed it, abundance.

Why does humility breed abundance? Because when something doesn't value itself too much, it can receive. Maybe that is why, financially, things are a bit easier at the moment.

But it mustn't be a false humility. And it isn't a passive modesty. Modesty is persistent, and doesn't stand back. So this idea of an active modesty is a bit tricky. But I like it. It is a bit like getting off one's high horse, looking around, breathing in, and doing what one thinks is right anyways, despite, even though, the winds seem to be moving against you.

I link it to the Temperance card in the Tarot. I like Temperance. She reminds me to go slow, that I have wings, but that I can't always use them. She is carefully pouring water from one cup to another. All this takes time.

So a part of humility that I am learning is that things take time and that I can't rush things along with my own little human mind which wants to get things done or have things a certain way.

Why do I want things a certain way? Well, that brings me back to humility because the reason I want things a certain way is that I think I know best. But I don't.

So there can be a lot of humility learned in daring to take a look at one's self, honestly. Part of humility is being in touch with reality.

I'm glad though to be leaving all my humiliating realities behind next week when I go up to the mountains. Up there, I'll sing, and I'll feel really good about myself, but sort of out of myself too, so the feeling good won't go to my head. It will be great. It will be cool, and I'll just disconnect. But before I do, I'll find a poem I wrote for you about humility:

Wind writing poems

The wind is writing poems today, 
the wild and futile kind. 

I am writing poems today, 
the hopeful silent kind. 

Is the wind taking your soul away? 
Let it stay, let it stay, 
a little more, a little more. 

Is the light out in your breast? 
Let it rest, let it rest,
a little more, a little more. 

Do you struggle at the reins? 
Lay them calm, lay them calm. 

Let go and love is all the same,
lay them calm, lay them calm.  

Well, in all my typed poems, I didn't once find the word modesty or humility, not surprisingly. What do poems have to do with her? They're all about assertive yang energy, the being of a writer. Think of Byron and his many mistresses, or the desire to publish, be well-known. But I rather liked this one, and it seemed to fit; a timid poem, moving forward repetitively.

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