I've just been reading a post from LutheranChik, where she links to a poem of Charles Tomlinson's, Mushrooms. It's a good poem, but one bit truly jumped out at me:
"...a resemblance, too,
Is real and all its likes and links stay true
To the weft of seeing."
It reminded me of a comment Kelly Joyce Neff left on a post of mine recently, where she quotes CG Jung as saying, of legend, "...it is all true, even if it never really happened."
There is something more than metaphorical, almost metaphysical, going on here - for nothing that we see or hear or feel is more than the impression left on our senses and our sensitivities by who knows what complex interaction of electromagnetic waves, subtle particles, the echoes and glitches of our own nerves. And yet what we see is real, what we hear matters, what and whom we touch is changed forever...
It is not poets who are unaware of what is real: it is the so-called realists, the people of "muck and brass," who, mistaking the narrow constructs of their perceptions and their preconceptions for the true nature of things, are lost in the twilight of illusion.
Words are odd things. All their likes and links stay true - and I often wonder if that isn't part of what it means to be made in the image of God. Jesus is the Word of God, and through him all things were made (John 1:1,3); in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17) Our own little words are more than sounds on the air or marks on paper. What we say and write matters more than we know. Our words accomplish things we can scarcely understand. The Words of Institution in the Eucharistic liturgy are more than a reminder; what is said at Baptism, at confirmation, at the life profession of a religious, changes things eternally.
We should be more scared than we are. On our tongues and in our fingertips is a little mirror of the power that shaped the galaxies. Oh God, have mercy on our stumblings.