Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

The Extra Mile

If the morning light should find me
full of darkness from the night
full of doubt and disbelieving in the fight
If I weaken from the distance
help me run the extra mile

On a journey towards the centre
you can easily lose your way
gone tomorrow,
everything you had today

And when friends are full of doubting
telling me I’ve lost my way
give me strength to face them truthfully
and not be swayed

If I weaken from the distance
help me run the extra mile
help me run the extra mile.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Disability

disabled person?
which one of us is that, then?
– learning together!

In a room full of commissioners, professionals, carers and survivors of the social care system, I was asked to give a plausible reason for doing the work I do. In one breath, in one moment, and haiku to my rescue…

Categories
Opinion

Distraction

I’ve come back once again to Wu-Wei. Wu-Wei is defined (in philosophical Taoism) as action accomplishing its purpose in accordance with the natures of things and events. There are other more esoteric definitions but I will use this one as it relates to my experience, or rather brush stroke, with Wu-Wei that was expressed in a previous post The Art of Patience (6th March, 2014).

I contemplated Wu-Wei from the perspective of the Chinese painter’s and the ‘open way’, to express ‘the natures of things and events’. I focused on one painting – unnamed – that reflected a moon on water. I recalled how standing before it, it held me, the observer, in sparkling peacefulness: a state of surrender to the innate emptiness of oneself that is difficult, if not impossible, to define (even with calligraphy).

I’ve come to realise that for many years my search for ‘self’ was in fact a disguised search for Wu-Wei. I just hadn’t realised it. And without knowing I would look for depictions of Wu-Wei elsewhere in literature, poetry and musical notation. In short Wu-Wei, consciously acknowledged, has become a quest for ‘direct seeing’ of oneself – the nature of things and events.

And this still ripples and resonates within me in different moments; typing on a keyboard, driving the car, listening to birdsong, making cups of tea, playing chess, meditation, the ripples continue on and on. An example of this comes from a piece by J. Krishnamurti. His volume of works relate to a view that learning from experience is of deepest value once we know, and come to terms with, the conditioned mind (something those Wu-Wei masters knew all about).

There is an opening narrative that introduces Distraction (Series I Chapter 82) which expresses Krishnamurti’s poetic spirit, something that I find in-between his words, in a way similar to those simple ink brush strokes. Here, I believe, Krishnamurti is pointing to the same moon.

Distraction

It was a long, wide canal, leading from the river into lands that had no water. The canal was higher than the river, and the water which entered it was controlled by a system of locks. It was peaceful along that canal; heavy-laden barges moved up and down it, and their white triangular sails stood out against the blue sky and the dark palms. It was a lovely evening, calm and free, and the water was very still.

The reflections of the palms and of the mango trees were so sharp and clear that it was confusing to distinguish the actual from the reflection. The setting sun made the water transparent, and the glow of evening was on its face. The evening star was beginning to show among the reflections. The water was without a movement, and the few passing villagers, who generally talked so loud and long, were silent.

Even the whisper among the leaves had stopped. From the meadow came some animal; it drank, and disappeared as silently as it had come. Silence held the land, it seemed to cover everything.

Noise ends, but silence is penetrating and without end. One can shut oneself off from noise, but there is no enclosure against silence; no wall can shut it out, there is no resistance against it. Noise shuts all things out, it is excluding and isolating; silence includes all things within itself.

Silence, like love, is indivisible; it has no division of noise and silence. The mind cannot follow it or be made still to receive it. The mind that is made still can only reflect its own images, and they are sharp and clear, noisy in their exclusion.

A mind that is made still can only resist, and all resistance is agitation. The mind that is still and not made still is ever experiencing silence; the thought, the word, is then within the silence, and not outside of it. It is strange how, in this silence, the mind is tranquil, with a tranquillity that is not formed.

As tranquillity is not marketable, has no value, and is not usable, it has a quality of the pure, of the alone. That which can be used is soon worn out. Tranquillity does not begin or end, and a mind thus tranquil is aware of a bliss that is not the reflection of its own desire.

