November 3, 2004

Like an Embryo

Little by little, wean yourself.

This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

Jelaluddin Rumi


Marjorie said...

The poem may be a bit beyond me, but you've brought to my mind such lovely memories of speaking to my little embryos and later, fetuses -- calling them 'sweet feet' and 'dances in womb' and asking them to move their limbs just a bit so they'd stop poking mommy, and sympathizing with them when they had the hiccups. Perhaps in an unanticipated way, you've brought me some peace and joy. Thank you.

Meredith said...

Dear Sparky,

You bring the sweetness of motherhood to your posts. From your writing I sense your deep identification with being a mother – how important this is to you. Your children are obviously well loved and nurtured. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

For me this poem is about how all of us begin the spiritual path rather embryonic, as still in a small dark womb or cocoon. We are inexperienced, with our eyes closed, unaware of the possibility of a greater existence, of another world beyond the one we live in each day. So unaware are we that we might even suspect that someone describing this possibility of another world was hallucinating. However, sooner or later we feel nudged - just as your little embryos were nudged by you. Responding to this, we may slowly begin to become aware of the possibility of something greater than ourselves, but at the same time, of ourselves. Leaving our dark womb, we begin to open our eyes, and see, little by little, the vast and intricate wondrous nature of God that we are a part of, and we begin to comprehend a magnificently greater reality. But we must respond, and have the courage to venture out of our womb, and open our eyes.

With opening eyes,

Marjorie said...

Meredith, Thank you for explaining the poem to me, its really beautiful. I don't know why I don't see these things for myself, perhaps I'm not still enough to appreciate poetry. Its nice to be able to see it through your eyes.

Warmly, Sparky

david said...

I got myself a copy of The Essential Rumi done at the local library. Only barely cracked the spine. But tahnks for the recommendation. I don't read enough poetry.

Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me,
if this is the time,
Do it gently with a touch of a hand, or a look.
Every morning I wait at dawn. That's when
it's happened before. Or do it suddenly
like an execution. How else
can I get ready for death?

Meredith said...

Yes, Kwakersaur,

Disolve me of ego, touch me, nudge me awake and alive to the sweetness of graceful presence...

Poetic blessings,

pureplum said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
And from this embryonic state,
from this here and now that is all we know,
we can slide out of the womb
or not
and open our eyes
to more

I LOVE the stages of nourishment, starting with blood, then milk, then food, wisdom, and then... what some might call hallucinations

PoeticMermaid said...

There is a certain holiness about the new, the untouched, the newborn, who sees the world for all its possibilities, rather than its shortcomings. I already know that that my child will have so many precious gifts beyond my own.

Thank you for sharing the poem.

stan laurel said...

I can only dream what motherhood is like. It is a topic that I see from the outside. I, too, like the stages you incorporated in those lines. Well done!