I enjoyed reading your thoughts Cate and I too liked the 'sideways glance' interpretation.
It has been quiet for awhile on this thread and by now DB should be back home safely (hopefully) and ready for some thawing out. So here are a few of my 'thaw-ts'
II.36, ‘I made a crown for myself’
Below are a few important leads to the possible understanding/interpretation of this verse. For me it is summed up in the line ‘I made a crown for myself'.
He describes what that ‘crown’ is.
He removes the ‘crown’, and lifts again his ‘shield’, his G~d.
‘I gave the world to the Accuser.’
Though I don’t believe, I come to you now,
Under the scorn of my own pride I open my mouth to ask you
you locked me down to self-mockery
‘...the world that is without me,
this wild degree of solitude.’ (a quote from where?)
I covered up the path (desire, tears –feelings)
This is huge!!!! ' Though I don't believe, I come to you now.'Though I don’t believe,
Since when do we find Leonard saying, ' I don't believe' ?
So he defines himself as a ' ghost '. Something that has the appearance of existence, but is dead, dead to the world.
(Leonard tires of the existential (Buddhist?) withdrawal/perspective, as interpreted by a western mind, like Leonard’s).‘Give this ghost the form of tears, that he (may) move from nothing to sorrow, into Creation,’
(Leonard wants to be able to cry and desire again. He has become so distanced in his (probably Buddhist) world that he can’t see a point to existence...there is no spark left in his life...and he is beginning to long for longing, and pain, anything that will reinforce to his lonely ghostly soul that he exists.‘Discover him in tears and make a place for his longing.’
This dark night of distance, distance even from God, is just too much (or not enough!) for him. He needs protection. He needs a shield.
he asks, knowing that he does not want to return any more to that dark night of distance, distance from feeling, senses, emotions, nature and his (Most High) God.‘Where have I been?’
(who is the Accuser?) This ‘accuser’ is devoid of emotions, stillness, empty of life.‘The Accuser’
I gave the world to the Accuser. Where do I go?
I would suggest that the Accuser is dominantly ‘reason’, that aspect of the ‘Adversary’(Satan), reasoning, that argues Beauty (god, love, life, etc) out of existence.
Where do I go from here? he seems to ask. How do I escape this dark night of distance from all that has nurtured me and, even now, offers hope and gives meaning to my life? he asks. And he answers his own question, back to G~d, my ‘Most High’, my shield and my life.
Leonard recognises that he is a ‘Western man’, with a western mind, a western longing, western needs. This is not a criticism of the ‘Eastern man’ or the eastern perspective: but it is not him. Leonard longs again for his “shield” of meaning and purpose and deliverance; his western heritage, his Boogy Street and his G~d.
Though I don't believe........Though I don’t believe, I come to you now,
"Faith" and hope defeat belief/non belief; for he returns to the 'Most High' despite his lack of belief.
( I have heard it said that faith comes from within and belief comes from without (external sources like culture). Maybe Leonard is making this kind of distinction here when he says, 'I don't believe'....? )
And still he says; 'I come to you now'. Though he does not 'believe', he still moves back to his G~d, (I come to you now). This is Leonard exercising his personal faith perhaps, his internal impulse is now to re-unite with the 'Most High', despite his loss/lack of belief.
Perhaps he has come to a personal understanding in the game of transience (the spiritual journey), or at least it appears he has moved off on a tangent from what we might call cultural 'belief systems', both East and maybe West as well(?)
So he removes his 'crown' and lifts his shield (god) once again, in pure faith and hope.