Matter & Beauty
I never knew this bar existed,
I wish I could give you a map
One day, maybe, you look sideways,
Any one of these things might do the trick.
The end of one decade and the beginning of another is itself a threshold moment and for the past eight years I have lingered with that dream, dreaming it forward in various ways into my life. Re-collecting it again and again, it has meant different things at different moments, but one thing that has remained is how that dream pictured so accurately for me my life as a psychologist. More than forty years ago I found my way into psychology through the entrance door of philosophy and for the past twenty years or so I have been stumbling around looking for the exit door of poetry. In this regard, I have come to understand that psychology is and has been for me a threshold discipline and that I as a psychologist have struggled to make up my mind to be or not to be either the philosopher or the poet. The wisdom of the dream, however, was its ending, leaving me there on the threshold where I am neither philosopher nor poet, but the one who, understanding that it is not a matter of just making up one’s mind, holds the tension between the two by leaning one way on this occasion and the other way on that occasion.
At the moment as I am approaching my eighth decade, I find myself inclined toward the poet. But leaning in that direction, I have also come to understand that poet and philosopher are and have been for me as a psychologist not so much identities as they are dispositions, attitudes, ways of thinking as a psychologist who has tried to keep soul in mind. So, now at this turning point on the threshold I find myself trying to think about things, trying to look again at the world, trying to regard it poetically. In this context, the memoir for which this prelude is written is in that poetic voice and in that voice there are two books of poems that have been written during the last twenty years or so and which, for the most part, have remained private.
One book is, as one might expect, called ‘Leaning toward the Poet.’ These poems are attempts to speak to the vocation of the poetic voice; to the ways I have tried to listen to that vocation and to respond to being addressed by it. The two poems included here—‘Swiss Bank Account,’ and ‘Being with a Poet’-- are examples of that book. The other book is called ‘Stray Lines.’ This book contains poems, most of which are relatively short, that are like snapshots of ordinary moments designed to reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary. They are attempts to reply in a poetic voice to the small epiphanies of daily life, to register them before they might slip away unnoticed and sink into oblivion. They are poems in service to being against forgetting. They are love poems that celebrate the erotic bonds, the chiasm, between the flesh of the body and the flesh of the world. The two examples here are: ‘ Stray Lines,’ and ‘A Sense of Place.’
Robert D. Romanyshyn PhD is Senior Core Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute and an Affiliate Member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. He is the author of six books and numerous articles in edited volumes and professional journals. He has lectured widely in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Described by others as a master story teller, he says of himself that he entered psychology many years ago through the door of philosophy and has been struggling ever since to find his way out through the door of poetry.
His most recent book is The Wounded Researcher (2007). He is currently working on three manuscripts. The Frankenstein Prophecy offers a Jungian/Archetypal reading of the melting polar ice. Left by the Side of the Road is an anti-memoir description of the writing life in service to soul. Epiphanies in Dark Light is a collection of poems, photographs and descriptions born in reveries of the splendors of the ordinary world, a psychology of the elements in which the human is only a witness and these ordinary splendors are regarded—seen again and anew—not in the bright light of mind but in the dark light of soul.
the DVD –Antarctica: Inner Journeys in the Outer World
To arrange a presentation of "Anarctica" with Robert and/or for purchase of the DVD
contact Robert Romanyshyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
also in this issue
Landscape of Myth, Dream and Imagination
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