The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Eight — James Baldwin

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“Good morning Jimmy. Are they bitting today?”

“O’ Good morning Socrates. Yes, they are. I like to put a piece of bread on the end of the string and feed them. They provide me with a sense of communication, poetry in the nibbling. There is no hook so the fish are free to safely feed and I am free to simply watch and enjoy the morse codes they send me. I think we communicate without judgement from a collective point of consciousness.”

“That is an interesting perspective Jimmy. Does it work with humans as well?”

“There is no judgement from the fish as to who provides this bread for them. They do not know nor care if I am a man or woman, Black or white, gay or straight. They just eat the bread. With humans it is different. I need words to tell the other who I am. I am responsible to them in a greater way. A great deal of what I say just leaves me open, I suppose, to a vast amount of misunderstanding. A great deal of what I say is based on an assumption which I hold and don’t always state. You know my fury about people is based precisely on the fact that I consider them to be responsible, moral creatures who so often do not act that way. But I am not surprised when they do. I am not that wretched a pessimist, and I wouldn’t sound the way I sound if I did not expect what I expect from human beings, if I didn’t have some ultimate faith and love, faith in them and love for them. You see, I am a human being too, and I have no right to stand in judgment of the world as though I am not a part of it. What I am demanding of other people is what I am demanding of myself.”

“You sound more like a philosopher than a writer Jimmy although I know ultimately you are an artist who engages philosophy. We are similar in that way. We are both true to our own convictions rather than to the tastes of others. We both write what we want to write and say what we want to say. Not what others want to hear. And as you say, ‘We have both been misunderstood.’”

“You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you, Socrates. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”

“True. So very true.”

“But tell me Socrates. Why am I here? Why did you invite me to this world of poets, writers, artists of all forms, musicians, intellectuals and thinkers?”

“Because you greatly influenced my life, Jimmy. Your stories liberated me from feeling alone in the world.”

“You do not know how pleased I am to hear that Socrates. When I was very young (and I am sure this is true of everybody here), I assumed that no one had ever been born who was only five feet six inches tall, or been born poor, or been born ugly, or masturbated, or done all those things which were my private property when I was fifteen. No one had ever suffered the way I suffered. Then you discover, and I discovered this through Dostoevsky, that it is common. Everybody did it. Not only did everybody do it, everybody’s doing it. And all the time. It’s a fantastic and terrifying liberation.”

“I know. I was in college when I read The Fire Next Time. I was struggling with my role as a student of Western philosophy and as a Black student in a white educational, political and social system. I did not know where I belonged.”

“This is the crime of ignorance of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.”

“But we both survived to become the artists and writers we are.”

“Yes we did but we loss too many of our unacknowledged contemporaries along the way. It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and your identity has not in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you. And if you survive it, if you don’t cheat, if you don’t lie, it is not only, you know, your glory, your achievement, it is almost our only hope because only an artist can tell, and only artists have told since we have heard of man, what it is like for anyone who gets to this planet to survive it. What it is like to die, or to have somebody die; what it is like to be glad. Hymns don’t do this, churches really cannot do it. The trouble is that although the artist can do it, the price that he has to pay himself and that you, the audience, must also pay, is a willingness to give up everything, to realize that although you spent twenty-seven years acquiring this house, this furniture, this position, although you spent forty years raising this child, these children, nothing, none of it belongs to you. You can only have it by letting it go. You can only take if you are prepared to give, and giving is not an investment. It is not a day at the bargain counter. It is a total risk of everything, of you and who you think you are, who you think you’d like to be, where you think you’d like to go — everything, and this forever, forever.”

“Are you saying we are only here as witnesses?”

“During my times, I saw the sheriffs, the deputies, the storm troopers more or less in passing. I was never in town to stay. This was sometimes hard on my morale, but I had to accept, as time wore on, that part of my responsibility—as a witness—was to move as largely and as freely as possible, to write the story, and to get it out.”

“And we are still trying to get the word out Jimmy.”

