Politics, Treachery and… a Rose – Part 2

If you read part 1, then you will have become aware of certain things: my sometimes rather glum outlook on life and (more particularly) the photographs, which don’t seem to fit the subject. Here is another, hopefully more palatable side of me as well as an explanation of the photographs …

View from The Cary Inn, Babbacombe ... and the Roses
View from The Cary Inn, Babbacombe … and the roses

My wife and I had taken a holiday break in Torquay and, during an overcast, but warm summer’s day, we included a very special Birthday lunch for my wife – gifted and arranged by our daughter and her husband – on the ‘Captain’s Table at The Cary Arms, (‘Inn on The Beach’) at Babbacombe in Devon. In a moment, as we sat relaxing digesting our meal, the simplest, most natural thing happened, which most, including myself, would normally have brushed off, quite literally, and forgotten within seconds. However, on this occasion for some reason, it sowed a seed, which, along with several subsequent prompts, including from other blogs that I read, germinated a series of thoughts that resulted in this blog post … and a poem.

One of several menus at the Carey Arms ... this the most amusing one!
One of several menus at the Carey Arms … this is the most amusing!

It was a small petal – a deep vermilion rose petal – that arrived from somewhere and landed on the left hand sleeve of my folded arms. For a moment, I just looked at it, admired it for what it really was and allowed my thoughts to focus, for some reason known only to my right brain, on what had happened in the human world during the short life of the rose from which it had come. What war, human misery and treachery had occurred in that short time; but also what good had been done; what valiant efforts to keep the peace in war-torn countries of the world; what individual moments of heroism and courage had been demonstrated by a soldier, activist, newshound, medic or aid worker somewhere out there in this dangerous world.

The terraced borders at The Cary Arms are very well tended, including plenty of roses, all of which were in full bloom that warm June day. My thoughts on this event incubated for a short period, after which, early one Saturday morning, they evolved into this poem – a Shakespearean sonnet – entitled … well what else could I call it, but “Rose Petal“..?

This poem is invested with so much that is significant to me; I hope also to you.

Rose Petal

You came to me from rose vermilion red;
so rude and flushed with health you seemed to be.
I was surprised when I discerned instead
your disposition was no longer free;
that, whilst you were so moist and soft, I then
with sadness realised your life was spent;
that you had chosen me for your amen
between your zenith and your final rent.

What price for love you had to pay, and stain
upon your beauteous journey through short life,
so full of human tragedy and pain;
so savaged by our ugliness and strife.

And yet, you gift us your perfume unkempt
and beauty, which our hideousness preempts.

(This was one of seven of John’s poems, which were published by Aquillrelle in the anthology “Petrichor Rising” in August 2013)

Essay and poem © 2011 John Anstie

Photographs © 2011 John Anstie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is a part of our participation in 100,000 Poets – and Musicians, Artists and Activists –  for Change. Details HERE. Our theme is Peace and Justice.We invite you to participate in this global event by linking in your work with ours. We’ll be collecting all the links in a commemorative page shortly after we close this project on October 3. You may use Mister Linky below or include your link in the comments section. Thank you! John_in_Pose_Half_Face3

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

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51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Risingin 2013. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

 

… Chalice

Dear Earth, you are a sacred aqueous Isle
in a dark and endless sea of universe.
You may never reveal your strategy.
We may be  bound  by  genetic code
to the presupposing chemical destiny
of one great astrophysical master plan
for all living things. We, who represent
your malaise,  your chronic infestation;
we,  like a fleeting itch in your long life,
will never comprehend it.  But, in truth
you know too well  that  we can never
understand more  than one percent
of all there is to know. You contain
the knowledge that is beyond us.
We are like a rash on your skin.

One day, we know you will
raze all of our delusions,
prepare us for the day
when a blinding light
will  inoculate  you
and inform us  of
a moment when
extant humans
will, at last be
prepared to
distinguish
the  l i e s
f r o m
truth
and

if so
are
w e
m e r e
a t o m i c
p a r t i c l e s
inside a temporal chalice?

© 2014 John Anstie

[ The chalice comes in many iconic forms, none more so than the Holy Chalice, or Holy Grail, said to have been used to dispense its sacred content at the Last Supper. Whether the above title prompts this as your first thought or whether it is the ‘poisoned’ variety, it is for you to decide how you interpret its meaning. You can then preface the title, ‘Chalice’, with the missing word.  It has to be said that the above shape represents a chalice with proportions that are rather slim compared to the traditionally chubby looking vessel, which better defines the name. Perhaps this is a good thing, making it as easier to read, like the narrow columns of a newspaper, perhaps ..? ]

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. John has been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

product_thumbnail-3.php

51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

On perfection

146439I was gazing at a darn moth the other day, bumping its head against an old mattress, testing the resistance of the now worn-out and arguably colored satin to the heaviness of its evanescence, when it just hit me: we are just a bunch of pathetic liars. We pretend to be so preoccupied with achieving perfection, we lie to each other and to ourselves that this is what we want, that this is our ultimate aim and goal and that this should be the official target of any sane human being. We build our whole lives around the obsession of becoming “perfect”. But to claim this while being aware that we cannot achieve perfection because first of all we don’t even know what perfection is, is the biggest proof of hypocrisy of all. Because, in the end, what IS perfection?

