Poetry: Encountering Philosophy and Life

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By Susan Herrman

Susan HermannThese poems are dedicated to our True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind, and reflect my pondering the lives of the philosophers I encountered in my studies at Barrytown College of UTS, especially from Dr. Keisuke Noda’s “Meaning of Life” class.

“To Season the Season of Change” was a long time contemplated — then sprung to life because a white blossom fell before me.  “To Mr. Camus, with love…” I wrote as I tried to take a positive view of the value of absurdity that Albert Camus posed. “Allegory of the Cubicle” was written as a modern-day twist to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” as it relates to my real-time life at my cubicle. “My Life” was written after contemplating my life, my encounter with the True Parents, and Moritz Schlick’s essay, “On the Meaning of Life.”  “Meaning” was written as part of the Senior Seminar class when I wrote poetry for the final class project.

To Season the Season of Change

The white petal falls from above

Like the snowflake a season ago

Like the leaf of autumn they dance and blow.

And yes, as the season of summer descends

With its radiant and intense beams of warmth and light

Shedding light to those below

How we must reverse our days and seasons

To come to our own true love’s season

Of radiant joy

Radiant light

Radiant love

So we must reverse our course to find our own unique season of life

Let me change my season now…

 

Season of Change

To Mr. Camus with love…

Camus would say, “Absurdity’s a must!”

His question of life — “Is it worthwhile or not?”

The French philosopher — a twist in thought

I thought I’d import a bit of his thought

And add my rant

Of what I thought was im-por-tant

“Without absurdity — no jokes are possible.”

Allegory of the Cubicle

I work, my face riveted to the computer screen

I know no other life beyond these safe walls

I listen to others walk behind me and wonder if it is real or imaginary

They talk about a world “outside” where the yellow sun shines brightly

But I don’t really understand because staring at the grey monitor

Comforts this confusing concept that I can’t comprehend

I can’t grasp, grab or grapple with this confounding conundrum

The keyboard—my tactile joy

The marathon race of my fingers

Dancing through each line

The Zen calendar on my cubicle domain

Allowing meditative bliss

I need not know of other worlds, when all I need is this

The kiss, no—the dismiss, yes, work is over—time to go

Time to leave one domicile for another

The slave in the cave couldn’t know long ago

But aware I can be; of a life that is free

That can touch the Sun in more ways than one

In simple, profound or eternal ways as I become…

Cubicle

My Life

I grew up, yes I did…

Oft was asked,

“What will you do when you grow up?” as a teen by my folks…

Dear parents — they wanted to encourage a career for me…

But they only fostered

A child who didn’t know what to do

A child who always needed to please her parents

A child in the crosshairs of purposeless striving with a sad heart…

That past-puberty child finally found joy in her original heart fostered by the encountering of

The True Parents of Mankind

Who gave me purpose, value and direction for my life.

A few decades were added to that

Adult child who heard her brother say,

“Just be yourself — Susan.”

Somehow my brother’s words fell upon my heart and I could once again

Feel youthful joy and understanding

Those four simple words tore off

The shackles of what perceived adulthood

Had erroneously petrified

My heart felt comforted and unfettered

By the embrace of those words

That really implied,

“You’re beautiful just as you are.”

My childlike heart leaped

Of recent days

I learned something anew

That wasn’t new

Yet forgotten — so due

For a review

Or a renew

That primal word — PLAY!

The true meaning of life!

‘Tis not in the endless striving of nonsensical goals, demands or mere existence…

But the value of the moment-by-moment play

Of the moment by moment play

Brings not just the momentary play of the moment…

It assures our childlike heart

The measure of its true worth in the value and richness of every moment’s actualization

Of the JOY of PLAY!

Now Go and Play… … …

Remember the purpose of your youth

PLAY

As you integrate it in your every-eternal moment

No matter your age or years on earth or heaven

Your time of youth was meant to teach you to be eternally young

Not grow out of youth

But to develop our skills to always be youthful and

PLAY 

Meaning

Meaning

Could it be words of a different nature

Words of a different time

Words that describe the strive

Of my life

All this time

Words from a text that confirm

Our search for that original self

Far away from the daily humdrum

Absurd life our heart seeks flight

So begins the higher self

The higher quest

The greater calling

I accept the challenge

To discard the unholiness

And redesign

Reinvent

Rediscover

And to recover holiness

Within and without

It begins now with meaning♦

Susan Herrman (Barrytown College of UTS Class of 2015) joined the movement in 1974 and has had various missions, including MFT, the International Folk Ballet and CARP. Barrytown College opened her mind to the importance of lifetime learning and the broadening of horizons in order to serve Heavenly Parent’s providence and the world in more profound ways.

Mikako_1Photographs by Mikako Kizuka (Barrytown College of UTS Class of 2015).

3 thoughts on “Poetry: Encountering Philosophy and Life

  1. Thank you, Susan. Poetry is meant to be read aloud, and the earlier in the morning, the better, or the later at night, the best. And so that’s what I did, sitting in my reading stuff chair pre-dawn. Good poetry takes a couple of passes for me to “join it.” I like your complex rhyming schemes, sometimes so vague as to hardly be there. Maybe I imagined it.

    “To Mr. Camus with love…” went straight to my heart and my medulla. I spent much longer with “Meaning,” nearly half a cup of coffee. That one is easy to dismiss if one’s poetry-reading gene begins to peter out, but I love that one. “My Life” is excruciatingly personal and I felt like a peeping tom reading it. Thank you for digging through your viscera to pull that one out. The earth traveled 20,250 miles through space in the fifteen minutes it took me to sort out “To Season the Season of Change.” I wanted it to be a longer poem. It was the first poem in the stack, as well as the first poem of yours I have ever encountered (I think), and I wanted to spend some of my uncharacteristically unhurried morning time, getting myself to the same temperature.

    And yes, as the season of summer descends
    With its radiant and intense beams of warmth and light
    Shedding light to those below
    How we must reverse our days and seasons
    To come to our own true love’s season…

    It was well worth the wait. Thank you, and thanks to the editors of this space for offering the venue.

  2. Thank you to Susan and Dr. Noda who mentored her well.

    Susan uses the word “play.” Wallace Stevens said that “Poetry is a holiday of the mind.” Think of how the mind is often captive to daily work and schedules, rituals and conditioning. When we think of holiday, we often think of summer holidays…playing on the beach or in the mountains. Summer may be the season of the “Id,” fall is the season of the “ego,” and winter is the season of the “superego,” a killing or a dying of the id, in Freud’s not so correct mythology. So, then, that makes spring the growth and preview of the true summer of play of the original mind which really is the underlying meaningful unconscious mind, hot as Freud would have it centered on a fallen concept.

    In this light, I think we have been taught poetry in the wrong way. In academia, we are taught to study the external craft of poetry and thereby find the inner meaning from the external to the internal. Really, by doing poetry, by writing poetry we come to understand poetry from the inside out. Through the experience of writing poetry and allowing for the “holiday” of the mind, we are lead to value it from the internal movement of our own minds; and then the external craft is understood better as a move of the unconscious and original mind, not from just the conscious construction of words.

    So, all you Unification Thoughters, Susan is showing us how to do poetry. Hopefully, her love of poetry will inspire others as well to take a holiday of the mind and write poetry.

  3. Alas, poetry is a state of being . . . and encapsulated rapture, at best.

    It requires, well, all that one can give . . . ah.

    And then, more.

    Yes, thanks for the effort, Susan and . . . anyone.

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