“I think I know how many times one has to start again, and how often one feels that one cannot start again. And yet, on pain of death, one can never remain where one is… It is a mighty heritage, it is the human heritage, and it is all there is to trust….This is why one must say Yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found—and it is found in terrible places; nevertheless, there it is; and if the father can say, “Yes, Lord,” the child can learn that most difficult of words, Amen.”

“Amen Jimmy. Amen. Shall we join the others at the picnic? There are some new guests here and I would like to introduce you. Henry Miller and his wife June recently arrived. I believe you and Henry know each other and share many common interests.”

“That sounds perfect Socrates as long as we can continue this discussion another time.”

“It would be my pleasure Jimmy. This conversation is not finished. We have yet to speak directly to the issues of race.”

We head toward the glen where the picnic is being held. Most of the guests have already arrived. Each is dressed in the clothing of their time period but it does not seem to matter to anyone as they engage freely with each other in conversation. Johnny Hartman, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane are testing the sound system for this afternoon’s entertainment. Margaret Mead approaches Jimmy to remind him of their upcoming dialogue on race tomorrow evening after dinner and the two walk off together. I am a witness to this beautiful day and to the engaging individuals I have invited here. I feel a gentle grasping of my arm.

“Socrates. Will you be so kind to join me at my table?”

I turn to see June Miller, tall and stunning, holding my arm.

“I can not seem to find Henry or Anaïs anywhere. We are going to lunch together during the concert.”

“It will be my pleasure June.”

2AA7885A-4F9A-4363-98BB-5209385BB635.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Nine — Henry Miller will be published on Sunday, October 14, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Seven — Stanley Kunitz

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFI see a note on top of the front desk from Stanley Kunitz asking me to visit him in his suite when the opportunity permits itself. I love my visits to the guest’s suites. Each is the inspirational creation of the owner. Most contain furniture and artifacts from the guest’s own era, but some like Picasso’s suite are decorated and adorned with objects de art from more modern periods. Because Stanley is a gardener as well as a renowned poet, his suite is surrounded by gardens, ponds, and forests. “Nature is a great inspiration,” he always says.

I walk up the brass and marble stairway, through the library, and down the long hallway to reach Stanley’s suite. A note on the front door says, “Please come in. I am either in the garden or the study. Make yourself at home.” I pass through the vailed doorway and enter the suite. I head for his study as he always has a warm fire and a decanter of brandy awaiting his guests. I love the smell of his books, some neatly lining the many shelves, others scattered around the room, others in small stacks haphazardly organized around the sun lit study. His desk is filled with notes and papers, a half glass of brandy, and a few books by other poets.

I look out the garden door and wave to Stanley to notify him of my arrival. He waves back. I walk across the room to his roll top desk where he keeps the brandy and pour a decent amount into a snifter. Then I walk over near the fireplace and sit down to relax in his green chair while he completes his work in the garden. It was most likely a combination of the late night with Simone, the warmth of the fire, and the sips of brandy that caused me to drift off until I heard Stanley’s voice.

“I used to sit in that green Morris chair and open the heavy dictionary on my lap, and find a new word every day. It was a big word, a word like eleemosynary or phantasmagoria – some word that, on the tongue, sounded great to me, and I would go out into the fields and I would shout those words, because it was so important that they sounded so great to me. And then eventually I began incorporating them into verses, into poems. But certainly my thought in the beginning was that there was so much joy playing with language that I couldn’t consider living without it.”

“Language is important to both of us Stanley. We need to communicate. Words allow us to do that so we have a common image to go along with the word.”

“The problem with many words Socrates is they present different images depending upon the culture of the people where they are used. The images of poetry are almost all universal. The images of my childhood. The deaths of my father and stepfather are events I thought could only happen to me, but we all experience loss. Poetry speaks to the common everyday experiences we all share. The losses, the joys, and the frustrations of life. Poetry incorporates and transcends words. That is why I am a poet.”

I respond. “The poet says, ‘Unless you have felt it, you cannot truly understand it,’ and the philosopher says, ‘Unless you understand it, you cannot truly feel it.’ Do you agree with this statement Stanley?”

