Hello Everyone – As the festive excess begins to snowball(!) I want us to turn the other way, or perhaps to turn to one of the more self-evident messages of Christmas. At the literal level it is the celebratory joy of a birth/life that exterior, poorer circumstances cannot diminish. In short, it is anti-materialistic, anti-Mammon and perhaps helps bring a sense of proportion to our overloaded, over-burdened lives.
Though associated with him, it was not the architect der Rohe who came up with that well-known adage: ‘less is more’. Rather he adopted it from Robert Browning’s poem “Andrea del Sarto” – a dramatic monologue in which the painter reminisces and laments that his worldly concerns kept him from fulfilling his ambition as artist.
“I do what many dream of, all their lives,
—Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive—you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,—
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter)—so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them…”
In her poem “Housekeeping” Natasha Trethewey baldly states (almost) impartially a penniless home life:
“We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard...”
Against a cheerless world weariness, Wendell Berry writes of “The Peace of Wild Things”
“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
The suffix ‘less’ has both negative and positive connotations and even neutral ones. The challenge is to choose ONE or MORE from THE LIST of words BELOW and include it/them in the body and/or title of your poem. If possible, add a soupçon of hopefulness for Hope is the message in this first advent week!
ageless ~ boundless ~ breathless ~ careless ~ cloudless ~ colourless ~ faceless ~ fearless ~ feckless ~ flawless ~ formless ~ harmless ~ heedless ~ helpless ~ homeless ~ listless ~ needless ~ restless ~ rootless ~ senseless ~ tasteless ~ weightless ~ windowless ~ wordless ~
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment below. Visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.