Sunday, August 05, 2007

On Prayer and Poetry

I'm not a big fan of routine, but I find that in Singapore, it helps to pass the days, and it reminds me that I am here to study, not to go gallivanting around the city. (It's not like I can afford it, anyway.) I've decided to include a ten-minute reflective time in my schedule for the morning - somewhere between breakfast and cleaning my room, and definitely before I start cracking down on work. It helps, I suppose, whether you believe in God or the universe or some Supreme Being: I'd like to think that what we go through is simply a reflection of the way the universe wants us to move through and learn with every passing day. I'm not going to start reading the Bible or anything, but maybe find a bit of peace in this waiting - because I am waiting for a lot of things, on all fronts, and I'd rather be at peace with the fact that I am waiting, and that I have to wait, and just go through the motions of exisitng until the time that this ends.

Anyway, I found this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and in my mind, I'd like someone to read this out loud during my funeral. it's a very courageous poem - not in the Dylan Thomas "do not go gentle..." kind of way, or the Tennyson "break, break break/ on the cold gray rocks, O sea!" kind of thing as well - but something more subtle, more emphatic. This is a poem about the refusal of loss - not because the persona (I think) is refusing to admit to the loss, and remains in denial, but simply fighting for the right to hope in the possibilities that could have been. That even, at the end of all things, we need to hope.

Dirge Without Music
Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,--but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love, --
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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