In this illuminating essay in The High Window, Sheila Wild discusses the unsaid in poetry.
Many years ago, at a time when I was beginning to take seriously both the writing of poetry and my Buddhist practice, I sat in the prayer hall of a Buddhist monastery and listened to the monks chant the evening puja, or service. It was the end of a busy festival day and most of the visitors had gone home, leaving me as the sole lay person present. I felt privileged to be there.
A white peacock appeared at a window and peered in, curious to see what was going on, and I began to shape this unusual incident into the beginnings of a poem. The words inside my head merged into the sound of chanting, and, after the initial resistance to an aural tradition alien to my own, my mind became trained to the alternation of voices and brass standing bells, the patterning of sound and silence. The…
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