This week, being the first week of all the fun challenges of Writober, I didn’t write much about this week’s study of contradictory abstract nouns. This week I was looking at the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete. Yesterday, I came across a Proverb (in my daily gratitude journal: Proverbs journal from Ellie Claire) that took my thoughts in a new direction.
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.Proverbs 24:14
Not only did this interesting Proverb connect wisdom to honey, it also connects wisdom to hope which is where this whole contradictory abstract nouns study evolved (Find the despair in hope and the hope in despair). In the context of finding the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete, honey got me thinking about Winnie the Pooh, and the book The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. I hadn’t looked at my copy in a while, so I pulled the cute book off the shelf and began to read. I quickly found some interesting quotes I enjoyed:
“earth was in essence a reflection of heaven”
“The more forcing the more trouble.”
“Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it.”
But those quotes have to do with Lao-tse, not a bear with a head full of stuffing, and honey.
Benjamin Hoff goes on to compare Pooh to P’u, the Uncarved Block in his original simplicity, unspoiled or changed: natural, simple, plain, honest. These are all the positive qualities of naivete as I understand it.
In discussion, my cousin also brought up Forrest Gump as an example of naive wisdom. The table was split two to two if that type of simple-minded action that leads to “success” is wisdom.
So if Winnie the Pooh is naive wisdom, is the bee making the honey wise naivete? I found a couple of fun articles about the wisdom of bees:
The point of these studies is not only because I find it a fun mental exercise, but also to come up with an image that joins both conflicting abstract nouns. For the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom in naivete, I think the honeycomb is an excellent symbol.
Today’s prompt is Owl. It’s interesting that in The Tao of Pooh, Owl is seen as the opposite of wise. Lao-Tse wrote, “The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.” And Owl is the scholar in Pooh’s stories. However, he’s also not scary or Halloweeny, so I’ll move on.
While reading an article about how owls can teach us about silent flight, I came across a reference to strix—man-eating owls that were described in a poem called “Fasti: the Roman Book of Days” by Ovid. Book VI: June 1: Kalends begins “Carna, the first day’s yours. Goddess of the hinge: She opens the closed, by her power, closes the open.” That sounds like a goddess of wisdom to me, but the goddess of wisdom (and war, handicraft, and practical reason) is Minerva. Carna was a nymph.
Further along in the story it says she was given a white thorn to drive away evil from the threshold. This evil is then described as greedy birds, with large heads, eyes that stick out, gray feathers, hooked claws, and beaks fit for tearing. These “Strix” attack children with absent nurses, and drink blood. I like this line of the poem:
“Whether they’re born as birds, or whether they’re made soOvid
By spells, old women transformed to birds by Marsian magic,
They still entered Proca’s bedroom.”
This gets me thinking that owls are considered wise because they are actually wise old women magically turned into birds. Owls are also associated with Minerva (Athena in Greek myth), the goddess of wisdom. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Minerva appears to Arachne:
“To warn the girl against such insolence,
Minerva took the form of an old woman”
the goddess put false gray hair on her temples;
to prop her tottering limbs, she gripped a staff
and, in that guise, approached the girl and said:
‘Not all that old age offers is mere chaff:
for one, the years bestow experience. . .’ “
The filter I cut for the owl prompt last year was too cartoonish to be at all scary, so I’ll try to make a strix filter this year.
Today’s prompt is Magic in the Now. It’s fun that the link in the prompt leads to a post about incorporating myth into your poem since all of today’s prompts have me talking about myths.
The Poetic Bloomings prompt today is about prepositions. Actually, it’s about the ups and downs of life, but then says, “Or an in and out poem if you so choose” which got me thinking about a conversation I had with my mother yesterday about how to diagram prepositions in a sentence. If anyone is interested, here’s the answer: Diagramming the Prepositional Phrase. I was never much of a sentence diagrammer, but it’s an interesting way to get to the heart of a sentence, the subject noun and its action verb.
So looking at both prompts, and the conclusion of my study of the naivete in wisdom and the wisdom of naivete, I have mindfulness of the ups and downs and ins and outs of the now. Let’s see:
Another faux-summer sunny day, full of smoke
I want to write outside, but can’t stand the smell
not of burning wood: acrid, electric, distance-collected
Tempted by the glistening water, I lock the glass door
Yearning for what could be the last swim,
before the refreshing water is too
cold for my skin, and receded further than I
can dive in—timing and body deny
me the pleasure
In this room now, I am fan-cooled,
But the water’s out there, in the smoke-air
the light is out there, glistening smoke-colors
possibility is out there smothered
and yet I can head up or down,
to find an In to wisdom—of body
and mind, and spirit, and herb, and bee
and use light to figure it all out
Today’s inspiration is a digital painting by Austrian artist Stefan Koidl. From my new found knowledge from watching Monstrum, I believe the creature in our image is a Leshy. Here’s the beginning of “Levi and the Leshy:”