MELANCHOLY AND JOY

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MELANCHOLY AND JOY

Postby RonPrice » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:08 pm

While reading Frederick Karl’s Foreward to William Faulkner: American Writer I gained a deeper understanding of what I was trying to do in my poetry and in furthering my own growth as an artist. Firstly, Keats’ lines about his own life as an artist are ones which are an eloquent testimony to my own aims and experience:

Ay, in the very temple of delight
Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

But I would add the following lines since the central inspiration for my work is not the classical Greek tradition, but a new tradition about half way through its second century or, perhaps, approaching the middle of its third century, or even longer if one wants to include the entire Hebraic tradition:

As well as consecrated Joy’s special light
Which empower’s men to fly to farthest height
And taste of sweet new life and darkest night
In the country of the inner life where fight,
A war, betwixt our fancy’s armies and His Might.

Many factors become decisive when a man feels compelled to transcend himself, to battle with those fancies and find inside that heavenly Might, that God within. Linked to this process for Price were several distinct but interrelated factors: still unresolved, still ambiguous, still paradoxical, immensely complex and impossible to discern insofar as their ultimate outcome is concerned. Every aspect of Price’s personal history fed into his present. The wider society, at local, national and global levels, was a source of energy and strength, a source of dissipation and weakness. Price’s poetry documented this cultural process, this contemporary history, although not in any systematic way. Price saw himself as living imagatively and emotionally in two worlds. One private and one public, one dominated by a vision of the world he wanted to see created and the other, one that he lived in on a day to day basis where he tried to implement the vision. The tension between the two was not unlike the distance the earliest believers felt between themselves and Baha’u’llah. In Price’s case this tension was his prison; in the case of these early Baha’is they were trying to get into prison. Perhaps Price needed to learn to love the prison he was in. Perhaps this was the basis for his paradox, his ambiguity.-Ron Price with thanks to Frederick Karl, William Faulker: American Writer, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, NY, 1989, Foreward.

Melancholy and Joy
have breathed together
Since I was a boy
And so they’ll stay
Forever and a day.
Ron Price is a retired teacher, aged 65. He taught for 35 years in primary, secondary and post-secondary schools. He has been a Baha'i for 50 years.
RonPrice
 
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Location: George Town Tasmania Australia

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