Saturday, March 14, 2009

This is what happens

This odd conglomeration of images is what happens when I attempt to respond to something extraordinarily complex from an uncentered state.

After yesterday's post about the Farid poem that distracted my daughter from her intended flight, my friend Robin sent me a larger section of the poem, saying she would like to publish it on the ECVA Image and Spirit blog, and was looking for an image.

Here's that expanded version:

All who, reflecting as reflected see
Themselves in Me, and Me in them; not Me,
But all of Me that of contracted Eye
Is comprehensive of Infinity;
Nor yet Themselves: no Selves, but of The All
Fractions, from which they split and wither fall.
As Water lifted from the Deep, again
Falls back in individual Drops of Rain,
Then melts into the Universal Main.
All you have been, and seen, and done, and thought,
Not You but I, have seen and been and wrought:
I was the Sin that from Myself rebell'd;
I the Remorse that tow'rd Myself compell'd;
I was the Tajidar who led the Track;
I was the little Briar that pull'd you back:
Sin and Contrition -- Retribution owed,
And cancell'd -- Pilgrim, Pilgrimage, and Road,
Was but Myself toward Myself; and Your
Arrival but Myself at my own Door;
Who in your Fraction of Myself behold
Myself within the Mirror Myself hold
To see Myself in, and each part of Me
That sees himself, though drown'd, shall ever see.
Come you lost Atoms to your Centre draw,
And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw:
Rays that have wander'd into Darkness wide
Return, and back into your Sun subside.'

My first response to her determination to find an appropriate image was (typically) "Me, PICK ME" and I began a hurried search through my collection of reflection and mirror images -- that being a favorite subject of mine. But I was rushing, and everytime I came back to the poem, I saw that there was more, that in fact not only did every line suggest a host of images, but that every photograph I've ever taken or created out of my own sense of Divine connection could conceivably resonate with some piece of this poem.

So, in the end, my attempts (this is not the only one) to embark on a visual interpretation of this amazing poem (imagine what the other 249 pages must be like!) are drowning in a sea of images. It appears we have here another example of what my friends know I call "The Broccoli Theory:" that thing that happens when you pay attention, the way a single thread or moment seems to have contained within it an infinite number of related connections, the way a stalk of broccoli seems to explode out of itself and at the same time be so rich with flowering that it almost seems to curve back in on itself.

And of course, that's what the poem is addressing, so it should come as no surprise that an imaginal response would be subject to the same quality of infinite reflection and replication. So perhaps I've been too hard on myself. It's not that I wasn't centered when I started (though in fact I wasn't) -- it's just that I got distracted by my own responses and went the wrong direction: I followed my personal connections out to the edges, to where their connectedness seems less and less obvious, instead of tracking them back to the Source that lies at the heart of the poem, and of faith and life itself.

... hmm. A familiar mistake, I'm afraid...

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