Today’s Poem from Rumi: The Pistachio Passport Section

ON LOSING AND FINDING IDENTITY

Traveling alone to Konya in 1984,  I managed to lose my passport.  I’m not sure how I checked in to the Selijuk Hotel without it, but I did.  It was early evening.  I walked along the main street and came upon a visionary nutcart, lit with glorious lanterns and heaped with perfect pyramids of every kind of nut in elegant wooden compartments.  I bought a quarter’s worth, a newspaper cone of pistachios, impossible abundance.  As I came back in the hotel, one of the men watching television called out, Bul duc!  Others chimed in laughing, bul duc, which means “I found it” in Turkish.  The name of the hotel in Ankara I stayed in the previous night.  They had found my passport at the I Found It Hotel.  Ceremonially I went from chair to chair in the darkened hotel lobby, bowing with the paper spiral, Please.

rumi flower

 

 

WITH YOU HERE BETWEEN

Lovers work, so that when body and soul

are no longer together,

their loving will be free.

Wash in wisdom-water, so you will have no regrets

about the time here.

Love is the vital core of the soul,

and of all you see, only love is infinite.

Your non-existence before you were born

is the sky in the east.

Your death is the western horizon,

with you here between.

The way leads neither east nor west,

but in.

Test your love-wings and make them strong.

Forget the idea of religious ladders.

Love is the roof.  Your senses are waterspouts.

Drink rain directly off the roof.

Waterspouts are easily damaged

and often must be replaced.

Say this poem in your chest.

Don’t worry how it sounds

going through your mouth.

A human body is a bow.

Breathing and speech are arrows.

When the quiver and arrows are used up or lost,

there is nothing more for the bow to do.

 

May I Present Humphrey Gifford

1580 woman

 

A Delectable Dream

Here is a timeless satire on the faoibles of woman.  It was written nearly four hundred years ago, yet it sounds like a twentieth-century comment–a twentieth-century man’s comment.

A woman’s face is full of wiles,

Her tears are like the crocodiles;

With outward cheer on thee she smiles

When in her heart she thinks thee ill.

Her tongue still chats of this and that,

Than aspen leaf it wags more fast;

And as she walks she knows not what,

There issues many a truthless blast.

Thou far dost take thy mark amiss

If thou think faith in them to find.

The weathercock more constant is,

Which turns about with every wind.

Oh, how in pity they abound!

Their heart is mild like marble stone’

If in thyself no hope be found,

Be sure of them thou gettest none.

I know some pepper-nosed dame

Will term me fool and saucy jack,

That dare their credit so defame

And lay such slanders on their back.

What though on me they pour their spite?

I may not use the glozer’s trade:

I cannot say the crow is white,

But needs must call a spade a spade

(c. 1580)

glozer: flatterer.

I Write About…

A great poem from my friend Venus Bohemia. Enjoy!

ROZIET GARRUSE

I write about Love. Whatever that concept means to me.
I write about Fate, as if I know what Fate really is.
I write about Pain, convinced that I feel it everyday.

I write about Children, as the future of a questionable prorated world.
I write about Men, as creatures, for quite some time, overrated.
I write about Women, including myself, as opposed, but liberated now.

I write about Music, as the “cause and effect” of our insane society.
I write about Politics, and their crookery, power-hungry status.
I write about Nature, and the way humankind destroys it day by day.

I write about God and His Unconditional love for my son and for me.
I write about Sins, and how hard it is to stay away from it, on my daily basis.
I write about Free-will, and the disguised idea we all have, “we can do everything!”.

I write…

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My Funny Valentine

I know that this blog is a place of writing, writers and poets. But today is Valentine’s Day and the song “My Funny Valentine” just popped in my head, so I wanted to share this video of a great Jazz Singer, Sarah Vaughan.

Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 — April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century.” Nicknamed “Sailor” (for her salty speech), “Sassy” and “The Divine One”, Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its “highest honor in jazz”, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Vaughan

Hope

pandoras_box

 

 

I’m thinking again of Pandora

and the box, of the boy

committed to stopping her

until she undid her golden braids

and got her way.

He’d wanted to open it, too,

but he’s made a promise

to a friend, and for a while

the promise was relevant.

I’m thinking of irrelevance,

of word and spirit and heart,

how the boy leaned against

her warm shoulder for a look

just as the evil Passions swooped

like mosquitoes to their necks,

the hundred and fifty Sorrows

stinging them with guilt and worry

they’d carry all their lives,

the paradise of childhood gone,

work now to be done,

clothes to mend, hunger and thirst

gushing out their laughter.

I’m thinking too

of my own irrelevance

when friends now dead chopped crank

on hand mirrors and snorted it

through rolled-up dollar bills, when

Wild C, who was like a brother,

jumped in front of an El train

after his girlfriend didn’t take him back.

Philadelphia: that city a box of sorrows,

a flock of swirling darknesses.

And don’t forget the many Cares

Pandora let loose,

the black clouds that trailed them

like doppelgangers.  Follow them

over doorways and skyline.

Listen to them darting about, tickliing

before they burrow in and spread.

In a  week my daughter will be six.

This summer she’s in paradise:

swimming, her cat, books, ice cream.

I’m thinking again of Pandora

because I’m thinking of Hope,

the last force to rise from the box,

the only answer to Troubles

like loneliness and age.

Fear is the knot in a golden cord

twisted around the heart,

without end or beginning.

Hope is the hand that unties it.

 

Poetry by Daniel Donaghy

Norman Mailer Tuesday

Norman Mailer quote

 

I decided to take a  break from everything that was going on today, as you can tell.    Everyone has days when they are doing a million things at once, but it never seems like anything gets accomplished, or maybe it does if you are a super human.   We all are.  I think you get the point.  I am one who wants to do everything I can, but sometimes I take on too much and wonder why I do that because it ends up overwhelming me mentally and physically.  We only have two hands, but at times would like more.

