faith is sustained by absurdity, and this is why we cling to poetry with such despair. this is the observation that matters most in all of poetry: is there poetry after words? is poetry only about words relating to other words, image relating to image? or in other words, is there such thing as a poetic life? we give words too much credit and poets know that. many tell us it is better to abide in silence and then dutifully proceed to write copious volumes to explain it’s virtues. it seems silence inspires the most words. the poetic life is not just a life of writing poetry. we live poetry by the way we live, and some of us also like to write about it. i enjoy that too. but art is not just artifacts. the poetic life is a social project, it is what martin buber called the “dialogical life.” poetry is in the between of an i and a thou.
in one of his poems, rabbi abraham joshua heschel wrote: “to unmask the god who disguised himself as world.” but why a disguise? how is the world different from god? baruch spinoza said that god is nature, and when i love nature i love god. rabbi abraham yitzhak hacohen kook wrote: “inner meditation is very demanding. it seeks to ascend without letting anything in the world disturb it.” but why is the world a disturbance? we meditate with the world, not away from it. it all comes down to this: recognizing the god that is everything we say thou to everything. then nothing is a disguise nor a disturbance, everything becomes presence and encounter. martin buber said: “to look away from the world, or to stare at it, does not help a man to reach god; but he who sees the world in him stands in his presence.”
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