Monday, February 18, 2019

Whether Jane Miller worries too much ?

For some, dinner is served very early


"Whether the Goat is a Metaphor"
                                  by Jane Miller

We go on talking and digging a pit in the earth
to spit-roast kid,
since anyone working in a lively rhythm is not attached
to the story.
In saving her, he saves himself.
It’s getting late.
The story of the boy is that
by drinking water from a hoof he’s turned into a goat.
If we separate magic from life,
we get art. His sister, long story short,
gets thrown into a river with a stone around her neck.
His weeping stirs the neighbors with a silken net
to scoop her out. He turns three somersaults
of joy and lands on two feet as a boy again.
How, in heaven’s name, will dinner be served, and when?
Separate art from life, we get nothing.
We go on talking and digging.
I’ve got a million and ten things to do.
Of the multitude of things, it is emptiness
that’s necessary now, now that you’ve had time
to wash and dress. As a form
of enlightenment, the most unsuspecting guest
is your enemy in armor, or invisible,
who will clap you on the back
when you choke on a bone at the banquet.


Note on the meaning of Emptiness here in the poem’s meaning/connotation

1. It does not mean Voidness, or Emptiness in the correct/true meaning of Sunyata in Buddhist doctrine on the Void , or its philosophical sense of Voidness

2. It means, I believe, what Jane Miller means is emptiness ( hư vô, cái rỗng không— không phải Tính không, như có người dịch) = that which can bring a sense of emptiness in one’s heart and mind. Emptiness here can point to the emptiness in one’s life , where extravaganza on the road of seeking Tanha ( lust , cravings,  desires, for pleasure, satisfaction, gratification etc. ) surfaces and manifests ; when one is indulged too much as such, and  later feels he/she is on the wrong side of the road. It has more of an ontico-ontological sense/meaning, rather than an abstract philosophical sense. What is ontological philosophically which does not have connection with the real or corporeal ontic, or ontical things ?

3. Even though J. Miller says in the next few lines about “a form of enlightenment” , what she says about “emptiness”  here has the least substantiation, textual connection to Sunyata ( Voidness, or more poorly translated/annotated as Emptiness) in the philosophy of Voidness. What she means by “ enemy in armor, or invisible” , I sense, is the many adverse, unfortunate, ill-fated circumstances , which may “clap” one’s back to bring one to face the meaning of emptiness—that which is empty of “real” value, real significance, or importance for one’s life— and realize something more solid and “liberating”.

Chân Huyền



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