Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 20 October 2013

For Hard-Boiled Taoists Only


Britta Hill

Sitting on a wooden teak bench, aged to silver, which is put into a balcony on the long pier of Heiligendamm, I look at the turquoise waves flowing deep under me. The ripples make me a bit giddy, and the Universal Dinner Lady, the Tao, asks me to dance.
The waves roll onto the white sand of the shore, the evening sun glistens on the salty water, a direct stream of silvery light is flowing towards me. I'm coming, my love, eternity, Tao, I'm here.
                                                                                   Many years I got it wrong:
I thought of what I wanted, tried to force it, planned and pushed - eagerly and impatient, single-minded and focussing all my will-power into one direction.
Now I still have a special dream, a very concrete aim - but I give it up to her, the Universal Dinner Lady. I tell her what I want to have on my plate - but then, after I have turned it over to her (we shoot the arrow diligently, the rest is not in our power) - I start to look at HER:
She is here. Now.
Her silk robe of Baltic Sea Water, dark blue at the horizon, changing into forget-me-not blue, periwinkle, turquoise, very light blue again and then dark green. The silver of the sun is gleaming at her throat, she murmurs, open her arms - the dance begins.
Waves are our orchestra, cormorans open their wings in bizzare rectangles -- black shadows crotcheting black lace at the seam of her dress. The beeches, her burning copper blond hair - ebb and tide - the dance go on.
I learn:
The DANCE with her is the important part - not the aim that I strive for -- (though I believe she will offer it to me, being in such a splendid mood now).
But wether she does or not: it really doesn't matter.
It really doesn't matter (in the end).

What really matters is to DANCE with her. 


Britta Hill





18 comments:

  1. Oh my! What a moving piece of poetry. If there is a Tao, a universal way, it is that life furnishes a solid, interactive connection with what and whom we love. You have written something remarkable here, Britta. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Geo. I was a bit unsure whether to post it or not. Love your way to express it.

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  2. Absolutely. One cannot dance and think at the same time.

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    1. Thank you, Dominic - opening to the big picture surrounding us.

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  3. What a beautiful piece Britta.......keep on dancing x

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  4. Britta... So beautiful! My heart and spirit needed this today. It is the entirety of the dance.. Not just the first step or the last, but always moving to the music ... In harmony and love. Blessings...Susan

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    1. Dear Ssan, I'm glad you liked it! As you say: the entirety is the secret.

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  5. Britta, I was taking a sip of pinon coffee just as I read this:

    'and the Universal Dinner Lady, the Tao, asks me to dance.'

    and all kinds of emotion got caught in my throat as the warm coffee tried to go down along with it.

    Then this:

    'we shoot the arrow diligently, the rest is not in our power'

    made my eyes sting with recognition.

    This:

    'cormorans open their wings in bizzare rectangles'

    I just savored for the delectable poetry.

    Finally, this undid me:

    'The DANCE with her is the important part'





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    1. Dear Suze, thank you, I am always really moved when I read what you write to me, my friend. Just now have been again the days of the Frankfurter Buchmesse - I remembered your wish well that we will one day go by train there. Together! I wish!

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  6. Yes, yes, yes. Exquisite... especially the gentle anthropomorphizing (gynopomorphizing?) of her physical attributes.

    Taoism was one of the first "other" religions that I discovered as a teenager that really resonated with me. If it hadn't just been the first of many, I'd probably be wearing some kind of saffron robe now or something. :-)

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    1. Today, dear Cygnus, I have the feeling that it is my birthday - all your blogfellows kind comments and compliments, thank you!
      Would have saffron as a colour suited you? Will try to visualise you :-)

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  7. Dinner and dance, a perfect combination and a perfect location. Wishing your arrow good speed :-)

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      thank you for your wish! I let me taken by surprise :-)

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  9. This is really lovely, Britta, and for whatever reason, reminds me of a Wallace Stevens poem I love, The Idea of Order at Key West, particularly these lines:

    It was her voice that made
    The sky acutest at its vanishing.
    She measured to the hour its solitude.
    She was the single artificer of the world
    In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
    Whatever self it had, became the self
    That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
    As we beheld her striding there alone,
    Knew that there never was a world for her
    Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

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  10. Dear Sue,
    you made me really happy with these wonderful lines of Wallace Stevens - a poem I didn't know before, lines that touch my heart. Thank you for this great present, Sue - this evening their music will flow into my dreams, tomorrow I'll look and listen again, spellbound.

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  11. I love that translation! I don't know whether you were able to find the whole poem, but in case not, if I've done this right, the link is here.

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