Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Power of One Line

"In every line I have left a gold coin, an emerald, or a key to a place you want to enter." 

        In the month of March, I will be making daily posts about Hafiz one-liners instead of poems. Many of Hafiz's one liners read like proverbs, and all are enjoyable. It seems fitting to begin the month with a wonderful passage by Rilke (written in his only novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge) about the magnitude of writing one verse:

        "For the sake of one line of poetry, one must see many cities, people, and things. One must be acquainted with animals and feel how the birds fly, and know the gestures of small flowers first opening in the morning. One must be able to think back on paths taken through unknown places, on unanticipated meetings, and on farewells one had long seen coming, on days of childhood not yet understood; on parents one disappointed when they offered some pleasure one could not grasp (it was a pleasure suited to another); on childhood illnesses that came on so strangely, altering everything; on days in closed and quiet rooms and on mornings by the sea; on the sea itself, on all seas; on night journeys that rose and flew with the stars...and to think of all these things is still not enough. One must remember many nights of love, of which none was like another. One must remember the cries of women in labor and the pale, distracted sleep of those who have just given birth. But one must also have sat at the bedside of the dying, with the window open and the outside full of life. And it is still not enough to have memories: one must be able to forget them when they crowd the mind and one must have the immense patience to wait until they come again. For it is not the memories themselves. Only when they become our blood, our glance, our gesture, nameless and indistinguishable from who we , only then can it a very rare hour the first word of a poem rises from their midst and goes forth." 

Telling Stories (2003), Tracy Chapman 

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