Hear me out

It’s not a social norm–real listening. Despite the recognition that human beings are social animals that require communication, despite the recognition that “talk therapy” (which at its foundation employs active listening) and writing therapy can heal broken psyches,  even though many studies over decades have demonstrated how relationships rely upon partners’ openness to listening–listening stays a bit unconventional.

So many people think listening is passive. No, it is an active verb. Bombarded with information from numerous sources, the processes of discerning what one should listen to get tattered and confused. Our brains want to chunk information, to ignore, to elide, to suppress and glean and separate the various threads so the mind can prioritize.

Listening is difficult.

~

solomonseal

Not asphodel but Solomon’s seal, also a greeny flower

William Carlos Williams famously claims it’s difficult to get the news from poetry–and, in the same poem, he asks us (by way of Flossie, his wife) to listen:

…Hear me out.
Do not turn away.
I have learned much in my life
from books
and out of them
about love.
Death
is not the end of it.
There is a hierarchy
which can be attained,
I think,
in its service.

the mind
that must be cured
short of death’s
intervention,
and the will becomes again
a garden. The poem
is complex and the place made
in our lives
for the poem.

[I am not html-savvy enough to code the spacing of this poem on my blog, but you can find it here (p. 20) or here; the excerpts are from “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower.”]

~

Poetry :  “A way of happening, a mouth.” It survives, says Auden, in his poem on the death of Yeats.

The mouth expresses the mind and also what we call the heart, the soul. To make a poem is an intentional act.

Is listening a subversive act? is compassion?

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