To find perfection we would need to establish a set of rules that would define perfection, a set of rules that would be unanimously accepted by all the people living in this world, a set of rules that would leave no room for misinterpretation or anything else. But do you realize what an enormous task that would be? Because then you’d have to define perfection for each and every notion. Just imagine this: how should the perfect human being be like? How should the perfect piano sound like? How should the perfect tiramisu taste like? How concentrated should the perfect mint tea be? Gosh…my head is already spinning.

Of course, there will always be the branch of the religious ones, who will say that “we are not perfect, God is”. Aye, maybe. To those I will only say one thing – if God is perfect, and God created us “in his own image”, shouldn’t that make us perfect, at least from the image point of view? (And this makes me think – what a wide array would be covered just by the perfect image of a human being…)

But it’s easy to lay on (a) God’s head the burden of some ambiguous invention birthed by our fear that otherwise our presence here might actually be just an accident – a purposeless accident.

The reason why we pretend this is that this way our lives would appear to have a reason, that search for perfection would provide us with a necessary and sufficient reason for us to BE here, to LIVE. It would give us the excuse for the mistakes we are making, because that way we could always claim that those mistakes are merely the steps of the stair we climb towards our ultimate goal – “perfecting” ourselves. We invented the concept of “perfect” so that we may have an excuse for when we are not happy – “life is not perfect”. We invented the concept of “perfect” to justify our fear to simply live.

Perfection may exist, but too many of us are so obsessed with the abstract notion that they fail to truly open their eyes and see the world as it is. Because in this world, in this dimension, the real perfection is simply whatever brings you happiness and peace in the “now”. From my point of view, “perfection” is by no means related to “flawless”. And what we don’t see, is that “perfection” is also not related to “everlasting”. Perfection is relative, and it’s adjustable to all of us. We can stretch it and contract it to fit whatever we may need “now”. It’s not rigid. That’s the beauty of it. We don’t have to find perfection, or to achieve it – it is already here, within us, around us. We just have to WANT to touch it and feel it as it is. Wake up, people! Each of you already has a grain of perfection in your life – don’t be afraid to see it! It begins with “love”.

As for the “absolute perfection”…who needs absolutes in a world governed by relativity? 🙂

 

The photo used here was taken from http://www.morguefile.com. The essay belongs to Liliana Negoi.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  She is also the author of a novel, Solo-Chess, available for free reading HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

once upon a time we were

the things that were never said
still hibernate like some embryos
inside my voice.
the sounds that i never heard
are already perverted with ether
by the time they reach my hearing,
but everything can wait.
nine zero one.
the world doesn’t yet ask me to be alive,
the world doesn’t yet need my eyes searching,
raking through layers of light for the purpose of movement,
the world can still postpone the infusion of quotidian
which i can have,
acid,
next to the coffee cup.
the world is still far away,
at about the moment when it chose to be held in arms of sand,
not knowing other ways to protect its smallness –
and my words struggle between silence and burning,
hiding me yet from light,
protecting me yet from sand.
but too many things strive to enter my eyes all at once,
too many wasted lives flow their unlivingness
just a brick away,
and the wooden pillars of citadels feel their capillaries rotting.
“once upon a time we were”
but what if we weren’t?
what if the “once” is truer than what the story says?
once i believed that each of us
lives only in someone else’s dream,
and when that someone wakes up, we die,
and our life is suddenly cut by the blink of the eye of a random person –
and i wonder,
how many lives have i ended myself by waking up in the morning?
and how would it be to spend all our lives
searching for the one dreaming of us,
and then, in our last moments, to beg that one
to not wake up?
and why wouldn’t he wake up?
what dream so beautiful would we offer to him
so that he would sleep some more?
nine zero two.
the clock screams green at me
while at the tip of my foot the tango born in the evening
pulsates residually,
just like the dirty pearly taste of shadows
walked upon on the asphalt of a random street.
in tones of crème brulée
morning invades my senses, ignoring them,
and i open my eyes and end some more lives.

