Sunday, 4 October 2009

Poem and Thought from a Thesis

I have taken a break from making work for a while just to read and write for my thesis.  I have to say that it has been so great to do some writing and thinking on a deep subject I build tremendous amount of my life around.  I have read a number of books so far, but none have hit the nail on the head more that "The Unknown Craftsman, A Japanese Insight into Beauty."  If one understands what makes an object, or work of art of any kind beautiful and balanced before you read it then your world will most likely be rocked.  
  Lately I have had so much churning through my head that I keep note paper with me to write down ideas all the time.  I had a great thought last Tuesday night while I was at a worship service at school.  The song was about dancing.  It brought to mind an incident that happened to me about 3 weeks ago when I went contra dancing.  
I was swinging with a girl in the corner of a dance floor.  It must have been a 16 count swing because it seemed like it lasted a lifetime.  There was a connection we had that was out of this world.  Our eyes were locked so tight that it was like we were reading each others minds, knowing the next move the other was going to make like it was magic.  
The only thing was that I did not realize how beautiful this moment was until someone tripped the girl.   Here is the Poem:


I go to a dance hall to dance none the less,
To have fun and not impress, 
But I have achieved a state of mind that has put me on a quest,
For mysterious beauty,
Engagement in a intimacy only attained through a state of mind rarely achieved where two minds become one.

We become like our own world spinning in the corner of a dance floor,
Everything else slowly diminishes as our eyes lock tighter,
as our swing grows smoother, faster, stronger.
We become closer, 
not physically,
 not mentally,
 But because we have shared in a moment we both interpret as a mystery.

We have found it, but neither of us can pinpoint exactly how,
But because IT IS BEAUTIFUL,
We hang on to this moment as long as the two of us can.

WAIT! your eyes have left mine,
Can this moment be ending?
The look in your eye is of defeat,
Someone has tripped this world off its axis,
Broken this trance like meditative state,
Has interrupted my life like an earthquake,
The downfall so dramatic I can feel the earth shake.

It is the mystery of what creates that moment that makes me want to live in the state of a dance,
The state of a trance like swing,
Where there is nothing living on that floor but you and me,

To live is to dance,
Maintain that trance.

-Brad Lail

I have been reading some Thoreau looking for some ideas about how seclusion can make work have presence.  I do believe seclusion can enhance a mindset that is great for making art of any kind from poetry to pottery.  The night before I wrote this I slept outside to enhance a mindset.  I believe it worked out very well.  When you wake up to the sun instead of an alarm clock your desire to arise is much stronger.  To be able to pray and concentrate is no challenge at that point.  It was excellent for writing.  I am planning on doing it again.
Anyway... this poem is about goals.  The reason I set the goals I do is because I have seen or experienced something I love.  I love beauty.  I love the mystery that creates the beauty in a swing, a pot or any work of art that has presence.  
The works with the most presence are created intuitively.  They are made without crowded thought, so in essence the work is not crowded or overworked.  Attaining a mindset that is proper for creating intuitive work is not easy.  It is much like the type of trance I am referring to in the dance poem.  When something is made by an artist that has presence it sets a higher standard, and the artist should then be on a quest to make more art with that type of presence.  The work you can see emotion in.  The ones you can feel when you walk into a room are the ones that have presence.  It is something hard to pinpoint, but one knows when something is beautiful.  Even when you cant explain it.  
"Neither one of us can pinpoint exactly how, 
but because IT IS BEAUTIFUL, 
we hang on to this moment as long as the two of us can."  

This is also very applicable with a Christians walk of faith.  There are people that will try all day to define God.  They overcrowd religion with intellect.  They try to define something undefinable with some kind of scientific reasoning.  
What makes nature beautiful?  It is because these seemingly miraculous things happen? Beautiful colors bloom, trees grow, live thrives onward and there is a presence living in nature at all times and in every place without an overwhelming amount of human interaction.  The fact that we cannot define everything that happens in nature is what makes it beautiful.  
Therefore if we try and define something as immense and beautiful as God we do nothing but rob it of the beauty.  We take so much beauty from life by trying to define it.  Why do we need to know?  If we know it is beautiful then why cant we just live in the beauty?  Why do we try and fix something when it is not broken?   


  1. yes to so much of what you wrote about!Living in the Present. In the Joy. In the Mystery.
    When I was on the third floor of the GWU Library today I was drawn to the large jar on the shelf. I knew before I read. Beauty. Presence.

  2. Brad, you should read Annie Dillard. I think you would like it...especially "The writing life", transpose the word writer with potter and its very applicable...other of hers are "For the Time Being", and "Teaching a Stone to Talk". Good luck with the reading and writing...

    your friend , Bryce

  3. Brad: I enjoyed reading this post and have an excerpt posted on my blog. If you would rather it not be there just let me know and I can remove it. It just spoke to what I have been feeling lately and I put up a quick post about it.

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