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Original Poems: Four Voices Anticipating Spring with Commentaries

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

Lilacs in Our Backyard

Lilacs in Our Backyard

Introduction

Versions of these poems appear in my first published book of poems, Singing in Soul Silence: Voices of Faith. This special collection celebrates a declaration of a speaker who continually remains in anticipation of the coming of spring.

Two of the following poems—"Invitation" and "Divine Gardener"—are American (Innovative) sonnets. Each poem plays out in fourteen lines; "Invitation" is sectioned into two septets, without a clear rime-scheme or rhythm pattern, and "Divine Gardener" features a novtet (9-line stanza) and a tercet (3-line stanza). "Divine Gardener" also remains rimeless and without a discernible rhythm pattern.

The poems celebrate the resurrection of the earth and offer gratitude to the Divine Creator for His abundant love for and skill in manifesting newness and warmth after a barren season of decay and death. Each poem is introduced by an epigraphical quotation by Paramahansa Yogananda that sets the direction of the theme.

The commentaries focus on each poem as a stage of "Delight," literally "of light," as is dramatized in each poem offering.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")

First Voice: "Invitation"

"The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success." —Paramahansa Yogananda

Into my garden of weeds
Come, Eternal Gardener—
Teach me to plant & prune fine foliage.
Show me where to set the lilies & tulips
& where the roses should grow.
Guide my choices of herbs and vegetables.
Give me knowledge of fertilizer and fences.

Into my garden of words
Come, Eternal Poet—
Make my poems exude divine ardor.
Fashion my thoughts to bow at your feet.
Make my images spout living waters
From an enlightened fount
To refresh all who dip a cup

Reading of "Invitation

Commentary: Stage 1

The first stage of "Delight" opens the heart to joy with an "Invitation." The mere possibility of joy further opens the heart to faith. The Divine Creator created the Creation and rooted it in love.

The speaker invites the Divine Beloved into her metaphorical gardens: one of weeds and one of words. In the garden with the plants, she wishes be directed as to where each kind of plant would grow best. She wishes to grow a variety of fine fruits and vegetables; thus, she calls on the "Eternal Gardener," Who is the Master Instructor in all things herbal, to assist her in the use of "fertilizer and fences."

In her garden of words, she wishes to create little dramas in poems and sonnets that are filled with "divine ardor." She wants her thoughts be concentrated on the living guidance offered by her Divine Belovèd. Finally, she asks that her river of language flow like the "living waters" that ripple from the Divine Fount. Finally, she wants her words to be filled with inspiration that will uplift all who read her works.

Second Voice: "In My Spiritual Garden"

"The ordinary man considers solids and liquids and the energy manifestations of the material world to be vastly different, but the yogi sees them as various vibrations of the one cosmic light." —Paramahansa Yogananda

In my spiritual garden
I walk with you when the sun is medicine
And the rain suckles the beets & corn.
I walk with you between the rows of memories
Where love holds you between peppers & tomatoes.
I walk with you along the fence
And touch your hand & step across
Thinking of you as I pick the peas,
Still thinking of you as I weed
The beans & cucumbers.
I walk with you & with every silent step
And every moment of your absence
That would weaken the faith of one
Less in love, my love grows deep
Like the roots of the bamboo & my love
Grows straight like the stalks of asparagus.
In my spiritual garden I will always grow you
In the medicine sun & the suckling rain.

Reading of "In My Spiritual Garden"

Commentary: Stage 2

The second stage of "Delight" observes the growing of divine qualities in the heart and mind that correspond to the soul's eternal atmosphere of love and delight. The observer commands a rare space on the earth, acknowledges the efficacy of the soil, and renders gratitude for the order of all things "In My Spiritual Garden."

The speaker takes her listener into her garden as she steps across the fence, walks among and tends the variety of vegetables that grow there. In this piece, she honors and celebrates the sun and the rain that have assisted in the nurturing of the vegetation.

The sun, rain, and ability to garden all come for the same Divine Source, and the speaker insists that her love for that source remains eternally strong. The purpose of her songs is always to celebrate and honor that Great Source.

Third Voice: "Divine Gardener"

"Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts." —Paramahansa Yogananda

After we scoop the soil
over the seeds
& sprinkle the water
& pluck the weeds,
you will tend the growing
& tempt the eye with green
& yellow peppers,
& tempt the tongue
with onions & corn,
& invite us to taste your flesh
in cucumbers & tomatoes.

I will stand at the edge of the garden,
my lips & tongue tending the silence
I learn to thank you with.

Reading of "Divine Gardener"

Commentary: Stage 3

The third stage of "Delight" continues the rendering a gratitude that results in the ability to further learn and grow in body, mind, and soul qualities. As it recognizes that it is only "My Divine Beloved" Who exists, the soul bows and flows into the cosmos of Divine Reality.

The speaker promulgates the goal of her striving: after having brought about a garden with a bountiful harvest. the speaker will offer gratitude. And she will flourish in the "silence" that she has earned through her spiritual efforts. She intuits and reveals that the Belovèd exists in that silence.

As her hands have tended to her physical needs in her metaphorical garden of delight, her organs of speech will tend to the cosmic atmosphere in which she will remain in eternal gratitude for the blessings she receives.

Fourth Voice: "My Divine Beloved"

"The soul is individualized spirit." —Paramahansa Yogananda

When spring comes
Tilling the ground
I will plant seeds
And think of you
You are earth
You build my body.
When spring comes
Showering young plants
I will sing with raindrops
And think of you
You are water
You carry my life.
When spring comes
Warming my limbs
I will brown my skin
And think of you
You are fire
You inflame my heart.
When spring comes
Swirling on the wind
I will lean into it
And think of you
You are air
You clear my mind.
When spring comes
Rising from winter's tomb
I will sing devotion
And think of you
You are my Divine Beloved
You revive my soul.

Reading of "My Divine Beloved"

Commentary: Stage 4

The fourth stage of "Delight" cognizes "My Divine Beloved" as the doer of all things, the creator of all things, and the only Reality. The body, mind, and soul unite in the wisdom of the Belovèd's presence, experiencing the ever-new bliss of soul revival.

With this voice, the speaker fashions a hymn to the elements of earth, water, fire, and air. Each unique element plays out in an individualized formulation, colorfully painting the act to which the speaker will commit to each element, for example, that she will "sing with raindrop" shows her love and respect for the element of water.

She will honor the element of "air" by observing how the gentleness of its breezes "clear [her] mind." The fifth element, ether, is represented through the metaphor the imagines the soul emerging from darkness to light—"[r]ising from winter’s tomb." And she then revels in the fact that her Divine Belovèd restores her own soul.

© 2021 Linda Sue Grimes

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