She said she had always been agitated by something or other; if it was not the family, it was the neighbour or some social activity. Agitation had filled her life, and she had never been able to find the reason for these constant upheavals. She was not particularly happy; and how could one be with the world as it was? She had had her share of passing happiness, but all that was in the past and now she was hunting for something that would give a meaning to life. She had been through many things which at the time seemed worth while, but which afterwards faded into nothingness.

She had been engaged in many social activities of the serious kind; she had ardently believed in the things of religion, had suffered because of death in her family, and had faced a major operation. Life had not been easy with her, she added, and there were millions of others in the world like herself. She wanted to go beyond all this business, whether foolish or necessary and find something that was really worth while.

The things that are worth while are not to be found. They cannot be bought, they must happen; and the happening cannot be cunningly planned. Is it not true that anything that has deep significance always happens, it is never brought about?

The happening is important, not the finding. The finding is comparatively easy, but the happening is quite another matter. Not that it is difficult; but the urge to seek, to find, must wholly stop for the happening to take place. Finding implies losing; you must have in order to lose. To possess or be possessed is never to be free to understand.

But why has there always been this agitation, this restlessness? Have you seriously inquired into it before?

“I have attempted it half-heartedly, but never purposely. I have always been distracted.”

Not distracted, if one may point out; it is simply that this has never been a vital problem to you. When there is a vital problem, then there is no distraction.

Distraction does not exist; distraction implies a central interest from which the mind wanders; but if there is a central interest, there is no distraction. The mind’s wandering from one thing to another is not distraction, it is an avoidance of what is. We like to wander far away because the problem is very close. The wandering gives us something to do, like worry and gossip; and though the wandering is often painful, we prefer it to what is.

Do you seriously wish to go into all this, or are you merely playing around with it?

“I really want to go through to the very end of it. That is why I have come.”

You are unhappy because there is no spring that keeps the well full, is that it? You may once have heard the whisper of water on the pebbles, but now the riverbed is dry. You have known happiness, but it has always receded, it is always a thing of the past. Is that spring the thing you are groping after? And can you seek it, or must you come upon it unexpectedly?

If you knew where it was, you would find means to get to it; but not knowing, there is no path to it. To know it is to prevent the happening of it. Is that one of the problems?

“That definitely is. Life is so dull and uncreative, and if that thing could happen one wouldn’t ask for anything more.”

Is loneliness a problem?

“I don’t mind being lonely, I know how to deal with it. I either go out for a walk, or sit quietly with it till it goes. Besides, I like being alone.”

We all know what it is to be lonely: an aching, fearsome emptiness that cannot be appeased. We also know how to run away from it, for we have all explored the many avenues of escape. Some are caught in one particular avenue, and others keep on exploring; but neither are in direct relationship with what is.

You say you know how to deal with loneliness. If one may point out, this very action upon loneliness is your way of avoiding it. You go out for a walk, or sit with loneliness till it goes. You are always operating upon it, you do not allow it to tell its story. You want to dominate it, to get over it, to run away from it; so your relationship with it is that of fear.

Is fulfilment also a problem? To fulfil oneself in something implies the avoidance of what one is, does it not? I am puny; but if I identify myself with the country, with the family, or with some belief, I feel fulfilled, complete.

This search for completeness is the avoidance of what is.

“Yes, that is so; that is also my problem.”

If we can understand what is, then perhaps all these problems will cease. Our approach to any problem is to avoid it; we want to do something about it. The doing prevents our being in direct relationship with it, and this approach blocks the understanding of the problem.

The mind is occupied with finding a way to deal with the problem, which is really an avoidance of it; and so the problem is never understood, it is still there. For the problem, the what is, to unfold and tell its story fully, the mind must be sensitive, quick to follow.

If we anaesthetize the mind through escapes, through knowing how to deal with the problem, or through seeking an explanation or a cause for it, which is only a verbal conclusion, then the mind is made dull and cannot swiftly follow the story which the problem, the what is, is unfolding. See the truth of this and the mind is sensitive; and only then can it receive.

Any activity of the mind with regard to the problem only makes it dull and so incapable of following, of listening to the problem. When the mind is sensitive – not made sensitive, which is only another way of making it dull – then the what is, the emptiness, has a wholly different significance.

