Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 14, 2011

Sometimes A Conversation…

 

ORNAMENTS OF LOVE

Koi carp, the ornamental,

Silver, platinum and coral,

Scarlet and blue ink

Gather at the brink

 

Show their open mouths, display

How they can tell the time of day,

Rising to receive

A lunch of lettuce leaves

 

Ornamental koi are fed

With what tame fish receive for bread:

Watermelon rind

And forage of this kind

 

Koi exist to be admired,

In tortoise shell they are attired,

Splashes of the black

Dashed across the back

 

So would God have kept our race

If Adam, Eve had kept their place,

Ornaments of love

Admired from above

Pavel

10/13/2011

The poet is Pavel Chichikov, someone I know.  I read the poem and a line presented itself to me, which led to some other lines:

And now if we are ornaments at all

It is for ourselves we wear the pall

Dun colored, turning, burning

Ever unsatisfied, yearning

 

While he patient waits

Dispenser of every grace.

 

My wife Mariellen read both and wrote the following:

Excellent poems, both.  Pavel’s left me thinking, “No.  He NEVER meant us to be mere ornaments, mere pets.  No.”

And Peter’s made me think, “Yes.  Ever unsatisfied, yearning.  And isn’t that why, in the first place, we ‘fell’?’

Which brought me back to the first thought.  Pavel’s poem is very true despite that in me which hears those last four lines and recoils.  He _would_ have kept us like pet koi if He had created us able to be satisfied with that.  However, it was He who placed in us that irrepressible yearning for more.  And through our “fall” and the wound it opened within our collective soul He has redeemed us into another interior realm, a realm in which we are by union of mind and heart with God the feeders and tenders of the tadpoles in the pool, even of our very selves.

Or so I muse.

 

And, to which Pavel replied:

That’s a very interesting meditation, Mariellen. To praise God in joy forever is how I think of our destiny.   And to give pleasure to God would be no mean thing.

But I can only do the best I can to understand things.

 

And, there things stand, now.  A very long time ago in my life, my brother and I had a fight over some toy; a truck I think.  We would not let go of it, would not share.  And, so, our mother and father decided to throw out all of our toys.  I remember where I stood in our kitchen that night, and vividly recall both my parents filling paper bags with our toys as tears streamed down our cheeks, and we pleaded fruitlessly for mercy.  That memory comes back to me at times like this.

Another long ago memory joins it.  Sheila, may she rest in peace, told me once that her early childhood at home with her mother was a beautiful time, happy, joy filled.  Then her father came home from the war and everything changed.  We would call him today a victim of PTSD.  It meant only this to her as she said, “I was kicked out of Eden.”

Pavel’s brought the rushing back of those memories, and my few lines try to capture, and perhaps universalize, the feeling of loss and frantic anxiety to undo what has been done and return to what can never be again.

And Mariellen’s words reveal to me something I had not considered until I read them.  What has been given is much, much more than restoration.

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Responses

  1. Kept. Bless the lot of you:))

    • Thank you, Alys.

  2. A friend of mine – Greek – kept telling to clean her room and pick up her toys. One day he came home, took a big plastic garbage bag, put the toys into it and carried them to the children’s hospital.

    I don’t understand the video. I noticed that upon arrival, the suit did not greet the men sitting at a table. I noted also that the suits had helmets. Is this somehow the meaning>

  3. “…kept telling his daughter…”

  4. PETER, MARIELLEN, AND PAVEL; ALL YOUR THOUGHTS , POETIC OR IN PROSE INTERPRETATION, ARE AT THE HEART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION,”THE ONLY PROBLEM,” AS MURIEL SPARK MIGHT HAVE SAID. THE FREE WILL GRANTED TO OUR FIRST PARENTS WAS ABUSED BY THEM AS THEY SUCCUMBED TO THE TEMPTER TO WANT MORE THAN THEY WERE INITIALLY GIVEN-HUMAN PERFECTION. HOW TRAGIC IT WAS TO WANT TO KNOW AS ONLY THE LORD GOD CAN AND AND SHOULD KNOW AND TO DISOBEY,THUS ALLOWING SIN , PAIN, SUFFERING, AND DEATH INTO OUR WORLD. WHAT A LOSS! WHAT A BLOWN OPPORTUNITY!
    BUT CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS RESTORED THE POSSIBILITY OF FINDING GRACE AND BEAUTY IN THIS LIFE,AND EVEN MORE, OF COOPERATING WITH THAT GRACE AND CREATING AND DOING THE BEAUTIFUL THING IN THE ARTS, IN THE SCIENCES, IN NURTURING THAT WHICH WE ALREADY APPREHEND AS BEAUTIFUL, THE “PIED BEAUTY ” GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS DISCOVERED AND REVEALED IN HIS EPIPHANIC POETRY. I WISH I HAD HIS SUBLIME GIFT OF VERBALLY EXPRESSING THE BEAUTIES IN GOD’S CREATION. PERHAPS WE ALL HAVE THIS GIFT AND ARE CAPABLE OF ARTICULATING IT IN DIVERSE WAYS; IN MUSIC, IN PAINTING, IN A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA, OR IN SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS AND OF LOVE, OF PITY AND OF MERCY. I BELIEVE WE DO. WE, AS A RACE HAVE DONE IT, MOST DRAMATICALLY AS MANIFESTED IN THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS, LESS SO, PERHAPS, IN THE LIVES OF ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL.

    • Thank you, Dr. Mullan. Hopkins is the man.

  5. Don’t forget, “The Pulley” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is in man’s nature to be unsatisfied and to therefore strive for perfection, heaven if you will.

    • I think you meant George Herbert…the initials are the same, but I understand your point, Joe, and thank you.

    • I thought the Pulley was by George Herbert. Along with Gerard Manley Hopkins one of my very favourite poets. They speak, I think, to different kinds of yearning, but oh – don’t they evoke it so deeply?

    • They do, Alys, they do…and so does Pavel.

  6. Peter,
    A beautiful, very thoughtful interpretation!
    Paul

    • Thanks, Paul

  7. […] so long ago a friend wrote a poem which started me thinking and led to a short three way conversation between the two of us and my wife.  My friend, Pavel, is a good poet who pays attention to his […]


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