“I do not know Socrates. I could imagine an emotion, like fear, occurring so suddenly in life that the mind may not have time to identify it first. Fear, however, in the hands of a poet stimulates both the heart and the mind simultaneously. Think of Poe’s poem The Raven. My heart beats fast each time I read it when there is nothing to personally fear. Do the words generate the emotion of fear in this case or do the words aid in the understanding of the fear? Does the mind just go along?

“I studied psychology, philosophy and poetry so that I might better understand some of these connections between words, feelings, and thoughts but I do not know if I am any closer to that understanding. Perhaps we might raise this question with Carl and Sigmund one evening over dinner.”

“That should prove to be a lively discussion,” laughs Stanley. “You, Socrates, have the mind of the philosopher and the heart and patience of the poet.

“That is true my friend. My discipline is philosophy but I think of myself as more of a poet. I think all poets are philosophers but not all philosophers are poets.”

“I,” replies Stanley, “have the mind of the poet and the heart of the philosopher. We each go about in the performance of our daily activities with these two angels guiding us from different perspectives. The philosophers in us wonder endlessly in the garden, thinking, contemplating, rationalizing the thoughts in our heads while our poets take notice of the scent of the wisteria blooming on the trellis above us, the buzzing of the honey bees, and the heavy burden of the sunflower trying to hold its head erect.”

“Yes, we are both or should I say all three, poet, philosopher and psychologist.”

“That would explain some of my life’s complications,” says Stanley. “Maybe I enjoy not-being as much as being who I am. Maybe it’s time for me to practice growing old. The way I look at it, I’m passing through a phase Socrates: gradually I’m changing into a word. Whatever you choose to claim of me is always yours; nothing is truly mine except my name. I only borrowed this dust.”

“Yes Stanley,” I reply. “Stardust.”

3B924A21-57BE-4583-956F-DB4D42404DFB.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Eight — James Baldwin will be published on Sunday, September 30, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

 

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Six — Simone de Beauvoir

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“Socrates. Would you mind if we took a stroll into the garden? I would love some fresh air and stars.”

“Everything you can imagine is here for you at the Inn my dear lady.”

Simone takes Socrates by the arm and the two leave the ornate grander of the Great Hall, over the small foot bridge crossing the almost silent stream, and into the garden. The air is filled with the scent of jasmine and honey suckle. There is no moon but the black sky is filled with so many galaxies of stars that the darkness has to fight for space. The two sit on a wooden bench facing the lake.

“I love to come here Socrates and watch for shooting stars,” says Simone softly. “I often see you sitting on one of the benches doing the same thing. You are always alone. You seem to me a man of solitude and yet you are the Gate Keeper of the beautiful Inn and grounds with the most exciting and interesting people I have come to know. How does all of this happen my dear gentle man of all ages?”

“For your flattery, you shall receive an answer. This all happens by chance Simone.”

“Chance? I was just thinking about it the other night while waiting for a shooting star. What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about?”

“You are the stroke of chance who brings this about, Simone. The energy you give to being alive, to living your life, and inspiring others to do the same.”

“I do not know how much of an inspiration I am to others, but I do love being here. This is my life and it is in the knowledge of the genuine condition of our lives that we must first draw our strength to live and our reason for living.”

“Touché Simone, well said. Your reason and purpose in life came to you at a very young age. I remember my overwhelming joy when I learned of your second place finish on the National Post Graduate philosophy exam. At 21, you were the youngest person to ever pass the examination. Although so many factors in our lives are, that was not chance.”

“True Socrates. After the examination, even though Paul Sartre, my friend and colleague finished ahead of me, I knew my role in life was going to be intermingled with philosophy.”

“I know you do not think of yourself as a philosopher Simone and yet here we are two philosophers sitting on this bench waiting on the chance to see a shooting star.”

Simone laughs.

“Thank you Socrates. But tell me, please. How is it I am here? Is it by chance? I mean … Chance … has a distinct meaning for me. I do not know where I might have been led by the paths that, as I look back, I think I might have taken but that in fact I did not take. What is certain is that I am satisfied with my fate and that I should not want it changed in any way at all. So I look upon these factors that helped me to fulfill it as so many fortunate strokes of chance.”

