Friday, February 01, 2008

Poetry Friday - The Secret of the Universe

While going through some old journals this week I came across some some poems I wrote in high school. After forcing myself to read some excruciatingly bad stuff, I was rewarded when I found scraps of paper among the pages. Folded carefully and hidden between lists of favorite words and poem ideas were works by real poets. I didn't remember most of them, but they must have meant something to me at one time. Here's one that I've been thinking about since I pulled it from those dusty pages.
The Secret of the Universe
by Edward Dowden

I spin, I spin, around, around,
   And close my eyes,
   And let the bile arise
From the sacred region of the soul’s Profound;
Then gaze upon the world; how strange! how new!
   The earth and heaven are one,
   The horizon-line is gone,
The sky how green! the land how fair and blue!
Perplexing items fade from my large view,
And thought which vexed me with its false and true
Is swallowed up in Intuition; this,
   This is the sole true mode
   Of reaching God,
And gaining the universal synthesis
Which makes All—One; while fools with peering eyes
Dissect, divide, and vainly analyse.
So round, and round, and round again!
How the whole globe swells within my brain,
The stars inside my lids appear,
The murmur of the spheres I hear
Throbbing and beating in each ear;
Right in my navel I can feel
The centre of the world’s great wheel.
Ah peace divine, bliss dear and deep,
   No stay, no stop,
   Like any top
Whirling with swiftest speed, I sleep.
O ye devout ones round me coming,
Listen! I think that I am humming;
   No utterance of the servile mind
With poor chop-logic rules agreeing
   Here shall ye find,
But inarticulate burr of man’s unsundered being.
Ah, could we but devise some plan,
Some patent jack by which a man
Might hold himself ever in harmony
With the great whole, and spin perpetually,
   As all things spin
   Without, within,
As Time spins off into Eternity,
And Space into the inane Immensity,
And the Finite into God’s Infinity,
   Spin, spin, spin, spin.
The round-up this week is being hosted by Karen Edmisten. Before you head over to read all the great posts, be sure to read the results of this week's poetry stretch, where lots of creative people wrote roundels. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. WOW, Tricia. This is -- really cool. And you found that you'd written this out? How very cool.

    A poem about dizziness and the spinning globe and ...enlightenment. What an amazing combination.

  2. I really like this! It hits me at the level that grasps that some things must simply be felt to be known. The inexplicable, intoxicating dizziness of God. Nice.

  3. You've always been a real poet Trisha.

    After reading this poem I understand once again why kids love to spin. They are closer to God that way, aren't they?

  4. This makes me think of the fabulous song "Spinning" by The Innocence Mission.

    I hope you didn't throw out those high school poems, even if angsty and all.

    Jules, 7-Imp

  5. I love this. Except that it takes me back to the Tilt-o-whirl at the County Fair. Where I didn't feel wildly enlightened. This may re-frame all that!

  6. Gosh, I loved to spin, spin, spin until the sky was green and earth was blue when I was a kid. Now it causes bile to rise. Either way, it makes a way into to the poem, and the connections make the rest of it seem closer, too.

  7. My favorite line is "I think that I am humming..." So good.

    And I'm glad you're still digging through those journals, Tricia. And sharing!

  8. There are all kinds of treasures to be found in old journals and files. Like you, I'm not sure I'd share my *own* writing from the past, but I have run across some touchstone poems and quotes that speak to me faintly across the ever-widening distance between the me I was then and the me I am now.

  9. Isn't it fun to find the poems that touched your soul when you were a teen?