Monday, October 13, 2008

Spiritual phenomenology

As I was editing my personal narratives this Yom Kippur, I thought of the various markers in my spiritual/religious journey. That path, looking back, seems rather like a direct line, a search that slowly, inevitably led to Judaism from a general or universal or nondescript spirituality. But, of course, it was not a direct line. Neither was it a product of any conscious pursuit, especially during the period of 1968 to 1989.

In 1968, as an 18 year old, I was a confirmed (devout?) atheist with a deep disdain for religion. However, I couldn’t avoid the incessant incursions of thoughts, impressions, and experiences that insisted there was a higher self or higher state of being “beyond.” Over time I acknowledged the reality of these experiences, not as aberrations or weaknesses or regressions in my “progress out of superstition,” but as insights at the horizon of my consciousness.

As I attempted to expand my consciousness, what was once on the horizon came nearer. Still, at the horizon a greater being/light continued to shine and draw me out. I have tried to name both the experience and the “thing” that I was experiencing. A Divine Imperative is one way of describing them both in a single term. The more personal term for the thing experienced is, of course, God.

I wanted to upload a particular one of those markers on my path, a poem entitled, “Hu Iz Like Yu?” What a crooked road we walk! As I was searching for it, I discovered in my archives three other poems.

Every poem is a marker, but unlike “Hu Is Like Yu?,” I do not think of these three as important turning points. Nonetheless, I was very glad to excavate them and bring them to bloglite. As you will see they are a very different kind of poem from the work I am now doing. I would call them spiritual phenomenologies. This first poem, below, and the next few that I intend to upload, date from the early 1980's.

Things You Will Hear

Above all, the ocean
Waves crashing and the low pitch,
Breakers,
                                        Waves crashing
Moving up the scale
To the high hiss,
Foam.

You will hear it again
As the light breaks,
                                        Crashing
                                        And the high vibrato,
Radiance,
On your Etheric Body.
Waves?
A distant memory.

                                        And yet again
Then the rhythmic scales
Will merge into a heartbeat.
Diastole. Systole.
Diastole. Systole.
                                        The rhythmic scales
                                        But you can't remember where,
The rumble and the hiss,
And all will be forgotten.

No, a vague recollection
Will come and go,
You cannot hold it,
                                        Twilight,
                                        Waves crashing
And you will continue
Changing bodies.

3 comments:

David van Dusen said...

Stephen,
For all my love of your perfectly singular & endlessly shifting orthography (is this the word ?) --- I'm pleased to see that you're working now with regularised spelling. It's not the principle of the thing that pleases me --- but simply the clarity it lends your songs. It opens them up --- for lack of a better phrase --- to the weak ones among us. & this is beautiful.
Peace,
d/

David van Dusen said...

ah! I only now see that these are older poems --- from the eighties. Still, perhaps there is a future in this, & not only a past. Parallel versions of the same poems? Only you can decide it. But these poems do read as if a veil has been lifted --- there is a clarity & immediacy to them that is not to be despised.
"Diastole. Systole." --- indeed.
d/

Stephen Berer said...

Dear David,
Your kind words make it all worthwhile. And your advice to this linguistic curmudgeon has, I think, penetrated my thick skin. Perhaps I need to write in both languages, and not be so insensitive to the virtues of normspell.

Did you see the post of 10/11,
"Consciousness and personal narratives?" I'd be curious to hear your feedback.