Day’s end

Who needs gods or heaven or moral philosophies?
Your body at rest on the hammock is worth
more than all the imaginary heavens
of all the religions
ever invented

more than all the first principles
of all philosophies. All you
need to do is look at it
and see. If you listen

closely

you can hear the birds singing

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19 thoughts on “Day’s end

    • Wow, great thought, Terence. There are some definite advantages to “sleeping” (as you well point out). There are also some advantages to “singing” (including a personal reason which probably is irrelevant to the release version of the poem). I will have to think about this. It’s exactly the kind of feedback I love to get!

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  1. My goodness, I’d have felt something very similar if I saw a loved one, relaxed on a hammock, living life, taking it easy, being purely present in the present… Such a beautiful thought, especially in likening that atmosphere of serenity and appreciation to heaven- there’s definitely more here than meets the eye – but then the simplest thought always holds great wisdom.
    About that melancholic note you refer to in your backstory, I’d say that perhaps, because you shared it with me, I’m more aware of it now (or maybe if I dwelt a while with the poem, I might have found it myself) – the melancholy of the fleeting moment, the transience of it…”aching joys” as Wordsworth called them.
    Thanks for sharing this!

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    • Thanks, Isha. I feel that the melancholia is not baked into the poem but depends on the interface a given reader brings to it. Also relevant is that the poem (and the optional melancholia) could work on two levels. “YOUR body” could be an impersonal pronoun (as in “at high elevation you can hardly breathe”), in which case the poem is primarily a philosophical poem about what is most valuable in human life; or it could be a personal pronoun, in which case it’s more of a romantic poem about a transcendental connection between two individuals (“I” and “you”). Or perhaps the two levels might be two tunnels to the same endpoint. But before I lose myself in this (double) rabbit hole, back to your point — the melancholia may or may not appear on either level in a given reading, depending on the reader, but where it does appear, I think your Wordworthian ground holds true 🙂

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      • That’s a very interesting take – never would have thought of taking it as an impersonal pronoun . Also, I agree, the poignancy isn’t apparent in any way – and totally subjective to the reader’s disposition and state of mind. 🙂

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        • Full disclosure: The bit about personal/impersonal pronoun is the afterthought of me-as-critic, not an intentional part of the writing process. But I’d like to playfully argue that your inability to intuit the impersonal pronoun possibility means you are a hopeless romantic 🙂

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          • Oh of course, I get that. You’re in a different space when you write and a more analytical one when you read/assess it. It’s interesting to see the results of critiquing one’s own work, it can be both revelatory and insightful.
            As for ‘hopeless romantic’, it’s a tag I’m used to. Another blogger who read my work regularly, but has been MIA for quite some time now bestowed it upon me as well. It’s funny, ironic even, since the experiences I’ve actually had in life would have made for the worst cynic!

            Thanks again, and wishes for a good weekend.

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