Saturday, March 3, 2012

"I Won't Abandon Him to Mortality"

















It seems like a lifetime ago, when I danced to the music of the Monkees in our high school gymnasium. I was wearing a plum colored, "poor boy" sweater, with plum and pink, windowpane checked bell bottoms, an image that has inexplicably remained with me for a long time now. I must like it.

You've probably heard that Davy Jones, one of the Monkees, passed on a few days ago. As these things go, the news brings with it reactions from those closest to him, or most often associated. So, we heard from Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, his fellow Monkees. I've been an ongoing fan of Michael's and am especially fond of his beautiful and haunting song, "Joanne," something I've written about previously. I was struck by his statement regarding Davy Jones' passing, which seems to mirror my own thoughts about this thing we call death. Michael Nesmith's statement:

"While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don't exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity. That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won't abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing with the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane. David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels."



Closely tied to this memory of dancing to "I'm a Believer," is another memory, a gift I received from my mother about the time of that school dance. There was a store in the small mid-western town I grew up near, just north of where I'm now living. It had a soda fountain with tourist items in front, along with some magazines and books. A gift area, with slightly higher-priced items, was towards the back. Occasionally, I would wander through that part of the shop and sometimes a particular object would catch my eye. It was on one such visit that a vase, sitting on a glass shelf, captured my attention. I recall standing in front of it, admiring it - the colors, the shape, its smooth hand-painted exterior - imagining how it would feel tucked into the crook of my arm, as though it might contain my secrets, my dreams, the things I held close to my heart. I came back to re-visit it more than once.

My mother knew the woman who owned the store (this was a very small town), and would herself shop there from time to time. Perhaps my mother asked her if there was something I had been admiring, perhaps this woman offered what she knew. Either way, it became my gift for my sixteenth birthday. That this woman would be paying attention and be able to offer this information to my mother, that she cared enough to do so, well, how wonderful is that?

I still have it, carefully packing it for every move that came my way in life. It now sits on an upper shelf of my bookcase where it might well remain for a very long time to come. For some reason, it's been crossing my mind lately, the memory associated with it, the love that my mother brought to her gift-giving, the care with which she selected each of them.

A few weeks back, I came across a poem by the 15th century Indian saint and mystic poet, Kabir. Although the clay jug is referring to the universal memories we all share and carry inside of us - the canyons and mountains, the stars and the oceans, the universe itself - I keep coming back to the vase my mother bought for me and what it means, this vase I can see but really lives here, inside of me.

"The Clay Jug"

Inside this clay jug
there are canyons and
pine mountains,
and the maker of canyons
and pine mountains!

All seven oceans are inside, and
hundreds of millions of stars.

The acid that tests gold is there, and
the one who judges jewels.

And the music
that comes from the strings
that no one touches,
and the source of all water.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

~ Kabir







Thank you to Tony Zimnoch for introducing this poem to me through one of his posts: everton.blogspot.com

62 comments:

  1. He was just too busy singing to put anybody down. I have to say, I'm a bit of a daydream believer myself.

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    1. Yes, daydream believers we are. Thank you for commenting, Michael.

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  2. This brought back more memories than I knew I had. Your lovely tribute tied them all together.

    I see why you liked both the vase and the poem.

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  3. You have the most amazing memory of your childhood!

    I share Michael Nesmith's thoughts about what happens next....

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    1. It's odd, but comforting, to have held these memories so close and so clearly all these years.

      His words are the perfect words, aren't they?

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  4. Very nice.

    And I'm so pleased to see that Michael Nesmith is as kind and intelligent as I thought he would be. What a great thing to say.

    Pearl

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    1. Kind and intelligent, exactly how I've viewed him and this statement verified it for me, as well. Thanks, Pearl.

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  5. I knew virtually nothing of the Monkees except their most familiar songs, so I was surprised by the outpouring for Davy Jones and by this elegant statement from Michael Nesmith. And I love the vase and the story that comes with it. Your mother paid you a compliment by recognizing that you loved and would value that piece.

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    1. My mother seemed to have great insight into who I really was/am. She bought gifts that spoke to that beautifully.

