July 16, 2003 Vision 1948

Dread spirit in my that I ever try
With written words to move,
Hear thou my plea, at last reply
To my impotent pen:
Should I endure, and never prove
Yourself and me in love,
Tell me, spirit, tell me, O what then?

And if not love, why, then, another passion
For me to pass in image:
Shadow, shadow, and blind vision.
Dumb roar of the white trance,
Ecstatic shadow out of rage,
Power out of passage.
Dance, dance, spirit, spirit, dance!

Is it my fancy that the world is still,
So gentle in her dream?
Outside, great Harlems of the will
Move under black sleep:
Yet in spiritual scream,
The saxophones the same
As me in madness call thee from the deep.

I shudder with intelligence and I
Wake in the deep light
And hear a vast machinery
Descending without sound,
Intolerable to me, too bright,
And shaken in the sight
The eye goes blind before the world goes round.

East Harlem, July 1948

Eye Ball

While pondering this poem…I find a short notation on the page of the book, as well as a journal entry on the computer, written before my own poetic response.  A great little discussion about the poem can be found here.

In cursive, I wrote…I face a white canvas today, but on the Feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  I’m very excited and feel filled up with Jesus.

My journal reads…I will smudge this space first and then claim this space as my retreat into great meditation, prayer and creativity.  I’m researching the labyrinth and doing meditations that take me to a peaceful place.  Sunflowers fill a vase on the kitchen table.  The tiger lilies are blooming in the garden.  I feel grateful.  The music will be turned up and I will dance in the studio.

The line that most moves me today is “Dance, dance, spirit, spirit, dance!”  he writes in Vision 1948 about the fear of his impotent pen…the blank space.  Interesting connection with my present experience.  Music will fill my day.

My response ©Kathleen Moors

Spirit, I call you forth
to fill my bones with
breath, life-giving,
spilling over like baptismal font
and sprinkling light.
I praise the God who gives
me life!
This is a blessing day of
Creativity and mutual affection
between us
filling up the space in my heart!

“In the summer of 1948, in his senior year at Columbia, Ginsberg had dedicated himself to becoming a poet after hearing in a vision the voice of William Blake reciting the poem “Ah Sunflower.” Experimenting with drugs like marijuana and nitrous oxide to induce further visions, or what Ginsberg later described as “an exalted state of mind,” he felt that the poet’s duty was to bring a visionary consciousness of reality to his readers. He was dissatisfied with the poetry he was writing at this time, traditional work modeled on English poets like Sir Thomas Wyatt or Andrew Marvell whom he had studied at Columbia.” Borrowed from this location about Modern Contemporary Poetry.


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