Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Difference Between Oil and Salt

--thanks to Dale for provoking the thought

A glass of water asked for sympathy
from a bottle of oil.
“You can use me to dress wounds,”
said the oil. “But sympathy?
Forget it. We won’t mix.”

A glass of water asked for sympathy
from a tin of salt.
It dived right in and dissolved
and turned the water to healing tears.
And when the water had all been spilled,
it evaporated
and restored the salt to itself.

The difference between oil and salt
is the difference between distance
and unattachment.

The Difference Between Oil and Salt, II

A glass of water asked for sympathy
from oil in a bottle. “You can use
me to dress wounds,” the oil said. “But see—
we cannot mix. It’s not that I refuse,
it’s not my nature. My integrity’s
maintained by distance.” Nearby, from a tin
the salt spoke up. “Come, I will give you ease.”
The fast-dissolving solid, crystalline
turned plain tap-water into holy tears.
Destroyed? The salt was only rearranged.
The water slowly dried, its griefs and fears
all soothed, and left the solid salt unchanged.
Oil keeps its distance, knows it’s overmatched:
compassion’s stronger in a heart that’s unattached.

If you like poetry, check out the weekly prompt site at Totally Optional Prompts


sister AE said...

i like these both.

irving said...

What lovely Sufi poems :) I loved them both.

Eid Mubarak, dear Sister, to you and your family :) May the day be filled with love and joy!

Ya Haqq!

_Soulless_ said...

Loved the sonnet, especially the part where the salt 'spoke' most like a divinity.

There are lessons to be learned and 'connections' (i.e. the fact of being connected) waiting to be remembered. ^_^

paisley said...

well they were both lovely,, but i have to say i loved the second one the best....

Crafty Green Poet said...

I enjoyed both of these, specially the first

rbarenblat said...

These are both wonderful.

christine said...

Thanks for sharing these on rwp. I love the idea of the salt being restored to itself.

I like both of the poems, but I'm impressed with your versatility to be able to translate your ideas and images to the sonnet.

Great work.

reginaclarejane said...

Wow- amazing! I was esp. drawn to the first as it reminded me so much or something Rumi would write!:)
Just lovely and thought-provoking!

Aud said...

Meaningful thoughts. Leave us with much to think about. :)

Linda Jacobs said...

Just amazing how you were able to incorporate the rhyme into the sonnet! I like the first for it's simplicity and message and like the second for its craft!

Angie said...

I really enjoyed these poems, especially the way you use the idea of sympathy.
Quite brilliant metaphors.