Monday, December 31, 2012

Waking


I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.

- Muriel Rukeyser, Speed of Darkness

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Her blueness

Blue by Neha

Blue, the sky
Blue, her mood
Blue, the film too

Blue, the velvet in background
Blue, her shoes
Blue, the pants going to her helium waistland

Blue, the tinted hopes
Blue, her color
Blue, the blueness in depths of redness of this heart

Does blue do that to you too?

- Neha

More fleeting than wind

What is more fleeting than the wind? asked the Yaksha
and do tell me, what is more numerous than grass

Think only of a monster with a thousand eyes,
of festering refuse in the dark,
fodder for a million feeding flies,
seemingly somnolent, yet nurturing life's spark.

And of dancing flame, congealing as ice,
or a garden of solace, weeded with strife,
the fission of thought, imploding, imprecise,
myriad reflections in the barrenness of night.

Look, Yudhishtar, up into the empty sky
To the shadows of clouds, racing along.
Iridescent bubbles brilliant to the eye,
Blown apart by a cyclone, vicious and strong.

The mind, O Yaksha, is more fleeting than the wind.
Thoughts are like grass, fecund, undetermined.

************************************
And say, O Yudhishtar, who is the best friend
Of one whom death has just beckoned? 

When the moment comes, an end to life
And man takes hold of death's cold hand
Nothing matters then, not wealth nor wife
Just man, along in an unfamiliar land.

Come, be the leaf, a little above the earth,
fluttering lightly to its final rest.
A candle when it dies is at its widest girth.
Before it droops, a flower looks it best.

Saffron, O gods, is the burden of the pyre.
A life, like wood, floats on ripple of desire.
finds release only by merging with fire
Let it, at last, transcend the reflex to acquire.

A prayer beyond want, reaching the open sky.
Charity is the best friend of one about to die.

*************************************
O Kaunteya, I'd like you to tell me now,
what is that which sojourns alone? 

A memory rose, of a bird at dusk.
indifferently watching a column of light,
The day, empty, except for its visible husk,
swept easily away by the swirl of night.

A temple in the morning caressed by the sun;
shadowless at noon; then to darkness resigned.
Things of this earth are so easily undone.
And arc remains above, to its path aligned/

O Yaksha, often on the busiest trail,
silence persists, quietly, almost on the sly.
To be aloe is to burn inside a veil,
like fireflies against an opaque sky.

Shadows suspended from a glow that has grown.
The sun, O Yaksha, is that which sojourns alone.

****************************************
And what, Yudhishtar, is the highest refuge
of virtue, and then of exalted heaven?


Good and bad, and such like themes
are, in themselves, diffult to decree:
Like passing shadows reflected on streams
uncertain of their path to the sea.

Virtue, O Yaksha, is always exalted
When it can accept several points of view.
If unbending it will always be faulted
liberality is the highest refuge of virtue.

As to the heavens, this is my insight
A man, his destiny, death and release.
And along this path, the divine light,
dispelling gloom, guided only by caprice.

The illusion of choice is a deceptiove subterfuge
To be true to oneself is the only refuge

*****************************************

Like oars to a boat
seeking the bank across the river
a skill, not learnt by rote,
is the most laudable endeavor ..

Raindrops at rest after a storm is spent
The best kind of happiness is to be content

- From Yaksha Prashna, Yudhishtar & Draupadi by Pavan Varma

Thodee Lali Aur Kari

Branch of Almond Tree in Blossom Red - Vincent Van Gogh
Lali mere lal ki, jit dekhu titt lal.
Lali dekhan main gayi, main bhi ho gayi lal.

*****
Naino ki kari kothari,
putali palang bichhãi;
palako ki chik darike,
piya ko liyã rijhãi.

- Kabir

Lightness


Those who come by me passing
I will remember them,
and those who come heavy and overbearing
I will forget.

This is why
when air gushes between mountains
we describe the wind
and forget the rocks.

—Saadi Youssef, “Attention.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hope spring

"As for me, I'm wakerife and morne, but hope springs eternal. I don't know how she does it, what with those leg irons on, but spring she does."

Ben Tripp; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Agenda; CounterPunch (Petrolia, California); May 30, 2003.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Writing


       A man who writes a story is forced to put into it the best of his knowledge and the best of his feeling. The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty. A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator. Of course, there are dishonest writers who go on for a little while, but not for long—not for long.

            A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—

            “Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought.”

            Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains—in a day, morning, noon and night, in a man, birth, growth and death. These are curtain rise and curtain fall, but the story goes on and nothing finishes.

            To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.

-------

I hear via a couple of attractive grapevines, that you are having trouble writing. God! I know this feeling so well. I think it is never coming back—but it does—one morning, there it is again.

            About a year ago, Bob Anderson [the playwright] asked me for help in the same problem. I told him to write poetry—not for selling—not even for seeing—poetry to throw away. For poetry is the mathematics of writing and closely kin to music. And it is also the best therapy because sometimes the troubles come tumbling out.

            Well, he did. For six months he did. And I have three joyous letters from him saying it worked. Just poetry—anything and not designed for a reader. It's a great and valuable privacy.

            I only offer this if your dryness goes on too long and makes you too miserable. You may come out of it any day. I have. The words are fighting each other to get out.

- John Steinbeck 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Solo for Saturday Night Guitar


Suspended by Neha
Time was. Time is. Time shall be.
Man invented time to be used.
Love was. Love is. Love shall be.
Yet man never invented love
Nor is love to be used like time.
A clock wears numbers one to twelve
And you look and read its face
And tell the time pre-cise-ly ex-act - ly.
Yet who reads the face of love?
Who tells love numbers pre-cise-ly ex-act-ly?
Holding love in a tight hold for keeps,
Fastening love down and saying
“It's here now and here always.”
You don’t do this off hand, careless-like.
Love costs. Love is not so easy
Nor is the shimmering of star dust
Nor the smooth flow of new blossoms
Nor the drag of a heavy hungering for someone.

Love is a white horse you ride
or wheels and hammers leaving you lonely
or a rock in the moonlight for rest
or a sea where phantom ships cross always
or a tall shadow always whispering
or a circle of spray and prisms —
maybe a rainbow round your shoulder.

Heavy heavy is love to carry
and light as one rose petal,
light as a bubble, a blossom,
a remembering bar of music
or a finger or a wisp of hair
never forgotten.

~ Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Birds with no names (P.S: I'll call you beautiful birds)

The Acanthus, paper cutout collage by Henri Matisse

I see beautiful birds
Birds with no names
And it makes me restless
This not knowing the names, the labels

And then I let go,
breathe deeply,
exhale fully
and look again

And there they are -
on nameless electric lines,
on nameless trees,
on nameless fences
heartbeats of nameless skys
These birds with no names

They are more beautiful that they ever could be with names
names that might not have been invented yet
names that I do not know yet
In this namelessness they seem more beautiful
for they are their essence
..a beautiful bundle of lightness
And that's what I want to become

- Nameless Lightness

Monday, December 03, 2012

Blue Moon

Blue Nude by Henri  Matisse 
Be around
In your once in a blue moon way

Come to me, once in a long long time
When stars of your indecisions align

Come to me, once in a long long time
(So long that four letters of the word long
don't do you justice )

Come to me
In your once in a blue moon way

Come to make the tide of my silent heart
rise to fall once again

Come to me and my blue moon orbit

Be around
In your once in a blue moon way

- Neha

To Arrive Where You Are


To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
 

- T.S.Eliot