– Liliana Negoi
© 2014, All rights reserved

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  She is also the author of a novel, Solo-Chess, available for free reading HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

 

all aboard the jasmine train

metallic trails carry along them
the afterlife scent
of knowledge and will

no need to pull the emergency brake –
we’re all just
a splendid soup of souls
from which sometimes drops
creep within the spoon of god
and he feeds the earth with us

sanctity overdue –
once in a while
(or more than once in a while)
expired souls
find their way by accident
on the shelves of reality,
and we blame god because
we forgot to read the labels
and we hurt…

but in the end
the thorns on which we prick our fingers
could be nothing else but
the pins and needles from god’s palm…

© 2014 Liliana Negoi; “all aboard the jasmine train” is included in Liliana’s latest poetry collection, “cream of wordflakes”, available for free reading HERE

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  She is also the author of a novel, Solo-Chess, available for free reading HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

Flower power

Photo0113This morning I took my coffee and went to drink it in front of my house, enjoying some minutes of peace and quiet before the day starting to unfold. Some weeks ago I took outside the house some geraniums, and put them on a shelf near my entrance, and today I was watching them, thinking that I might have to move them back inside, because most of them didn’t seem to enjoy the weather too much. And just when this thought crossed my mind, I suddenly noticed four tiny buds blooming at the tip of one of the flowers, which I could have easily ignored, due to their pale pink colour. And when I came closer to take a picture of them, I also saw that, beneath the layer of leaves slowly drying, a new layer of leaves was coming to light, as if the flowers, now exposed to the outside conditions, was shedding its “skin” of fragile limbs and is now putting on another one, stronger and eager to live.

I then realized that it was Wednesday, and that I hadn’t written something in a while, because I was simply caught up with loads of personal things and it took me some time to untangle them all. At some point I even felt that I was never going to get out of the multitude of threads and tasks that surrounded me – fortunately, time proved me that anything can find itself a solution, with a little bit of patience and open-mindedness.

Today, looking at those geraniums blooming against the heavy odds, I understood (for the umpteenth time) that even when circumstances seem to be the harshest, one can still adapt and keep on living. And the flower power concept (which, as a funny coincidence, was the dress code of an event which I attended on the past Sunday) suddenly attained a new valence. Nature has its silent but splendid ways of teaching us its lessons – but only if and when we’re ready to learn them :).

@ 2014 Liliana Negoi, essay and photo

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  She is also the author of a novel, Solo-Chess, available for free reading HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On gardening tools

gardening toolsI was doing some spring gardening a few days ago.  At some point I saw my mother-in-law (who was visiting at the time) grabbing the scissors in order to remove some withered branches from a bush. I heard her murmuring “that’s it, you waste the roots for nothing anyway”. I knew why she was doing this, and I also know she was right to do it, it was a simple gesture but I couldn’t help thinking about it in the days to come.

You see, when we look at a plant or a tree and we see a dead leaf or branch still attached to the body, we cut it down, because “it pointlessly consumes energy”. And it’s a good thing to do that, because the plant or tree, thus freed of a dry limb, can grow a new one instead. What it’s more difficult to understand is, since we’ve learned to do this to plants, why can’t we do this to ourselves? What prevents us to cut the sterile, dry, energy consuming parts of our lives, and grow new ones? I think we do (or better said, don’t do) that because we’re afraid of the pain. We’re afraid that it hurts to do that self-trimming, and we’re scared to death of what we may discover if we do that.

It’s easier to linger in that perpetual state of presumed wildness, slowly turning into a messy bush, suffocating the flowers with the ever growing thorns and blocking the light from reaching to our core. I know that, because, as the saying goes, it takes one to know one. You don’t need much to garden yourself and arrange your inner landscape; it’s only a few tools. Honesty first of all – raw, painful, cutting honesty. You look at yourself and see exactly what’s the pointlessly energy consuming part. Then there’s the willingness to fix things. You will also need patience with yourself, because nothing happens over night (oh well, sometimes it does, but those are exceptions), and last, but not least, love. You cannot do anything without love. This list of “gardening” tools can always adapt to the each person’s circumstances, the point is not just having them, but also using them. Yes, it will hurt. You may even bleed. But you are allowed to ask for help, and you are allowed to cry. You’d be amazed what marvels can a little self-gardening do :). And for heaven’s sake, if, for some untold reasons, you decide however to be a wild bush, then be a burning one, like the one from the story of Moses ;).

© 2014, essay, Liliana Negoi, All rights reserved The image was taken from http://www.finegardening.com/item/31544/the-basic-gardening-tools-guide-pick-up-your-weapon IMG_7667

LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

prologue to nothing

“Have you ever known a place where God would feel at home?”

