Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘poem’

To Be or Not To Be

41SUqh9JdSLNobody In the Box – A Poem by Soodabeh Saeidnia. Illustrated by Seyedeh Masoumeh Hosseini. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Nobody In the Box is completely outside the box (in English and Farsi). In fact, it is neither in nor out, of any sense of containment. The illustrations, by Ms. Hosseini, which accompany each section of the poem, brilliantly and beautifully compliment the words, and stand on their own as exquisite works of art. Ms. Saeidnia writes about emptiness within emptiness, and the friction between being and not being, with just a whiff of Persian poets Hafiz and Rumi’s insight into being something greater than ourselves, yet also completely within us.

Expecting no assistance
From the ocean, the sky, and the earth,
Even from the box itself,
I can only turn into an invisible Wish
Waiting for a special event,
A phenomenan, a moment,
In which “nothing” may turn into “something”

Reading this poetry is like hearing a melody, and reminds us that everything is nothing and nobody, until we give it (or them) labels and meaning. Dr. Saeidnia’s work in various countries around the world, with pharmacology and an array of compounds, informs her understanding of how interdependent things (and people) are and how they can appear and disappear.

The box’s sigh penetrated space,
Bent the contours of time,
Surged forward and touched the nothingness
Nobody heard the box’s sigh,
Felt the pain of missing,
And for the first time Nobody wished:
“I wish I was somebody”

Nobody In the Box brings attention to desire, wishes, moments – all temporary and which may, or may not arise; and if so, from where, who and/or what? What is our reality? Are our bodies and minds like a box, wanting to be acknowledged, labeled, noticed, or have “something” happen? Are we the same as everybody else, with nothing to distinguish us from others? What is the essence of matter, and does it matter?

Advertisements

Happy, Sad, Sane or Mad

31NGjf3JUDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Clearer by Mark Shackleton
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

I don’t pick up too many poetry collections, but am glad I did this time. Clearer is formatted to throw you off the usual reading pattern, with sentences split, separated, and spaced all over the page. It jars you into paying attention.

This short work by Mr. Schakleton supplies a cornucopia of opportunities to look at the dramas, roles, illusions, and so-called existence, we all share, with a different view. There is no denying the darkness, the “hellish” aspects of living, the depressing events that take place, but there is also something within which it is all contained.

Here is the one that touched me the most and helped me remember to not get caught in my own play. To pay attention to the script I’m writing, and realize it is all coming and going, and holding onto anything is impossible. Better to give it away moment to moment.

Don’t Buy It

Don’t buy into your own publicity,
everything is passing.
This thing you’ve found is not yours to keep,
it was given to be given away.

GET UP!

You may not be here tomorrow but tomorrow is another day.
You will never get away until you give it away.
You will never know the stars if you’re afraid to lose your way.

WAKE UP!

Don’t believe your own publicity.
Whether good or bad,
happy or sad,
sane or mad,
from start to finish it was someone else’s idea.

I Am the Lover’s Eyes

From The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran. Translated by Anthony Rizcallah Ferris and edited by Martin L. Wolf (1951).

images-2

Song of Love by Kahlil Gibran.

I am the lover’s eyes, and the spirit’s
Wine, and the heart’s nourishment.
I am a rose. My heart opens at dawn and
The virgin kisses me and places me
Upon her breast.

I am the house of true fortune, and the
Origin of pleasure, and the beginning
Of peace and tranquility. I am the gentle
Smile upon the lips of beauty. When youth
Overtakes me he forgets his toil, and his
Whole life becomes reality of sweet dreams.

I am the poet’s elation,
And the artist’s revelation,
And the musician’s inspiration.

I am a sacred shrine in the heart of a
Child, adored by a merciful mother.

I appear to a heart’s cry; I shun a demand;
My fullness pursues the heart’s desire;
It shuns the empty claim of the voice.

I appeared to Adam through Eve
And exile was his lost;
Yet I revealed myself to Solomon, and
He drew wisdom from my presence.

I smiled at Helena and she destroyed Tarwada;
Yet I crowned Cleopatra and peace dominated
The Valley of the Nile.

I am like the ages – building today
And destroying tomorrow;
I am like a god, who creates and ruins;
I am sweeter than a violet’s sigh;
I am more violent than a raging tempest.

Gifts alone do not entice me;
Parting does not discourage me;
Poverty does not chase me;
Jealousy does not prove my awareness;
Madness does not evidence my presence.

