Sunday, 17 June 2012

Emptiness & Plenitude

I'm heading to Paris tomorrow for four nights.. and when I come back I will be preparing to go back to work. I look forward to the trip as it is a distraction and anything that distracts is a good thing. I really don't want to think of going back to work, but thankfully it is only for a three day a week initially. I wrote to a friend from Paris who I met 20 years ago, hoping that we may meet up, unfortunately he is not in Paris at the moment. He wrote a lovely e-mail expressing his sorrow at our loss and attached this poem, which I would like to share...

It is by an Irish writer called John O Donohue.
He quotes this poem by Norman MacCaig called,


I give you an emptiness,
I give you a plenitude,
Unwrap them carefully.
-one's as fragile as the other-
And when you thank me
I'll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice
when you say they're just what you wanted.
Put them on the table by your bed.
When you wake in the morning
they'll have gone through the door of sleep
into your head.
Wherever you go
they'll go with you and
wherever you are you'll wonder,
smiling about the fullness
you can't add to and the emptiness
that you can fill.

O'Dononhue then comments:
'This beautiful poem suggests the dual rhythm of emptiness and plenitude at the heart of the life of the soul. Nothingness is the sister of possibility. It makes an urgent space for that which is new, surprising, and unexpected. When you feel nothingness and emptiness gnawing at your life, there is no need to despair. This is a call from your soul, awakening your life to new possibilities. It is also a sign that your soul longs to transfigure the nothingness of your death into the fullness of a life eternal, which no death can ever touch.

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