Anyway, enough of my psycho babble!

Let’s get to the point.  I sat back in my chair and looked around the room.  Out of the corner of my left eye, I saw the quote that I have taped to the wall.

“I don’t think life is absurd.  I think we are all here for a huge purpose.  I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for.”  ~Norman Mailer

That quote for whatever reason was calling me to pay attention.

We all have a purpose in life and need to slow down and enjoy the life that we have, while we have it.  That is difficult sometimes, especially when we love what we do!

 

Music is the Window to the Soul

When I am silent I fall into that peace where everything is music

 

 

WHERE EVERYTHING IS MUSIC

Don’t worry about saving these songs!

And if one of our instruments breaks,

it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place

where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes

rise into the atmosphere,

and even if the whole world’s harp

should burn up, there will still be

hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.

We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.

The graceful movements come from a pearl

somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge

of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive

from a slow and powerful root

that we can’t see.

Stop the words now.

Open the window in the center of your chest,

and let the spirits fly in and out.

 

Poetry from The Essential Rumi

Rhyme and Reason: A poet finds inspiration in the Kripalu Labyrinth

Labyrinth

 

 

 

When I arrived at Kripalu in lat August 2012 (a beautiful 51st birthday present from my husband), I was experiencing a major arthritic knee flare-up that had started a few days earlier.  I chose to drive the five hours from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts anyway–no swollen joint was going to stop me!

The Kripalu catalog had shown up in my mailbox at a moment of transition: I’d taken over my mother’s real estate business when she died in 2001, and I was ready to do something for myself.  I registered for a writing program, because I’ve always loved poetry.

Due to my knee, I wasn’t able to hike, dance, or do yoga, but I was determined to see the Kripalu Labyrinth.  So on Sunday afternoon, when the program was over and I’d said goodbye to two new friends who had instantly become soul sisters, I took careful baby steps down the hill.  As I entered the Labyrinth, there were three paths to choose from, and my first thought was, Am I on the right path?  Then I heard my beloved late mother’s voice telling me that it didn’t matter which path I was on, because whichever it was, it was the right one for me.

The magic of the Labyrinth–and my mom’s words–manifested withiin minutes of me returning to my room.  I was sitting on my bed with my leg propped up, surrounded by my journals, notes from the program, a few books, and the latest Sports Illustrated magazine.  I looked over at [Los Angeles Angels outfielder] Mike Trout’s handsome face staring at me from the cover of Sports Illustrated, and bright lights went off in my head and heart.  Why not combine my love of poetry, specifically haiku, with my passion for sports?

I instantly wrote a haiku for Mike Trout, in honor of my late father, who loved baseball and fishing.  Then I wrote another, and another.  Within an hour, I had written 12 haikus.  I couldn’t stop.  I wroter several more the next day, and kept going once I was home.  I wrote 101 athlete haikus in eight weeks, and found a publisher almost immediately.

Exactly one year later, I came back to Kripalu for my birthday with my book in hand: Haikudos to Athletes: Poetry in Motion.  I’m now working on the second book in the series, and I have Kripalu and its magical Labyrinth to thank for this blessing of inspiration!

 

-Kelly K. Ambler, Pennsylvania

A Love Dream

Love by Peace by Piece Crations

 

PLEASANT thoughts come wandering,

When thou art far, from thee to me;

On their silver wings they bring

A very peaceful ecstasy,

A feeling of eternal spring;

So that Winter half forgets

Everything but that thou art,

And, in his bewildered heart,

Dreameth of the violets,

Or those bluer flowers that ope,

Flowers of steadfast love and hope,

Watered by the living wells,

Of memories dear, and dearer prophecies,

When young spring forever dwells

In the sunshine of thine eyes.

I have most holy dreams of thee,

All night I have such dreams;

And, when I awake, reality

No whit the darker seems;

Through the twin gates of Hope and Memory

They pour in crystal streams

From out an angel’s calmed eyes,

Who, from twilight till sunrise,

Far away in the upper deep,

Poised upon his shining wings,

Over us his watch doth keep,

And, as he watcheth, ever sings.

Through the still night I hear him sing,

Down-looking on our sleep;

I hear his clear, clear harp-strings ring,

And, as the golden notes take wing,

Gently downward hovering,

For very joy I weep;

He singeth songs of holy Love,

That quiver through the depths afar,

Where the blessed spirits are,

And lingeringly from above

Shower till the morning star

His silver shield hath buckled on

And sentinels the dawn alone,

Quivering his gleamy spear

Through the dusky atmosphere.

Almost, my love, I fear the morn,

When that blessed voice shall cease,

Lest it should leave me quite forlorn,

Stript of my snowy robe of peace;

And yet the bright reality

Is fairer than all dreams can be,

For, through my spirit, all day long,

Ring echoes of that angel-song

In melodious thoughts of thee;

And well I know it cannot die

Till eternal morn shall break,

For, through life’s slumber, thou and I

Will keep it for each other’s sake,

And it shall not be silent when we wake.

 

Poetry by James Russell Lowell ,Lowell’s Poetical Works, 1892

 

 

Distraction Button

 

distraction

 

 

The button is pressed,

suddenly your off on

an unknown quest.

But where is it that you  are off to?

What’s over here,

this is new.

You blink your eyes,

and you are mesmerized

by the twinkling lights.

You stare in amazement,

until the wonder is gone.

It’s time to move on.

You take a moment and

look around and realize

how far you’ve wandered.

The game distraction plays

is one it plays to win,

hoping that you will forget

where you have been.

Distraction, a wonderful

web it weaves,

leading you further and

further away.