Friday, 7 August 2009
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
- Walter Savage Landor, The End
People want some sort of consistency in their lives; they want to live their lives according to a rhythm. Wait a minute! Don’t people want adventure and the excitement that comes with it? I hear you say. They do, but within the bounds of a certain ‘routine’.
The other day I was listening to a talk by Peter Kreeft (I really should find other people to spend hours listening to) in which he says we must live our lives like poetry. This immediately made me think of great people like Ghandi, Mother Teresa and Mandela. Whenever one reads of their lives it always seems very poetic – the pain they felt is described in such beautiful terms that make it seem like theirs was a higher kind of pain and their joy was a nobler sort of joy. Dr Kreeft’s statement has been bothering me for a few weeks now because I can’t seem to fine tune my life to the point that it is poetic. When I feel sad, though, it’s a boring sort of sadness and when I’m happy it seems to be an everyday kind of happiness... nothing to write poetry about because poetry – in my head at least – is vibrant, toxic, dangerous and all kinds of exciting.
What I want is for my inner being to be consistent with my outer being, I want to feel like there is a storm raging inside of me when I argue with someone and I want to feel like my heart is melting when I see my beloved... you know, that Romantic kind of thing the old poets always seem to be on about. I want adventure within a confined sort of space – a taste of the unexpected wrapped in familiar packaging.
I might be generalising but I suspect that most of the human race is like me and Walter Savage (this name is fitting somehow) Landor, we want to look back and be able to say that we lived our lives according to some ideal that made us feel nice and warm or crazy and heated in a poetic kind of way. Daily life in a city doesn’t seem to cater for people want to feel poetic about their lives though, which is why I plan to be a surfer or a tree hugger (which is not a nice thing to call someone I’m told).