Posted by: nastypen | March 6, 2007

Poetry in My Resignation Letter

So far, I only resigned twice in eight years.

Of course, one will never forget the first time. I sent my boss, one of the most powerful women in the country, a great journalist, a very demanding person, a bouquet of flowers. And I included this poem by Musharrif ud-Din Sadi, a Persian poet from the 11th Century. Sadi was a sholar who travlled all over the Middle East and even went to India before settling in waht is present-day Shiraz in Iran. And, he liked young men, too. So, I don’t think the Ayatollah in Iran would want like that piece of information.

But there is one poem of his which I truly love, and I always want to share this:

—||||—

Story of a Raindrop

A raindrop fell from a spring cloud, and seeing the wide espanse of

the sea. was ashamed. “Where the sea is,” it reflected, “where am I?

Compared with that, forsooth, I am extinct.”

While thus regarding itself with an eye of contempt, an oyster

took it to its bosom, and Fate so shaped its course that eventually the

raindrop became a famous royal pearl.

It was exalted for it was humble. Knocking at the door of extinction,

it became existent.

—||||—

I still get affected by his words.

I feel this poem tells me to not rest on my laurels and continue on with the fact that we are all essentially disposable specks in the universe. This notion of selflessness will eventually make one whole. Very Buddhist.

I got this poem from a great book…one of my top 10 picks of books to be stranded in a desert island with. The book is The Essential Gay Mystics, edited by Andrew Harvey. It is a collection of writings from the world’s most notable gay and lesbian writers, poets and artists.

I really appreciate that the editor included Asian writers here, even the Berdache, the native American spirtual leaders who blur the line between male and female. It was interesting to read of the section devoted to Middle Eastern poets, who had they been alive today, ignorance and brutality will see them dangling from the gallows.

Lordy, you should read Michelangelo’s sonnets. I hate him. He’s a master and he can write such letters of longing with florid but focused language. He wrote these sonnets for a younger and good-looking aristocrat. If you read them at first glance, they might be a little stalker-ish, but stanzas are a battle between his love and religious scruples.

Here’s a sample of his torment:

—||||—

What will become of me? What guide will show

Some value in myself I still may find?

When near, you burn me, when far off, you kill.

—||||—

God, I love this book. Just when the rest of the world would think and label homosexuals as shallow hedonists with great color coordination incapable of cohesive spirituality, this book offers a different perspective.

One review noted:

For Harvey, Walt Whitman is the pivotal figure of gay mystical history. He cites “the fearless, ecstatic witness” of Whitman and Edward Carpenter as well as successors D.H. Lawrence, Elsa Gidlow, and Audre Lord. These gay and lesbian people used their homosexuality as a channel to make sense of their spirituality. In them, he writes, Harvey discovered “images of gayness more noble and inspiring than those I was given by either straight or contemporary gay culture.”

I am just taking a break from reading. I can’t move around so much because my gout is back just in time for my birthday. So, I read and watch DVDs and let the myself melt into the words and worlds of brilliant people.

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Responses

  1. i have the harvey book. now, having come across your rave and the accompanying story, i shall have to read it. 🙂


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