I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Mind's Menagerie

I've been trying to get my poetry website together - but it's progressing slowly. I've flirted with a couple of free, supposedly idiot-proof website builders, but I can't get on with them at all. In the end I've decided to create a new, simple site with good old Blogger. Better the devil you know... During the course of my afternoon's HTML (Hate Technology, Must Learn to love it!) frustrations, I unearthed this poem which I wrote during my third Spanish Camino earlier this year...

Mind-Creatures

Today I travelled deep inside my head
Where thoughts cavort and play:
Mind-creatures, you might say.


The enigmatic cat
Kept her thoughts to herself,
But the servile dog,
Ever eager to please,
Pretended my thoughts were his thoughts.


The zebra thought in black and white
And the hippopotamus
In different shades of grey.


The ostrich tried to bury her thoughts in the sand,
While the flamingo meditated on one leg like a yogi.


The sloth and slug had sluggish thoughts,
The moth and bug had buggish thoughts,
And the rottweiler and pit bull terrier had, well, thuggish thoughts.


The cow's thoughts always ruminative,
The glow-worm's quite illuminative.


The giraffe's thoughts high and elevated,
The chimpanzee's sophisticated.


The eagle's thoughts were bold and soaring,
But the wild boar's thoughts were, frankly, boring.


The owl had very wise thoughts,
The chameleon disguised thoughts.


The rabbit had only one thing on his mind,
And that was to replicate more of his kind.


The March hare had mad thoughts,
And the wolf big, bad thoughts.


The elephant pondered a life of longevity,
But the mayfly one of brevity.


The raven had thoughts of death and dying,
While the lemming went over the edge without even trying.


Later I herded up my thoughts
And caged the whole menagerie,
But they escaped into the vortex
Of the cerebral cortex.


And now I have no thoughts at all.

So tomorrow I will explore the heart.
A dangerous terrain. I have no chart.
A place where great white sharks patrol an ocean
Of submerged feelings and drowned emotion.

10 comments:

Tramp said...

SW
I am no expert at analysing poetry but I am intrigued by the gradual slide into rhyme.
I enjoyed the playful way that you approach the topic.
Also it reminded me that we tend to forget how many different meanings think/thought can convey.
...Tramp

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I hope it comes across as playful, Tramp. I found it an interesting, surreal idea that one's thoughts could become animals, which have their own thoughts too, and eventually gain complete independence... The heart rules over the mind, though - if only we could fathom it...

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like to think that you composed this as you walked along. Am I correct?

The Solitary Walker said...

Spot on, Weaver.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh it's good to be back! Love this poem, SW - how wonderfully playful and also very profound and makes me think, (high and elevated thoughts - thank you!), about the contents of my mind and my heart.

Ruth said...

These imaginings of animal thoughts are fun and made me smile.

But then I am sobered, and intrigued, by the final lines about the heart. That trek doesn't sound fun necessarily, but the exploration could be worth the challenge anyway.

It's not easy to cage thoughts, is it? Like Lorenzo says, a good goal is to feel with the mind and think with the heart.

pilgrimpace said...

... and share with us tomorrow's explorations of the heart!

Andy

The Solitary Walker said...

Raph - so pleased to see you back!

Ruth - I wrote the poem on a rather lonely and gruelling long-distance trek through the Spanish winter earlier this year. At times my thoughts seemed to run away with me, and my heart seemed neglected.

I think we can, with practice, control our thoughts to some extent, and this is a good thing for our mental well-being. I have had some success at doing this using meditation, mindfulness and other Zen techniques.

The heart, though, can be another matter, and less controllable! I'm sometimes wary of it, since it can lead one so terribly astray. The last more sobering lines were just meant as a reminder of the dangers which may lie there. Then again, without the danger, perhaps there is no real, full-blooded life at all.

Andy - do you mean in a surgical,liturgical or demiurgical way? ;)

pilgrimpace said...

SW - that would be telling!

Andy

Sheila said...

Been thinking a lot about what the solitary walkers do with their minds on these long periods. I amlways think mine will wander too far away. Love this and the images. Amazing.