I do believe every person that comes into our life, has something for us, a gift. It could be a big gift , or a small one, could be full of light or even darkness, easy to find, or difficult to decipher. But every person brings with them an unopened present that we eventually unravel in their company. As the poet here realises the fact that even a box full of darkness is still a gift, I am reminded of yet another category of people that are gifts.
It is the category of poets like the one that wrote the above lines. She shares her deepest realisation of accepting even darkness as a gift, as something out of which value can be created or something that is still useful even as it is painful. She is another person in our lives who has just given us the gift of realising that our dark pasts can be gifts for us. She has also gifted us her silent friendship by sharing this painful truth.
Indeed, she has become a friend to us as she could assemble just the right words to express what was so difficult for us to translate. We may have, more than one, people in our lives whom we love, who only ever brought darkness and sorrow to our lives and yet left us looking for some Good in it all. And with a few words, this lady here taps into the deepest of our worlds. She instantly becomes befriends us.
We may not have met her ever. Not even heard her name or read any other of her poems. Maybe she is not even a poet. But she will always remain the person behind this poem in our minds and thus a poet, to us, in all her likeliness. These poets are the Magical category of people with gifts that give us two gifts at the same time.
Writers and poets and every soul that has ever penned down words of truth belong to this Magical category of people. They are beloveds that we seldom or never meet, but whom we carry within us to our graves. The light and happiness they bring to our lives are inseparable from us. Like a melody of a favourite song, like touch of the first kiss, like tears of a beautiful memory.
They also come to us in the most unexpected of ways. We find them wrapped in their colourful wrapping papers lying slyly in the corners of our rooms. They lie there for a long time and do not reveal themselves until we are ready for them. When we are ready, we ourselves go out in search of them and their words. We may not know who or what are we looking for, but we just know that we need a friend right now. Sometimes we find them even without looking. But all the times, we are left amazed at our lives.
Even I was left amazed my own life as I randomly came across these wonderful words written on the Christmas special picture, above.
I was listening to a recording of two old men. Both of them friends. Both of them never having met each other or even spoken to each other, before that day. One was a renowned poet, John Berger. The other grew up reading his poetries, Paul Holdengraber. In this conversation, they already come as friends, having shared the beauty of the poems by Berger between them. Before the conversation, only the poet could introduce a new poem to their friendship. But during the conversation, even Paul invoked enchanting gifts from other souls he had come to admire. He read out poems and words from wholly different poets to the one he was conversing with. Like introducing a friend to another friend. Hoping they will be friends too.
And do they become friends? Yes of course! They do! And how beautiful is the outcry of recognition, of pure pleasure, of two strangers becoming friends almost instantly!
As the two men and the poet of the above lines become friends, so do I join their little party of friends. The poet they are both loving is Mary Oliver, who has gifted me in the past with one of her most beautiful poems Wild Geese. These two men instantly become friends of my own for befriending her.
Now I am eager to receive my gift from Mr Berger too, knowing how he revels in things that I admire too. And he does not disappoint me.
I think that all desire, including sexual, is the desire to be in a certain place, if only a place consumes us and gives us energy. But when I say place I don’t mean a geographical place… It’s where your finger fits or where your foot rests.
Since the conversation is live, I hear him phrase the words on the go. I can feel his agony in putting the right words together that can come close to expressing this simple, universal feeling of ‘desire’. We have all spent our lifetimes feeling it in one or the other form, so has he. But he dares to capture it in a few words, to give it a palpable meaning, to catch it, wrap it and gift it to his friends, to me. So he can tell us he is thinking of us, of all us, when he writes those words. He knows what it is like to feel the ‘desire’ and he wants to share what he thinks about it. He wants us to stay strong and honest in our pursuit of our ‘desires’. He wants us to know that he is with us, always.
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As the New Year I hope you all have many of such wonderful friendships around you. Friendships that help you stay strong and keep you going. Friendships that are separated in body but closely knit in the heart. With the advent of this wonderful age of Internet, where the physical distance is slowly losing all its meaning making it much more easier to make friends, I hope you all go out there and find your own people. And then do not forget to leave behind a few words about your journey so you too can continue the party of friends! I will continue doing this sharing and have it a New Years’ Resolution to share with you all every Monday and Thursday, the findings of my own adventure ride.
Follow my blog to tell me I have found new friends!
Have a magical day ahead!
Cover Art – Photo by Stoned Storyteller | Words by Mary Oliver, The Uses of Sorrow (In my sleep, I dreamed this poem).