Please be experiencing as we go along, do not remain on the verbal level. What is the relationship of the mind to what is? So far, the what is has been given a name, a term, a symbol of association, and this naming prevents direct relationship, which makes the mind dull, insensitive. The mind and what is are not two separate processes, but naming separates them. When this naming ceases, there is a direct relationship: the mind and the what is are one.

The what is is now the observer himself without a term, and only then is the what is transformed; it is no longer the thing called emptiness with its associations of fear, and so on. Then the mind is only the state of experiencing, in which the experiencer and the experienced are not. Then there is immeasurable depth, for he who measures is gone.

That which is deep is silent, tranquil, and in this tranquillity is the spring of the inexhaustible. The agitation of the mind is the usage of word. When the word is not, the measureless is.

J. Krishnamurti Commentaries on
Living Series I Chapter 82
`Distraction’

http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-text.php?tid=25&chid=61676&w=emptiness&mobi=mobi

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Favourite Poems

Instead of a Letter

 

Raining again, again my heart

is merely a blue-green mess of bruises, again

I am drenched in your red, green, yellow neons Warsaw

and Budapest;

Who’d have thought you’d have grown grey like my hair

like the rain,

like wind in the trees,

who’d have thought it?

Here you are every crumbling wall,

each flickering nightlight, each glowing

salute of roses,

you are every new house

and each new storey.

I press your hair to my face but the wind is slack,

it slips between my fingers,

and nothing remains but the sky in retreat,

and my heart which grows heavier,

between you, between me,

between earth and sky,

leaping without a parachute

in free fall.

 

István Bella (1940 – 2006)

 

 

Music Comes

 

Music comes

Sweetly from the trembling string

When wizard fingers sweep

Dreamily, half asleep,

When through remembering reeds

Ancient airs and murmurs creep,

Oboe oboe following,

Flute answering clear high flute,

Voices, voices — falling mute,

And the jarring drums.

At night I heard

First a waking bird

Out of the quiet darkness sing. . .

Music comes

Strangely to the brain asleep!

And I heard

Soft, wizard fingers sweep

Music from the trembling string,

And through remembering reeds

Ancient airs and murmurs creep; Oboe oboe following,

Flute calling clear high flute,

Voices faint, falling mute,

And low jarring drums;

Then all those airs

Sweetly jangled — newly strange,

Rich with change . . .

Was it the wind in the reeds?

Did the wind range

Over the trembling string;

 

Into flute and oboe pouring

Solemn music; sinking, soaring

Low to high,

Up and down the sky?

Was it the wind jarring

Drowsy far—off drums?

Strangely to the brain asleep

Music comes.

 

John Freeman (1880—1929)

 

 

from London Trivia

 

Where Covent-Garden’s famous temple stands

That boasts the work of Jones’ immortal hands,-

Columns, with plain magnificence, appear,

And graceful porches lead along the square:

Here oft my course I bend, when lo! from far,

I spy the furies of the Foot-ball War:

The ’prentice quits his shop, to join the crew,

Increasing crowds the flying game pursue.

Thus, as you roll the ball o’er snowy ground,

The gath’ring globe augments with every round.

But whither shall I run? The throng draws nigh,

The ball now skims the street, now soars on high,-

The dext’rous glazier strong returns the bound,

And jingling sashes on the pent-house sound . . .

 

John Gay (1685—1732)

 

 

From Craniology

 

’Tis strange how like a very dunce,

Man —with his bumps upon his sconce,

Has lived so long, and yet no knowledge he

Has had, till lately, of Phrenology —

A science that by simple dint of

Head—combing he should find a hint of,

When scratching o’er those little poll-hills,

The faculties throw up like mole-hills;

A science that, in very spite

Of all his teeth, ne’er came to light. . . .

The science thus — to speak in fit

Terms — having struggled from its nit,

Was seized upon by a swarm of Scotchmen,

Those scientifical hotch-potch men. . . .

These men, I say, made quick appliance

And close, to phrenologic science,

For of all learned themes whatever,

That schools and colleges deliver,

There’s none they love so near the bodles,

As analysing their own noddles . . .

 

Thomas Hood (1799—1845)

 

 

Nobbut God

 

“First on, there was nobbut God.”

Genesis I v. 1, Yorkshire Dialect trans.

 

First on There was silence.

And God said:

‘Let there be clatter.’

