The Hidden Poetry that Underpins our Existence
Examining the poetic commune with the cosmic consciousness
This short-form essay is written as an answer to a question posed by a reader. In the ‘about’ section of my website, I describe ‘the hidden poetry that underpins our existence’ as a focal point in my writerly explorations. A reader wrote to me with eager curiosity to understand what I meant by that. It is with great pleasure that I address her question.
I’m very interested in what you call the hidden poetry that underpins our existence. How can we tune into it and reveal it? Are we authors of this poetry or mere listeners to its rhythms and struggling interpreters of its meaning?
Firstly, let me delineate the term poetry – within this particular context, anyway – because I chose that word very intentionally, not because it’s artistic and vaguely evocative, but because I believe that its meaning directly corresponds to some aspects of existence and consciousness that are notoriously difficult to pin down.
So – while the term ‘poetry’ is undeniably rich and multi-faceted – far more than the scope of this essay will allow for – generally speaking, I would describe poetry as an elevated literary experience. It is also a type of writing that uses formto shape content– and it is this especial union between form and content within the poem that creates impact, evokes emotion, and communicates meaning. This union is important – I’ll come back to this later on.
Poetry is also an aesthetic experience – an experience of beauty, one would hope. And at it’s very best, in its purest and most essential manifestation, I believe that poetry communicates something sacred, something metaphysical – specifically ontological – a Divine essence if you will – (but more on this another time)
Now, As I’ve just alluded to, poetry is about patterns and patterning – as in, the poetic form. This is relevant to what I’m talking about because, to use an elucidatory quote from Virginia Woolf, “behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern – I believe that we—I mean all human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.”
You see, and this is important – the hidden poetry I refer to is the same hiddenpattern that Woolf speaks of. I suppose, then, with this ‘hidden poetry’, I am referring to a certain poetics of existence – specifically, a poetics of consciousness – human, planetary and cosmic.
To discover or discern this hidden poetry is to discover something superlative or ‘essential’ that is embedded within the everyday; something that occasionally we chance upon – that, occasionally we perceive. These moments of perception, of poetic discovery, are also what I personally refer to as ‘pinpricks of illumination’ – like flashes of a wider reality that is always there, but that we cannot always detect. It is in these moments of poetic realisation, I find, that one tunes into a deeper rhythm; a rhythm which unifies and connects all things.It is as though within a micro moment one glimpses the sight of the macro, or at least one feels, senses, and experiences a deeper order.
So – what is this ‘deeper order’; what is this ‘hidden pattern’, this hidden poetry?
Well, William Blake said: ‘if the doors of perception were cleansed, then man would see reality as it is: Infinite’ – so, when I talk about the hidden poetry that underpins our existence, it is this,at least to some extent, that I am referring to: a deeper and more elevated truth, energy and order, that is not usually apparent in the prosaic, quotidian experience, but which is nonetheless there at all times, hidden from view.
To witness this pattern, this hidden poetry, is to witness the presence of a more-than human consciousness. It is to undergo an elevated moment of Being, with a capital B. It is to discover the Infinite within the Finite; to move, briefly, beyond time and space, and experience the unfurling spectacle of a cosmic destiny which has no limits.
Experiencing the hidden poetry feels like stepping through the looking glass; like opening the doors of perception, and touching the substance of reality more deeply. It offers the sensation of seeing something for the very first time. It is intimately connected with the numinous, our aesthetic faculty, solitude and rhythm; with dreams, déjà vu, and thresholds; with nature, endings and beginnings, death and birth, the creative impulse, and synchronicities. Experiencing the hidden poetry also brings us into Being – it offers us a sense of re-origination and renewal – because in the experience and realisation of this cosmic poetry we are making contact with the Source – the energy whence we came, and to which we shall return
The fact that this poetry is hidden, corresponds to the part of the question “how can we tune into it and reveal it?” – this is something I will answer more fully in another essay or video, but, in essence, I believe it is just a case of attuning oneself to it; of heightening one’s sensitivity in order to discover it. And I believe that we if we learned to be better readers of literary works, we would be better able to perceive the hidden poetry too.
Now, in answer to the aspect of whether we are authors of this poetry or mere listeners to its rhythms, the answer is both– because to discern this hidden poetry is a true co-creation. You see, I believe that this poetry is immanent – as in, that it inheres within an objective field of reality – and that there is a cosmic author, as it were.
That might suggest that we are indeedmere listeners and struggling interpreters of its meaning, but this is not the case. No, it is a mutual, reciprocal exchangeof consciousness; an intermingling, if you will. I want to offer a quote from Maurice Blanchot, the literary theorist and philosopher, to expound what I mean by this concept of co-creation:
Blanchot said: “The reading of a poem is the poem itself, affirming itself in the reading as a work. It is the poem giving birth, in the space held open by the reader.”
You see, the hidden poetry of which I speak is only realised when it is perceived and recognized – it is in the “reading” of this cosmic poetry, as experienced through the prism of our own mind/body intelligence, that the poetry is written. It is a collaboration between an external field of consciousness, and our own. It is a finely wrought balance between deciphering it, and simply receiving and intuiting it – much like interpreting an actual, literary poem.
Because when I read truly great poetry, from the likes of T. S. Eliot or Rilke or Shakespeare– I feel something communicated to me before I fully understand the poem. The aesthetic impact is felt deep in my body – and this is how I respond to a poem, before I begin to decode and deconstruct it in my mind. I receivethe poem, in its fullness, before I start analysing the metrical form and the various devices which are in place.
When it comes to experiencing the more abstract, hidden poetry of which I speak, it is a similar process, hence why I said mind/body intelligence, because perceiving the hidden poetry is very much a felt experience – it is not purely cerebral – it is, first and foremost, embodied. One feels the turnings of a celestial rhythm, viscerally– it stirs the intelligence of our entire Being. It comes in holistically, through the mind/body, or perhaps I should say, the ‘body-mind’ – it is felt and received in this domain, which is outside of language.
And if you think about it, this makes complete sense, since we are communing with an Ineffable energy – hence why people who have mystical experiences or take psychedelics struggle to articulate their experience in words. However, after this initial, extra-linguistic ‘reception’, (or ‘communion’), it is then thatthe hidden poetry percolates up into the part of our mind which is occupied by language, and which can reflect on its experience.
It is then that, through words, we can use our silent inner voice to notice the form that this hidden poetry takes – whether it be the way a leaf turns, just so, as it falls through the air; or the dusty-yellow light of the moon in the gloaming, reflected upon crests of oceanic waves; or the cadence of the violin in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and the way it evokes grief and celebration at the same time, like an ecstatic tragedy.
I could go on, but I think what it all comes down to, is this: consciousness – not only our own, but that which exists on a planetary level, and on a cosmic level too. This is a guiding belief of mine: one which I shall dedicate my life to exploring further, and bringing into mainstream dialogue – the notion that there exists a cosmic consciousness – that we are not alone – and that cosmology and consciousness are inextricably related.
And on that note, I’ll think I’ll leave it there.