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.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

When Tomorrow Is Hungry

When tomorrow is hungry
When tomorrow fills with my concerns
When thoughts of dying eat me
Darkness grows inside my head
Till I am empty,
And my spirit cries.

Now the work, of living
Hooks into my cheeks
Flashes of pain rising me up
From the rivers of time
Makes me feel
The iron in my blood!

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

You Sit and Read

You sit and read

How alone you are, even you don’t know.
But sometimes you guess and then with a leisurely movement,
And a hint of animal sadness your simple features
Dip into the light.

written by Hungarian Poet Agnes Nemes Nagy, translated by George Szirtes

Response:

You sit and read

Not alone, for the sensation of hope, for life
Suckles hungrily on your bosom
While all around you
Is a colonnade of teeth,
How long do you intend to stay?
Until the light fades?

Categories
Photography

Lovies

I am forever proud of you both. If time was endless and space was boundless I could show you how much I love you…

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Venetian Blinds

When you open the blinds inside me
Your love opens me, gradually
And suddenly
Into a new dimension of understanding
And from this understanding we’ll emerge
From the rave,
With our senses heightened
Inside, a surge of power
And lightness will come!
In a sea of loving faces
Loud trumpets, angels
Psychedelic clouds
We’ll spread urgent our wing like arms
And fly.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Pockets of Angels

I find myself still, in the company
Of rain and the slow seagulls dance
Of the shoreline,
Outside the wind is a sea longing
For a smooth flat shore

You told me once the waves
Offered you a watch
And once found you a tiny white cross
In stones

I knelt there once
In front of your lost altar
I kissed the secret you made
Now I can only open my hands
For the small change
From the pockets of angels

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Harp Music (Reprise)

Dipping your fingers through the currents,
water whispers in the cave of your ear
Hollowed down to low strings of the heart

With your small hands you lift the sculpted waves
Of the ocean to your cheek – smooth as olive skin.

You close your eyes, listen to the heart beat
Of the sea, a sound you will remember
When loss gathers your breath and holds it.

Categories
Art

Edge of Darkness

The Edge of Darkness

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Oh Beloved!

Oh beloved! In a future already made perfect,
whose grammar of hope or longing belongs to the present tense,
yet which is not of this time, but presence rendered eternal,
on the threshold of timelessness, in the un-sayable margin of death,

Oh beloved! At that instant when we approach
inexorable completion,
and the absolute purity of final, unfettered silence,
I see you standing there before me.

And on that day when all darkness is shedded,
folding in upon itself and closing like a book,
which no longer contains me, or my name,
or my aspirations, or my poems,

You reveal me-are revealing/ have-revealed / will-reveal/
will-have-revealed / will-have-been-revealing all mysteries unknown.
unknotting all threads, clarifying all confusions.

In the universal grammar of hope you are my true faith
In the yawning of this aeon,
I scry you through the evening light aslant over our hillsides.
among primroses and daffodils marshalled in suburban gardens,

Oh beloved! I hunger for the touch of your eyes kind
and your warm body upon me.

Categories
Art Poetry 'n Prose

Bouquet of Light

In remembrance and honour of Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger

A selection of poems from A Harvest of Blossoms is here, permission granted for educational purposes only.

Categories
Dreams

Then the smoke has turned itself into cloud

that is the hardest thing – to give of yourself
while knowing you are superfluous,
to give yourself completely and to realise
you will vanish like smoke into nothing. 

December 23, 1941

Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger

.

With a red pencil she added:

I did not have time to finish writing

.

Your last thoughts, traverse my thoughts, until sleep comes…

I dream it is 1940. You are sixteen years old, live somewhere in a city in Eastern Romania. You go to school. You’re in love with a young man. The sun is shining. You’re going to go dancing on Friday night. You write a poem about a bench that is waiting in a park. Your write a poem about air and scent and sheen.

You read in the newspaper about things changing and an empire lasting a thousand years. One day through your classroom window, you see how Jewish students are beaten by the Nazis. You hear about how one of them is forced to jump from a third story window of the school building. You write a poem about a raven.

I dream you are not allowed to go to school anymore. Your civil rights are taken away. You must wear a yellow Star of David on the lapels of your coat. Carry out forced labor. From now on you live with 60,000 other people in a ghetto, no house, just on the street. You write a poem about the night.

