When we’re young there’s lots
We don’t know about
How he or she is only housed
Briefly in this or that body.
Mostly, the beloved is the world,
But we’re not ready to see
That yet, not able to bear
The idea that the beloved
Won’t necessarily gaze back at us
With eyes like ours, won’t
Wrap us in his or her arms.
We want risk, but comfort, too,
Comfort most of all.
We’re still clinging to our loneliness,
Not yet ready to be alone.
– Gregory Orr –
Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved
I think I’d heard of Gregory Orr. Read something of his when a poem arrives in my inbox, or crosses my Facebook feed. But this poem really grabbed me given its appearance this week during the still potent trifecta of faith traditions. From his publisher, Copper Canyon Press, Mary Oliver is quoted as having written about this volume: “What other poet do you know who would give his work such a title—ambitious and humble at the same time? He speaks now, in these many short poems, which in their entirety are really one long poem, of mysteries, of those things—emotions, situations, mind and heart states—which are beyond the definitive.”
In addition to poetry, and city happenings, my inbox welcomes me each morning with a variety of contemplative essays and musing . For one, this week’s theme has been resurrection: what it may have originally meant, how it’s been distorted over time and empire’s (mis)interpretation, and what it might mean in a renewed way today for us. Referencing contemporary theologian Matthew Fox, it offers that we “be resurrection” for ourselves and each other, by rising up and being counted through the commitment to hope and creativity…by being in love with Life.
Being in love with Life and recognizing that the beloved IS the world, are among travel’s most significant gifts to me. I carry home as “souvenir” the memory of my encounters with people, land and culture beyond my familiar, and I am renewed. I return empowered having traveled well with my self in “our” aloneness. And my curiosity, gratitude and imagination are enlivened.
Very much taken by this poet, and the bit I’ve read about him and from him as I prepare this post, I’ll conclude with another of his poems from the same volume, perhaps as wise instruction and reminder for me as I begin my next round of poetry submissions…
“How lucky we are That you can’t sell A poem”
How lucky we are
That you can’t sell
A poem, that it has
No value. Might
Give it away.
That poem you love,
That saved your life,
Wasn’t it given to you?
Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.
2 thoughts on “The Beloved Is the World”
Katharine, hello and thank you for sharing your blog and all its wonder with me and the world. It fills me up and cultivates perspective and reflection. Be well and happiest spring resurrection. Joanne
Thank you, Joanne. Happy Spring to you. Kindest regards…