Thursday, September 08, 2005

the eternal tryst

There's joy in my heart: I have joined my lover tonight;

Finally free from the pain of our parting tonight.

As I dance with my lover I pray, oh Lord, in my heart:

May the keys to morning be lost forever tonight.

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

Search word: joy

Last night I was watching the TV game-show Deal or No Deal and I was impressed by the ebullience of its host, Andrew O'Keefe. As the show came to a close he was dancing ecstatically in front of the cameras. It is so evident that this man is currently dancing with his lover, doing work that expresses his talents so closely and richly. I expected to find it a silly show but watched because my son was watching. It has appeal because risk is a theme but mainly because the host draws out the personalities of the contestants and keeps the suspense and drama tightly under control. Still, it's basically a silly show.

I finished reading The Alchemist yesterday and I'm reminded of a character therein, a man who makes candy in the market place. It is a silly job and a silly product, mere candy. Just what Deal or No Deal and many other TV programs offer. There is no harm in a little candy in one's life, a little sweetener to soften the edges of sorrow or defeat. In Coelho's story, the candy man is an example of someone who has found his calling in life. He is as happy as any king could be.

I enjoyed my work yesterday, the time flew by. Perhaps then it is my calling to do this work? Perhaps not every day, perhaps just yesterday. That's all that matters after all. Each day calls us differently, to a different work and a different love, but in its essence it is the same work and the same love. I too can be a candy man or a game-show host, a poet or a mystic. It depends entirely on what each day calls me to do.

Since Donne got a mention in the article on Deal or No Deal, and since he also wrote a poem on a similar theme, I will include it here:

The Sun Rising

          Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
          Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
          Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
          Late schoolboys, and sour prentices,
    Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
    Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

        Thy beams, so reverend and strong
        Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
        If her eyes have not blinded thine,
        Look, and tomorrow late, tell me
    Whether both the'Indias of spice and mine
    Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear: "All here in one bed lay."

        She's all states, and all princes I,
        Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compar'd to this,
All honour's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
        Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
        In that the world's contracted thus;
    Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
    To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

sourced @

One day the rising sun is a metaphor for inauthentic externally driven compulsion, as contrasted with the pure dictates of the heart. The next day the rising sun at dawn is a metaphor for love's spontaneous joy. Ah! poor sun! It is only following its own calling after all.


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