You run away and break your leg. You’re recognized in the city as a Jew and deported to work in the bitter cold for a German road builder. You’re sixteen years old and ill: you don’t keep working you will be shot dead by the SS. You put children to bed who have no father and mother anymore. And write for them a lullaby.

I dream there is nothing to eat except watery soup. People are dying all around you. Bodies are dumped into puddles alongside the road or thrown over the railing of a bridge. Fodder for birds and dogs. A little farther on you hear a German soldier singing a song by Franz Schubert. You write a song about a tender pain embracing all the trees.

You’re herded onto a train at six in the morning. For three nights and two days you ride in a cattle car through a strange country. No one knows where to, no one knows for how long. You and 120 other people have been crammed into one railroad car. You hear women singing and you think it is impossible for people to sing under these circumstances. A strength lives within them that is stronger than the evil that threatens them.

I dream you’re imprisoned in a labor camp and you read what you wrote not so very long ago. You know the end is approaching, in many ways evil has triumphed, but you want that the meaning of singing will not be underestimated. You want their voices always to be heard.

You are eighteen and you are incinerated. Smoke turns itself into a cloud. You are air. You are the substance of dreams. The sheets of paper with your words are found by a girlfriend and smuggled out of a ghetto, through Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, through Austria, through Germany to Paris. Then finally Israel. From here the world begins to know your name.

I dream that a child’s swing hangs from the branches in a walled and shaded corner. Two windows from a far house blaze briefly, twice, in whiteness, and shoot late afternoon sunlight back at me here in the shadow, a someone opens and closes them.

In a language not my own, a woman’s voice calls out the name of a girl I recognise from a faded photograph. Three times she calls, with a breath between each naming and the girl, who was nowhere, darts from a tree behind her.

She places her hands over her mother’s eyelids and giggles.
She turns around to face her, smiles the smile only shared by children, raises forefinger to pursed lips and turns and skips to the voice of a folk song in the distant house beyond.

 

Categories
Photography Poetry 'n Prose

Orchard of Dreams

We come back to the orchard again
a blue silence has fallen on us,
a moment’s curling breeze sways
ripening fruit, lifts leaves,
ruffles ferns and lilies,
clusters long underlying grasses.

We no longer know how we arrived here
or along what paths we meandered along,
as scents of something wild and beautiful,
like the passing breath of hope lingers
in its wake.

Still we walk in the meadow between roses
budding and the first leaves burgeoning,
the air belongs to the Larks who sings
for the sun, splashing colours towards sunset.

Categories
Art Poetry 'n Prose

Underneath The Stars

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Underneath the stars an old woman knits
She has passed beyond need or mourning
She neither frowns nor smiles, nor asks why?

She is re-working our fate. She is re-making history
She is patterning our future. She is embroidering
Our destiny. We shall hear her across the river
We wear every garment she threads

Each evening we wash them. And by night
Hang them out. They dry under the stars
Swathed in her image, we lie naked till morning

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

The Returning Dream

A child’s swing hangs from the branches in a walled and shaded corner. A moment’s curling breeze sways ripening fruit, lifts leaves, ruffles ferns and lilies, clusters long underlying grasses.

A scent of something wild and beautiful, like the passing breath of hope lingers in its wake. Two windows from a far house blaze briefly, twice, in whiteness, and shoot late afternoon sunlight back at me here in the shadow, a someone opens and closes them.

In a language not my own, a woman’s voice calls out the name of a girl I recognise from a faded photograph. Three times she calls, with a breath between each naming and the girl, who was nowhere, darts from a tree behind her.

She places her hands over her mother’s eyelids and giggles. She turns around to face her, smiles the smile only shared by children, raises forefinger to pursed lips and turns and skips to the voice of a folk song in the distant house beyond. The song that anoints our garden with love.

for Ieva

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Friction Spark

I feel a friction spark
The reaches of the soul
A glinting at the dark
Horizons of its whole

I sense it with my heart
A pulse in embryo
An echo of a start
A bubble from below

It might not flare for us
It might not catch and take
Yet it is there and thus
It’s potentially awake

Its phosphorus breath
And nascent clarity
New life within the death
Of endless possibility

It is so frail, so pure
So tenuously bright
It trembles like a tear
And shivers in the light.

