The House of the Heart

Dara Eklund -- USA 

Medley Dara 2

It may be a small house with few windows and doors. It may be too open, too ready and anxious for a passing footstep or would-be intruder. It may be dull and suspicious or contriving. The house of a thousand secrets is the human heart. That house, which thought by thought and deed by deed we daily build, can expand as large as the great Universe itself, or contract until its dweller lives fearfully and painfully isolated from its surroundings.

Arouse now the image of the True Heart. Envision it as a temple, sturdy-pillared to shelter all. Open it is, to gentle passing breezes and brisker gusts as well. Lest too strong a gale snatch the altar fire, or dim its fire for others yet to come, its inner Guardian is ever aware, neither trusting, nor condemning upon appearances. The steps of our temple must be mounted first, before its worth be taken. Yet its very height must pronounce the access of a ready hand to aid the way-worn traveler; its light remain a steady beam to dishearten none approaching.

To listen, yet not to lean. To comprehend, but not conclude. To enrich the understanding, but delay council until asked. The remain worthy of the trust of secrets shared but not passed on. What Delphic oracles all might be with lofty aims as these! Loftier than all could be the kingly silence inviting each to rekindle his flame before passing on to higher hills.

How did a Dickens glean the human heart? Or a Shakespeare? Can one imagine that without his early strife, his dismay at his father's shameless flamboyancy (while yet in debtors prison), Dickens could have risen to such tender patience for the weak, the wayward, the inconsistent? How many of the thousand secrets must a Shakespeare know? And where but from many lives on earth, from dusty tramp to noble knight, can one gain that peerless vision which severs mercy from disdain? The cord of self-hood must be snapped before the pure diamond within maintain its steady luster.

Long remains that luster, once civilization has risen to such luminosity, the dust of counties ruins moving with the world. A German poet, Rudolf Binding, once stated:

The sensation of light is the most penetrating, most lasting sensation one can experience in Greece. Without this light neither Greece, nor her art, nor her Gods, nor her people would have been possible. Only in such an atmosphere could they have existed. It is not so much light as an infinite transparency. Not many can say what its colour is, nor can it be described in words. It is the very art which these stones breathe. It does not blind, it does not beautify. It is all purity, all precision. It hates secrecy, and in its brightness Greece lies fair and smiling before us.   

                                  Quoted in The Acropolis, p. 8, by a German archeologist, Gerhart Hodenwaldt. 

Should he have shared our philosophy, would the poet not say it is because of her Gods, her art and her people, that this light pervaded her isles even to this day? In these notes on The Acropolis is also found a tribute to the Parthenon as a "symphony of light" to which the archeologist adds:                                                                                                     

Like all Greek temples, the Parthenon is built entirely of freestone blocks. No mortar is used, and no rubble to fill gaps. No stone has an unexpected and unusual shape accidentally received in course of construction ... The whole building is a symphony, in which each note, exactly calculated beforehand, adds to the harmony of the whole.

Would that the order of the human heart could deserve a form so rare. Amidst all the rubble of our daily entangled emotions and misconceptions, where can we begin to build? A heartening foundation stone might be these simple words of the master thinker Plato:


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