In the summer of 2018, unforeseen circumstances had turned my life upside down. In a period of disorientation, I found myself writing again, after a twelve-year hiatus. By October 2018, I was drafting what would become, after numerous revisions, the first poem included in Love | Source | Joy, “Illuminations.” I was studying two famous sonnets, Baudelaire’s “Correspondences” and Rimbaud’s “Voyelles,” each of which resonates well beyond its fourteen lines. At the same time, a friend familiar with my spiritual practices suggested that I write from the perspective of advanced forgiveness, which had not really occurred to me before. Advanced forgiveness means that we give up our imagined grievances because only our endless source is real, which is a state of perfect love. The reader will detect these influences in “Illuminations.” The concluding image of the “lovely face” refers to all people:
Lucence, rapture of glass and steel downtown,
Sleek granite shimmer-clad as light cascades;
Vast curtain walls turn mirrors base to crown
Reflecting each reflecting sheens and shades.
Burnt engines, fuming, spew obnoxious air
That wafts along stone planes and vertices;
Construction rigs send tremors, sirens blare
Through patchy groves of cypress, olive trees.
This lattice work I’ve walked, these parallels,
Dank tents amid the trash and putrid smells,
An arid dream that shifts but doesn’t cease.
In lanes of builded luster, streets distressed
I find myself, though limping, wholly blessed
To see your lovely face and feel this peace.