The Wind, unclenching,

Runs its thumbs

Along the dry bristles of Yorkshire Fog.

The mountain ousel

Oboes its one note.

After rain

Water lobelia

Drips like a tap

On the tarn’s tight surface—tension.

 

But louder,

And every second nearer,

Like chain explosions

From furthest nebulae

Light-yearing across space:

The thudding of my own blood.

‘lt’s nobbut me,’

Says God.

 

Norman Nicholson OBE (1914—87)

 

 

I Shall Paint My Nails Red

 

because a bit of colour is a public service.

because I am proud of my hands.

because it will remind me I’m a woman.

because I will look like a survivor.

because I can admire them in traffic jams.

because my daughter will say ugh.

because my lover will be surprised.

because it is quicker than dyeing my hair.

because it is a ten—minute moratorium.

because it is reversible.

 

Carole Satyamurti (1939—)

 

 

Oranges and Walnuts (Still life by Luis Meléndez)

We always remembered that Spanish still life

of walnuts and oranges.

We loved the coherence of its browns

and gold and almost green, the harmonious

light. The boxes held our eyes

with their persuasive geometry. Angles, triangles,

curves — the language of pure form in a world

of things, imperfections. You began

to talk about that lone orange almost

 

out of the picture — the one I’d missed: a reject,

was it, in a society of mellow aflluence?

And yet, I said, the atoms of this fugitive fruit

have come from the fire of stars.

 

Daphne Gloag (1933—)

 

 

The Future

 

A Wanderer is man from his birth.

He was born in a ship

On the breast of the river of Time,

Brimming with wonder and joy

He spreads out his arms to the light,

Rivets his gaze on the banks of the stream.

As what he sees is, so have his thoughts been.

Whether he wakes,

Where the snowy mountainous pass,

Echoing the screams of the eagles,

Hems in its gorges the bed

Of the new-born clear—flowing stream;

Whether he first sees light

Where the river in gleaming rings

Sluggishly winds through the plain;

Whether in sound of the swallowing sea —

As is the world on the banks,

So is the mind of man.

 

.. . Haply, the river of Time —

As it grows, as the towns on its marge

Fling their wavering lights

On a wider, statelier stream —

May acquire, if not the calm

Of its early mountainous shore,

Yet a solemn peace of its own.

 

And the width of the waters, the hush

Of the grey expanse where he floats,

Freshening its current and spotted with foam

As it draws to the Ocean, may strike

Peace to the soul of the man on its breast —

As the pale waste widens around him,

As the banks fade and dimmer away,

As the stars come out, and the night-wind

Brings up the stream

Murmurs and scents of the infinite sea.

 

Matthew Arnold (1822—88)

 

A Poem

July 7, 1941

 

I want to live.

I want to laugh and give comfort,

fight battles, love and hate,

hold heaven in my hand,

be free to breathe and shout:

I don’t want to die. No!

No.

 

Tragedy

Dec. 23, 1941

 

This is the hardest: to give yourself

and know that you are unwanted,

to give yourself fully and to think

that you vanish like smoke into the void.

 

Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger (1924 – 1944)

 

© Copyright retained by the authors:

‘Instead of a Letter’ from The Colonnade of teeth: modern Hungarian poetry. Bloodaxe, 1996.

‘Nobbut God’ from Collected Poems, Faber 8: Faber, David Higham Associates 2008.

‘I Shall Paint my Nails Red’ from Stitching the Dark: New and Selected Poems, Bloodaxe, 2005.

‘Oranges and Walnuts’ from A Compression of Distances, Cinnamon Press, 2009.

‘A Poem’ and ‘Tragedy’ from Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short, Northwest University Press 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Music

Ocean Serenade

For Bridgie – a great grandmother to us all.

