This is a poem dealing with an ambiguous asceticism…
On the one hand, this asceticism is necessary; on the other, it is in danger of going too far, of cutting off the very life it is attempting to heal. “My soul” is the Self that is beyond the identity of “I”.
This poem is from my recently-published collection Black Sun: Poems 1965-1985 (Finishing Line Press, 2014) which can be purchased here.
|Photograph 'Dark River' by Ziut Klosinski|
The Meeting with God
I, who do not know my own soul’s name
have already seen her,
disguised as the shadow of a river,
saying to me:
“Cry as much as you can
for you cannot live another day
without meeting God.
Your heart cannot be broken more.”
When I came back into the world
all those of the world made me forget you,
saying that I’d loved you more
than anyone could love God;
God would punish me, they all said,
by making me love even more.
How can I pretend not to know you
when I have loved you since
before the day I was born?
You are among a new people.
And my soul has come here
to help me find you.
“Give up the last thing you could own,”
“Take the last bite of food out of
Give up this life.”
Jennifer Doane Upton was born in eastern Kentucky in 1947, and studied under Wendell Berry at the University of Kentucky. In 1972 she moved to California where she studied poetry with Jack Gilbert and Jack Marshall, and published in several little magazines and anthologies. She has had a lifelong interest in the mystical poetry of the world, and later in life developed an interest in traditional metaphysics and comparative religion. In 2004 she returned to Kentucky with her husband Charles. The following year, her book 'Dark Way to Paradise: Dante’s Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path' was published by Sophia Perennis. The present poem(s) are from her recently-published collection Black Sun: Poems 1965-1985 (Finishing Line Press, 2014) which can be purchased here.
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