More Marion Milner

‘Yes, I must be no mystic because I don’t feel I want to give up everything for union with God, I’m really only interested in finding more and more ways of saying what I feel about the extraordinariness of the world and of being alive in it. Looking always for a language. A language of love? What about hate then? But I do know that to find the language, gestural, verbal or pictorial, one has recurrently to let everything go, all thoughts of what one loves, all images, and attend to the nothingness, seemingly nothing there – silence. Is this mysticism?’ Marion Milner: Eternity’s Sunrise. p.114
Then I remember Phil waking this morning and remembering what the Kung Fu Panda said in the film last night – yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery – there is only today. That is why we say it is a present. Also later, the scroll said nothing, only reflected the face of the reader. What was needed, the courage and the cunning, was already there in the reader/Panda/dragon warrior.
Here is the nub of disturbance about writing. Competitions and contests, getting accepted/rejected – this has nothing to do with what one wants to say. It is a measure of quality and peer acceptance, it acknowledges the thing one wants to say and the language in which you say it but it is not necessarily the truth of it. ‘Unreliable Narrations’ – how I re-read it yesterday and immediately the ‘untruthful’ bit struck me, the note wrong, muffled, borrowed – no real acknowledgement of the negative capability we need in order to dwell in language or to say what we want or need to say. So what should one do? Go on writing in notebooks and scribbling on the back of envelopes – it is not enough because there is no pruning, no honing. Where is the poem lurking, under the bark, under the skin, impeded by its kitchen sinks, its scurrying and insect like marauding. Instead – what about trying to take the backward, upward looking route. Let the language flow over the head, like the sunlight coming through the water when I was swimming in the reef at Unawatuna. Something I tried to capture with the poem ‘Siphoning the well into the old bath’ and that poem was, of course, quite significant because of the experience it was trying to express. The water came from up and under, thirty nine feet down in the well at the top of the field. The bath was at the bottom. Phil filled the pipe with water and then took it to the bottom of the field. The well did not perceive any gap between its water and the water that was encouraging it down the field. So the deep water (the unconscious, the dark side, the obscured?) gushed out into the sunlight and as it did so it reflected what was in the bath – the skeletal leaf, the insects – onto the lid of the water. It is actually a hugely significant psychological act – and I see now what I was really trying to capture in the poem.
This seems to give me my work for today. It is silent now. Very early, still dark although the tree outlines are showing, the dark has begun to bleed away since I started writing. I embrace the dark, the silence and the coming light. I will think of it today as a present. I will look at those two poems and see what silent reflection might do for revision.


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