Yeah, I’m one of those dirty freakin’ hippies who acknowledges Buy Nothing Day every November 23rd. Black Friday just ain’t my thing. If you’re one of those people who wakes up at 5 a.m. to get in line for sales at Wal-Mart or Sears on the day after Thanksgiving and you shop all day long, I hope you’ll still have respect for me for celebrating the alternative here and I hope we can try to understand one another when I say: I just. don’t. get. it.
And, this is a bit of a stretch, but as I was looking at Adbusters’ Buy Nothing Day site, I got to thinking about over-consumption. And that got me thinking about one of my favorite poems ever (which I happen to have matted and framed on one of the walls of my home in a lovely Thomas Merton poster I once found in the cobwebbed corner of an old used bookstore, but I digress). It’s called “The Harmonies of Excess,” written by Trappist monk/acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer/poet/author/social activist Thomas Merton, pictured above (his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, is a fabulous read).
So, sure, this has nothing to do with the over-consumption which Buy Nothing Day addresses. And, sure, I just thought of it ’cause of the word “excess,” but it’s always been one of my favorite poems. Just humor me.
“The Harmonies of Excess” by Thomas Merton
* * * * * * *
The hidden lovers in the soil
Become green plants and gardens tomorrow
When they are ordered to re-appear
In the wet sun’s poem
Then they force the delighted
Power of buds to laugh louder
They scatter all the cries of light
Like shadow rain and make their bed
Over and over in the hollow flower
The violet bonfire
They spin the senses of the mute morning
In an abandoned river
Love’s wreckage is then left to lie
All around the breathless shores
Of my voice
Which on the coasts of larking meadows
Invented all these children and their mischievous noises
I found someone who posted the poem in its entirety here, so you can read the rest there if you’re interested. You really don’t want to miss the last stanza.
Whether you’re out shopping today (shudder) or kicking your feet up and buying not-a-damn-thing, happy Poetry Friday!