Umberto Eco, The Name Of The Rose

there was dirt under his nails –
those uncared-for nails,
bitten and with stains of blood,
having known the nervousness of his teeth –
and his eyes were cloudy,
sad
and gray,
perfect reflection
of the undecided sky above.
the bones of god’s word
would have fit perfectly in his palm,
if ever his palm had been free
of the memory of one house
on a nameless street
flooded with sunlight one summer morning.

white…
everything was outrageously white,
as if somehow heaven had spilled
its entire bright purity
over those limed walls…
the only things preventing an explosion of light
were some cracked wooden panes,
striving to carefully protect
the inside from the outside…

only the ghosts of those sunbeams
were able to make the clouds in his gaze
move aside,
and in those rare cases
one could see a pair of
incredibly sapphirine irises,
harboring like a living vault
the secrets of mankind glazed with sorrow…

some said
that was the hideout of Samael,
after trading his wings
for Lilith’s resurrection.
others said
it was the place where souls
were waiting to ascend after meeting Azrael.
but nobody knew for sure
what purpose did that place serve,
and to whom it actually belonged.

nobody, except for him…
somehow he remembered
nothing prior to opening his eyes
upon that door.
he was standing in front of it,
feeling under his soles
the sun-heated cubic stones paving that street.
for him,
that was the second his life had begun,
and also the second when it had ended…
he had no idea
how much time he had spent inside that house,
wandering from one room to another,
marveling at the way
everything seemed to be perfect…
in the blink of an eye,
he just knew what it meant,
although he had no idea
how he knew that …

guided by the typical fear,
mothers forbid their offspring to talk to him
when he had emerged from that house.
people kept whispering at corners
that his shoulder blades bore
the marks of the fallen,
yet nobody wanted to listen to him
when explaining why each small crack had its reasons
and why his voice had become a prism,
translating for them
the rainbow hidden within the white…

after a while
he stopped talking.
he sat, silent, in the corner of some stairs,
in the middle of an ignorant world,
aware that people didn’t care
for the reason why he just wouldn’t
go back inside that perfect white house
and be happily forgotten…
because he just loved too much
the rainbow of their souls …

“Prologue to nothing” is the closing poem of Liliana’s volume “The hidden well”. For the audio version feel free to click below:

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On learning and remembering

I was installing something on my computer this morning and I smiled when I remembered that, prior to meeting my husband, computers were for me something that I barely touched, using the one in my house back then only to write some paper work for university from time to time (yeah, that was a different age, we used handwriting more often 😛 – I still use it probably more than half of you, dear readers, although I discovered also that Microsoft Office is quite a friendly application :).

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that after meeting my husband I “evolved” up to the point where I’m not only capable to use the current system, but I’m able to assemble one from pieces, install the software (starting with the OS) and whatever other programs I need, and do many other things with it. In other words, “I learned”. Which is something that we ALL do, all our lives, voluntarily or involuntarily – we learn in order to adapt to the circumstances presented to us by life. Some say that we are able to learn even prior to being born from our mothers’ wombs – I don’t know about that, but for sure we are able to learn starting with the moment when we are born, and we continue to learn until the day we die.

The reasons why we learn are obvious. The reasons why we don’t learn can also be obvious, but neither ones nor the others make my topic for today. Instead I am going to mention a discussion that I had with a friend only a couple of days ago, in which he (my friend), who, coincidentally, is going to be a professor, was telling me that if I’m not able to teach someone a certain thing, maybe it’s because of the method that I’m applying.

I was tempted to reject the idea, for many reasons (pride among them), but fortunately for me I was smart enough in that moment to simply shut up, to listen to what he was saying and to chew on his words later that night. And then I realized that he was pretty much telling me what I always stated – that prior to teach someone WHAT to learn, you have to teach them HOW to learn. Ignacio Estrada said that “If a child can’t learn the way WE teach, maybe we should teach the way THEY learn”. The final goal is not for our own teaching to impose itself unto the mind of a being, but for that being to learn something from our teaching.

What my friend may not have realized at that point was the lesson that I myself had to learn that evening – and that is that the hardest to learn is when you think you already know what you’re learning. But as John Cotton Dana said, “He who dares to teach must never cease to learn”. And I myself feel lucky to have remembered such a beautiful lesson of life – and above all, lucky to have friends to teach it to me again :). Namaste!

who-dares-to-teach-must-never-cease-to-learn-education-quote© 2014 Liliana Negoi

The image used was taken from http://quotespictures.com/who-dares-to-teach-must-never-cease-to-learn-education-quote/

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

What seas and bicycles and whiskey have in common

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

These words belong to Rabindranath Tagore, and they came to my mind while I was actually looking at an over-water bridge that is currently being consolidated in the area where I live. I looked at the bridge this early morning, seeing it for what it is – a connection between the two shores of the river, meant to ease people’s access from one side to the other. And then I realized that the important aspect of Tagore’s quote was not what was said in it, but what it implied: the idea of moving, of doing something. The idea of not waiting for things to come to you, but of trying to reach those things somehow, whether by building bridges towards them, or by getting around the obstructions.

