Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keeping a Journal

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend, Katrine Stewart, by posting an online question for them to consider, is encouraging some of her friends who keep journals.
In response to Katrine's question last week, "The poet Rilke maintains that a rose can be more important than a piece of bread. Is this true for you?", one of the participants posted a poem sometimes attributed to John Greenleaf Whittier, but more likely written by the Persian poet, Muslihuddin Sadi in the 16th century.

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store
two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

Both Katrine's question and this poem led me to consider whether or not extreme want would obliterate the need for beauty in our lives.   And I think not.  

I remember studying Maslow's heirachy of needs in college and being uneasy at the thought of humans being unable to consider higher needs until their basic needs were met.  

While I agree it might be more difficult to think about beauty when you are hungry, still mothers feed their children before eating themselves, the Jews in concentration camps formed choirs and orchestras while starving to death, and mankind seems to be continually renewed by the beauty of nature.  

However, I have never experienced more that a couple of days of going without food, so perhaps I might think differently of my choice of a rose over bread.  What do you think?

If you would like to participate in Katrine's journal prompts, you can visit her website here


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