      I was a big Monkee's fan and both "I'm a Believer," and "Daydream Believer," (I love how they used that word so effectively) were a big part of those teen years. Thanks, Nancy.

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  6. That's really a lovely thing for him to say. It's what my mind knows for a certainty to be incorrect, and my heart knows just as plainly to be true.

    Roxanne
    The Good Luck Duck

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    1. It's the mystery contained within that paradox that continues to intrigue me. Thank you for commenting, Roxanne.

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  7. Interesting morning for me ... and your post just fit right in...

    I envy your relationship with your Mother. What a nice memory, poem and a nice share about Davy and Michael.

    Another part of my youth gone. I'm three years older than he was... and twenty-one years younger than Betty White.

    What that means? I don't know... reckon I'll ponder it a bit... ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, You are moving through some challenges and a big transition. I hope life is unfolding in such a way that brings you much joy and many new adventures.

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  8. Beautiful memorial, Teresa. Like others, I'll always be A Daydream Believer. Actually, I had a crush on Davy Jones (after Elvis never called); both remain with me.

    I adore Kabir's poem. If ever a poem spoke of Hinduism and God inside of us, I think this is it.

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    1. Hi Kittie, My crush was on Michael. But, the night after Davey's passing left me feeling a bit more vulnerable than I like to be.

      It is a wonderful poem, isn't it?

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  9. Hi there. Thanks for this great post. I think it is odd, that I hadn' really given all that much thought to Davy Jones or the Monkees in a very long time. They were so much a part of my early teens. I loved them so, the show the music. And I had such a crush on Michael Nesmith, thinking him such a poet. This is the sort of thing I would expect him to say, although said a little more eloquently than I could have imagined. All of my friends when I was a kid loved Davy, his impish ways, the way he moved, his smile. I love the notion of refusing to abandon someone to mortality. Your story about the vase and your mom and the observant store keeper was so very moving. Very nice.

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    1. Hi, That's a wonderful phrase and idea, isn't it? I couldn't resist using it for my title. It reminds me of my mother and the memory I cherish of that vase. Somehow, they just seemed to fit together. Thanks so much.

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  10. The Monkees were just so good...I enjoyed their music and although I really don't know much about them they were a happy band, I think. Michael Nesmith said it all, didn't he? I love that line about not abandoning him to mortality.

    I also love your story of the vase. What nice memories to have.

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    1. Yes, there was a goodness about them that made us all happy. Thanks, Cheryl. I trust your time on Bainbridge Island is fun and the animals are behaving themselves. :)

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  11. I too was sad at the passing of Davy Jones; a significant part of my youth...loved the music and all the shows I watched with older siblings.What a nice tribute from Michael...

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    1. It was such a nice tribute. I'm so glad I read it and decided to include it in this post. Thanks for commenting, Tracy.

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  12. A really beautiful and thoughtful post, Teresa. I never listened to the Monkees so it was just a name to me, until now. Your post has brought this person and his life to me. The vase, your mother, the shop owner: all of the things that combined to make this memory. You are so very fortunate to have the beautiful vase, the "clay jug" that carries the world within it. This was very moving for me. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, DJan, for this response. I'm glad you found it moving.

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  13. Not only was he talented but there was something about Davy that made people remember him. that's something that can't be learned, it's a natural gift.

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    1. Well, he certainly had a charm about him that seemed genuine. He loved his horses, and a man who loves horses usually has a gentleness about him that even animals detect.

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  14. I haven't thought of the Monkees for a long time but remembering their songs now makes me nostalgic for more innocent times. How wonderful you still have the vase your mother gave to you; the poem is perfect.

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    1. Good Morning, Linda, They did seem to be more innocent times, and I'm very glad I still have the vase. It's a very gentle anchor to my life.

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  15. When the Monkees first arrived on the 60's scene I was convinced they were commercial, contrived, and not worthwhile. Years later "Last Train to Clarksville" was on the radio, and I was surprised, letting myself enjoy it, that I liked the song. It's amazing how a quick, uninformed opinion can limit us. Something I should remember.

    I loved the story of the vase. These personal "happenings" are what shape our lives. They seem magical, mystical, and somehow, intentional, if you know what I mean. As always beautifully written. You certainly write with great depth and clarity.

