Friday, July 07, 2006

More interp and a pop quiz

Haha, I may not know poetry, but I know what I like.

Friend and blog reader Leslie sent a grammatical question about Mother’s Evening Prayer (another post about this poem was on Wednesday).

While you're focusing on the MEP, here's another area I've always been confused about:

O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!

Is she telling us to "be glad" for each of four equal items (without conjunctions), including disdain? Or is the "disdain" an order—is she telling us to disdain hope deferred and ingratitude (while we're glad for the scalding tears?).

It's not a huge point, but I've always wondered.

So it’s time for my Poetry Philosophy #1: However it speaks to you is the correct meaning.

This goes for the psalms, for hymns, for songs, even for some prose. Sometimes you can’t say exactly what you mean with words—and I say this as a writer. Sometimes you’re just articulating an essence, an impression. And that essence or impression might mean something else to the reader.

That’s the resonance of writing, and it happens with astonishing frequency. The person reading *doesn’t* get the same meaning you meant when you wrote it. They get something totally different out of it, because they’re bringing their own experience to the reading. And if they share that with you as the writer, *you* get something new out of the very thing you wrote. It’s a very cool feature about sharing ideas, so I believe we should always share.

So here’s Leslie giving me an entirely different take on a poem I’ve read a zillion times. I’ve always read it the one way, that “disdain” is one of the many things to be glad for. Yet Leslie puts forth another possibility—that we can disdain hope deferred and ingratitude. This interpretation would finally explain that exclamation point, which does make it more imperative.

Because it’s poetry, we really don’t have to pick one. To my mind, either one is metaphysically accurate and could have a healing effect for the reader depending on circumstances.

So here’s one for you: What does this sentence mean to you?

Spiritual understanding unfolds Mind, — Life, Truth, and Love, — and demonstrates the divine sense, giving the spiritual proof of the universe in Christian Science.

--Science and Health, p. 505

I’ve always puzzled over the last phrase. What does “the spiritual proof the universe” mean? You’d help me out if you’d share what that means to you.

Have a great weekend!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 7/07/2006 09:39:00 AM, Anonymous Gayle said...

In Christian Science, what other "proof" of the universe can there be but spiritual? Matter does not prove Life, Truth, Love..because matter dies and tells falsehoods about who we are. Life, Truth and Love are eternal, spiritual qualities and they are the essence of "Us" and of God... This is the Science of Christ's teaching. ..some thoughts

At 7/07/2006 09:48:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Thanks Gayle! so the emphasis for you is on spiritual? maybe that's what's been confusing me, I've always emphasized proof.

At 7/07/2006 04:30:00 PM, Anonymous rev. veronika said...

When I think with the one Mind, there is nothing else but the spiritual to be seen. This is true vision which to spiritual sense needs no proof. It is only so-called material sense which wants ‘proof.’

At 7/08/2006 11:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happened to pick up the Oct.2005
CS Jrl and the article on pg 29 by Barbara Cook Spencer titled "What Holds it all together" really helped me see what Mrs. Eddy meant by "the spiritual interpretation of the universe". Thanks so much for your daily writings. I am an
anonymous reader!


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