“Often I Am Permitted To Return To A Meadow
as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,
that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought...”
- Robert Duncan, The Opening of the Field, © 1960
This poem is a poem I often return to. For reasons perhaps not what the great poet intended. Or perhaps they are. It speaks to me, however, as a creed about art, creation, and creativity.
It is as if there is a place where we can go to find our voice, our meaning, our myths, and our art. It is, however, not wholly our own. We are permitted to find our voice, and we are permitted to make our meanings. But this is a sacred place, a place where we can't go whenever we want. Perhaps this is writer's block, but this meaning I attach to it is itself the mythology we can make of small things. And in this way, become connected to something greater.
It is, of course, a made place. Does that mean it is not natural? Or is nature made, too? Either way, it is part of eternity, “an eternal pasture folded in all thought”, our thought, our muses' thoughts, the thoughts of the field itself, perhaps, the ground of being.
It is ours, it is dear to us. It underlies everything. I use language to make it mine, to show it, to fold it in thought – all thought – which means it becomes part of other's thought as well. They have the final act of creation, of linking it to their own experience and interpretation. The reader, given permission by the author putting out this section of the field, now is part of the field. The field is much greater, of course. We explore it bit by bit, poem by poem, story by story. We then fold ourselves into the greater part of the world.
A great poem to come back to, when time permits, when need arises. It is eternally there for us.