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    1. Well, they brought them together as a television show so I suppose they were commercial and thus a bit contrived, going in, but it became infectious with happy. "Last Train to Clarksville," is another good song.

      I do understand your intentional comment, Bill, and agree. Wholeheartedly. Thank you so much.

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  16. Lovely post, Teresa...I especially connected with the lovely poem and vase. It brought to mind thoughts of my own mother and quilts she made for me. My sister, 7 years younger, was a big fan of the Davy Jones and the Monkees, but I did enjoy their music.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Wanda. Everything here is peaceful and there's a beautiful day in the making. It reminds me of your gentle posts. I always feel good about life after visiting your site.

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  17. The Monkees had a line of clothing at JC Penney. I had a lot of fun with them and it took me back hearing about David, I think he was the oldest.very nice verse, i shall share it with a friend today.

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    1. I had not remembered the line of clothing. It would be fun to see some things now. And, I'm glad you're sharing the poem. It has such wonderful lines and ideas behind them. Thanks, Steve.

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  18. My sister was almost four years younger and was a big Monkee's fan. I was partial to Mike Nesmith, too. He always seemed thoughtful and intelligent. I found his response heartening...glad to hear he hasn't lost himself in life's long shuffle. He's still the Mike I had admired.

    Davy was always so sweet and optimistic and uplifting. The "cute" one--LOL! And he was still cute in his 60s! ;)

    Is that the vase in the picture that your mom bought you? Very pretty! The poem fits so well. The post is wonderful, Teresa! Weaves together all the elements into a comfy soul blanket. ;)

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    1. Hi Rita, Yes, that is the vase. I should have included something to give it perspective, but it's about eight inches tall. I'm so glad I still have it.

      Davy Jones was still very good looking. He had been to visit his horses and there in his parked car... A man who loves horses is a good man.

      "A comfy soul blanket." That's a nice thought. Thank you, Rita.

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  19. Your vase is beautiful. I can understand why you so admired it. -- barbara

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  20. This is a wonderful post Teresa E. I will be back to savour it again. We've had remebrances of The Monkees on our NZ Tv's too. It reminds me there was a time when I truly withdrew from the 'world' . I missed the whole Monkees era.. I'm just thinking..I never wore a mini skirt!!

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    1. Hi Joan,
      Well, you took a vow towards other things. And it was an honorable thing to do. But, I'm glad you're here on the internet, though on the other side of the globe, and I can enjoy your wonderful posts.

      They say it's never too late. That might apply to mini-skirts. too. In the quiet and privacy of your own home, maybe? :)

      Thank you, Joan.

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    2. Haha! Actually I did own one mini skirt. My younger sister was still wearing very short skirts even though the fashion was fast changing. She helped me sew a dress, and insisted the skirt be very short
      . I totally shocked her nextdoor neighbour who came to meet her sister who she expected to look nunnish..whatever that would mean!

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    3. Perhaps she expected the "habit" to continue. :) Life is so funny, and beautiful.

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  21. Oh, the last two lines of that poem. I'm enchanted with this poet.
    And yes, God is "inside". I just know it. He's there and we only have to realize the magnitude of this.
    Never give that vase away accept in honor of what you believe.

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    1. farmlady, I'm so grateful for your response. "He's in there and we only have to realize the magnitude of this." Absolutely.

      Your remark regarding the vase is so very nice. I will remember that. Perhaps one day it will hold my ashes... :)

      Thank you, Linda.

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  22. When I first saw this post, Teresa, I thought I'd accidently clicked on mine. For a second, your beautiful vase reminded me of one I have an cherish. What a loving story and tender reminder of your mom and her gift. There is such a special gift that some have of listening and asking and knowing what gift will please someone. It sounds as if you mom had that gift.

    As did Davy Jones. The gift of music and his wonderful sense of fun. I, too, was moved by Michael Nesmith's statement. The thought of safe travel is comforting. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Penny, She did have a wonderful knack for gift-giving. She brought the world and to us through them.

      It's such a good statement, kind and loving, and so intelligently expressed.

      Thank you.

