Monday, May 16, 2005

grey skies

My moon, without you I wept like a cloud.

Without you, I'm wounded, worn out and lonely.

Banished from life, to sit here without you,

I've died of the shame of living without you.

#1556: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

I woke to a theme of greyness: grey skies, drab surroundings, colourless moods. I wondered whether humanity can manage without a God to brighten up the sky as the rainbow does after showers. Words like grey and drab, even colour/color, led nowhere. Finally a cloud pointed the way. For Rumi here, the cloud is the container of tears and an image of deep mourning, not simply boredom or a vague feeling of alienation or anomie. It occurs to me, however, that this existential anomie or lacklustre mood may be a mask for a deeper mourning, a deeper sense of loss, and one that Rumi is expressing more consciously and dramatically in this verse. I suspect there is some primal or archetypal sense of loss that is evoked with every small loss or even fear of loss. It must surely be this that is at the centre of the Garden of Eden story. The sense of shame in that story occurs also in Rumi's account.

We live in times where the idea of The End Of The World is prominent. There is a sense that things are coming to a head. There is great unresolved tension in the world and every alternative road forward seems to lead to catastrophe. The sense of things coming to a head has its roots in our emotional responses to sep11 for that was a defining event, far too dramatic for the dust to settle within mere years or perhaps even decades. Science is proud in its ascendancy over superstitious religion but where is its guiding light now? How can science alone assist us in dark times?

Perhaps this is but a mood that will pass, just as clouds drift away and the sun returns to light the day. But when the moon is gone, what then? What will we have to light up the night?


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