When we write poetry, unless we are trying to be clever, we talk directly from the heart. In the same way that we are born with the natural capacity for language, our hearts are encoded with layers and layers of rich meaning that we inherently understand in life. It is the symbolism of our dreams and the creative arts. It is our soulfulness – the shared understanding of the world that doesn’t require explicit language.
I really like this aspect of reality. When I was crazy, I spent a lot of time understanding conversations and media in primarily this format. It’s insane how much meaning is infused into reality.
Now I am more sane, I still enjoy accessing this realm of understanding. When something strikes me as particularly interesting or meaningful to me, I get joy out of looking into the underlying possible symbolism that is being communicated. It is a way of going deeper into life. The purpose is not to analyse something to get the right answer, it is to understand that the deepest truth of what we are expressing can’t always be explicit.
I wanted to share my understanding of this poem with you. I don’t overthink my poetry and I get the impression that Tim Key is the same.
My intention in delving into this is not to assume that this is what he meant or to dictate some kind of right answer about what is being said, it is to explore the mystery of how humans have a natural capacity for creating mysterious and profound shared meaning out of things, even when they don’t realise they’re doing it.
When I was deep in my subconscious and interacting with people in this realm I got pretty scared of how little control we have over our lives. This poem reframed it for me.
Verse One – The Hero’s Journey
Amaal wrote a letter to his sweetheart on a seed
He injected the seed into an apple.
He gave her the apple and went to war.
A tree grew and on each leaf there appeared a word from his letter.
- Amaal – an Islamic name that means hope and expectations
- Letter – message from your subconscious
- Seed – the human psyche and soul, potential, the continuity of life
- Apple – grandeur
- War – disorder, struggle and chaos
- Apple tree – wisdom and prosperity
This verse is telling us the hero’s journey. It is describing how our heart’s subconscious intentions create our hopes and expectations for ourselves and our lives. We have grand ideas about how we can reach our potential and contribute to the development of life and the world and we plant these ideas back inside of our hearts.
If we go out into the world to try and achieve these dreams and we face our lives whole-heartedly and with courage, we will encounter struggle and difficulty. We will meet the chaos and roadblocks that were the things stopping us from already living in this way. This forces us to grow, so we develop wisdom and this in turn can bring us prosperity in life.
Verse Two – Grace
One day, Grace stood at the right angle
And the words formed into a letter again.
She lowered her shades and read Amaal’s letter through tears.
- Grace – the bestowal of blessings
- Letter – message from your subconscious
- Shades – poor perception and darkness
- Tears – an expression of joy
This verse is describing how acts of grace come about. One day, once we have developed enough wisdom in our hearts, this will subconsciously change our experience and our hearts will send ourselves a different message. It will allow us to see things clearly and take away the darkness of life, giving us a sense of joy.
Verse Three – The Goddess’ Journey
She penned a reply on a plumstone
And buried it in a watermelon.
“Give this fruit to Amaal,” she said to Sidney.
He placed it in his parachute bag
And he solemnly boarded his flight to the Sudan.
- Pen – the pen is mightier than the sword, symbolic of an inner journey rather than a journey out into the world
- Plum – vitality and innocence
- Stone – quest in recognising and developing your self-identity
- Watermelon – desire and connection
- Fruit – abundance
- Sidney – a name meaning ‘south of the water’, which is representative of emotional darkness
- Parachute – protective force
- Flight – a project that is about to take off
- The Sudanese flag – the colours and shapes represent the heart moving through layers of darkness, light and connection.
This verse is telling us the story of the Godess’ journey, which is about turning inwards and facing the darkness and difficulty we find inside of us. We can be inspired to go inside when we have achieved some of our biggest hopes in life, once we have been graced with the blessing of joy.
We start with a sense of our own innocence, we don’t know about the darkness that exists inside of us until we decide to go on a quest to understand ourselves better and deepen our relationship with life. What fuels us through this story is not the hope of achievements but the desire for deep connections. We hope to discover an abundance of love.
We delve into our emotional darkness, which is a very solemn and difficult journey to face. Unlike the Hero’s journey where we are full of excitable ideas, we can fall into our darkness very easily with the Goddess journey. The struggles come from the ascent back out.
Again, if we show up whole-heartedly and with courage, we can trust in our heart’s natural ability to protect and heal us during this ascent. It will catch us if we fall back down. And if we follow our heart’s direction we can work our way back up through the layers of the darkness to the light, where we will return with a deeper capacity to connect to life.
The hope for a deeper love can inspire us through the journey but the real culmination is our greater capacity to hold life in all its light and dark. It gives us a deeper sense of connection, not because we have received more love from others but because we have opened parts of ourselves to experience. It gives us greater depths of compassion and access to joy.
The Secret of Life
As I described, this poem completely reframed my perception of how our lives play out. It stopped me focusing on our lack of control in life and helped me to focus on the beauty of how our lives are built on subconscious messages that our hearts are sending us in every moment based on the meaning and importance of things, rather than on rational perceptions and ideas.
The only way we are going to find joy in life is if we follow our heart’s desires. The secret to life is to get out of the way and trust them to do their thing. It’s what is happening whether we realise it or not, so we may as well relax into it.
One way of understanding the world is that we are creating our experience through our perception, what we decide to put our attention on and how we frame that.
It does have some truth to it, but it is not the full story. What I have perceived by opening myself so deeply to the subconscious and archetypal realms of our experience is that there are whole layers of richness and depth to our experience that impact our behaviour and perception of the world, but that we aren’t normally even aware of.
We are moving through life in mysterious and interesting ways that only our hearts can understand.
We watch films and read books and have conversations that have levels of meaning that our minds aren’t able to fully comprehend. We say things and create art that expresses stuff we had no idea was inside of us. My poetry has depths to it that I never consciously intended.
The world is full of too much information for our minds to hold, there are layers of understanding and existing that aren’t meant to be understood rationally.
If we want access to the joy and understanding that this can give us we have to trust the messages we get from our bodies and emotions and intuition as much as the ones we get from our conscious minds.