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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
This is a favorite poem of mine from Anna Akhmatova. Though she wrote during some of the bleakest times of Soviet Russia, there are moments of radiant -- one might even say, mystical -- joy that emerges in her poems.
This particular poem conveys the powerful, yet utterly intimate experience of many mystics in the ecstatic state.
Often, there is a perception of water. It is seen as white or golden, shining. It is as if one is embraced by a living golden ocean, floating in it.
And there is also a sense of drinking, or of a subtle liquid or sweet "air" flowing gently down the back of the throat. There is an awareness of sweetness almost tasted on the palette that can have a divinely inebriating quality. Akhmatova speaks of drinking air "like wine."
She refers to the sun -- light, radiance everywhere.
Soon, you find yourself asking, Is the day ending, or the world? Ultimately, you find it is you who are ending. The train of mental chatter has come to a screeching halt, and you are surprised to find how much that busyness of thought had restricted your perception, allowing you only brief, blurred glimpses. The world and what you called yourself are not as you thought at all, and both are new and alive and too vast to be called your own.
Then you know that the secret of secrets is within you. And it is so deeply familiar you must have known it before, and it is there again.
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M. Granger's original poetry, stories and commentaries are Copyright ©
2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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