Who You Really Are

 

I know I am home

when I am far

away,

and the first tremor

of life in the

blind forest 

is music heard 

as light,

 

and I am moved

to tears by a 

bottomless something

from a time when

life was more than a 

locked spot

in the privacy of

my own memories—

 

when finally I find

everything I need

when there is nothing

left inside me,

not even mortal love

in too many 

costumes,

under too many

names,

not even an oceanic 

love that is 

all about the rising,

the shattering,

the luscious death,

 

but today,

under a lather of pines

and an unfolding Heaven,

its alias is One.

Give me That, here, now

in the lavishness 

of birth—

 

The last time I 

died here

I stayed earthbound

as the slithering shadows,

but now,

I am the power I

was searching for.

 

I was always here.

 

Can you see it,

untamed planet?

Can you see it, 

beautiful seeker, 

 

so adored just for being,

so boundless you are equal

to all the dreams that

become you?

 

Everything known and seen,

untouched and unseen

and beyond it still:

You are That. 

 

Patricia Joan Jones

 

View patriciajj's Full Portfolio
saiom's picture

*"music heard as

*"music heard as light"

 

"mortal love in too many costumes"

 

a mystical poem of nonduality.. magnificent!!!



 

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for reading with

Thank you for reading with such insight and appreciation. You are an inspiration. 

allets's picture

"I was always here,"

Exellent summation of a spiritual journey. Nature v surnatural - a stroll to eternity and back. - Enjoyed the examination of everything - slc




Onyamaichi

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you, dear poet, for

Thank you, dear poet, for your amazing feedback. 

Cascade's picture

You are that! And I LOVE the

You are that! And I LOVE the majestic voice you give it... So triumphant, so resounding, even magnanimous. Your sharing of this death and rebirth is a sermon of spiritual realization and oneness that invokes a refreshing childlike wonder and magic back into the heart of your reader. I am always glad to be here in your poetic sanctuary. Your cleansing is my hopium.

I would say this one is my favorite, but you know I will say that again. Most likely the very next time I come here Wink

patriciajj's picture

How can I thank you for all

How can I thank you for all your encouragement? You certainly made my day with your gorgeous views and commentary on my work. It's always a thrill to be acknowledged by one of my favorite poets here. Thank you! 

word_man's picture

you are right,we have been

you are right,we have been here forever


ron parrish

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for stopping by and

Thank you for stopping by and adding your wisdom. Always a pleasure. 

word_man's picture

my pleasure

my pleasure


ron parrish

eleven_eleven's picture

2nd stanza is my favorite :)

2nd stanza is my favorite :)

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for reading and

Thank you for reading and leaving such kind feedback. 

Starward's picture

First (and this first

First (and this first sentence of mine may need one of those "spoiler alerts), this is a conversation that we are overhearing, a conversation between the poem's speaker, who I will refer to here as the Poet, and two entities whom the Poet designates as Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker.  That the poem discloses this so very late in the reading process is a way of gently reminding us that we are not the recipients of this conversation, merely a bystander.  This is not an insult; it is, in fact, a validation of the reader's role.  

  Her next description of "music heard as light" is a description of a process with as many (and as profound) implications as Wallace Stevens' statement, in his seminal poem, "Peter Quince At The Clavier," that "music, then, is feeling, not sound."  (And by the way, this poem, as well as a good many others from Patriciajj speak with the same gravitas that Stevens brought to his mature poetry after his second collection, Ideas Of Order.)  I have been reading Stevens since October, 1978, and I can say, with the authority of those years of study, that this poem draws on the same authority that his poems did, although her individual lines are far more supple and more refreshingly casual than his were.  Like Stevens, also, and I mean this as a compliment, she creates philosophical concepts or counters like "bottomless something," and "love in too many customes, too many names," and even "luscious death" (and this latter term reminds me of one of Stevens' most radical statements, in his poem "Le Monocle De Mon Oncle," that "Death is the mother of beauty."

   I should like to also point out the subtle movement she puts into the poem by a judicious use (and not over-use) of the -ing suffix on her verbs.  However, she does not stall this movement by affixing an article "the" to the -ing word, as so many persons did after Stephen King published The Shining.  Using the -ing suffix to choreographic movement in a poem is a very delicate strategy, which must be handled with exquisitely adroit skill.  One of the poets I have ever, ever encountered wrote far too many -ing suffixes, which stalls, stilts, and stunts the lines so that his or her poems actually halt, in front of the reader's eyes, before they get started.  I, myself, try to avoid giving the -ing suffix any prominence because I fear that I cannot present it accurately.  Patriciajj need not even consider that fear of that possibility.  She deftly avoids any mis-step, verbally, as her lines dance with both alacrity and precision in front of us; including this poem.

