Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Marvelous Capacity of the Soul

(Our new compost bin, built and photographed by the Man)

"The Marvelous Capacity of the Soul"--don't you love that phrase? It's from Teresa of Avila, and I just came across it yesterday, after spending all day thinking that my soul needed feeding.

With the care and feeding of my soul in mind, I bought a CD of modern poets reading their own work--T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, et al--and have been listening as I drive here and there, here to drop off the boys at school, there to the grocery store, here and there, here and there. These are the poets who made me love poetry. Waiting to pick up Will from school a few minutes ago, I listened to these lines from e.e. cummings--

My father moved through theys of we
singing each leaf out of each tree

--lines I loved when I first read them at age fifteen, and lines that I love now.

Today I've had all sorts of thoughts about sticks. There's a North Carolina artist named Patrick Doughtery who makes sculptures out of sticks, and for awhile he had an installation about five minutes from my house. I went to look at it all the time. Really, a stick is one of the most beautiful things you can see.

Here is a video of an installation he's done at Wheaton College:

It's funny to think that sticks can feed your soul just like poetry can. But it's true. The marvelous capacity of the soul. It sees beauty everywhere.


GretchenJoanna said...

Oh, yes! Thank you for drawing our attention to sticks. This man reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy, but more accessible geographically. Also, he's sharing the sticks and the fun of creating.

Sara Padrusch said...

This is a poem that often plays in my mind on winter mornings. Hope you like it!


Born Asa Bundy Sheffey into a poor family, Robert Hayden’s parents left him to be raised by foster parents. Due to extreme nearsightedness, . . . MORE »


Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Left-Handed Housewife said...

GretchenJ, I didn't know who Andy Goldsworthy was, so I just went and looked him up--I really his work! Thank you for mentioning him.

Sara--Those Winter Sundays is one of my favorite poems, and I thought of it today listening to "my father moved through dooms of love." I also think of it on winter mornings when I'm the first one up and getting things going. "Sundays too my father got up early" is a line deeply ingrained in my psyche as is "What did I know, what did I know/ of love's austere and lonely offices," one of the greatest closing lines ever.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Whoops, GJ--I left out the "like, as in "I really like his work."

Susan said...

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

This has always been my fav. Elizabeth Edward nearly ruined it for me. Then I made the bold decision that she and her morally bankrupt and incessantly narcissistic husband might have taken my volunteer time and primary vote, but they could not take Emily Dickinson from me. No. No. My love of Emily would not be another casualty of their blind ambition and debauched principles. Though I was decieved by the Edwardses, Emily shall remain in my heart.

Susan said...

make that "deceived." Those two make my blood boil, and I can't even spell when I think of their shenanigans.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Susan, No one can take Emily from you, no, no, never, not ever. And unlike some people, she will never, ever deceive you or end up on the cover of People magazine. Just two more things to love about her.

wayside wanderer said...

You reminded me of a C.S. Lewis quote I read not to long ago and keep thinking about: "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." We fixate so much on taking care of our bodies, but our souls need even more care because they are eternal.

Love the compost bin and picture. Very nice!

Pom Pom said...

Hmmmmm. Such good stuff, Frances.

Melissa E said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing.

Gumbo Lily said...

That man of yours is a good builder and a good picture-taker. Lucky you!

I like poems. My kids always liked the silly ones and I do too. Ever read the poem/tongue twister: "Betty Botter?" We also liked John Ciardi's poems like "The Sillies."


debbie bailey said...

When you said sticks, I wasn't expecting this! I want one in my backyard to hibernate in when life gets to be too hard.

The dB family said...

I love to study the trees when they are denuded of their leaves. There really is great beauty in sticks. The Man is an incredible photographer. His photos take my breath away.