Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Revolutionists Stop for Orangeade

Red Balloon by Paul Klee 

Capitan profundo, capitan geloso,
Ask us not to sing standing in the sun,
Hairy-backed and hump-armed,
Flat-ribbed and big-bagged.
There is no pith in music
Except in something false.

Bellissimo, pomposo,
Sing a song of serpent-kin,
Necks among the thousand leaves,
Tongues around the fruit.
Sing in clownish boots
Strapped and buckled bright.

Wear the breeches of a mask,
Coat half-flare and half galloon;
Wear a helmet without reason,
Tufted, tilted, twirled, and twisted.
Start the singing in a voice
Rougher than a grinding shale.

Hang a feather by your eye,
Nod and look a little sly.
This must be the vent of pity,
Deeper than a truer ditty
Of the real that wrenches,
Of the quick that's wry.

- Wallace Stevens 

Friday, February 06, 2015

Duino Elegies

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic
Orders? And even if one were to suddenly
take me to its heart, I would vanish into its
stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but
the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,
and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terror.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the cry
of a darkened sobbing. Ah, who then can
we make use of? Not Angels: not men,
and the resourceful creatures see clearly
that we are not really at home
in the interpreted world. Perhaps there remains
some tree on a slope, that we can see
again each day: there remains to us yesterday’s street,
and the thinned-out loyalty of a habit
that liked us, and so stayed, and never departed.
Oh, and the night, the night, when the wind full of space
wears out our faces – whom would she not stay for,
the longed-for, gentle, disappointing one, whom the solitary heart
with difficulty stands before. Is she less heavy for lovers?
Ah, they only hide their fate between themselves.
Do you not know yet? Throw the emptiness out of your arms
to add to the spaces we breathe; maybe the birds
will feel the expansion of air, in more intimate flight.

Yes, the Spring-times needed you deeply. Many a star
must have been there for you so you might feel it. A wave
lifted towards you out of the past, or, as you walked
past an open window, a violin
gave of itself. All this was their mission.
But could you handle it? Were you not always,
still, distracted by expectation, as if all you experienced,
like a Beloved, came near to you? (Where could you contain her,
with all the vast strange thoughts in you
going in and out, and often staying the night.)

- Duino Elegies, The First Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Flowing Woman by Rabindranath Tagore 
[The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border. -Pablo Casals, cellist, conductor, and composer (1876-1973)]

She couldn't stop at borders,
Who needs a straight long fence,
when the world is round?

A travel memo was sent: Let porous love pour over. 

- Neha

Cross Stitches

[Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which x-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture... the stitcher counts the threads in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance]

There is a new disaster in the news (there always is),
My carefully stitched heart is torn into hundred flying pieces (again),
I look at the shiny blue curtains with yellow flowers (across the blue green oceans),
And think if the news got you too (again).

A travel memo was sent: Let's learn cross stitches again. 

- Neha

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


A Pair of Leather Clogs by Vincent van Gogh
Lightly child, lightly. 
Learn to do everything lightly. 
Even though you're feeling deeply, 
let things happen, and 
cope with them on tiptoes 
and with no luggage, 
not even a sponge bag, 
Lightly my darling...

- Aldous Huxley, Island 


Procession, Horse and Riders in a Tanga By Jamini Roy
To sleep for a few days, maybe even years
To wake up in another time, in another world.

A travel memo was sent: Let this circadian dysrhythmia be time travel to another universe.

- Neha

Hanging truths

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Assyrian interpretation, Wikimedia commons 
Have you heard the heresy?
They are now saying
that hanging gardens of Babylon
were not in Babylon!
Were there gardens? - Yes, they say!
Were they hanging? - Yes, they say!
Where were they, then? - Nobody knows, yet
(scholars are debating, as always!)

When hanging gardens of Babylon
are turned upside down,
Let everything turn so as well.

A travel memo was sent : Truth is hanging in an imaginary garden.

- Neha

Monday, February 02, 2015

What Survives

Blue III by Joan Miro
Who says that all must vanish?
Who knows, perhaps the flight
of the bird you wound remains,
and perhaps flowers survive
caresses in us, in their ground.

It isn't the gesture that lasts,
but it dresses you again in gold
armor --from breast to knees--
and the battle was so pure
an angel wears it after you.

- Rainer Maria Rilke