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Original Poem: "Not Content to Languish" with Commentary

Updated on April 4, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, and taking a creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my growing interest.

Earth in Hands

Source

Introduction and Text of Poem, "Not Content to Languish"

This American sonnet employs an altered version of the Italian sonnet: instead of an octave and a sestet, it features two septets. Its message will resonate with anyone who has experienced sorrow in their lives: totally happy campers need not bother.

A slightly different version of “Not Content to Languish” appears in my collection titled Singing in the Silence: Poems of Faith.

Not Content to Languish

I am not content to languish
In this play land of dreams,
Though Thou dost provide me beautiful toys:
A thirsty mind, a hungry heart,
People to love and to love me,
And Thou hast sent my Master to let me know
That I am an immortal soul.

Before I knew, I cringed at sorrow and pain
And raged and sulked like a victim.
But they are not mine, sayth my Master.
Only Thou art mine,
And Thou hast promised my immortal soul
That it will meet Thee face to face
When its stillness becometh itself.

Commentary

A cheeky paraphrase: Don’t be fooled by worldly desires! Use your nature-given, Reality-Created brains, and you will discover a world that gives you all you need, all you want, all you could ever stand to possess. When morning looms, bring it!

First Movement: Unsatisfied with Lot in Life

I am not content to languish
In this play land of dreams,
Though Thou dost provide me beautiful toys:

The speaker asserts that she is unsatisfied with the boredom and routine that becomes the lot of adults on this Earth in this world of mayic dualism. The pairs of opposites such as hot/cold, yes/no, happy/sad, good/bad become obsolete to reality as a person matures, yet physics and reality appear to remain in control to the unrealized sufferer.

Even learning in school that not everything is black or white, but varying shades of gray, the observant human specimen soon becomes annoyed, befuddled, and just plain tired of all the grayness those still operative pairs foist upon one.

The problem is not lack of knowledge; it’s the lack of true knowledge: “seeing is believing”— not so much. Humans pay homage to “love,” “hate,” “happiness”— three qualities that are obviously not “seeable.” So squelch another life-controlling cliché.

Second Movement: A Spiritual Guide

A thirsty mind, a hungry heart,
People to love and to love me,
And Thou hast sent my Master to let me know
That I am an immortal soul.

The lucky speaker acknowledges that she has a spiritual guide who has imparted to her the knowledge that she is "an immortal soul." Does that knowledge help? If you know that when you “die,” you do not cease to exist, do you care?

What difference does that make? Do you continue your trek on your same path of eating, sleeping, procreating, socializing, voting, and thus and sundry other activities? Do you climb that mountain, swim that river, run that marathon, write that book, eat thus and sundry, have that second, third, or fourth child, go to Vegas? Whatever you decide, have fun!

Third Movement: The Peace of Knowledge

Before I knew, I cringed at sorrow and pain
And raged and sulked like a victim.
But they are not mine, sayth my Master.

The speaker’s admission that before she knew she was an immortal soul, she "raged and sulked like a victim." Have you seen much sulking like victims lately? Or “raging”? Think of all the protest marches the social order has endured over the course of history. Have they truly improved social conditions?

Imagine instead of protests that the protesters had stayed in their place and meditated, praying to their Divine Protector for wisdom, patience, and guidance in how to behave to effect the desired societal change they so desperately needed.

The Blessed Creator of each soul would have no choice but to grant such a concerted effort for goodness. The One who created you wants only for you to turn your effort toward the One—despite cynics and skeptics. Look at how Gandhi liberated India from the British!

So much effort, time, and treasure are spent in “taking" what we think we need, when giving love, respect, and gratitude to the Creative Force is all it takes to change a human-created bad situation.

All the negative, bad, inconvenient, unsavory, bitter things and experiences of the Earth do not belong to us. Even our lousy behavior in the past does not belong to us.

As Sri Yukteswar tells us: "Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now."

Fourth Movement: The Promise of Unity

Only Thou art mine,
And Thou hast promised my immortal soul
That it will meet Thee face to face
When its stillness becometh itself.

The final movement reveals the truth that this speaker has known but apparently failed to fully appreciate at the time of this piece: the Maker of Souls has promised to connect again with its creations. But there is a stipulation: the created soul must unite with the Creator.

How does the created unite with the Creator? In stillness, when that stillness of the soul knows itself. No longer concentrating on the details of the world, but going deep within to the stream of life that is pouring into each soul as it travels this mud-path of Earth.

SRF Lake Shrine, Windmill Chapel

Source

Life Sketch of Linda Sue Grimes

The Windmill Chapel

In the temple of silence
By the lake, we sit
In stillness, meditating
In divine Bliss.

Returning to our daily minds,
We walk out into the sunshine,
And the flowers greet us.

The Literary Life

After graduating from Centerville Senior High School in Centerville, Indiana, in 1964, Linda Sue Grimes completed her baccalaureate degree with a major in German at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1967. She married Ronald Grimes on March 10, 1973.

As a writer, Grimes focuses on poetry, short fiction, politics, spirituality, and vegan/vegetarian cooking, which results in her original veggie recipes.

Literary Studies

Although music was her first love, Grimes considers herself primarily a literary specialist as she creates her own poetry, studies the poetry and literary arts of classic writers, and writes commentaries about classic poems.

However, Grimes does continue to express her love of music by writing her own original songs, which she records, accompanying herself on guitar or keyboard. She shares her musical compositions at SOUNDCLOUD.

After completing the PhD degree in British, American, and World Literature with a cognate in Rhetoric/Composition at Ball State University in 1987, Grimes taught English composition in the English Department at BSU as a contractual assistant professor from 1987 until 1999.

Publishing History

Grimes has published poems in many literary journals, including Sonoma Mandala, Rattle, and The Bellingham Review. She has published three books of poems: Singing in the Silence, Command Performance, and Turtle Woman & Other Poems, and a book of fables titled Jiggery-Jee's Eden Valley Stories.

Grimes published her first cookbook in the spring of 2013, titled The Rustic Veggie-Table: 100 Vegan Recipes. She is working on a second cookbook and her fourth book of poems.

Currently, at Owlcation, Grimes (Maya Shedd Temple) posts her poetry commentaries. On LetterPile, she shares her creative writing of poems and short fiction, along with prose commentaries on each piece. She posts recipes resulting from her experimental cooking of vegan/vegetarian dishes. on Delishably. She posts her politically focused pieces at Soapboxie, and her commentaries focusing on music at Spinditty. Pieces on the writing process appear at Hobbylark.

Spirituality

Linda Sue Grimes has been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda and a member of his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, since 1978. A Kriyaban since 1979, she has completed the four Kriya Initiations, and she continues to study the teachings and practice the yoga techniques as taught by the great spiritual leader, who is considered to be the "Father of Yoga in the West."

Grimes practices the chants taught by the guru accompanying herself on the harmonium. She serves at her local SRF Meditation Group as one of the chant leaders.

Online Literary Presence

In addition to the contributions of her literary works to Owlcation, LetterPile, and SOUNDCLOUD, Grimes also curates her original creative literary pieces at her literary home, Maya Shedd Temple, on Medium, where she features her creative writing without commentaries.

Grimes also maintains an additional online presence on Facebook and Twitter.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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