Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nobody Pays for Poetry, But Somebody Still Writes

“All world views yield poetry to those who believe them by the mere fact of being believed. And nearly all have certain poetical merits whether you believe them or not. This is what we should expect. Man is a poetical animal and touches nothing which he does not adorn.”- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, "Is Theology Poetry?"

A handful of journals sit on my shelf filled with thoughts from junior high through college.  Notebooks of handwritten poetry written in evolving script.  "These are quite good," she told me.  "You ought to consider publishing them."  But there is no market for poetry. Yet my eyes, my mind work in poetry.

"We can write a song," I say.
He grins, and says, "That will take too long."
"Does he know me?" I wonder to myself.
I take a day with the piano, and work a tune.  My fingers work over the black and white keys, my mind calculating.   The words come next.
The next week, I play the tune.  I show the text.
He smiles, and says, "You're fast."

And yet as a teen, this is what I would do, days on end.  I'd create tunes and texts.  I'd sing my history lessons, or make up songs just to remember facts.  I'd do this, my mind zealously ablaze and at work.
 "We can write our wedding vows," I say.  He agrees.  "We can."
We take a few weeks and get it perfect.
Something happens when one's words are strung together on a page. 

She paints a picture in yellow, and I think of the story behind the picture.  Our hearts, lives were made for this.  Our own act of creativity mimics our worldview, and that piece in us that was created for the eternal. 


She asks me, "When you play the piano, do you see colors?"
"No, " I say.  "It just feel right."
"Can you read the notes?" she asks.
"Yes," I say, "But they bind me.  If I am creating, I hear what comes next. I can't write a piece and create it at the same time."
"Will you play for others?" she asks.  And my stomach immediately ties itself in knots.  "No. I can't."
"But they'd like this, they'd really like to hear," she says.
The thought of presenting what is so close to my heart to an audience brings my stomach to my throat.  "I can't, " I say.  I wrote these for an audience of one.
The thought of playing piano in front of an audience brings back memories of pressure-filled piano recitals, or in church.  I was supposed to be able to play those songs so that others could sing or follow.  But my hands would trip over the notes as I read them.  My palms would sweat.
"Can you write down your songs?" she asks. 
"No.  I don't know how to."

"Can you play?" he asks.
"Yes," I answer.
I put the Skype headphones near the piano, and he listens.
 He asks what the thought behind the song was, that song written in a minor key.

And I know that this gift is different than others.  It is mine.  I keep it close to my heart.

I once described his Grandma as 'deep waters'.  There seemed to be so much below the surface, so much that one didn't see when first meeting her.  I think each person now is somewhat like deep waters.  There are aspects about people that you don't understand or see until you know them really well. 

The hands paint, write.  The mind, curiously alive with ideas.  The heart, feeling more than one could express.  Personality reflected in our works.

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