Wintery Solstice greetings. Let us all work together for a more peaceful and just 2012.


During my reading yesterday I came across this quote from French poet, essayist and thinker, Paul Valéry (1871-1945):

'The true poet does not know the exact meaning of what he has just had the good luck to write. A moment later he is a mere reader. He has written non-sense: something that must not present but receive a meaning, and that is very different. ... The verse is waiting for a meaning. The verse is waiting for a reader.'

(JR Lawler trans. In The Collected Works of Paul Valéry, ed J Matthews,
Princeton University Press)

I connected it immediately to the free writing I do. It is not until I read it back that I see meaning, indeed, having done the exercise of going back through my journals, it may not be until I re-read it some time later that I grasp what is being said. What I was trying to communicate.

It also applies to when we let our words go free to an audience beyond ourselves. How relaxed can we be about them not 'getting it'? How prepared are we that they will find their own meanings in what we have written, which might diverge from what we intended?


Going through my old writing journals I found an entry inspired by John O'Donohue, poet, priest and philosopher, who died in 2008. He contrasted the external world with each individual's 'profoundly nameless' internal world, and said that if we live only in the external our 'heart will whither in the famine fields of image, information and noise'. He also warned that, though there maybe some security in sameness and predictability, there is no growth or peace in a denied life and to renege on the call of our creativity is to rob ourselves of everything.

Though I love the lights and baubles which twinkle out into the darkness at this time of year, I fear the boisterous commercialism creates a famine for our souls which no turkey - however huge - can satiate. The accepted and banal rush and bustle and stress associated with the buying and primping and over-indulging of a modern-day Christmas will surely leave us feeling empty when the New Year comes around.