Man learned to cross seas and mountains because of his need for exploring, for moving, for trying to obtain the “better”. Up until now, evolution was not done only by staying still and admiring the circumstances – although, if sitting still means learning and evaluating the pros and cons of an action, it is also called “moving”, in my opinion.

Einstein - movingSeas, waters, obstacles, are always in our paths. Sometimes we see them from a distance, thus having time to prepare for them, other times we wake up right in front of them, and we have to make a decision. And most of the time the decision implies moving – either towards our goal, or away from it. Sitting there and not doing anything about it, although a valid choice, is the worst, because you willingly confine yourself into a dead end. And life is not – or at least it should not be – about dead ends.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

The one who said that was Einstein – and the main word in that quote is the last one, because no matter what happens at a certain point in time, in a specific place, no matter how big the pain, the horror, the joy or whatever the experienced feeling, time, as we, humans, perceive it, continues to flow. Things change. Life goes on – with or without us.

And related to that, I’ll end my pondering with one of the shortest quotes that apply here – Johnny Walker’s “Keep walking”.

© 2014 Liliana Negoi

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

Monologue

file00034904762ahhhh, my dear reader…
today I shall talk to your soul about a lake…
they say that someone threw a stone in it,
breaking the mirror of the surface in circles…
and the parable follows
that even though the surface of the lake became still again after a while,
the lake itself has changed
and that it knows that deep down it is not the same lake as it was…
allow me to extrapolate from that, my dear reader:
the lake is not defined by a stone
thrown at anger by a silly child…
for first of all the lake is the valley in which that water holds place…
not perfect, with ups and downs,
paved maybe with sand or maybe with mud,
but eager to withhold in it the magic of life…
then, the lake is the water
cradled by the valley…
the clear, life-giving and life-hosting water…
and then the lake is also what lives inside the water…
life forms that sometimes we notice
when they catch our eye by beauty of by fierceness,
but other times we tend to ignore
because they are usually too small to catch our glance
or even our thought…
so there it is, after embracing that stone,
the same lake as before,
as the stone becomes now a part of it, a part of its own life…
just the same,
a human being is more than what you may see in front of you:
for we have the valley of our body,
sheer beauty in its entire imperfection,
then we have the water of our soul,
filling us with life and energy,
and then we have our life experiences,
sometimes big and sometimes small…
so you see, dear reader,
the real lesson here, in my opinion,
is not that of not throwing a stone,
for each stone rises a bit the level of the water…
but that of making sure of not throwing too many…
for sometimes lakes can also effuse…

From “Sands and shadows” © 2011 Liliana Negoi

The image used was taken from http://morguefile.com.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

luminous – short prose

She sat there, with the precious stillness of a Tanagra, frozen beneath the cascade of magnolia petals – and all that sunrise was able to do was to jewel her aura with fiery reflexes, as if she was Amaterasu herself, borrowing for a while the limits of flesh with the sole purpose of proving the beauty of her infinity. I was unable to move, unable to make a sound, and for a moment I thought I would see her suddenly float and fly away, her body soaked with light and my eyes drained of all will to blink. Even her voice sounded as if woven from glints, when it stretched towards my senses like an invisible limb:

– The sun doesn’t always rise with the same brilliance. There are dawns when, for various reasons (all, or almost all of them of a scientific nature, of course) what you see growing above the line of the horizon is not that imposing disk of glowing majesty, but a shy red roundel, mat and exuding insecurity, as if it were born untimely from sky’s bleeding wombs. But if you stay there long enough and stare at it, you will witness the victory of plasma over atmosphere and soon the cells from your retina will be burned, as punishment for daring to assist at the visual metamorphosis of our closest star, as if your gaze would have somehow stained that moment of vulnerability…

She paused for a second – a long, ethereal, suspended on the tip of her gaze second – and then she continued:

Sparrow_on_snowy_branch– I’ve watched such sunrises more than just once from the window of my room. There were times when I saw the sky being flooded with raw sunlight and then suddenly a sparrow with eyes of onyx would come and sit on a branch of the elm tree growing right next to that window. It looked at me cautious, first with an eye, then with the other, and then it would suddenly release from that tiny throat a sample of happiness and freedom, as if to demonstrate me that joy can be found even in the simplest of things. It was that sparrow that taught me how to feel free, beyond the wheels of this chair, and not a sunrise goes by without me hoping you’d find your own sparrow, my son…

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

The photo attached was taken by Lewis Collard,

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On giving

DSC_0313My kids had a small festivity at kindergarten. They sang songs, and recited poems, and then Santa Claus came and gave gifts to all of them…overall it was nice. And obviously crowded, because for each of the kids in the festivity, there was at least one adult in the public in front of them, admiring them and cheering them and…doing whatever adults do when attending their children’s festivities.

