“I wonder whether there will ever be enough tranquility under modern circumstances to allow our contemporary Wordsworth to recollect anything. I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.” —Saul Bellow, the Art of Fiction No. 37, 1966
Its been a noisy week. Lots of distractions and rhetoric and words, dirty words. I need to rest with some beautiful words. Words about beauty. Words that bring us together, not pull us apart.
Here’s an excerpt from a post on one of my favorite blogs, brainpickings.org, where Maria Popova comments on Jane Hirshfield’s selection of essays, “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” These words were just what I needed to read.
“Defining poetry as “the clarification and magnification of being,” she (Jane Hirshfield) writes: “Here, as elsewhere in life, attentiveness only deepens what it regards.” In the superb opening essay, titled “Poetry and the Mind of Concentration,” Hirshfield examines the nature of this clarified, magnified deepening of being — concentration as consecration — by probing its six main components: music, rhetoric, image, emotion, story, and voice. Although focused on the reading and writing of poetry, her insight ripples outward in widening circles (as Rilke might way) to encompass every kind of writing, all art, and even the art of living itself.”
Continue reading her post or pick up the essay and give yourself a much needed break from all this noise. Just be sure to find some quiet place and listen, read or just look at something beautiful today.