Wednesday, July 26, 2006

SINGING THE WORLD INTO EXISTENCE


Speak softly ..., originally uploaded by punkassbitch.

Once a week, I get a newsletter in my in-box from Rob Brezhny, the poet astrologer. Rob never predicts that we're going to fall in love. Or come into a fortune. His forecasts are more ephemeral than that. He is, as I said, a poet.

More than once, I've printed one up and taped it into my notebook. This one was so lovely, I thought I'd tape it here.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Travel writer Bruce Chatwin walked around
Australia as he researched and meditated on the indigenous people's
beliefs about what the land was like in the ancient past. He wrote:
"Aboriginal creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who
wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path--birds, animals, plants, rocks,
waterholes--and so singing the world into existence." Given the fact that you're now primed to create a new domain or two, Leo, may I suggest the aborigines' approach? You'll infuse everything with extra beauty if you play around with *singing* it into existence.




*Addendum: I am not accustomed to censoring myself for being too joyful. But I did today. In this post. I excised the final paragraph because it was simply too exultant in a world and on a day when I am well aware of the sorrows taking place elsewhere. But I did not delete the photograph of the child singing. We need to be hold this in our minds and hearts: this is what childhood should be like.

32 comments:

Marilyn said...

I love Brezny. Haven't checked the newsletter yet this morning, but now I must. What a fabulous idea...singing things into existence.

marja-leena said...

Ooh, fabulous and beautifula aand mystical! I must check out Brezny, sounds like my kind of astrologer. I might find something as good as this to put into my sketchbook, thanks Patry.

rdl said...

love it, since it's mine too. :D

rdl said...
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Patry Francis said...

marilyn: I'm not surprised you like Brezny too.

marja-leena: I will be watching for something astrological in your work.

r: start singing!

Sky said...

patry, i love your choice of this image! :)

Patry Francis said...

Thanks, Sky. I love it, too. If you click on it, you can see more of this photographer's fine work.

Sara said...

Have you read this book, The Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin yet? It's one of my favorites ever, ever, ever. I didn't put it on The List for your summer reading project, because it's less a story than a contemplation. It is wonderful, though, and short, so you may want to slip it in anyway. Chatwin is the real poet being quoted here.

Now Rob I've been reading on and off for years and years on both coasts simply because he makes me laugh. Sometimes he's a little too -ahem- oracular for my tastes, leaving the faintest whiff of, oh, let's be polite and call it "blarney" in my arrogant Aries nostrils. But he sure is entertaining.

MB said...

I am adamant in my conviction that the world needs more, not less, joy and love, Patry. More.

So thank you for this post. I love knowing that others try to sing things into existence, too.

paris parfait said...

That is lovely and the photograph a joy! Thanks for the link to Brezny. You're right, our happiness is tempered by the current sorrows of the world. Sigh. Thanks for your pick-me-up post!

paris parfait said...

P.S. And I love Bruce Chatwin's work. I have several of his books.

Alexandra S said...

I think I just bought a book not so long ago by this guy and forgot. Its called Pronoia. Now I need to get it out (but it still has to stay patiently in my reading line!).

Cliff said...

I feel this post is timely for me. I also alluded briefly to such feelings of guilt/happiness in my blog recently. For me, the idea of singing things into existence is not necessarily one of exultance. It can be quiet, as in humming. It can even be silent. But I suppose there is something declaratory about singing out loud, as well as something about ownership of sound and object. I like this post very much. Thank you.

Dave said...

I just want to second what Sara said about Songlines. It would definitely go in my personal top ten list of nonfiction books.

Patry Francis said...

sara: I agree Chatwin's words are the poetry, but I do love the way Brezny finds these interesting tidbits...which led me to posting here...which led you to telling me about Songlines. A string of discovery.

mb: Every time you visit here, or every time I read one of your poems, you add to joy's balance sheet. What a gift!

paris: I've been aware of Chatwin for a long time. I knew, for instance, that he traveled with a Moleskine, but I've never read him. That's about to change!

alexandra g: Pronoia looks like an interesting book, though from the excerpts I've read in Brezny's newsletter, I don't think I agree with everything it espouses. I'll be interested to hear your take!

cliff: An interesting point--that all songs are not exultant ones. Some are sorrowful, some are spiritual; in fact, the child's song looks like something interior and private.