After we left, when we got back home and the kids opened their presents and began to play, I couldn’t help thinking about the children of this world whose Christmas gift may not be big enough as to contain more than some fruit, let alone toys or other things. And that’s sad, because, above all, Christmas is a time of giving. Not because of Santa Claus, but because of its original meanings. Go beyond the birth of Christ, which was a gift in itself, given to the world (yes, I know that according to some new calculations Christ was actually born in spring, but it’s the symbol I’m talking about here), go back to those times of yore, when the only thing celebrated during this period of the year was the winter solstice – the joy that, after slowly shortening its gift of daily light for six months, the sun was beginning to turn the wheel around and days were starting to “grow” again. This was the gift people got back then – light. More light. Which, come to think about it, is such an awesome and priceless gift!

Anyway, the point of this pondering was that of reminding you all that, even if I don’t believe that giving should be the appanage of Christmas time alone but a way of life, I do believe that this is a good time to remember about all the gifts that we have ever been given, no matter by whom, and to try and imagine how our lives would have been had we not received those. Starting with the gift of life from our parents, and to the gift of blessings from our children.

And if you can, if you have the means, help those in need by filling their Christmas time with a little more light. You don’t have to give huge gifts – the simple fact that someone thought about them and gave them anything at all will be more than what they would expect. And their joy when receiving your present will be a priceless gift you give yourselves.

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

The photo attached was taken from http://morguefile.com.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

Angel

file000537145929‘Mommy, my feet are cold…’

The words pierced her heart like sharp daggers. She felt a lump of tears dangerously knotting inside her throat, but she managed to swallow it and raised to find something warmer for the little boy who was trying to fall asleep by her side. Fighting with the need to scream, she put the only old patchy blanket left in the house over the other one already covering the small child, and crammed in the bed by his side, holding him in her arms and trying to help him get warmer. It was indeed cold in the tiny room, she had nothing left to burn in the stove, and the fact that it was freezing that night outside was not of any help either. She had spent whatever penny she still had on a bread, some cheese and a bottle of milk for the little one, and now she tried to ignore the feeling of despair rising within her soul. What was she going to do tomorrow?… A bit dizzy from hunger – was this the sixth or the seventh day since she had eaten last?! – she kissed the boy on his forehead and whispered:

‘Everything will be alright my little love…everything will be alright…just try to get some sleep…’

The child nestled in her arms and soon she was able to hear his regulate breathing, sign that he managed to enter the world of dreams. She realized though that it had gotten so cold in the room that her own breath was forming steams in the air, so she grabbed the coat from the chair next to the bed and put it also on the kid. Her back was beginning to freeze, and she began to shiver and shake, but she remained in the bed, making sure that whatever was left of her body heat was going towards her son. The shadow of a smile blossomed in her tired crying eyes – he was such a wonderful child…and she hated so much that she wasn’t able to give him everything she wanted…’Please, God, help me take care of him’, she prayed, while fighting the pain that was taking control over her chest. […]

[…] The child was dreaming – sweet childhood dreams, decked with chocolate and candies and other things he didn’t dare tell his mother about, for fear of seeing her cry…he loved his mother so much, and he knew she had no means to give him all those things. In his innocent wisdom he had chosen to ignore the typical childhood wishes in the day-to-day life and he dreamed of them only at night…the way he was doing now. Suddenly he saw her face next to him…beautiful and radiant…smiling…his mom was beautiful, and he always thought so, but this time she was such a ravishing appearance that he kept staring at her. She held him in her warm arms, always smiling and kissing him on his hair, and he heard her voice, calm and joyful this time ‘Everything will be alright my little love…everything will be alright…I’m always here…’. Then he felt arms carrying him and a warm light veiling him. ‘You’ll be fine, child, I’ll take care of you’, he heard someone. ‘Mommy, is this what an angel looks like?’, he asked with a feeble voice but got no answer…[…]

[…] Father Christian was carrying the boy in his arms as fast as he could. John was waiting in the carriage for him and when he saw the priest with the child in his arms he hurried down to help him.

‘What happened, father?’

‘We were too late John…she is with God now…she was already dead when I got inside, probably her heart failed because of the cold…but this little fellow here still lives, and I intend to keep him alive. Take me to Mary’s home, I need to leave him in a warm place and then come back and take care of his mother’s funeral…You’ll be fine, child, I’ll take care of you’, he further whispered into the boy’s ear. And then a soft murmur reached his hearing ‘Mommy, is this what an angel looks like?’