“See you are a philosopher Simone. You see all the factors in front of you.”

Just then they both look up and see a shooting star appear and shoot across the width of the sky. It was the brightest star in the heavens and seemed to shoot on forever. Simone placed her head on Socrates’s shoulder as the fire flies floated above them and the frogs croaked them to sleep.

”I am so blessed by chance to be here.” She dreamed.

CD13FDE8-9214-4D18-83A4-4014913D3317 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Seven — Stanley Kunitz will be published on Sunday, September 16, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

 

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Five — Simone Weil

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AF“Please excuse my intrusion Socrates. I realized you and Mr. Watts were about to enter a rather deep and possibly long conversation and I had a need to speak with you this evening.”

“Do not worry Simone. Philosophers tend to be patient individuals. Allen and I will continue our conversation another time. You seem a bit perplexed. How may I be of service?

“Perhaps that is the issue Socrates. Everyone tells me to be patient but I am tired of the injustices which surround me everyday. I want to end it. I want each individual to be free to pursue the goals of their life without the social and political restrictions imposed by governments, nations, and religious orders. For the greater part of my life I have been on a crusade for workers rights and equality between the sexes, but I do not seem to be making much progress. I dress in the clothing of a man so that I might be accepted as a peer and not only seen as a woman or sex object. I hold my own intellectually but socially I feel as if I am a misfit.”

“You are a very intelligent woman Simone and you bring so much understanding to you colleagues and friends concerning the cause of the common man. It does not matter if you call yourself a socialist or a communist. It does not matter if you are a Catholic or a mystic. You have an altruistic spirit and a giving heart. Albert Camus and I were walking in the garden somewhile ago and your name came up. He described you as, ‘The only great spirit of our time.’ [1] Whatever you give your attention to will profit in some form from that attention.”

“I believe you are correct Socrates. I am not one who simple observes. I believe in taking action.”

“And you take action Simone by giving a person or injustice your attention,” Socrates interjects.

“I think attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love…If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.”

“Yes, that is true Simone. Change occurs because of and in spite of our efforts.”

“If I understand correctly Socrates, what you are telling me is that even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.”

“Yes, yes, Simone. Very well stated. You must believe that. It is the source of your inspiration and the drive of your energy and attention.”

The music stops but Socrates and Simone are still standing in the middle of the great hall. The other guests of the Inn are engaged in conversation and laughter, so the two go unnoticed until they are approached by another woman.

“Good evening my friends. I hope I am not interrupting. I would like a moment with you Socrates if I might.”

Simone turns around and sees her dear friend and colleague Simone de Beauvoir. The two friends embrace.

“We have much to catch up on love. Let’s meet for a swim in the morning,” says Beauvoir.

“Great I will meet you at the lake. The joy of meeting and the sorrow of separation. We should welcome these gifts … with our whole soul. Thank you Socrates for your time and attention, both of which I required this evening.”

“The pleasure as always is mine Simone. Thank you for the dance. May I escort you back to your table?”

“Thank you Socrates, but my friend needs you now and I have taken up much of your time. Your insights and observations are very much appreciated. We will talk again.” replies Simone.

Simone Weil leaves to join Anaïs and Emily who are still engaged in poetic conversation at their table.

“How may I be of service Ms. Beauvoir?”

B15AC85B-718D-4A83-B263-4F7A599E47CF The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Six —  Simone Beauvoir will be published on Sunday, September 02, 2018.

 [1] John Hellman (1983). *Simone Weil: An Introduction to Her Thought*. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 1–23. [ISBN 0-88920-121-8]

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

 

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Four — Alan Watts

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFI take Emily to the table where Simone Weil and Anaïs Nin are seated. They both welcome us to join them but I see Alan Watts across the room gesturing for me to come over. I excuse myself promising to return before the gathering ends and I join Alan at his table.

”Thank you for joining me Socrates. I am most appreciative especially in light of the fact you left three beautiful and inspiring ladies to converse with me.”