Categories
Art

Aura Blue

Aura Blue

I find the quiet now
the empty house
the pauses between
my aura blue

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Courage Still There Is

for Keisha, who makes me see courage, against insurmountable odds

There is scant hope, yet courage still there is
To thread love through the fibres of the tree
That outspans and outlasts our histories,

And though we go the way of twigs and berries,
Branches and leaves, and in mortality
There is scant hope, yet courage still there is

And there’s no choice but love. There never is,
Through miracle or catastrophe
That outspans and outlasts our histories,

So we must love, despite life’s treacheries,
Time’s wastefulness, death’s crass absurdities
There is scant hope, yet courage still there is

To love again, life through our arteries
Drives love, the soul’s first, purest quality
That outspans and outlasts our histories,

The lines of chance and fate are mysteries
We comprehend best when we clearly see
There is scant hope, yet courage still there is.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Out To Sea

for the man in the sand

Long after you have gone, the seagulls
Are upwardly mobile in my mind’s eye,
Calling in the singular language of their trade.
Their shape eyes interrogate the home brew
And pewter of an English sea. Way below
The fretful summer traffic works itself up
Like a red-faced, angry baby on the pier front.

And the hole, from where you came,
Is now gone, washed out, you rest there
No more intricate and empty, rolling
Water jostles in the light as if it’s a dance.
Far off a trawler fathoms out fish, it’s nets
Work up a thirst for other seas beyond
But the sea is like; too big to take in,
And not quiet infinite enough.

Categories
Art Photography

Sand Man

IMG00152-20140421-1801

 

IMG00153-20140421-1801

 

IMG00150-20140421-1800

a live sculpture in ever shifting sands

Categories
Opinion

The Art of Patience

During a recent visit to Budapest I came across a gallery of Chinese ink paintings called The Spirit of Mountains, the Fragrance of Flowers. The gallery at Kogart House features some of the most exquisite ink drawings from the 19th and 20th century I’ve ever seen. It provided a great resting point along my walk to the main city park. Having decided to only rest here, I didn’t expect to be captivated. But the calligraphy, brush strokes and minimalist watercolours I became transfixed in a state of quite joy and sparkling peace.

My attempts to walk away only preceded a gentle inward nudge to go around again. It occurred to me I wasn’t “looking”, or “seeing” anything but was actually bathing in the gallery. I was caught up, soaking up a certain light. Not seeking – not knowing, just bathing. One silk painting soaked me the most, it was called ‘Returning Home by the Full Light of the Moon’. The artist was unknown, but it took centre stage of my awareness. Before me radiated a golden moon with broad single black ink brush strokes sweeping across the lower half of the canvass. I recognised it was the moons reflection on the water, and a reflection of the water-course way rooted in the present, the now, that is found in the philosophy of Ch’an.

Likewise this painting shone down, in directness, nakedness, then gradually the moon and water immersed into my senses a sweet blissfulness arose. I stepped back from the piece and saw something else, a spirit that I had no words to describe, though I started clutching for some. I walked out and continued on my walked, trying to resist labelling the awareness I had in there, in front of this painting. But none the less it doggedly pursued me for the rest of the day. What was this awareness? Emptiness? Nothingness? or Mu as it is known in the Buddhist tradition?

I was exhausted from the walk, and from the emotional energy and after thought. What was this experience? This bathing in the light of this ink painting? I recalled a word or phrase Wu-Wei from early translated chinese books I studied on Confusianism, Taoism and Buddhism, Wu-Wei kept cropping up and I didn’t know what it meant. Descriptions I had read didn’t make a lot of sense. Phrases like non-doing in action, action without attachment and so on. These books didn’t reveal much. Or rather, my way of reading what was said did not reveal much. Once I asked my Tai-chi instructor once and he just kept on moving, one form to the next. I mistook his lack of verbal reply as disinterest, I didn’t see that he was showing me Wu-Wei in his actions.

I visualised the painting again in my mind’s eye. What is this Wu-Wei about and why is it holding me there? Is Wu-Wei looking at the image or painter? Is it a style of painting? Is it a conveyance of our essential nature?…. what is it? Then it slowly struck me, its none of these phenomena and yet it is all of these phenomena. Non-doing in action is both painter and painting, and from the point of view of the gallery, it is simultaneously the observer and the observed. Non-doing in action is not design, it is not planning, not aiming, nor is it intent or intention. It is beyond the artist and the art that is produced. Wu-Wei is the quality of patience itself required to bring the painting into existence. This patience, waiting with no intent, no expectation, just allowing the moment to unfold and to follow this moment one brush stroke at a time.