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

The photo attached was taken from http://morguefile.com.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On gifts

A couple of days ago I went with my husband to help an old lady friend prepare her apartment for renovating. After moving some furniture around the house and readying the space for the next step, we wanted to leave. The old lady, however, didn’t want to let us go away until she gifted me with some things of hers, including several flower pots, which, she said, were anyway deprived of care, since she doesn’t actually live in that apartment and only comes there once in a while. I took those flowers with gladness, not necessarily because they were gifts, but because they are pieces of life coming from a person whose life is hurrying towards its end.

The lady in question is about 65 years old and suffers from bone cancer in final stage, and despite that, and despite the even worse situation that her own son suffers from multiple sclerosis, she still finds within herself the power to not only smile, but to actually laugh and enjoy what is left of her life, and even make fun of the horrible sickness eating her alive.

While I was preparing those flower pots to take them home, I had a small conversation with her, and one thing that she said remained with me, like a second gift: “There is so little that we actually have in this world, no matter how much we possess!” In her eyes, when she said that, I thought I noticed a glint of pain, but in the next second it was gone, and she told me that she would give me all the rest of the flowers, if I wanted them, and I happily accepted. A strange tone of joy crossed her voice when talking again, as if she was suddenly relieved for the flowers’ fate, and so we established that next time we go to that apartment we would take the rest of the pots too. Then we left.

There are many gifts that we receive in this life. Many objects, many proofs of our evanescent nature. Most of them get lost along the way, and we forget about them, expecting others in exchange. There are, however, irreplaceable gifts, like, for instance, every single day that we live on this earth. Do not let that waste – because at nightfall, the day will have passed anyway – but it’s up to each of us to not let it go in vain.

IMG_9119The flowers that I took from her are now in my own house, making friends with my older vegetal tenants, and I don’t know which gift was more important – the plants, which she turned into a sudden piece of heritage for me, or the splinter of her own life and wisdom that she decided to share with me. I do know though that, even after she will be gone (no matter when that will happen) she will still be alive for me in each of those flowers.

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

Both text and photo belong to Liliana Negoi.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

panta rhei – sestina

IMG_7742

sometimes a river dances shining blue,
reflecting in its ripples wind’s soft chime,
allowing leaves to shiver in its true
embrace, like rosaries of dust and time –
when river whirls like that, enjoy the view,
‘tis then that all the strings around it rhyme.

and when the river, wind and sunlight rhyme
you’ll see that suddenly all shades of blue
will turn to playful sheens, and all the view
will twin the chink of angels’ voices chime –
when river whirls like that, it means it’s time
to clear your heart and hear it beating true.

you’ll be amazed how simple and how true
is the entire universe’s rhyme
when you ignore the bounds of space and time
and dip your mind in river’s hues of blue –
the bonds of nature’s dreams are just a chime
embroidered on world’s gossamery view.

just breathe – inhale the beauty of the view
and feel its fragrance, delicate and true,
imbibe yourself with river’s purling chime.
when river’s waves will be your breathing’s rhyme
you will have learned a drop of wisdom blue
to nurture you until the end of time.

you’ll see that there’s no past or future time –
‘tis only present guiding all the view.
the uselessness of human clocks’ true-blue
becomes overt when what they draw as true
within the river’s dancing doesn’t rhyme,
when it reflects the world within a chime.

the river whirls and whispers in its chime
of ancient lessons crossing over time
to match the future lessons’ ageless rhyme –
when river dances, bringing to your view
the timeless wisdom shining bright and true,
just listen to its ever-knowing blue –

within the rhyme of river’s whirling chime
the neverending blue dissolves the time –
raw view of nature’s essence streaming true.

– Liliana Negoi

© 2013, photographs and poem, Liliana Negoi, All rights reserved

The audio version of the above poem can be listened to on Soundcloud. More about the sestina form can be learned from here and about panta rhei here.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On miracles

peach-pitMy younger son found a peach pit today, and in his innocence decided to plant it. So he dug a hole, put the pit inside it, covered it and then watered it. He said “I put as much water as it needed to grow. And it will grow. I think tomorrow it will grow.” I smiled at his confident statement and as he moved further I found myself ardently hoping that his tree would indeed grow, not necessarily in order for us to have a peach tree in the yard (though it would be nice – note to self, plant a peach tree a.s.a.p.) but because I want my children to find reasons to believe in miracles in about everything – especially when they help creating them.

