Edith Södergran: The Day Turns Cool
The day turns cool towards evening…
Drink the warmth of my hand,
my hand has the warm blood of springtime.
Take my hand, take my white arm,
take the longing of my shoulders…
Wondrous to feel,
one sole night, a night like this,
your heavy head on my breast.
You threw the red rose of your love
into my white lap –
in my smoldering hands I squeeze
the red rose of your love that withers soon…
Oh, you cold-eyed ruler,
I accept the crown you hand me,
that bends my head down towards my heart…
I saw my master for the first time today,
trembling I recognized him immediately.
Now I already feel his heavy hand
on my light arm…
Where is my chiming virgin-laughter,
my woman-freedom with raised brow?
Now I already feel his firm grasp
around my trembling body,
now I hear reality’s harsh tone
against my fragile, fragile dreams.
You sought a flower
and found a fruit.
You sought a spring
and found a sea.
You sought a woman
and found a soul –
you feel betrayed.
I think the mystery of life is that much of a person is unknowable. We have friends, lovers, family and we see aspects, facets of them in the limited time and interactions we have with them.
We draw out different elements of them.
They have their tenderness, vulnerabilities and brokenness, we are to handle with care without compromising on our personal
How do we do this? We need discernment.
Discernment is a gift from God.
It comes from a place of self-awareness and love. It doesn’t come from a place of hurry, fear and restlessness.
Does this mean that we are to be in an eternal state of zen and monastic living?
No, if you look at Jesus’s life, he was incredibly busy. People were always asking something from him. Did he go about like a chicken without a head attending to their limitless asks?
No he didn’t. He practiced discernment.
He knew when to challenge people, when to give a stern command, when to show tenderness and compassion and when to withdraw to lonely places to pray.
You do not have a “7 Habits for Highly Effective People” guide for this level of effectiveness and impact, you have wisdom and discernment from God, which you can receive.
You only have to ask and receive.
A translation of the Hebrew word “receive” means to be “lifted up.”
The Hebrew word “Nasah” means to lift, to carry, a motion to carry up and away, regarding a physical or metaphysical weight to be elevated or removed.
When you’re “lifted up” you gain perspective and you are able to see the bigger picture while remaining sensitive to the context and culture you’re embedded in. You are aware not only of yourself and your needs but that of the mind state of others as well. You have empathy and a sense of intuition about how others might feel.
You flow in the Spirit.
Which brings me back to the line of this poem that spoke to me. I found this line embedded in an Economist article about the late Hungarian Economist Janus Kornai. He was passionate for reality – economics in practice, not in theory, and wrote extensively about the nature of economics as practiced by the man on the street.
His strident analysis and criticism of the command economies of Eastern European communist states created quite a stir and exposed systemic flaws.
Perhaps truth tellers are at heart – poets, no matter what their line of chosen work may be.
Special Thanks To Brendan MacNamara on his exposition of the Hebrew word for “receive.”