Questions then ran deeper, is the practice of Wu Wei in art the same as the practice of meditation and love? Does the practitioner need patience as an essential quality to be productive, intuitive, loving? Without patience, what can we do? What can we achieve, what can know? I’m gently reminded here of a story of the Buddha, when asked by a follower what is Buddha nature, what is enlightenment?” he simply smiled and held a flower up in between his fingers. He was demonstrating Wu Wei. The flower blossoms when the time is right, when the conditions for fruition, or opening up, are ripe.

And this teaching of patience corresponds directly to my own experience. I realised how recently I have lacked patience. Every time I lose patience, I lose Wu-Wei. Without Wu-Wei my relationship to myself, my children and other family and friends is impaired and creates disharmony and thus more impatience. Losing patience in ourselves and others we miss seeing the brush strokes on the canvas, the spirit of mountains, the fragrance of flowers. Instead we could be returning home by the full light of the moon.

Categories
Art

Soul Man

Soul Man

Soul Man started four years ago, as an unfinished horizon, since then the painting has gained spirit in time and energy. Its inspiration (and aspiration) was from the outset to connect with other painters / dreamers who dream, or are attempting to realise their dreams, in paintings. Are we not all dreamers and painters?

In reflection, a painting is like a mirror, revealing both the sacred and the profane, the spiritual and the materialistic, within ourselves. Maybe it restores us? I ask myself what good is a painting if it doesn’t return us to a quiet and authentic place in the world, that allows us to breath, away from trivialities that suffocate our being.

So I’ve decide to take stock, to take a “breather”, sensing within that everything must end. Nothing goes on for ever. And yet, nothing is forever lost. A paradox of life and death perhaps. More important is a sense of gratitude. I thank you dearly, for supporting me in this vision and for those who offered guidance and intuition from the beginning. Thank you.

Gassho!

Categories
Music

Eliza’s Eyes (Reprise)

This version is a lighter caressing to the original piece, in rejoice, in reprise. However it remains a love song, an endless song, without words.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Sweeping Zen

Clean out the house for springtime,

Sweep the floor

Let in the wind
That comes knocking at the door.

Who knows, some day we’ll find a cure
For cruelty, prejudice, cowardice
In patience and conscientiousness.

Clean out the house for springtime,

Sweep the floor

If cancer brings us face to face with passion’s crest
Let’s open our eyes a moment
Before we go the way the flies go, dust, manure

Clean out the house for springtime,

Sweep the floor

We can trust nothing, nowhere rests secure
Except in love, for love is limitless
Clean out the house for springtime,

Sweep the floor

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Busyness

With no longer any time
to notice the snowdrops or daffodils
the laughter of a small child
the spring coming
with a cascade of birdsong,
its usual ordinary miracles –
there aren’t enough hours in the day
although the nights are hollow with loneliness, still

we rushing around
like some demented bumble bee
from meeting to meeting
person to person –
feeding those fragmented illusions of importance
when no-one will recall who we are
less than five years after our death,
exhausted, but proud
in our busyness

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

This Stirring

This stirring,
a forest touched by the lowly sun
yet dazzled by such colour

Reflected in a thousand whispers,
before a slowing dance
to winter’s beat

So many voices dreaming in silence,
Wild birds have flown,
the fields lay empty

River winding on
into infinity.

Categories
Meditation Music

The Song of the Stars

for all the drifters and dreamers out there. . .

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Drifter

He remembered incredible cities
Where he’d existed, yet never really belonged
Even his childhood was root-less,
Moving from country to country
Picking up scraps of languages, curious customs,
Hopes cherished (later abandoned),
tenuous friendships, and fleeting love affairs

Though life had not been so bad
He would sometimes wonder to himself
What it must feel like to crash in a regular bed,
With the warmth and familiarity of someone beside him.
And he was mildly puzzled when comfortable people
Told him how they envied his freedom.