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  23. The tribute by Michael Nesmith captures my feelings and thoughts on the subject of death and our transition to the Source. Your beautiful vase is imbued with memory which is the echo of a world, out of reach but always present.

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    1. Cletis, Your phrase, "the echo of a world, out of reach but always present." is lovely. Thank you so much.

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  24. Time stops for no one. When ever I see aging celebrities I realize that time is forging ahead.
    And that there is no hope for us mere mortals!

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    1. And it is my belief that, "Appearances can be deceiving."

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  25. Yes Michael Nesmith was always 'The Clever Monkee'
    And That Is One Of The Best Tributes (to anyone) I,ve ever read.
    A lot of Obituaries totally miss the point......they leave out Our (the Living's)Reaction to A Passing.
    Yes! The Clay Jug!!!!We Always Have The Past In Our Vision:In Our Hands.
    Lady.that's a beautiful Vase,Handle With Care!!

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    1. tony! Yes, That's a good point. We don't often see something so wonderfully written about someone's passing.

      Thanks for introducing me to that poem. And I will definitely handle the vase with care.

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  26. There is someone who looks after us from behind the curtain.
    In truth, we are not here. This is our shadow.

    —Rumi

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    1. Oh, how I love Rumi, and that is a great complimentary poem. Thank you, tony!

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  27. Monkees and the poorboy shirt hooked me to want to read more. Thank you so much for sharing the Michael Nesmith quote. Way past my fandom of the Monkees in elementary school, I became a fan of Michael Nesmith in my 20's (Peter Tork was my fave Monk). He made a film here in NM that friends of mine worked on in the 80's and he recorded some good music on his own. His view here on his compadre Davey is most complete I've read - I agree with you. He has a magical air to him. I will seek him out again.

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    1. I'm so glad you found a way to leave a comment, Cirrelda. One of the things I loved about living in SF was the wonderful movies filmed there and the intriguing people who spent time there because of it.

      Michael has qualities that seem to come through in his images and words. I have no doubt that Michael and Davey blessed each other's lives in many ways.

      Thank you.

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  28. Dear Teresa,
    I needed to read all three parts of your posting today: Davy Jones and the eulogy spoken by his friend Michael, your mother and her gift to you of the vase, and the poem by Kabir (whose works I've never read). Thank you.

    Today I am feeling as if Oneness has somehow evaporated for me. I've just finished twenty-one days of editing a manuscript for a friend and I have five more days to go. I'm tired, feeling that I am alone and lonely.

    Then I read your posting and that poem, and I know that through all time we are connected to one another: Michael to Davy, you to your mother, and me to those who have raised me, educated me, befriended me with love.

    You have strengthened my heart today. Thank you.

    Peace.

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    1. Dee, I'm so glad you've visited and responded.

      Oneness is omnipresent. It never changes, so we just need to reclaim our place within it, which is also omnipresent. The connections cannot ever truly be broken. They can only be transformed into something that continues to bless all.

      I'm glad and deeply grateful for your kind words and for our ongoing connection to Good.

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  29. I too was a huge Monkee's fan. I had the Monkee boots and the Monkee pin-striped pants. My favorite Monkee's song was a little played song titled "She." It was a little edgy, great vocals, and a good rock beat. It is on youtube.
    ps I bet you looked really "hot" in that poor boy sweater and bell bottom pants.

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    1. Steven! I imagine you are the same Steven who knew all the words to "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife".... I was just this morning wondering what happened to you and here you are. I went over to youtube and listened to "She." I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for the compliment. :) It's nice to hear from you again.

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  30. Yes. That would be me. I've had some serious computer issues. I missed you. I have re-kindled my love of Glenn Campbell songs thanks to you. Please go back to youtube and listen to Glenn's version of "It's Only Make Believe." It is just stunningly beautiful. And while you are there check out a youtube artist named "Iann." He sings a version of "Halleluja" that will give you chills.
    Glad I found your blog again. I love the calmness that I always read and see here. Be Well Friend.

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    1. It's nice to connect again. Glen sure can sing, can't he? Wow. Thanks for letting me know about Iann, also. His voice reminds me very much of Aaron Neville and when he does his songs it's uncanny. You're so right, that's a wonderful version of "Hallelujah."

      Take care. Stay in touch.

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