Casey Kochmer 2006
Look into the morning dew
Finding a soul’s shape
Reflected in your footsteps
Introduction to Taoist Poetry
The featured poem makes me ask: Is the soul within the foot print or the trail?
As a poet, I know the answer is within becoming the poem itself. It’s a dance: of words, expressions, feelings.
All seeking acceptance.
Yet poetry can be such an extreme dance: to often dive deeply
into an abyss, into the depths that call out to form poetry:
All in order to balance out our shape.
So while visiting the abyss we push inward, reclaiming the soul by writing poetry… to force out one’s nature in order to be whole.
At other times being high, not in the abyss, we explore about peaks, discovering opposite needs. No need exists to push outward of one’s nature at the rarer times of peace, we have a chance to take in of others, of the world… of the Tao, to listen more completely now.
These Peaks and the Abyss are the yin and yang that pushes our poetry in Taoism.
Poetry can be found in either place, Rumi did so, or did Rumi dive deeper into the abyss than many would guess from his words? It matters not, when words elude us, it becomes the flame inside, to push outwards: To discover new words that don’t even exist…
Serenity… how can a poem leash, ride or describe such a beast?
A Taoist poet is the eternal child. Always seeking ways to express incompleteness in order to be complete in the moment. Discovering it’s all about being patient enough to embrace a lifetime:
This is the way of life that we teach in Taoism:
At times embracing of the world
when looking down from the clouds,
At times diving deeply into depths …
Always of the Tao.
At times to always be oneself
Peace within the poetry of your own life.
More about Taoist Poetry
Taoist poetry typically falls under two styles.
The first is to capture the moment. Flash freezing something that tickles the essence of the Tao.
However many Taoist poems step beyond the realm of personal art to be about interpersonal communication. Taoist’s write poetry as a way to teach. From a Taoist perspective poetry is often the clearest vehicle for transmission of knowledge of the Tao.
Taoism as a teaching embraces many levels of truth at once. Taoism is always relative to one’s situation, containing many perceptions of a situation at once. As a result only poetry with its multiple levels of meaning can reveal the path to the Tao. The Tao Te Ching perhaps best represents this style of poetry which is at the heart of Taoism.