Being-There

And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked a
t”
Burnt Norton ~ T.S. Eliot


We stop and smell the roses,2 frustrated
with a fragrance faded out to favour
candied compositions.3 Bold blooms
however, halt our hastening – like traffic lights
we should be glad such scentless sights
have power to dam the rushing stream
of all preoccupation.

The clock watch stops —
there’s time enough to watch
the hunter gatherings of bees
feel the hairs lift on the breeze
smell the aftermath of long-sought rain
on dry, cracked earth – then check the weather vane.
I’ve stood stock still to sneak preview
ants that tickle aphid farms for honeydew.
And in the midst of rustic reverie
recite some lines from childhood memory 4

Yet all these things divine are still diversion
Fixating thoughts on that not this, elsewhere
and so we see without a glimpse of what we are
there in the rose garden5


Notes:.
1.Title translated from the German da-sein – Heidegger’s philosophy of existence as presence
2. Proverb meaning: “To take time out of one’s busy schedule to appreciate the beauty of life.”
3. See Science News: “Missing enzyme to blame for scentless roses
4. References the subject and meter of Davies’ “Leisure” poem, which I learned as a child
5. A motif of Eliot’s poetry – see Wagner’s “The Meaning of Eliot’s Rose Garden

Taking it to the existential level, after Merril prompts us to include a chosen proverb in our poem for her Poetics challenge: The Proverbial

25 Comments on “Being-There

  1. Existential and there’s definitely a feel of Eliot to this. I’ve read it over a few times–so rich with images and meaning.

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  2. Oh Laura this is gorgeously, gorgeously deep! One becomes so caught up in the labyrinth of the world, its ways that he forgets to appreciate the beauty surrounding him. Especially love; “Bold blooms however, halt our hastening – like traffic lights we should be glad such scentless sights have power to dam the rushing stream of all preoccupation.”💝💝

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  3. Most people seem to be in too much of a hurry or too distracted to appreciate what may be right in front of them. Interesting about the scentless roses!

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  4. Wow, this is absolutely exquisite, beautiful, and rich. I absolutely loved this. Often we become way too focused on one thing, we miss what is right in front of us or what is truly important. ❤

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  5. I was lost in your beautiful rose garden reverie.

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    • since you ask so nicely Lisa – here’s my summary
      the proverb is about stopping our hustle bustle to appreciate what is around us like being arrested by the smell of roses but modern roses and modern times rely much more on visuals hence our eye-candy fragrantless roses. Still bold colours too can stop us in our tracks, long enough to admire and then see other things – all the little things in the second verse which echoes Davies’ “Leisure” poem of “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare”…
      But the final stanza point to an existentially sacred viewpoint – that this is not the end purpose but the beginning -to lead us to a contemplative life – and as even a young Eliot/Prufrock hints at
      “that leads us to an overwhelming question”
      (who we are in terms of what we are, our relationship to the Divine)
      No wonder the response to that is
      ” Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
      Let us go and make our visit.”

      (Back to distraction and the hustle bustle of life)

      The rose garden is the spiritual world descending on the material when we give space, meditation, prayer time to see it

      Liked by 1 person

      • ❤ ❤ ❤ Laura, I knew it was something beautiful in the puzzle. Thank you for helping me see.

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  6. Paradox of our times. Sigh.

    Only the enlightened souls can overcome.
    And hope the rest of us to follow.
    Adored the imagery of your words. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. This is a proverb for our times. So many layers to both stillness and perception. (K)

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  8. This was so enjoyable to read, all the jostling images! I especially loved the second stanza and the lines:
    smell the aftermath of long-sought rain
    on dry, cracked earth – then check the weather vane.
    I’ve stood stock still to sneak preview
    ants that tickle aphid farms for honeydew. ❤

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