Our world is astoundingly complex. We humans do not understand, for instance, how we manage to collectively perpetuate outcomes that no human wants–injustice, civil unrest, poverty, war, and pollution of our own air and water.
What can help us in our complexity?
I’m drawn to poetry for the clarity it can hold.
That’s on many levels (complex of course 🙂 ). One clear illustration is in grief—who isn’t touched by this, consciously or unconsciously, with all the loss and suffering of our times and crises. Such sadness brings insight too.
In that, Poetry is a way of seeing—assisting abilities to better hold what is difficult with some lightness, curiosity and even delight.
Nóirín Ní Riain: In Irish the word for poet, is filé, and that extends to a very ancient word in Irish which is fèicē which means a way of seeing.
The poet has a way of seeing that nobody else has. And they can unveil, they can lift that veil for you by their words.
A poet, in Irish, is one who sees through the darkness, one who sees through the depths, through the obscure, to make it clear for everybody else. To allow it to be seen clearly for others, almost like removing a cataract.
David Whyte: I would say that Irish poetry in particular has celebrated the parts of us that at times do not know how to go on. And not knowing this you go to a place with which you are not yet familiar. Which strangely has everything you need.
… there’s a beautiful apprenticeship and invocation in the whole phenomenology of grief, and despair, in the Irish tradition, which generation, after generation, of poets has elucidated for us.
Poetry is, in part, an invitation to bring our compex realities, the many pieces of ourselves, our intra-existances with others, things that seem opposing to a still point. To speak:
not from the place that already knows but from a place that doesn’t know… uncovering the dispensation in that new speech.