FINISH WORK

 

  One of the great attributes of poetry is the power of compression.  So much can be said in so few words.  Yet the long, often lonely process of completing a piece of literary art seems an apt allegory for the grind of modern life.  It contains the thrill of inspired revelation but also many days of ordinary vision amid daily routines.  Workman-like days when the finishing touches are patiently applied to the body of what had been flashes of insight; so that in time the whole work can come alive.  It is what craftsmen call finish work.

…I How many days get consumed with mundane tasks and issues that are often repetitive and at times mind-numbing?  One might think of these as cataract days in the sense that you proceed but with a type of blindness. You are living in the present and taking care of business. You move forward towards completing immediate goals but often without a sense of creative accomplishment or satisfaction.   This state can last for years and it can be most disheartening because your sense of purpose and direction can be blurred by what life seems to have become.  And what you see may not fulfill your spiritual yearning.  It is possible to pass through such a phase, though it may seem like an interminable period, and still find a bastion of meaning and happiness. But in the meantime, you might also find yourself roaming ragged on the side of your spiritual road.  I admire those that struggle to reach their higher ground.  It is often a lonely journey, but it is a noble one.

    In the poem that follows, reference is made to Colonus.  This was a sacred grove outside of ancient Athens.  It is here where Oedipus, a wretched and blind outcast who has wandered for years atoning for unwittingly committing sins, finally finds redemption and ascends to join his gods.

 

 

 

 

He walked the path of verse until the words wore down conforming to his tongue

A workman honing passages

On the long days in the dim light

Cataract days

When the spark of creativity slept half bound in a dream

When the mind clutched tightly its fragile treasure

And wandered ragged

Always toward Colonus.

 

 

INDEX