We All Need Somebody To Lean On

Poet Miller Williams died not long ago here in town. He wrote this, about compassion:

Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism, is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.

I find a lot to love, or not to love, in that short wonderful poem.

For one thing, google “spirit meets the bone.” You will find that an album of that name, by daughter and country-rock star Lucinda Williams, gets a lot more play than her dad’s poem does.

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Bugs, looking for justice.  He will probably not find it out there.

I love the phrase “no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.” It speaks to that enormous, so-often-unsatisfied need to be understood. Which need can be so neglected, our despair about its lack so great, that we might even end up thinking we don’t want any.

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I will not despair, yea even when the boys are more interested in OutTV than they are in me.

Interestingly, the phrase shows up in Corinthians 2:9.  But best of all, Bottom says it in Midsummer Night’s Dream, IV:1, as he wakes from the dream of himself as donkey and Titania in love with him. He says about that dream, in the goofed-up way with which Shakespeare pokes so much affectionate fun:

“[M]an is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. It shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream,’ because it hath no bottom.”

Ah Shakespeare, who hath no bottom.

I was thinking about this because the coat-stand on which I rely, due to insufficient closets, finally gave up the ghost. (The connection may not be immediately apparent.) Those who have followed this blog for a really long time might remember that Bugs had something to do with this giving up of the ghost.

But considering that Bugs did that back in May 2011, I’d say the coat-rack gave good value over its long life. Especially since I scavenged it in the first place. You would never catch me buying base-metal curlicues voluntarily.

The final straw was a new jacket I got for the holidays. Here is the poor old coat-rack in a tangle on its last splayed curlicued legs, propped up to half its height while I shopped for its replacement. You can just see Barney, peeking out from underneath the purple jacket. He appreciated the reduced version because he could jump out onto Bugs from under it, whenever the spirit moved him.

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My point is, even coat-racks need something to lean on.

The boys are learning this.

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Probably it’s the cold weather, rather than any deep philosophical understanding.

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As far as needing someone to lean on goes, for us humans, I like the great Bill Withers’ take of the same name. It is one of the most covered songs ever. Here’s himself, doing a somewhat lugubrious version.

I would offer you this other version, because it’s more upbeat, but for some reason whoever posted it put Al Green’s picture on it.

Bugs concludes there’s just no telling, with humans.

coatstand5 006-cropHe’s going back to OutTV.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
This entry was posted in Kindness, Music, Philosophy-Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to We All Need Somebody To Lean On

  1. Deep thoughts to nourish and warm in the dead of winter. Thank-you!

  2. Wazeau says:

    Thanks for the Williams quote and lovely post!

  3. Summer says:

    My human loves the Williams poem, although she is not a fan of his daughter’s! She knows she is SUPPOSED to like Lucinda Williams (most of her friends do), but she just can’t!

  4. Carolyn says:

    Being a theologian (with a small t) I immediately thought of the biblical quote, but should have remembered the Shakespeare!! Yes, we all need someone to lean on. Thanks for the thoughtful post 🙂

  5. Very well said. Our mom is notorious for going silent when things begin to get rough. Maybe she needs to vocalize a bit more! and the phrase “where the spirit meets the bone” resonated with us, too. Loved the poem – thank you so much for sharing it!

  6. Noodle says:

    We love to find kindred spirits!
    We like the way you think and write…
    Come by for a visit at; http://www.herecomesnoodle.blogspot.com

    Noodle and crew

  7. Christine Johnson says:

    Thanks, Anita, you’ve certainly pushed my love, compassion, beautiful thoughts, pure animal fun buttons! Sorry about your coat hanger.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Just had to pop by to say your comment re “nu” is not lost on me as I heard it often when I lived for a year or so in Israel. My Hebrew teacher used it in exactly the way you described!! However when doing the post it stayed at the back of my mind, flitting around and annoying my one functioning brain cell. Thanks for bringing it to the fore 🙂

  9. Connie says:

    it is not always easy to have compassion for others, especially when they are spitting their venom all over you.. it is good to be reminded in the quiet times that other people’s venom often comes from pain..

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