BEST WISHES to our Moslem contributors, readers and friends all over the globe on this: the first day of Ramadan. ~ During this month, 1.6 million Muslims – or 23% of the world population according to Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project – observe a strict fast if they are of an age and healthy enough to do so. The fast extends each day from sunrise to sunset. The month-long fasting ends with a feasting celebration, Eid al-Fitr (the breaking of the fast), which falls on 28 July this year.
Britain’s David Cameron has this to say:
Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!
May everyday find you in good health!
CELEBRATING POET, NOVELIST, ESSAYIST and EDUCATOR, KAZIM ALI ~ who was born in the UK, is from an Indian Islamic household, and was educated at State University of New York (SUNY) and at New York University. Currently he lives in Oregon.
Of his most recent poetry collection, The Fortieth Day, the Library Journal review says that Ali …
“continues his task of creating a rejuvenated language that longs to be liberated from the weight of daily routine and the power of dogmatic usage . . . writing in the tradition of Wallace Stevens, Ali is clearly a poet of ideas and symbols, yet his words remain living entities within the texture of the poem.”
Of his essay collection, Fasting for Ramadan, Notes on Spiritual Practice, Tupelo Press states …
“Kazim Ali’s searching descriptions of the Ramadan sensibility and its arduous but liberating annual rite of communal fasting is sure to be a revelation to many readers — intellectually illuminating and aesthetically exhilarating.
“Fasting for Ramadan is structured as a chronicle of daily meditations, during two cycles of the 30-day rite of daytime abstinence required by Ramadan for purgation and prayer. Estranged in certain ways from his family’s cultural traditions when he was younger, Ali has in recent years re-embraced the Ramadan ritual, and brings to this rediscovery an extraordinary delicacy of reflection, a powerfully inquiring mind, and the linguistic precision and ardor of a superb poet.”
Ali’s poem Ramadan is from his collection, The Fortieth Day.
You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,
and have to choose between the starving month’s
nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.
The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?
If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets
into the air and harvest the fog.
Hunger opens you to illiteracy,
thirst makes clear the starving pattern,
the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,
the angel stops whispering for a moment—
The secret night could already be over,
you will have to listen very carefully—
You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting
and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—
– Kazim Ali
“Ramadan” except from The Fortieth Day. © 2008 by Kazim Ali, posted here under fair use
“Poetry is the smallest way – it is a small, small way, but it is a way indeed – that the individual body can express its own personhood and value in the face of faceless systems.” Kazim Ali
TERRI STEWART REPORTS on the expansion of Begin Again, the blog she started and hosts ~ “First news, welcome Bruce Chittick to the team of writers! Woot!! He will bring an awesome perspective to Sundays and inspiration. I can’t wait to get to know his writing. I experience him to be a thoughtful, gracious, inclusive kind of guy. His first post went live on the 22nd!
“And, in other exciting news, we got some funding. The United Methodist Church, in an expansive move towards trying new things (although we aren’t exactly NEW) has decided to fund my position at BeguineAgain.com AND all the technology for the next year and a half. This gives me & us time to build a class & subscription base to move towards an independent funding mechanism. This is awesome on so many counts. They know what we have been publishing and are willing to sit in that tension. Amazeballs! And it also lets the pressure off of me regarding all the work I am doing to create alternate funding mechanisms for my own family’s subsistence. Whew. Chaplaincy pays like zero. It is being billed as an online spiritual community. Very vague.
” … I can’t wait to try some of the new technology that will be available now that I can upgrade us to WordPress pro!”
Dutch Nature Artist, PAULA KUITENBROUWER (Mindful Drawing) ~ a long-standing member of The Bardo Group and a contributor to the blog has sent out a call to all of us – team members, bloggers and friends – to initiate discussions of how and why we are living and working in an eco-conscious ways and how we can use our art and our blogs to encourage environmentally sound practices. Paula shares on her Guilt-Free Art Page …
“My original drawings are drawn on acid free paper. In the process of making acid free paper fewer corrosive chemicals are used, which makes acid free paper significantly environmentally friendlier than normal paper.
“For packing my fine art cards and reproductions, I use biodegradable plastic. I like my art work to be as environmentally friendly as possible and I select my products carefully. My paint-brushes are synthetic without animal hair.”
Other eco-friendly living practices that might be shared would include the ways in which we order our lives to enable no-or-minimal use of cars, mindful shopping (buying only what we need and buying from bulk containers rather than packaged items, buying locally produced food and other products), using biodegradable cleaning products and reusable shopping bags. Yes! All this and how about telling us about your advocacy efforts?
We invite you share your thoughts on this in the comments section here, on your own blogs (then leave us a link under any current post so that we can publicize it in the next Bardo News) or as submissions to The Bardo Group blog this month. (If you are not a core-team member, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Next Sunday Terri resumes her Sunday Sacred Space in the Body series.
Another fine piece from Imen Benyoub on Music, Language of the Soul, date TBA
Victoria’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday, July 23
Celebrations for the 50th Anniversary U.S. Wilderness Act in September, hosted by Priscilla Galasso …
100,000 Poets (and writers, musicians, artists) for Change interview with the founder, TBA (yes! 😦 We are late delivering this. Apologies!)
100,000 Poets for Change event, September 27, hosted by Liz Rice-Sosne (Raven Spirit)
… and many more goodies from our Core Team, readers and guests. This month’s guests will include:
Poet K.A. Brace (The Mirror Obscura) and Jewelry-Maker, Writer, Photographer Isadora (Inside the Mind of Isadora)
In the spirit of peace, love and community,
THE BARDO GROUP