Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A Question about Love (BT)

Here are two poems. The first (by me) is about a state of almost baby love, of peaceful bliss, loving kindness, inner peace and joy, yet without power and passion. The second (my version of a translation of a poem by Goethe) is about pure yearning, of desire and self burnt up in the fire of passion, yet without loving kindness, inner peace and joy.

Buddhist philosophy, as I understand it, would say that desire is destructive and that expectation leads to disappointment, but might it not be that destruction and disappointment are necessary to make space for their opposites in creativity and happiness, in order for love to be productive and powerful? Do we not need desire and ego as fuel for the fire of passion? Or is peaceful love and bliss a better love and if so, how to harness its hidden power?

Blessed Bliss

I sit beside a smile
And soon I’m smiling too,
The smile becomes a laugh
And then I’m laughing too
Down to the naked breast
Where I lay my head
And nestle in its shade.
In this state of bliss,
Desiring nothing more,
I softly fall asleep.


Blessed Longing

Tell it to none except the wise
For the common crowd will sneer.
I wish to praise the dancing eyes
That sparkle for death’s final tear.

When the calm unfolds the love-night
That created you, where you create,
An unknown yearning comes alight,
A candle that will be your fate.

Darkness now no longer snares you,
Shadows lose their ancient force
As this deep desire tears through you
To soar to higher intercourse.

Now no distance checks your flight.
You come on wings enchanted, rash
To meld yourself into the light
And like a moth you’re burnt to ash.

So long as you’ve not met this test
Of living death and then rebirth,
You shall remain a gloomy guest
On this dark earth.

—Goethe (1814)

Addendum: I now offer you a third poem, representing another type of love, of friendship, which both has the Buddhist qualities of
loving kindness, inner peace and joy, but also the productive qualities of power and passion that motivate action.

Blessed Friendship

Up the branch he makes a dart,
Flicks his tail and looks around,
Down at the girl who made him start
Dropping chestnuts on the ground.

Cautiously he does descend,
Grabs a nut, then jumps away,
But soon the girl becomes his friend
And how she wishes he could stay!

But he must go and gather nuts
And hide away from winter’s frost.
Her fingertips still bear the cuts,
Love bites that were friendship’s cost.
So for her friend one early morn,
She fills her bag with nuts she's found
And empties them onto the lawn
And hopes in spring he’ll be around.

This post was originally published at Buddhist Travelers.

No comments:

Post a Comment