Oh seekers, I am Truth, beseeching Truth;
And your Truth in seeking and receiving
And protecting me shall determine my
Behaviour.

Like A Begger by Ellen Bass

LikeaBeggar200pxLike A Begger by Ellen Bass
from EllenBass.com
Copper Canyon Press

Listen to Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Philip Levine discuss with Paul Muldoon Ellen Bass’s “What Did I Love” from Like a Beggar on the New Yorker podcast. “There is such a sense of ritual and such a clarity of purpose. . . . I found it so powerful and complex . . . and it was so exquisitely done. . . . She is a poet with terrific power.”—Philip Levine

About the Book

If, as Rilke writes, the poet’s work is to praise, to praise even those “dark, deadly, devastating ways,” then Ellen Bass is doing her job.

Like a Beggar is the work of a mature poet grappling with the most essential question—how do we go on? In the face of sorrow and suffering, with the ever-present awareness of our mortality and the increasing threat of environmental devastation, how do we find the courage to fully inhabit the moments of our lives? Mixing revelation and humor, despair and awe, whimsy and intelligence, Bass holds a mirror of unflinching compassion in which we see our flawed and exquisitely beautiful selves.

As in her previous books, Bass vividly describes the ordinary moments of our lives in ways that allow us to see through the crack in the everyday into the divine. Her poems are a microscope through which the commonplace is revealed in its exquisite detail and, like Blake, we see a world in a grain of sand, eternity in an hour.

Bass’s poems are approachable. More, they reach out to you and draw you in with their disarming clarity, their startling intimacy. Bass speaks to us through unforgettable images, striking metaphors, and surprising associations. Like a Beggar is rich in the music of the human voice—one voice calling to another across the miles and across the years, telling the life of the heart.

These poems will disturb you, comfort you, charm and delight you. They will break you open with their fierce insistence on joy. They are poems that make you want to call up a friend and say, “Listen to this.” These are unforgettable poems.

The Summer of Stones

Here is the latest touching poem from my friend Jerilyn Elise Miripol.

The Summer of Stones

Sweet butter,
imagesThai vegetables
Remind me
Of felicity
The summer of stones,
Trailing along the Buddhist parkway,
A garden of solidity
This temple embraces me
As I view the purified altar,
A liturgy of karma.
I also postulate in the euphoric
Bursting lotus blossom
Replicating the light of the One
Who guides me out of my affliction
With the wonder of
The seraphic essence of healing herbs,
A tonic
Dissolving my corporeal pain

Same As The Others

An Excerpt from ROP Stories by Sean Jones.

I an a Child, Same as the Others

Back in May we held a Celebration for Africa Day of the Child. During the ceremony one of our boys, Lucky, read a poem to the audience. Lucky is one of our boys who has been living at the ROP Center for many years. This is his final year with us as he is graduating from secondary school in December. He is the Center’s most talented performer, having written and performed many poems and songs about the lives of street children, songs that the children and staff request at virtually every celebration we have.

Lucky read his poem in Ikinyarwanda, so I didn’t understand much of it, but the children in the crowd, both ours from the ROP and others in attendance, cheered loudly after he finished reading it, so I knew it must have had meaning to them. A few days later I asked Lucky if he would mind translating it to English for me. He seemed very excited that I had asked and very enthusiastically promised to do it. Due to his school commitments he wasn’t able to sit down and take the time to write it in English until last week. He found me and handed it to me with a great smile on his face. I thanked him for it and asked if I could share it with the world. His reply was, “Of course, it’s for everyone.”

Despite the struggling English the poem hit me straight in the heart. It’s simple and genuine and even in its brevity you can’t help but get an idea of the pain these children must feel, and the hope they somehow find in life once someone, anyone, offers to help them. That’s all I say. I’ll let you make your own judgments.

Read entire story, Lucky’s poem and see more photos at ROP STORIES.

Trying To Wear Pants

From The Gift: Poems by Hafiz The Great Sufi Master. Translations by Daniel Ladinsky.

Trying to Wear Pants

You are
A royal fish
Trying to wear pants
In a country as foreign
As land.

Now there’s a problem
Worth discussing.

Your separation from God has ripened.
Now fall like a golden fruit
Into my hand.

All your wounds from craving love
Exist because of heroic deeds.

Now trade in those medals;
That courage will help this world.

One needs to love those they have yet to love
To stand near the Friend.

Why
Be a royal fish
Trying to wear pants?

Hafiz,
What are you talking about?
Has something happened to your once
Brilliant
Mind?

Tag Cloud