Definition #307 Writing

swimming underwater

swimming underwater

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

Starting a Poem

by Robert Bly

You’re alone. Then there’s a knock
On the door. It’s a word. You
Bring it in. Things go
OK for a while. But this word

Has relatives. Soon
They turn up. None of them work.
They sleep on the floor, and they steal
Your tennis shoes.

You started it; you weren’t
Content to leave things alone.
Now the den is a mess, and the
Remote is gone.

That’s what being married
Is like! You never receive your
Wife only, but the
Madness of her family.

Now see what’s happened?
Where is your car? You won’t
Be able to find
The keys for a week.

Breath in the Breath

clouds
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in the Indian shrine rooms,
nor in the synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor in kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly—
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

Kabir
Translated by Robert Bly

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