Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yoga class reading, 6/12/05: Just This, by W.S. Merwin

It was a very small class, so I took the opportunity to read a beautiful but slightly opaque poem by Merwin.



When I think of the patience I have had
back in the dark before I remember
or knew it was night until the light came
all at once at the speed it was born to
with all the time in the world to fly through
not concerned about ever arriving
and then the gathering of the first stars
unhurried in their flowering spaces
and far into the story the planets
cooling slowly and the ages of rain
then the seas starting to bear memory
the gaze of the first cell at its waking
how did this haste begin this little time
at any time this reading by lightning
scarcely a word this nothing this heaven

-W.S. Merwin


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this poem! I follow it I think until the last three lines, I guess that's where the opacity comes in and stumps me! Up till the end it seems to be about the patience of the universe, about the patience in the beginnings of the universe, and the patience of waiting thru the beginnings of life, of light, of the first cell...hmm. I'll get my sister, who's my best mutual poetry explorer, and together we'll decipher the last three lines! Even in middle age, poetry is the ONLY thing my sister and I get along in regard to, so as long as there's another poem to explore, sibling unrivalry reins temporarily between us! thanks for the poem. by the way, do you take fat, overweight, middle-aged huffy-puffing women in your yoga class, and if not, is there a class specifically for our shape/condition/'loudness of breathing heavily at even doing a simple pose'/feeling out of it as well as out of shape, if you can know what I mean, having never been at this age and condition Zoe?! thanks, an interested potential but embarrassed yoga student

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Also, what is the best thing to wear to a yoga class? thanks

6:48 AM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

Hi Karen, Yes, I think the poem is about the beginnings of the universe - perhaps the last three lines are a reference to the Big Bang or the start of time as we know it (how did this haste begin) - it makes me think a bit of the Hindu distinction between potential, abstract, male energy and specific, actualized, material female energy....

6:18 PM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

For yoga: I would wear anything comfortable and neat that allows you a full range of motion. The tighter side is probably better than the baggier side as it will let your instructor see your body alignment better (and there are some upside down poses - I've had my baggy t-shirts fall around my ears before!)

ANYONE can do yoga. BKS Iyengar used to take 80-year old people as students who'd never done it before in their lives. Any good teacher in a beginner's class will hopefully make you feel comfortable and emphasize not straining yourself. Gina (I think) at Tranquil Space teaches an excellent newbie's course, and there are other courses and workshops aimed specifically at beginners out there. Good luck and if you don't like your first teacher, don't give up! It's important to have an open mind and be a good sport, but it's equally important to have a competent and supportive teacher who honors and respects you. It's a beautiful practice that will change your life, if you let it ;)

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Oh Zoe, thank you so much for responding. I appreciate all the help. I thought you might be amused how I found your blog -- I am working on becoming more active, and had gone to walk in Rock Creek Park the other day but hadn't found bathrooms in the secion of the park where I was walking.

So I googled something about "bathrooms rock creek park" or some wording like that, and your blog entry came up, about a time you found yourself climbing on the roof of a bathroom in the park to hide your backpack, and heard the roof creaking and pictured yourself hanging thru the roof! I laughed and laughed, but was also drawn to the identity of a strong, active woman, which I am not, but want to be.

And then I found you write exquisite poetry.

If I do ever find a bathroom in Rock Creek Park next time I walk there, if there's a pair of legs hanging thru the ceiling, I won't be shocked! :)


8:59 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Zoe, I left a comment a couple hours ago and it doesn't seem to have published. I want to thank you so much for the help in responding to my comments. In the comment I tried to post earlier, I went into how I found your blog by searching for "bathrooms in Rock Creek Park" on Google, and your hilarious tale of trying to hide your backpack on top of a park bathroom building came up :) And then I discovered your exquisite poetry.

I'll try again to post, let's see if it works this time?!


10:59 AM  

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