Fire-fangled Feathers

Of Mere Being

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze décor.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings.  Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
                        - Wallace Stevens

This poem is a favorite of mine.  Wallace Stevens gives us facts simply stated.  There's the tree; there's the bird; the wind moves through the branches, etc.

We instinctively use our minds eye to picture the scene he paints with his words.  But where is this scene?  He says: " the end of the mind, beyond the last thought...on the edge of space..."  That is, beyond words.

What we do, or think, or feel doesn't matter.  These things simply exist.  They just are.  And as Emily Dickinson wrote:

Existence - in itself
Without a further function -
Omnipotence - Enough - 

So how do we access this elusive space beyond words, between thoughts, where we simply exist, just are, and mere being is enough?

For some, meditation.  For others, prayer as presence and contemplation. Through dance.  And for many of us, through music, the language that begins where words leave off.


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