   Having identified her listeners (different from her readers) late in the poem, her conclusion addresses them much more strongly because she has identified them:  Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker.  (Another scholar of her work, or some very sharp grad student, writing his or her dissertation on Patricia's poetry, may declare that I am wrong, and that the two appellations refer to one entity; but my assertions, here, are not dependent on singularity or plurality of address, so I prefer it to be plural and will continue with that to my conclusion.)  Another admirable strategy of the late disclosure of who are being addressed  is to compel the reader to read the lines more directly, rather than with the hovering question, which an early disclosure would have triggered, of 'who are Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker?"  This is a strategy that T. S. Eliot uses very well in the first section of The Waste Land when we begin to understand, fairly well into that section, that the character Hyacinth Girl, who ascribes her appellation to the poem's speaker, is the person the speaker has been addressing---but, because we did not know it at first, his mention of other terms---the "dull roots," "spring rains," "dried tubers" and even the cadaver that Stetson buried in his garden (with the fear that his dog might dig it up again) all prepare us, in a horticultural way, for the flowers that the speaker presented to Hyacinth Girl a year before she takes her place as the addressee of that section and possibly of the whole poem (which I believe).  Patriciajj has focused are attention on the concepts that precede the "reveal" of the addresses, so that we concentrate on them for their own sake, and not wondering how they are being interpreted by the (as yet uinknown) addressees.  

   Because she has waited until a late point in the poem to reveal Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker, her dedication of the last two stanzas to them, and ascribing those attributes to them, is the more dramatic and the more poignant because of that.  This late reveal also doubles back and gives us a second reading experience that begins before the first is finished, as our subconscious reaslizes that this whole poem, all along, has been a conversation directed toward Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker; and that we have been privileged to overhear this private conversation between them and the Poet because, and only because, Patriciajj deigns to privilege us to that overhearing.  I happen to believe (and to the grad student who may be reading this comment as part of your research on this poem, I am giving you a reveal that I think the poem suggests, if not actually demands) that Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker are the Muses of this poem.  Shucks, they may be the Muses of most of her poems, and she has only chosen to disclose that now, after posting 141 poems prior to this.  And,without parading the process or even suggesting that we notice the process, she may have moved this poem into the position of being the centerpiece her centerpieces if I am right about the nomination of the Muses for the whole work and not just this poem.  But even if I am wrong about the overall nomination (but I don't think I am, and future academic scholars of her work may very well applaud me for being right about it), I am not wrong about the nomination's function within this poem.

    I know this has been verbose and length.  Why?  Why, in my college alma mater's library, does books about Pop Stevens' poems take up three or four full shelves?  Why, when I first arrive there in September, 1976 and explored the library's content, did books about John Milton's poetry take up an entire wall of the room?  Because great poems inspire, and deserve, great verbosity in the response to them.  From its beginning, when music is heard as light, with the shy implication that this poem's music is heard as light (attention, grad students:  one of you can title your PhD dissertation "Music Heard As Light," which, if it dominates your thesis and its supporting assertions, will make it much easier in the oral defense before your examining committee; but don't tell 'em I gave you this hint) . . . from that beginning of the poem right down to the superlatives which are offered to Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker, this poem moves with a steady pace, a sturdy agility, and starlike glow through its process, and makes the reader feel privileged to be a bystander to this because, as we learn at that late point, the two Muses, and not our personal egos, are being addressed.  If this is the centerpiece of her centerpieces; if this is the star around which all her other poems orbit; and if, as I believe, Untamed Planet and Beautiful Seeker are the Muses of the entire poetry she has written (and, therefore, of her entire, and very highly constellated cosmology), we who read her poems have been immensely privileged to be admitted to this Inner Sanctum, this Pavillion of her Muses.  If this is the Pavillion of her Muses, as I believe (and as, I think, many graduate students will believe), then, as Ezra Pound described in the first of his Pisan Cantos, its "terraces are the colors of stars."

    Thank you, Patriciajj, for bringing us to this poem; for letting us overhear its disclosures to its Muses; and for giving us the sense of the process of your entire Cosmology constellating itself around this poem.


Starward

[* /+/ ^]

patriciajj's picture

I could write an entire essay

I could write an entire essay on how your superb compositions, appreciation and rare grasp of the written word—not just my own work—has reignited my obsession with the craft. Your savvy dissections, your astute enthusiasm, is infectious! 

 

But how could I ever dig deep enough to unearth an accurate statement of my gratitude? I would need to invent an entirely new language. 

 

I was particularly gratified by your sharp eye—your almost psychic understanding of my choices of words and construction. Thank you so much for validating these, but most of all, thank you for bringing me back to my literary life. 

 

Trust me, rare talent extends beyond your poetry. I'm forever grateful for this luminous gift.