Accept the youth
With the slicked back brylcreemed hair
Accept his flame
His broke black Vesper
The gawky knock
Written after I left my home & Diamond Harbour and shifted to Little River. I was on my own & in shock. I didn’t know how the way ahead. I threw the I Ching and it came up with Hexagram 4 of the I Ching: ‘Meng’. Meng has been translated as: ‘Youthful Folly’ (Wilhelm) ‘Immaturity’ (Blofeld) ‘Childhood’ (Huang). It has the sense of ‘naïve innocence’. ‘It is a hidden growth protecting a secret gift from the spirit.’1) There is a line in the commentary that influences the poem: ‘I did not seek the foolish youth, the foolish youth seeks me.’
When I threw Meng it spoke to me about allowing myself to be ‘immature’, to not be ‘the expert’, to allow myself to be ‘naïve’, to ‘not understand’, to ‘not be in control’. When our road takes us in directions we have never travelled before, we naturally have no experience or ‘maturity’ to draw upon. It’s ok to accept this & trust ‘the hidden growth’ & the ‘secret gift of the spirit’ that lies latent in the situation.
The poem draws on a memory from my youth when I (literally) asked the fire chiefs daughter out on a date. I stood knocking on her door at the Christchurch Central Fire Station with my black Vesper 125 waiting on the road to take the two of us out on the town. My ‘no cord smile’ refers to a time at high school when I played tea chest base in a jug band. I had no idea about cords or notes. But I was very enthusiastic!
The Taoist sage Lui I-ming names Meng ‘Darkness’. In his commentary he says ‘The best development of darkness is innocence. The darkness of innocence unconsciously follows the laws of God, tranquil and unstirring, yet sensitive and effective. All actions flow from the fundamental essence. (The Tao/Self). Those who travel the path of darkness must go back to the darkness of innocence; only then is it the darkness that is returning to the origin. However, this darkness is not a matter of seeking naïve innocence oneself – it is naïve innocence that seeks oneself. Not seeking innocence oneself means that it does not come about by formal effort, and is not attached to forms. Innocence seeking oneself means that it comes naturally and does not fall into voidness.’ 2)
1) Total I Ching, Myths for Change, translated Stephen Karcher, Pg 98.
2) The Taoist I Ching translated Thomas Cleary, Pg 51. ‘Immaturity’, ‘Youthful Folly’, ‘Childhood’, ‘Darkness’ in the Taoist sense; is the innocent, innate, natural, following of the inner law of ones being. It seeks us. We cannot find it by ‘methods’.