Monday, November 18, 2013

A portion of:
"The Buried Life
Matthew Arnold
1852

But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;                        50
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us--to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves,
But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines,
And we have shown, on each, spirit and power;
But hardly have we, for one little hour,
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves--            60
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,
But they course on for ever unexpress'd.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well--but 'tis not true!
And then we will no more be rack'd
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;                                                70
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul's subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only--but this is rare--
When a beloved hand is laid in ours,
When, jaded with the rush and glare
Of the interminable hours,                                               80
Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear,
When our world-deafen'd ear
Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd--
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life's flow,
And hears its winding murmur; and he sees
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.            90
And there arrives a lull in the hot race
Wherein he doth for ever chase
That flying and elusive shadow, rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face,
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes.


I've been rediscovering my buried life. Seems ages ago, chased like a criminal, some part of me took asylum elsewhere for a while. I guess that happens to us all when we grow up and get  family and a mortgage. This is not a new or unique event and I don't share it to wallow in my self indulgence and super-coolness. I also don't need to tell anyone how much this exile ripped at me in quiet, secret ways. You know that too. It must be one of the universal rules of human nature to....

1. Through the raging furies of youth find your fire.
2. Through the obligations of living....have it dim to a simmer.

 Of course the "Fire and Restless God-Force",  tomed  like a heartbeat; a metronome just softer than the wailing of my busy days. Through the years of children and working....and paying bills, and watching the skin on my bones begin to sag with too many memories and the tug of time. Keeping witness, just below the horizon to the coming and going of friends, a marriage, and at least 5 presidents; visiting me on occasion as goose pimples rising at the lyrics of a favorite song, lines of a poem, the smell of the air in a new place....tiny remembrances of who I was when I was true.

My " fire and restless force" never completely went out. She just simmered....and got very pissed at the world and oozed out in awkward moments and through a serious of odd attachments and fascinations. I would yearn after the life of another, rebel against convention, wait. Seeking some way to feel that feeling of wonder and perfect syn crony again.

It is the truest truth that we are all alone and that you cannot escape death. But listen closer. The true original course is there, thumping; no pounding,  within you. Listen, listen to it and nothing else. Dig deep and then go even deeper and hang onto the whimsies no matter the cost. Gypsy God, Rebel God, no matter what you call the force, love is at the core.

I am so grateful that I did not lose you; and that little whispers of You were always there....

So, this little piece of writing is a love letter and a promise; a pacemaker for my old heart....that I will caste my fears on the rocks and go deeper. If my heart were a harpoon I would shoot it into the sea!

No comments:

Post a Comment