”In truth Alan, I wanted to continue our conversation from a few nights ago. We are both autodidacts and yet I find our views of nature and mankind to be so similar.  I have listened to many of your lectures, and with each listening I learn something different about myself and my relationship with nature and with all kind.”

”It saddens me Socrates that humankind sees itself as lonely and isolated from nature when the reality is that we, humankind and nature, are part of one continuous energy flux. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.”

”How true my friend. I know much of your vision and philosophy of life comes from your experiences and your mystical dreams.”

“That is true Socrates. My mystical dreams and experiences started when I was very young. Most individuals discard their dreams and visions as bundled sensations with no clarity of meaning, but they are so much more. They are doorways into the larger consciousness of all that exists.”

“While living at Esalen, I had many mystical experiences that I cannot explain to someone who has not themself had at least one which they remember. They are too easily abandoned as a flash of light or a shadow in our blind spot.”

”I know from our last conversation you are familiar with a few of my dreams and visions, but please share with me one of your experiences.”

“Okay. I will. As mentioned, this one occurred while living at Esalen. I had a favorite bench on the edge of the bluff, facing east. I would plan my arrival right before sunrise. I would sit down, take a deep breath, cross my legs, straighten my back, watch the sun rise, the occasional school of dolphins and listen to the sea, the birds and then, total silence. The day turned to absolute darkness. The rising sun became just another star in the universe around me. It, I am immense. Endless. I am the universe. Then, just as quickly, I looked down upon myself sitting there on the bench looking into my abdomen and seeing that same endless, immense universe inside my finite body. I know what everything is. I am it!”

“Bravo my dear friend.  For when you see that the universe cannot be distinguished from how you act upon it, there is neither fate nor free will, self nor other. There is simply one all-inclusive ‘Happening,’ in which your personal sensation of being alive occurs in just the same way as the river flowing and the stars shinning far out in space. There is no question of submitting or accepting or going with it, for what happens in and as you is no different from what happens as it.“

”And still we see ourselves as separate and alone in the universe,” says Socrates.

“Socrates I have a question for you. I see you in front of me. I can reach across this solid table and grab your arm. I see other people, I know without knowing, each interesting in his or her own manner. I want to talk with them all. My suite is England, New York, California, my boat in Sausalito, wherever I see myself. Wherever I wish to be. The guests are past and present, timeless and now. This place Socrates. It exists in the reality of the imagination, but is it real?

”Excuse me for interrupting gentlemen but I decided to leave the poetesses to their discussion of rhyme and meter and to join the philosophers. Besides Socrates, you promised me this dance.”

”You are correct Simone. I did. Excuse us Alan.”

“By all means Socrates. We will talk again soon.”

54701188-B93E-48A9-9F79-C04B15759C67 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Five — Simone Weil will be published on Sunday, August 19, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Three — Emily Dickinson

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFShe sits quietly across the pond in Monet’s Garden atrium, straight back posture on a bench without a back. She is plain in a visual sense, except for the red streaks in her auburn hair. She is dressed in a white cotton dress. As I approach, I hear her repeating a verse out loud to herself.

Yesterday is History, ‘Tis so far away –

Yesterday is Poetry –

‘Tis Philosophy –

Yesterday is mystery –

Where it is Today

While we shrewdly speculate

Flutter both away

“Excuse me Emily. I hope I am not interrupting, but your note said it was important for us to talk before the evening gathering.”

”O’ Socrates. Forgive me. I was just reciting a poem out loud. Thank you for joining me on such a short notice.”

”I am here to serve Emily. How may I help?”

“I am worried about the gathering this evening. It will be the first since my arrival. I am such a loner. I spend much of my time in solitude. I rarely leave my room. I prefer the company of others through correspondence more than face to face contact.”

”I understand Emily. Attendance is voluntary. Nothing is mandatory here at the Inn. “

”I know. It is just that, I want to attend. That is what surprises me. I have been so private most of my life except for my mother and Lavinia. It is a bit overwhelming. People and conversation drain me so I do not understand this pull of energy to attend.”

”I understand your reservations Emily. I am also a loner who prefers my own company to that of others and yet I am also the Gatekeeper here which requires me to interact with our guests.  We have little if any control over the forces of our existence. I have learned to trust my instincts over my thoughts.”

