On 2 January, I quoted this poem, and now, as an exercise, I have written a pastiche of it:
Know first thyself, thy heart, thy soul, thy mind
Then look around, see clearly humankind.
By God created, with God’s light imbued,
Creative, loving, pow’rful, by God wooed,
In touch with beauty to enrich the heart,
in nature, other people, music, art.
Mature evolved society is mine
the knowledge of ten thousand years, is thine.
The human animal is Love alive:
Our wars diminish, and our wisdom thrives.
With balance of thought and feeling, all aligned
in safe Unknowing, soon we Knowing find.
Sole judge of truth, beholding Truth unfurled,
we bring forth yet more beauty in the world.
I am not sure whether to share this one.
Resentment is not like anger.
Anger is hot, clean, now, gone.
Resentment is cold and unending,
In the darkness at the edge.
The world turns, and from the edge,
Through a glass darkly, I see possibilities:
Dancing, singing, laughter, acceptance.
I move inwards, shivering, showing my scars
Then denying them, smiling with my mouth.
There is a power in me, I know it.
It keeps me alive in a dark stone box.
The corridor narrows and darkens,
And the light through the doorways
blinds me and terrifies me.
Through the door, into the garden.
Stay, stay, stay, says the bird-
Stay, where there is no path
And I do not know where I am going.
The opening line is a conscious echo of Edwin Muir, “The desolations are not the sorrows’ kin”, which is not on the internet but in the Collected Poems, available through Amazon. Do click to look inside: more than half the book is shared there, though not pp271-2, where The Desolations is. I recommend Song at p.146, an instantly accessible love poem, metrical and sweet; The Road at p. 223, because life as a Way is an image he returned to again and again, and Annunciation, also p223, because it is an image close to my heart now. Other verse I would recommend appears not to be shared, so, well, buy the book.
My ending is an echo of the first movement of Burnt Norton. Eliot wrote,
Edwin Muir will remain among the poets who have added glory to the English language. He is also one of the poets of whom Scotland should always be proud.
Should I share my verse? If I show my scars and vulnerabilities, I increase my vulnerability; and if I do not, I die, slowly. Or, this is a process of coming to terms with my own scars and vulnerabilities: to be effectual, the acceptance has to come from me- and revealing them helps.