“As humans we’re constantly looking outward for evidence of the sacred. I’m now convinced, however, that the universe is within us! There’s no need to go into outer space to find about the secrets of the universe. In earliest childhood all knowledge is inborn, I believe, and it’s all retrievable,” said Phillip Lamantia. This man was the first surrealist poet in the US, at least the first notable one, after the French artists arrived to America during the 1940’s. I find this quote completely relevant and all encompassing in the question of “what is art in accordance to our lives?”.
Firstly, the word Universe, which I capitalize quite frequently, is all around us and yet within us. Atoms resemble the network of stars in the billions of galaxies in the body of the universe. Jesus, in the Gospel of Thomas (if you read the Gnostic Gospels) said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” It all begins and ends with ourselves and what we create from within. Poetry is one of those things. It is a way of living and molding ourselves into the universe, while communing with the Universe within. The word Universe, when capitalized, begins to look like a name – a name that encompasses every human being.
Secondly, love is one of those things that comes from within. Poetry is a love that is expressing the inexpressible emotions and ideas. Take Lamantia’s love poetry. Here is an excerpt from his poem, “I Am Coming”,
I am following her to the wavering moon / to a bridge by the long waterfront / to valleys of beautiful arson / to flowers dead in the mirror of love / to men eating wild minutes from a clock / to hands playing in celestial pockets . . .
This beautiful arson that Lamantia speaks of, is that nature of love. We want to burn inside from the contact of other people. Poetry is a way of contact that touches skin, but also touches things we cannot reach with our decaying hands.
Lastly, the universe is a noble place. Anis Mojgani says this in one of his TED talks. He goes on to say that we are a part of it and it apart of us. He also quotes Carl Sagan who stated, “We are a way for the universe to know itself.” How beautiful! If this is true, then we are all noble. We are a nobility inherited by the universe in order that it may see with eyes and hear with ears and taste the ambrosia of life with us. This is wholly and holy beautiful.