Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lived Between You and Me

Martin Buber was one of the greatest philosophers last century. His deceptively short treatise on love, I And Thou, is among the most beautiful books I've ever encountered.

He also wrote extensively of Hasidism, a mystic sect of Judaism that has sprouted among the very poor Jews of Eastern Europe. Besides writing for scholars and learned men, he also collected and composed many stories for children. His Tales of the Hasidim
makes both entertaining reading with our kids, and never fails to be thought provoking to me on both religious and literary grounds. And it is a wonderful introduction for children into a world that gets scant attention even in our 'multicultural' society.

But until recently I had read none of his poetry. I find that it requires and provokes much pondering, just as his philosophical writings and stories do, and that it is also couched in a language which even in translation is vibrant. And his passion, as always, is the genuine meeting of two persons.

Do You Still Know It . . . ?

Do you still know, how we in our young years
Traveled together on this sea?
Visions came, great and wonderful,
We beheld them together, you and I.
How image joined itself with images in our hearts!
How a mutual animated describing
Arose out of it and lived between you and me!
we wer there and were yet wholly here
And wholly together, roaming and grounded.
Thus the voice awoke that since then proclaims
And witnesses to old majesty as new,
True to itself and you and to both together.
Take then this witness in your hands,
It is an end and yet has not end,
For something eternal listens to it and listens to us,
How we resound out of it, I and Thou.



Devika said...

Life is a solitary often reminds us...yet its always good to imagine someone is with us in the journey,

Loved this post, Doug
not a known poet/philosopher to me :)


Rosa said...

I had not heard of Buber until I read this post, but I am now intrigued and will have to look him up!

Doug P. Baker said...

Devika, yes, life is a solitary journey. No one ever quite knows us. At least that is my belief and experience. But Buber's burden was to show that this does not need to be the case. Love can remove the barriers between us. Just as much as I feel the alienation of this life, I totally believe that the perfect life-the life that can be called the image of God-is not a solitary journey. It will be a life lived in and through and for others in a way that we can't even imagine at this point. We will know each other and be known by them. It will be a time that will very much resemble what Buber is pointing to in I And Thou, and also in this poem.

By the way, I loved your post on Anna Akhmatova. She was pure genius. I've never posted on her, but I have a few posts on Nika Turbina whom some people thought was her reincarnation. Perhaps sometime I will post REQUIEM on here. It is a stunning work!

Rosa, yes, I think you would enjoy Martin Buber. As I said in the post, I And Thou is a deceptively small book. Though it is short it has always taken me a long time to read it, partly because it gives me so much to meditate on, and partly because it is so beautiful that I read passages over three and four times. So don't even think about starting until finals and your violin recitals are over!

venus66 said...

A wonderful write,Dough. Yes, it is a solitary journey but with the guidance of God.
Thank you for sharing.

Devika said...

Yeah You are right Doug about the time that we will know each the best manner...and a HOPE of that is what keeps me tied.

God ofcourse is there, and felt the most when one is left alone to tide...

Nika Turbina..I would love to read her...could you give a link?