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Original Poem: “A Spring Dream Phantasm” with Commentary

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Water Ripples

Introduction and Text of "A Spring Dream Phantasm"

The Western romantic notion of hearts and flowers, or brooding the loss of love, of the ecstasy of sexual liaison, loses it power in the face of reality: the soul belongs to God, the Divine, the Ultimate Reality, and no one else. After the heart has suffered over loss of human love, nothing can mend it except the awareness that the heart was not created for human love; it was created for only two purposes: to pump blood to keep the physical encasement going, and to finally give that love this heart so easily manufactures along with the blood to the Creator of that heart, the Divine Source, the Spirit, or God. And although two souls might find each other and prosper in an affectionate, life-time relationship, if they do not make that Creator of Hearts central in their lives, they cannot truly love each other.

A Spring Dream Phantasm

At the edge of the water
We sit together
Talking about heaven & earth
Poems & love.

You ask if I still think of you
While you are away.
I throw a stone into the water.
My answer is the ripples.

Commentary

This short lyric features many aspects of the Eastern philosophy known a Zen or Zen Buddhism. The simplicity of the peace emphasizes the depth of thought and feeling. When thought leads directly to feeling, Zen meditation begins. The poem is from an unpublished manuscript and will likely appear in a forthcoming collection, tentatively titled, “Light Sweeping.”

First Movement: 75% Water

At the edge of the water
We sit together

A pair of perhaps erstwhile lovers sits at the water’s edge. The speaker does not reveal what type of body of water it is: it could be a fountain, a lake, a small pond, or a gently meandering river. The speaker allows the element"water" to speak without limiting it to any specific type of earthly body. The human body is made of about 75% water; thus the human attraction to that element is strong, regardless of the form in which the water might appear.

Of all the elements—earth, water, fire, and air—water is the most poetic. Not only does it make up the largest part of the earth, but it puts out fire and easily converts to air through the agency of fire. Of course, the ultimate poetic nature remains an opinion. The opiner can always use his own persuasion to persuade his view.

Second Movement: Philosophically Speaking

Talking about heaven & earth
Poems & love.

Now opens the revelation that the pair is talking philosophically about pairs: "heaven & earth” and "poems & love.” Without revealing anything either might have said about those pairs, either as pairs or individually, the speaker implies that the two differ significantly—but that implication awaits fulfillment. The world of maya is composed of pairs of opposites, with which each being must contend just to keep body and soul together. They are not required to enjoy that contention; they are not required to contend unduly with rough, unbecoming characters. They must however contend.

Third Movement: A Question

You ask if I still think of you
While you are away.

The speaker then announces that her partner has asked her a question, a rather leading question—a question that makes clear that they have been apart. The partner has asked if she "still" thinks of him when he’s gone from her. The"still” insertion implies that for some reason he is sure she has thought of him and probably continues to do so. It is likely he is not prepared for her answer. The arrogance of some individuals leaves them open to responses, which they may prefer not to contend, but as usual, contending is a necessary activity in the world of maya. Delusion runs rampant, and especially encircles egomaniacs who seldom see beyond the mirror of their own mind.

Fourth Movement: The Image of Wavelets

I throw a stone into the water.
My answer is the ripples.

Her answer is the image of many water wavelets resulting from her having thrown a stone into the water. What happens to the wavelets? At first, they are strong, moving quickly out from the center of where the stone broke the surface of the water. But then as the wavelets continue, they grow slower and fainter, until they stop altogether. Sure, she thought of him at first, but then the thoughts diminished as the wavelets diminish after a stone in thrown into water. But . . . just imagine the tranquility, the peace, the beautiful silence of not thinking about him at all! That’s what the speaker wants everyone to realize. And now that the human longing and suffering have gone, there is time and a silent space in which to turn the heart and mind to the Divine. The perfect peace and humility of the speaker would buckle the knees of one less dense and perforated by disease. But the speaker does not expect an intelligent response of her erstwhile companion; she obviously knows the limit of his sutured brain. He has built his castle on sand, and she knows that it will quickly sink, despite any kind word or thought she might offer. Thus, she chooses silence.

Let the water do her talking! Let the ripple be her answer!

© 2020 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on May 04, 2020:

Thank you, Brenda! I appreciate your response and kind words.

This piece has always been one of my favorite original poems for its simplicity in the way nature seems to have cooperated with the speaker's thought and feeling. The alignment of human emotion and natural phenomena can always result in a poetic expression when the poet is fortunate enough to have captured the moment. It is even more precious because it is so rare.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 04, 2020:

This is a very good poem.

The stir of the water with ripples is an amazing ending.

Thus your explanation describes how it eventually fades to nothing.