Form and Limits

Malcolm Guite says, in the the preface to his just-released poetry collection, The Singing Bowl, “Both people and poems become more completely themselves when they find their true form, work within their limits, and concentrate their power within what Blake called ‘the bounding line.'”

This phrase strikes me as one of those truths so fundamental that it is often overlooked. Too often, we neglect or even deny our true form in the perceived need to meet someone else’s – our parents’, our partner’s, our employer’s, our society’s – expectations, to conform to the prescribed image of our time and place. We disregard the limits of time and strength and common sense on our work, striving to catch up, to get ahead, to do more than humans can reasonably do. And we far overstretch the bounding line, extending our efforts into so many arenas that our power is diluted to the point of failing to do quality work in any of them.

It is probably a task of years for most of us to let go the habits and the guilt that have driven us beyond ourselves; at least, it is proving so for me. But I’m finding as I learn to be still and find my true form, recognize my limits, and concentrate what power I have within the appropriate boundaries, I am becoming more myself, a person with whom I can be comfortable.

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