September 23, 2011

Looking Into A Face

This is the poem from which R. Bly took the title for his collection, "The Light Around the Body." It's called, "Looking Into A Face."

Conversation brings us so close! Opening
The surfs of the body,
Bringing fish up near the sun,
And stiffening the backbones of the sea!

I have wandered in a face, for hours,
Passing through dark fires.
I have risen to a body
Not yet born,
Existing like a light around the body,
Through which the body moves like a sliding moon.

light around the body

I've been using the title "light around the body" for a new series of paintings. I stole this title from a book by Robert Bly published in the early seventies. The book begins with a quotation from the German mystic Jacob Boehme:

O dear children, look in what a dungeon we are lying, in what lodging we are, for we have ben captured by the spirit of the outward world; it is our life, for it nourishes and brings us up, it rules in our marrow and bones, in our flesh and blood, it has made our flesh earthly, and now death has us.

I love this idea of the "flesh" being made "earthly" because it implies that the human body is capable of something more than that. It's as if "flesh" is not necessarily in opposition to "spirit;" as if only this "dungeon" view sees flesh as "earthly." (Interesting, isn't it, that this "dungeon" view is now regarded as the "religious" one?)