Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mystical Poetry

Recently I held in my hand a prepublication copy of a book supposedly of poetry in the mystical tradition as influenced by the writings and teachings of Krishnamurti. I know little of Krishnamurti, much more about the works of Christian mystics, and a good bit about poetry. For some reason, this book caused a very unpleasant reaction in me.

John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich: all wrote passionately about unification with the Divine. The Sufi mystic Rumi makes his words sing and dance. There is holiness in the Bhagavad-Gita. And so much was lacking here.

Perhaps, because it was purported to be so different, I expected too much. But under the guise of poetry, I do expect poetry, and found little here. The mystics stretched language and images as they held them up to attempt to describe and explain holy longings and sensations. Krishnamurti approached this in some ways, without the poetry. This poet repeated Krishnamurti's ideas in words that seemed trite and unexplained. They lacked poetry.

Poetry pulls one out of oneself and demands the reader share in the experience. It uses images and appropriate devices to do so. These poems lacked images, lacked anything that might tug at one's sentiments.

Words arranged on paper. No mystical pointing to the divine. No poetry pulling at the soul and heart.

I raged at the waste. I wept inside for what might have been.

1 comment:

annaken said...

Good Afternoon Jefferson,

I have read some of the works of Sufi (Islam) Jewish and Christian mystics and have such works in my home. I am personally very attracted to that form of worship, especially the Sufi version.

I am very sorry that you were disappointed in your reading of his work.

Not all people are able to express themselves eloquently; in fact, a great many people cannot.

It does not mean that their feelings are not genuine and true.

If you are not satisfied with this gentleman's work, why not work on a mystic one yourself?

Consider that a challenge,


Perhaps the poet was just not able to communicate his true feelings into a poetic form you like.