Patry Francis said...

Dave: That does it. I'm ordering Songlines today.

Natalie said...

Patry, that quote is so amazingly relevant to me right now (and I'm a Leo) it just confirms what I often feel : that there's some kind of blog-telepathy going on in cyberspace or (as Rupert Sheldrake would have put it) "morphic resonance".
Thank you for this, I'll save it to be opened again on my birthday.

zhoen said...

Ditto on loving Brezny. Not always right, but when he is, it is utterly spooky. D is also a Taurus, so I read that and the fish advice. I should sign up for the newsletter, I have only read the weekly general one.

Darius said...

I see what you mean. Not your average astrologist.

I also know what you mean about how the enormity of what's going on in the world lately seems to trivialize one's pursuits. You wish you had the power to do something about what the world's insane leadership is doing to the earth and to people. But you don't have any power - which itself is a major part of what today's leaders are seeing to. Go to an antiwar rally, for example, and the press won't cover it.

tinker said...

I love this - and Rob Brezny's work, too. However, my viewpoint is: don't edit or diminish the joy - let it sing out loud! we need it to fill up the empty spaces that sorrow's left behind.
Thank you for singing!

g said...

we usually associate the word singing with what we hear on the airwaves, a commercial product, or a tune with words, but it is really the creation of resonance. our bodies were meant to sing, i think, to express all manner of intent, with quiet certainly or joyous expectation.

Sara said...

Call me callous and hedonistic, but after all the suffering I've witnessed in this life -- and it's just a micro-jot on the scale of all the suffering there is -- I've come to the conclusion that if you feel joy, you should share it, even if other people are suffering. Suffering is contagious, but so is joy. Joy has to work harder to spread, though.

I've actually come to believe that it's just as easy to ruin someone's life as to make someone's day. Not many of us are in a position to fix the whole world, but we are all in a position to clean our houses and tend our gardens, make the people near us smile, and also comfort whom we can. Each of us is in a perfect position to change the world one moment in one place at one time.

When you try to take back a moment of happiness you've already put out, you aren't making anyone's horror go away. You're just deleting a little more from the collective pool of joy. I'd strongly encourage you to uncensor yourself. Look how many people you delighted before you did that, and these are just the ones who said so here.

Besides, you're ignoring the horoscope right after posting it. "You'll infuse everything with extra beauty if you play around with *singing* it into existence." Notice he doesn't say what happens if you erase your own song.

(Sorry. Uninvited lecture over.)

Patry Francis said...

Sara: Your words remind me of this poem by Jack Gilbert, which I cut out of the New Yorker when it first appeared. It is a powerful brief indeed.


A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women at the fountain are laughing together between the suffering they have known and the awfulness in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody in the village is very sick. There is laughter every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay. If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction, we lessen the importance of their deprivation. We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude. We must admit there will be music despite everything. We stand at the prow again of a small ship anchored late at night in the tiny port looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning. To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth all the years of sorrow that are to come.

Patry Francis said...

The line breaks got screwed up when I posted the poem as a comment, but the strength of the words remain.

Sara said...

That is an outstanding poem. (And you're right; the line breaks aren't really missed.) Thank you so much.

Hey, on a totally other topic (and I should probably post this on the other post, but here we are), did you hear this?

"Porches Knit Together New Urbanist Communities," by Michele Norris, on All Things Considered

It made me think of you, of course -- and wonder whether you have your finger on the pulse or, instead, how often our collective pulse is being suggested by what your fingers do here!

Patry Francis said...

Sara: Thanks for the porch link on NPR. I hadn't heard it. Yes, it does seem that certain ideas are carried on the wind.

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