friday feast: put this in your pipe and toke it

good-faith-1965(1).jpg!Large
“Good Faith” by Rene Magritte (1965)

* * *

THINGS TO THINK
by Robert Bly

Think in ways you’ve never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged: or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

~ from Morning Poems (HarperCollins, 1997)

the-listening-room-1952(1).jpg!Blog
“The Listening Room” by Rene Magritte (1952)

* * *

Talk about a big apple.🙂

Are you willing to set aside expectations, assumptions, preconceptions?

We usually see what we expect to see, and as Anais Nin said, “What we are familiar with, we cease to see.”

Quite ironic that though human beings are gifted with boundless imaginations, we inevitably become self-limiting creatures, victims of habit and predictable patterns of behavior, often moving through our days with rote responses.

Each of us operates with our own set of hidden assumptions. At the crux of creativity is the ability to let go of these, to not be so quick to label, judge, and disregard many potentially good ideas because of pre-conditioning.

Bly’s poem invites us to remain open to all possibilities. The function of art is to renew and alter our perceptions.

What if?

It could very well happen.

fine-realities-1964(1).jpg!Large
“Fine Realities” by Rene Magritte (1964)

* * *

poetryfriday180The lovely Sheri Doyle is hosting this week’s Roundup. We wish her Dad a belated Happy 90th Birthday and many happy returns! In yet another case of happy coincidence, she mentioned that her Dad received a set of famous mustaches as a gift. Just yesterday I had posted a new poll in my sidebar, asking readers to vote for their favorite “cookie duster.” So now I mustache you, “Do great minds think alike, or what?” BTW, one of our favorite poets is in the running🙂.

Have a delicious weekend!

——————————————-

Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

47 thoughts on “friday feast: put this in your pipe and toke it

  1. As a habit-prone, familiar-loving, chronically self-limiting creature, I am so grateful for this reminder. Here’s to trying something different today. (Actually, even before I read your post, I decided to use the RED mug for my coffee this morning instead of my favorite sunshine YELLOW mug. Well, who knows what a change like that might bring?!)

    Now excuse me, I think there’s a deranged bear at the door . . .

    Like

    1. Oh my, a RED mug today? You like to live dangerously!

      I am the champion routine-loving, habit-prone creature of all time. Having a routine is reassuring and it takes the guesswork out of things (like eating the same breakfast every day), but I like it because then I can devote my time to thinking outside the box for creative projects as much as possible. It’s a tricky balance, though, because the mind likes to revert to its usual patterns of thought over and over again.

      As someone who lives with a lot of bears and a moose, my wish is that Mr. Firth will ring my doorbell. According to Bly, this isn’t necessarily impossible.🙂

      Like

      1. Thank you for making me feel better about my entrenched (but creatively liberating!) habits. It certainly seems to be the case for you that routine fosters creativity. And, yes, never mind the bears, particularly the deranged ones. Mr. Firth is far more appealing. Is that your doorbell now?

        Like

    1. Yes, it’s a great challenge to take up. Thank goodness for great books and music and poetry and all kinds of art that helps us break out of self-limiting habits.🙂

      Like

  2. Ooh I love the unexpected nature of this poem. It tells us a lot about the poet. Great for expanding your view.

    Like

    1. It’s a good wake-up call for everyone, whether one is into creative work or not. Life in itself is an art, after all; we need to remind ourselves that there’s more than one way of seeing.

      Like

  3. I believe that your sharing of Magritte’s paintings showed us that he must have taken Bly’s advice, right? Lovely post to take heed of, Jama. We do lock ourselves up don’t we? (Like the mustache connection, too!)

    Like

  4. You are amazing, Jama – the juxtaposition of this poem with Magritte’s two apple views is just brilliant. I love this line:Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.
    Think upon that!

    Like

    1. That line is pretty mind blowing, isn’t it?

      I like that Magritte used ordinary, everyday objects in unexpected ways. Some of the other surrealists are a little too strange for my taste.

      I also love M’s apples because Paul McCartney liked them enough to name their record label after them.🙂

      Like

    1. Oh yes — I think Americans in general need that message, that permission. Way too much stress in our society — we should take a lesson from the Europeans, who seem better able to balance work with play.

      Like

    1. Your assignment if you choose to accept it: purchase the largest green apple in your supermarket. Slice and slather it with peanut butter. Eat it slowly in solitude, noting each acute sensation. Write a poem about your experience. Send it to George Clooney. When the phone rings, prepare to be dazzled.

      Like

  5. Ha! The UPS man actually delivered a very large box to my door today. A replacement mattress topper upon which I will relish lying down and knowing that it’s okay to take a nap in the middle of the day!

    Like

  6. Hi, Jama. I’ve long loved the surrealist artists, especially Magritte. Thanks for sharing this Bly poem. Being open to surreal moments — following where they lead — is something I’m learning to trust in poetry. Maybe the artists were right, that creativity is tied to the subconscious.

    Like

    1. Yes, I think they might very well be right. The challenge is tapping into that subconscious, and as you’ve been doing, learning to trust whatever bubbles to the surface.

      Like

  7. I love where you’re going with this, and always need to be reminded. Those rote patterns have such a strong, deadening pull!

    What a thought — a phone call “Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.”

    Like

  8. So much to enjoy in your posts today, Jama! Bly’s poem and your comments! And WHO but YOU would DO a mustache poll! Love it! And your comment: “…at the crux of creativity is the ability to let go…” Here are a few old comments on that subject of The Art of Letting Go

    Like

    1. Wow — thanks for that link. You’ve stated so much more eloquently what I was trying to say.🙂

      I’m a mustache fan through and through. I’ve been wanting to do a mustache book round-up, or even an entire Mustache Month on this blog. Folderol at its best!

      Like

  9. Jama, I love the Bly and the whole thought about opening up and how easily we get stuck in our ruts (which means we can easily get un-stuck, too, if we really try!). And how wise is Anais Nin? My favorite quote of hers is this: Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Amen, sista! xo

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing that great quote, so true!

      Getting “unstuck” or breaking free is the ongoing challenge for those in the arts especially. Slowing down to really look and see things in the world is so important but getting harder all the time in today’s rush-and-work-all-the-time society — one reason I appreciate poets so much with their unique visions🙂.

      Like

  10. I love fanciful, outlandish and bizarre, but of course must also live in the practical, calculated and functional world. It’s a constant tickle, or is it pickle?

    Like

  11. I love that quote by Anais Nin – one of the things I always tell my GatheringReaders book club participants: “Look at the familiar with strange eyes” and I ask them to share with me ‘what’ they see. And they share the most amazing things about the mundane, the everyday, the seemingly-trivial, transforming them into something new and inventive and exciting. Now if only we, adults, could do that as easily.

    “When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
    To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
    Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
    Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.”

    The last two lines resonate with me a great deal as I always feel that I’m being pulled in multiple directions with all that I do – yet I wouldn’t have it any other way truthfully.🙂

    Like

    1. I’m in awe of how much you do — you must take super duper vitamins every day🙂.

      It seems a cruel irony that as we get older we lost some of that natural ability to “see the familiar with strange eyes.” We gain wisdom and experience, but lose a measure of innocence and wonder. One reason we need poetry, music, all the arts, really, is to jar us out of complacency and see things from different perspectives.

      Like

Comments are closed.