The OF Blog: Poetry is my drug of choice when I get overstimulated on life

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Poetry is my drug of choice when I get overstimulated on life

I'm perhaps by nature slightly extroverted, needing social stimulation in order to feel "alive" and the experience of new situations often is quasi-intoxicating (I frequently babble and chatter like a drunken squirrel when I meet someone new who interests me).  But there are those times where the "feedback" can be too much, leaving me with a sense that others' emotional states, especially stress-related ones, are "reverbing" within me, leaving me with a quickened heart rate and more irritability than usual.

This has been the case in recent days, getting acclimated to waking up 5-6 hours earlier than before and working 9-14 hours for 7 days/week at two jobs through the end of May.  I like the new experiences, getting to know more students, but after a while of dealing with dozens of raw emotions from middle school students, I feel the need for a bit of quiet, for repose.

I frequently turn to poetry, not prose, for these situations.  And as luck would have it, I was reading some of Iranian writer Sohrab Sepehri's poetry (his posthumous collection, The Oasis of Now, was a runner-up for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry) tonight when I came across these lines from "The Surah of Observation" (translated by Karim Ali and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati):

I said,

"He who sees the garden in the memory of wood
will forever feel the torment of love like a gentle breeze."

"He who makes friends with the birds flying in the sky
will have the calmest sleep on earth."

"He who plucks light from the branches of the tree of Time
can open every window with just a sigh."

And with those few lines, written decades ago, I feel as though there is something to consider here that relates directly to dealing with life's frustrations and desires.  It too is intoxicating, but more in a personal, spiritual sense.

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