Categories
Art

After the rain

After The Rain

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Seven Geese

Seven geese flew overhead
on Blackheath Common,
their wings I could ride

Thought of you and cried
for you, as I walked on
over to the other side.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Haiku Life

We are all haiku –
Only here for seventeen
Syllables, three lines.

Categories
Music Photography Poetry 'n Prose

Carousel

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Following this post, I received a wonderful poem from Mary Yaus, who wrote these lines:

Round and round she goes
thinking about,
nobody but she knows
but have no doubt
it is deep within her heart
radiating into her soul
holding on to life
with gentle hands
feeling vibrational bands
she looks deep into the eyes
reflecting of all her tomorrows
you can almost here her sigh
through thoughts in contemplations
not sorrows
round and round the carousel takes her
dreaming into the silence of words
waiting for her thoughts to be heard
she’ll grab the brass ring
and her heart will open and sing
letting the world see the grace she shall bring

Thank you Mary for adding your own wonderful contribution.

Lee and Isabel.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Rapturous

A moment in time
Impregnated with haiku, may bring
[a little] happiness.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

On Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the gift that’s given
And given right away,
For glad is the heart to forgive
To blow forgotten on the passing day

What good can come of resentment?
What’s here to stay?
Who can soar free above the clouds?
Above our endless delusions of this day?

So go, flow like wind on water
Throw a ray of sun in the prison of the mind,
Hold the hand that is cold, and
Sow compassion into the fabric of time

And time is our beggar, life our vagabond
Life must tear and fray,
And forgiveness is the gift that’s given
To blow forgotten on the passing day.

Categories
Opinion

Coming Home

I’ve come to a stage in my life where I feel love is not so much a conscious decision, not on its own anyway, but also it is an involuntary act. It appears to me that I (we) have no choice but to love, and be led by love. But the real test (if there is one) comes when people can’t get along. When people become at odds with each other, when we construct artificial barriers of the ego, to protect oneself, and ultimately cause the other person harm or loss in some way.

For instance, on my return from a holiday abroad I discovered that whilst away my neighbour decided, in her wisdom, to cut down the trees in the back of our garden. Six trees totally ruined by her thoughtlessness, her reaching over the dividing fence and ripping the trunks in half with a blunt hack-saw. At first I was shocked, horrified, distraught at the callous act, to encroach on our small but lovingly tendered garden, and cause such carnage to the trees I have protected for years. I burning with rage over what happened, for days I became a monster possessed, then I realised something… her act came about through a lack of consciousness, respect and caring. She is possibly bi-polar and in her frantic hyperactivity did this with a lack control too. Then it hit me here I was doing the same, acting from the same place – rooted in ignorance.

It took me a short while to understand this and then to approach her with love and understanding. Sadly she still didn’t see that she had done anything wrong, her defences were going nowhere, but I was no longer in the clutches of ignorance and anger. I accepted her, her act and her suffering. We are all suffering in some way or another, and compassion, and forgiveness seems the only way out. I still have to sort the garden out and do something with the trees that got damaged, my spirit still hurts for the injury caused upon mother nature, but I’m not carrying the pain so much. I’ve put it down and given myself permission to leave it there. To let it go.

I think incident this teaches me to love in the most difficult of circumstances, to extend love to those, who are out of touch with themselves, others and common gardener decency. And I know that neighbours can be at war for much less. But I had no choice, with love somewhere in the midst of chaos, I had to lay down my weapons, and pick up the pipes of peace. I had to relearn fast that no-one is perfect, least of all me. I still have a long way to go. Who knows, the trees might even grow once more.

Categories
Photography

Pictures of Italy

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Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

From the Ancient Arena

Once hearing music, I thought: a man or woman made this
And once there was a time before its pattern was
Before its form or harmonies had ever been conceived
Out of flesh and its travails, out of the labour of hands

And before that, a time when not one single quaver of it
Had been the slenderest shadow, less than a shadow
Lying dark, until it was shaped, crafted and nourished into light,

And she no angel but human to the core, who made it
For you, for me and that we might see clear through it
Build our own work upon it, and by our willing love
Transform our world, that through us
Matter be known and resplendent as music.

And with these thoughts, I rejoice to be in its history
To be alive in its time, my time is now his or hers
And yours too, as you hear this, which is the time
To you and me, in our times, that the maker of music reached out
And we here humanly touched, and moved to hear this.