After years of drifting, it was all he knew
How to be un-rooted, unattached, somewhat aloof
Not from social inadequacy or awkwardness
Nor from a fear of commitment
and intimacy
(he came close once or twice),
But through a distance that emerged
between himself and the world,

As distance grew further through time,
happenstance, and a deep penetrating sadness,
He eventually became settled,
in that state
of melancholy, that he learnt to accept
As a ‘way’, as human fate, as a necessary longing
For a home beneath the stars

Stars which gave meaning, reason and faith
Stars that illuminated the dark corners of his mind
Where the gaping chasms in his
heart
Could be filled with spontaneity and laughter
Filling the void between himself, the stars,
And every other drifter.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

You Are The Wonder

You are the wonder
In the climbing Bluebird
Over mountains

You are the laughter
In incessant chiding of
Eternal kisses

You are a birthday wish
Giving new-found birth
to a smile

You are the persistence,
Love has to carry on
From yesterdays

You are the wonder
In the climbing Bluebird
Over mountains.

Categories
Music

Mad Dog Blues

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Each and Every Step

A gentle old man walks beyond us
we can hardly see him

Frail as a leaf now, he is our aspiration
of unfinished horizons

And in turn we look for him in search
of youth that’s fading

See how the sky widens out to touch us,
where our footprints subside

His eyes were are warm, strong and kind
provoking a longer reflection

His words linger with the winter sun
as it sets on our backs

A cold wind has been blowing for weeks
all we can do is bend,

Stooped to the contours of loss,
how unsteadily we adjust

To the grief that follows us
until we see him once more.

 

for Nelson Mandela

Categories
Photography

Edale to Kinder Scout

The walk from Edale to Kinder Scout (in The Peak District) is a walk like no other. This heart of Derbyshire has become my home from home for many years. The ‘Dark’ Peaks offers such an array of terrain, which provides an endless source and inspiration for many of the poems, artwork and soundscapes found here at 67 paintings.

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Categories
Opinion Poetry 'n Prose

On Humility

If we want to answer the question, how tall can the human species grow, then obviously it is well to pick out the ones who are already tallest and study them. If we want to know how fast a human being can run, then it is of no use to average out the speed of the population; it is far better to collect Olympic gold medal winners and see how well they can do. If we want to know the possibilities for spiritual growth, value growth, or moral development in human beings, then I maintain that we can learn most by studying our most moral, ethical, or saintly people. (Abraham Maslow)

I know that I am no saint, I am human. I try to accord my life with certain values; openness, tolerance and compassion. I try to live by simple ethical considerations to each and every situation, for example the principle that it is better to do no harm, than it is harming others by doing “good”. I know that I haven’t always succeeded, and I have lost count of the times I’ve failed. My contribution to human happiness is a drop in the ocean, but never-the-less it is there.

Perhaps being human is to understand humility with dignity and hope as Mei Rozavian Wenyi reminds us

I’m glad my life isn’t perfect,
I’m proud that I make mistakes,
I’m happy I have my problems in life…
It reminds me I’m real,
I’m human… I’m me.

Used with kind permission
http://www.meirozavian.wordpress.com/

Categories
Art

The Inner Workings of a Child

The Inner Workings of a Child

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

O Abraham

O Abraham when you died,
I cried,
without relief,
it was the first and fiercest grief

of my younger days,
my innocent ways.
I was four
you perhaps a little more

or maybe less
yet I still bless
the memory
of all your presence meant to me

during those cold unfriendly years
of childish fears
through which you swam
O Abraham

laying there in the goldfish bowl
was your immortal soul.

Categories
Opinion

Doris Lessing Remembered

It was a rainy autumnal afternoon in Cambridge, and I was dwindling in a bookshop, browsing humanist psychology for my degree. I hadn’t found what I was looking for so I decided to leave and was approaching the front door when I overheard a gentle voice in the corner of the lobby. I turned to spy a small gathering of men and women around a signing of a new edition of The Golden Notebook. I drew closer and listened attentively to Doris talking. As I drew a little closer still I caught the words “the new man isn’t afraid to listen to us, he isn’t threatened by Feminism, he may even one day join us…” Let’s say I was warming to Doris at this point.

I later discovered that Lessing had also been influenced by Sufi mysticism, which had been introduced to her in childhood by the renowned teacher Idries Shah. Both Feminism and Sufism underpinned her belief in equality between the sexes and promoted better than any one else I know the dialogue of the committed relationship. Long before the generation of Women from Venus, Men from Mars, Lessing converted me.

Many years later, and a few brief email exchanges I’m still learning, I’m still working towards the great leap forward in every man, every woman.

Farewell Doris, and thank you.