Thought Tinker

The headaches come and she weeps alone;
afraid or is it ashamed to let anyone know
the hurt inside, the eye-popping terror
of a heart in chains, distress kept private
in a world that yearns for performance art;

I myself get them rarely, though I am
familiar with pain, can locate it at will
should the need arise, summon it boldly
to my lips. Whether in service to some
particular end I had in mind or a means
unto itself, this kinship with my own
darkest nature can surprise, stirring
deep revulsion at the unsavory;

To what end is this constant shaving,
whittling away perceived rough edges
when those I love most in life maintain
their own feral nature?

[photo: One of the more reclusive, yet fully vocal Melodious Laughing Thrush youths who visits our birdbath to luxuriate. They are very vigorous bathers!]

18 thoughts on “Thought Tinker

    1. Yes, have read Tolle and agree – as long as we’re in human form, we do confront pain. This poem was simply exploring a difference of how it is handled, and if you read my comment to Swarn, you’ll see how I originally ended it. The clever masking of expectations was a theme here, albeit underlying. Aloha, Betty – and have a good night! ❀

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  1. Well written Bela. Short and powerful. A call it seems for the importance of emotional honesty. So difficult at times for a variety of reasons, but I’ve always felt that it is necessary in order to achieve understanding. Pain might feel so great that we don’t want to address it and just hope it will go away. But it never really does. Although I do think the passage of time helps in gathering the energy to face it. But eventually it has to be faced and I think understood. But I think your poem raises the important point about expectations. What society expects of us…and what we come to expect out of ourselves. Facing pain means making ourselves vulnerable for a time. NEver an easy thing to do.

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    1. Swarn, bless your heart for reading this with such perception. I appreciate your thoughtful response as well.

      This ‘was’ going to be my ending to the poem as originally penned, but I truncated it at the risk of sounding preachy. It was basically a stream of consciousness, though:

      What is this constant shaving, whittling
      away perceived rough edges,
      and to what end when those I love most
      in life maintain their own feral nature;
      Inwardly striving for an ideal if not idea,
      inspiration, insight into the endlessly complex
      subtleties of my species; whatever
      could I foresee as a result?

      This future envisioning is a clever disguise
      to mask expectations, for surely as forethought
      broaches the horizon, the mind goes straight
      to work on paving roads to a perceived
      destination. Resentment, meet ‘Destination B.’
      These cycles can be perpetual, even when mindful.
      The key, I am sure, is that with mindfulness,
      one begins to tease apart the holograms
      that overlay Clear Mind. This layer, depending
      on time and tides, can be quite difficult
      to remove. Still, it is done every day
      somewhere, somehow.

      So as you can see, expectations were the very thing I was addressing, in the end.

      Have a wonderful 2018, Swarn, with your sweet growing family! Aloha ❀

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      1. I like that ending Bela. The subject of expectations is an interesting one in general. As I meditate more, I see the duality of expectations which both limit us, while at the same time expectations can also help us strive for more. There are good and bad expectations. I’ve come to feel that losing all expectations isn’t realistic but what one has to do is evaluate which expectations are helpful and harmful, and hold them loosely and not make them real, but see them as ideas. Not sure if that makes sense.

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    1. Thanks for taking time to comment, Cecilia. What you say is of course true. This poem was meant to address the ways in which one might wish to ‘use’ that pain and suffering as means to some sort of end. Part of the human wish for drama, as it were πŸ˜‰ Aloha.

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    1. Aloha, Noel – nice to see a new voice joining in. And yes, pain happens, for certain. And I’m always interested in how it’s expressed, held in, conveyed, withheld. As with all emotions, it’s what seems to color human existence, and is the stuff of poets and psychologists alike. Best wishes in this New Year!

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  2. Nice work, dear Bela, as ever. I think we all need to keep whittling away at those rough edges, if by those you mean the sources of potential harm we may cause others. At the same time, I feel one has to maintain humility in accepting that ethical and moral perfection is beyond us β€” the Jains try not walking where insects may lie, but then we end up striving for the impossible ideals that your original closing pointed to. I guess it’s about intent, really, Bela: trying our best not volitionally to cause harm, yet accepting our fallibility in the task. It’s about having a good heart, and forgiving ourselves when we fall short. I find the Buddhist precept of Right Speech is tremendously helpful in this regard, yet have never perfected it, nor do I anticipate doing so. I know that, like yourself, I am a decent person, well-intentioned, and really, doing the best that it’s possible for me to do. It would be futile to expect more of myself, it seems. We have our animal consciousness, and can use it wisely to render it less harmful over time, but let’s not get too carried away splashing around in the birdbath, singing and feeling self-satisfied with our progress, for our nature is in nature, never apart from it. I remember one time possessing a sort of ‘spiritual pride’, almost as if the human animal was gradually being left behind. But no, that never happens, though harmlessness feels far closer than it ever has, so I whittle away. H ❀

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    1. Haha, yes to the whittling. I don’t recall spiritual pride, though it’s not to say I never had it. My battle is more internal – I care less how I appear to others, though the harmlessness you highlight is, at the core, selfsame.

      I think the journey toward seeing myself as the decent person I now know I am has more been at issue, because to this day I have a hard time setting boundaries of self protection and am always surprised at the cruelty and disrespect of others when it comes to spotting my heart’s vulnerabilities. Instead of confronting I fall back, leaving another to wonder what happened, though surely they must know their error – which has to be pretty gross for me to finally choose to disengage. Then again, I overestimate cluelessness – both in others but also in myself at times.

      I love this, “trying our best not volitionally to cause harm, yet accepting our fallibility in the task.” You are ever brilliant at encapsulating vast arcs of wisdom; I instead flop around in the poetry birdbath in various degrees of depth πŸ˜‰ And of course all such meanderings are useful, so I am not diminishing my own contributions. Though I do (harmlessly) envy your crystalline abilities πŸ˜‰

      Many thanks as ever for your wise and heartfelt input, Hariod. Sending you many blessings and love in this budding New Year, my friend. Love. ❀

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  3. I think Bela we all chip away, and the layers just seem to keep coming. The Bird is beautiful and symbolic of our own cleansing process.. We often do not see within ourselves, what others see in our natures. And so no matter how sweet our voice, within all of us is held our shadows. We all of us have much work to do, as we preen our feathers. πŸ™‚ I most certainly have much to work upon.. But so long as I know I try my best to be the best I know how to be.. It is all I can be, given the knowledge I access.
    I know I have a long way before I migrate back home, All I can do is flap my wings, hoping with each flap, I get stronger to eventually take flight. πŸ™‚

    Loved reading Bela.. Wishing you Joy and Peace my friend as we all of us are on our homeward journey.
    Love Sue

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