For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Brief Candle


The flame is out, but scent and smoke remain.
Is absence presence by another name?

9 comments:

George said...

The absence of presence is not the presence of absence. Good painters know that the creative use of negative space, which stands outside subjects and objects, is no less critical to the composition of art. I think there is an analogy here to the art of life. I'm always moved by the title of Doris Grumbach's spiritual memoir, "The Presence of Absence."

Ruth said...

This is beautiful mystery, even when it is painful. While part of me needs the open space of absence (whatever that means), another part of me mourns the absence of the flame. I think what you are getting at in your simple statement and question is that I must see them differently, and love what presence is there, to sense it for what it is, even though I miss the absence of the state I have preferred.

Some days it's harder than others, and I just want to light the cold wick!

The Weaver of Grass said...

This is all getting too complicated for me Robert.

pilgrimpace said...

Good poem. Is the absence also something to do with memory and being reminded (also the key time of knowing you've been using a beeswax or parafin candle)?

Andy

Susan Scheid said...

You put me in mind of John Cage's 4'33", 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. Only there is no silence, instead there is the presence of all the sounds that we might otherwise not hear.

ksam said...

Hmm first thing that came to mind, besides nearly smelling smoke after reading this, was the Basho one about the monastery bells. Lovely.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I understand you, George. I'm also reminded of the 'holes' in a Henry Moore statue, enjambments in poems ... and John Cage, as cited by Susan.

A beautiful mystery, indeed, Ruth. And sometimes painful, to be sure. It's St John of the Cross and his Dark Night of the Soul; it's RS Thomas searching for his God in hints and whispers, a God that seems to have just departed; it's Simone Weil 'waiting on God' ...

Thanks for visiting Pat ... and Andy, ha, brilliant!

Oh yes, Basho's temple bells, the sound and the silence, the presence and the absence. Perfect, Karin.

am said...

I'd say yes. I like this photo. Now I'm thinking about Dorothy Day and her book The Long Loneliness

The Solitary Walker said...

I'd say yes too, am. Thanks for this.