The word “miracle” originates from the Late Latin miraculum, meaning “wonder”, “marvel”, from mirari – “to wonder at”. Apparently, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary explains to us, the word’s first known use was in the 12th century. However, miracles happened before that time for sure, even if they were named differently. People used this word or others to point towards “events not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine, agency”. If you come to think of it, miracles birthed and killed gods through the means of man’s limited power of understanding, because in certain people they touched their fear, while in others they touched their curiosity. That’s how religion and science were born.

The best thing about miracles though is that they make us grow. All of us. One way or another they push us higher, farther, and even if officially they stop being miracles in the second when we discover their explanation, they still remain miracles in our hearts, because due to them we expanded our knowledge.

Maybe there will be no peach tree growing from that pit. But I do know that in my child’s heart, the peach tree rooted already – and THAT is more important than anything else.

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

The image used was taken from http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/03/10/peach-pit/.

IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

On diamonds

Some say that “diamonds are a girl’s best friends”. When you first hear that, it tends to sound very…material, shallow-meaning, But if you take a little time to think about it, you will understand that it’s actually a very true statement. Diamonds are not only a girl’s best friends, but often even mirrors.

Quoting Wikipedia:

“In mineralogy, diamond (from the ancient Greek αδάμας – adámas “unbreakable”) is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at standard conditions. Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material.”

Very scientific, precise and cold. Allow me though to warm things up a little bit, by pointing out one of the most beautiful similarities between diamonds and humans: they are both carbon based. Maybe this would explain in a certain measure so many women’s attraction towards these gems. After all, they can always say “Hey, it’s family! And family should stick together!” :)

But did you know that a diamond is just as fragile as it is hard? That it only takes for a tiny scratch on one of its edges for it to simply crack into shards? The hardest known thing to man is also of an unbelievable fragility. And here, diamonds relate, again, to women (well, they would relate to men too, but you know men, they would never admit they’re fragile :) ). The same can happen to the strongest one of us. We are diamonds until someone (or something) finds that exact spot where just a tiny scratch tears us to pieces. Sometimes we get fixed, sometimes not. However, the essence remains the same.

I’m a woman. And diamonds are indeed my best friends. Because I’m one of them.

Marilyn-Monroe-Diamonds-29664

© 2013 Liliana Negoi

____________________________________________________

The text is mine, the image was taken from http://www.fansshare.com/gallery/photos/535118/marilyn-monroe-diamonds/?displaying

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IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru)  is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

faulty darwinism

product_thumbnail-1.phpchopped and chewed and swallowed –
down we go
on eternity’s throat,
one bite of salty clay after another
to be recycled
and become the burnt sienna skies
of some obscure tomorrow.

fate chimes its’ eyelashes
like some odalisque its’ coin belt –
the boatman’s pockets are always full
with tradition’s eye seals.

we are but stairs
for humanity’s pretended
e-volution,
we circle meanings
like eagles circle unseen angels
up-above,
without ever touching them,
we live to ignore
and ignore to learn
the reason why history is repeating –
and talking tall
we show our real essence –

the spoiled mud flowing in our veins
keeps bringing bitter smiles
on god’s resigned mouth:
ever non-grown-ups, these earthlings…

– Liliana Negoi

© 2012 Liliana Negoi, All rights reserved

– fautly darwinism is the opening poem from Liliana Negoi’s poetry volume The Hidden Well, and can be heard in the author’s own reading on SoundCloud HERE.

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IMG_7667LILIANA NEGOI (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru)  is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.  Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.

Let Your Light Shine On

Finding Light
The Light Shines On

Where is your light today? What is leading you? What is giving you hope? Joy?

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, …..

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, …..”
― Paul McCartney

A note about the light fixture:

I photographed this light at the Merchant’s Cafe in Seattle, Washington. It is the first cafe in Seattle and has seen several iterations of its business as it was built, burned down, and built again. The interesting thing is that it is in the oldest part of Seattle (of course!). It was built in a building near first avenue. The tidal flats used to flood in every day, twice a day, up to third avenue. This makes doing business quite difficult! Seattle then had businesses build their buildings at least two stories tall. Then they raised all the roads, surrounding the existing buildings with raised roads. For a while, they put ladders at the streets so people would go off of the road, down the ladder, into the businesses.

Finally, they built sidewalks that connected the streets to the second story level of the buildings. So today, in Pioneer Square, when you enter the buildings, you are, in fact, entering the second story of the buildings that were placed there. If you look down, you will notice odd glass squares in the sidewalk. Those were originally skylights so that the first story of the buildings were kind of like an inside shopping mall with a view to the sidewalk above. So even there, in the midst of a buried first floor of these buildings, the light was still able to shine!

Such a fun history!

Shalom and Amen.

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved, originally posted at http://www.cloakedmonk.com

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com