”Thank you Socrates. I feel better now. Once again I look forward to the gathering this evening.”

”It is my pleasure always, Emily. But now I have a question for you. The verse you were reciting when I arrived. Do you believe poetry and philosophy are intertwined? I am a philosopher by discipline but I think of myself as more of a poet by nature. Do you see yourself as a philosopher as well as a poet?”

”I am a poet, but all poets are philosophers, Socrates. Simply put, only the vehicle of delivery is different. Poetry is philosophy in its essence, reduced to the conclusions of the dialogue. Philosophy is the dialogue. It comes from the mind. Poetry comes from the heart. Yes, they are connected. They are not very different in their intent. They both want us to see the situation from a different perspective. For me, philosophy is something I studied at Amherst. Poetry is something I experience through the everyday experience of living. And yet, the philosophy of my life and death are expressed in my poetry. My poetry is my philosophy.”

”Maybe I should consider being more of a poet. Sometimes my dialogues take on a poetic nature.” Just then the chimes ring to announce the gathering for the evening. “This is a topic I would like to discuss more with you at another time, Emily. Perhaps it might be a topic for one of the evening talks?”

”There are many poets and philosophers here. It should be a lively discussion for sure. Socrates, would you be so kind to escort me the the hall. I would be more comfortable in your presence?”

”It would be my pleasure Emily.”

7A9D20EC-AEAB-434B-BD12-77ABED7870C4.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Five — Alan Watts  will be published on Sunday, August 12, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.

 

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Two — Rainer Maria Rilke

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AF“Good Afternoon Socrates. I hope I did not interrupt you. I am wondering if we might continue our conversation from last night, if you have time?”

“Yes, there is always time here. That is one on the amenities of the Inn. There is always enough time to do whatever you wish. The passage of time no longer exists at this Inn.”

“Where did we leave off? I remember, you were telling me about a number of letters you received from a young poet asking your advice and your were wondering whether or not you should respond as you are a poet and not a teacher of poetry.”

“Because I do one thing well does not mean I can teach it,” responded Rainer in his rather abrupt manner. “Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.”

“That is true Rainer. Perhaps that is the very advice our young friend needs. The butterfly can not teach the caterpillar how to become a butterfly, but she can be an inspiration. Whenever we start out on an adventure, we are unsure of ourselves. We are afraid of the untravelled road. We have doubts. Each generation relies upon the elders of previous generations to lay a path for them to follow until they acquire the faith in themselves to venture into the darkness and the unknown. They cling to these bits of wisdom, these bread crumbs, almost like one clings to a belief.”

Socrates continues, “Remember in your youth you were encouraged to be courageous in your writing of poetry. You created a style of your own built and expanding upon the style of those poets before you. You did not judge them. You simple emulated them until you found your own voice to write poetry in a way that had not been done before. In your own unique creative style.”

The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly–. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

“I remember reading your poem, The Panther. I was thinking at the time what a beautiful way with words you expressed the emotions of the captive. You put yourself inside the consciousness of the cat. You saw through his eyes and thought with his mind. That is what an artist does. For some it is instinctual for others it must be learned.”

“Your young friend only seeks your wisdom and experience. Perhaps in doing so he might learn from some of the pitfalls and challenges you experienced in your life of writing.”

“But Socrates. Is it not those experiences you wish me to save my young correspondent from the very same experiences which are necessary in the building of one’s character?”

“Yes, that is true Rainer. Neither your wisdom or that of others will save him from experiencing his own life. It will however strengthen his courage to know that others before him have faced and overcome such seemingly insurmountable circumstances. It is the responsibility of the poet to encourage others to take a chance with words and to express the emotions of life in ways which have not been expressed in quite the same way ever before, as you did with The Panther and your other writings.”

“In fact, my dear friend. You already have the title for your creation. Letters To A Young Poet.

2273CA86-1327-48D0-AFC4-F8F783369D7B.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter ThreeEmily Dickinson will be published on Sunday, August 05, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.