26 October 2007

"We're wonderful One Times One"

I read today a blog entry by someone talking about "studying about love" and "reading about union with God." I was struck by how important it is to be instructed in love by loving (and failing to love!), and to learn about union with God by allowing him to love us and falling in love with him in return; we learn about union by being estranged, reconciled, and united. Afterall, there are some things we only really learn about in the doing of them, and while I am a great student in the academic sense, I know too that there are simply some things that reading "about" really means postponing the doing of. Mysticism is a fascinating subject; so are eremitism and prayer more generally. But at some point, books fail. They are completely inadequate to the incommensurate experience of union with God --- to ANY degree at all, even the slightest inkling of such a state!

In this context, I was reminded of the line of a poem by e e cummings, "(and birds sing sweeter than books tell how)"! In fact, when I looked up the poem, which I had last read many years ago, there were a whole series of comments on the inadequacy of book learning in this matter of love, and also, a focus on the reality of the union of love. As the poet also affirmed, when we have experienced genuine union, whether that is with another person, or with God himself then, "(books are/shutter/than books can be)"! So, while I suspect e e cummings was speaking of falling in love with another person, there is no reason this poem does not refer equally well to contemplative knowledge of communion with God gleaned from prayer.

In fact, the rhythm and structure of the poem catch at my heart like Celtic fiddle music, and I am reminded of the joy captured by Charles Schultz and the animators that collaborated with him in his pictures of "the Snoopy Dance"! These always make me think how "right" they are to the experience of prayer, how well they express the joy which results from a life lived in light of such a reality. Once again e e cummings has said something better, with greater charm, spontaneity, and joy, than I could ever hope to.

if everything happens that can't be done
(and anything's righter
than books
could plan)
the stupidest teacher will almost guess
(with a run
around we go yes)
there's nothing as something as one

one hasn't a why or because or although
(and buds know better
than books
don't grow)
one's anything old being everything new
(with a what
around we come who)
one's everyanything so

so world is a leaf so tree is a bough
(and birds sing sweeter
than books
tell how)
so here is away and so your is a my
(with a down
around again fly)
forever was never till now

now I love you and you love me
(and books are shutter
than books
can be)
and deep in the high that does nothing but fall
(with a shout
around we go all)
there's somebody calling who's we

we're anything brighter than even the sun
(we're everyanything greater
than books
might mean)
we're everyanything more than believe
(with a spin
alive we're alive)
we're wonderful one times one

(From the Collected Poems, "1 X 1", or "One Times One")