Thursday, December 16, 2010

"what lasts through time is like an island on a ship in the sea, perishable surrounded by dangerous fragility by merciless waters and threats. "

The year is winding down, and there's nothing but endless celebrations in my weeks ahead. Well, and work. I'm currently packing and prepping for my holiday kick off trip to quaint little Bethlehem, PA this weekend. A good friend of mine from my time in Ireland is working for a small theater company there, so a bunch of us will be reuniting and supporting her dramatic work. It's been a long time since this crew was together in its entirety for a full weekend, so it will most definitely be memorable.

Looking forward to this event, I've been taking stock of my recent history. I've had a rough 6 months or so that at times has left me feeling disjointed and desperate, broken. Lately, I've been finding solace in all the wonderful people I am lucky enough to have in my life, like these characters I'm about to see. It's put all my recent failures in perspective. I believe there is much to be gained from broken moments, failed connections and missteps. This is how we grow and change. Happiness can only take you so far. One needs the dialectic interchange with the chaotic and painful.

So, I'm happy for all the chaos in my life, the "what ifs?", the false starts and failed promises. Pablo Neruda, in the below poem, does such an excellent job of characterizing this arbitrary chaos. There is beauty, and more importantly, possibility in those broken bits and things that just fall by the wayside. Almost on a transcendental level, he suggests the transformative power of time: the silly things that perish, the things we leave behind and what remains. I'm looking forward to seeing all my broken bits metamorphising into something new and beautiful.


Ode to Broken Things

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It's not my hands
or yours
It wasn't the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn't anything or anybody
It wasn't the wind
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.

And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let's put all our treasures together
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold --
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway.

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