On the crest of your voice,
the great hawk hovers for twelve seconds,
and enters the next world.
My mortality this morning was a white dove on my shoulder,
singing to the colour of the waves, singing, singing, its eyes turquoise.
Fleeting life, smooth filigree waves.
When I understood that I had a deathless soul,
and that it did not need me to keep on,
your voice was cresting, cresting, never breaking.
Singing are the jackals.
The other side is here.
The rocks, the ship ropes and the anchors
have found each other, and have become sirens,
and are singing a song about departure in arrival.
at the water fountain,
how the birds are singing!
MARGARITA SERAFIMOVA (Facebook Page) was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: Animals and Other Gods (2016) and Demons and World (2017). Her work is forthcoming in Agenda, Trafika Europe, Waxwing, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetic Diversity, TAYO, Transnational, Pocket Change, SurVision, Poetry Super Highway, and appears in London Grip New Poetry, The Journal, A-Minor, Minor Literatures, Noble/ Gas, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Obra/ Artifact, Writing Disorder,The Punch Magazine, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Window Quarterly/ Patient Sounds, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word,Plum Tree Tavern, Oddball Magazine, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Sea Foam Mag, Aaduna, MOON, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart Review, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain Review, The Voices Project, Cent, Heavy Athletics, Outsider Poetry, Outlaw Poetry.
A new composition from composer, Joseph Alen Shaw, is indicative of a man of considerable musical talent, who doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. Not for the first time, has he used poetry to inspire musical composition. Last year I was flattered that he asked me to write a brief text on the seasonal theme of Autumn. The haiku triplet was beautifully woven into a song by some alchemical musical magic and is here. This also appeared in the October ‘Music’ themed edition of the BeZine.
The title of his new piece, he explains, was taken from the text of poem, “As at the Far Edge of Circling” by Ed Roberson. In my view, the music fits well with the text of the whole poem. You can judge for yourself.
The new composition, The Horizon Written, was commissioned by musician, Elliott Walker, the Church Organist at St Paul’s Rotherham in the UK, specifically for their Festival of Remembrance, which was held last November. Joseph’s own words in his blog, best describe it. The blog also contains a live recording of the music. The link to his blog is at the start of this paragraph).
” After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music ”
~ Aldous Huxley
Reading Michael Dickel’s introduction to last month’s edition of The BeZine, sowing the seeds of the mindset at the roots of the ethos of this publication – promoting peace, sustainability and social justice – but in particular, overcoming anger and harnessing it for good, he quotes a good deal of Audre Lorde’s laudable speech and essay The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism, perhaps a reflection on what divides the world, what creates so much anxiety, political division, protective greed and selfishness.
So, we have music.
I don’t know about you, but there are few times in my life when music has done anything other than have a life enhancing and positive effect on me – with the possible exception of a Moody Blues concert I went to in 1969, in my university days, when I was left with a ringing in my ears for several days. This was, along with competitive shooting of Lee-Enfield .303 bore rifles at school, without ear defenders, probably the root of my tinnitus! Subsequently, I carry ear plugs and try to avoid over amplified performances by groups of musicians, who employ sound engineers, who may be – shall we say – aurally challenged!
Music, particularly live and acoustic music has played and still does play an increasingly major part in most of my life; it provides a therapy against the rigours and stresses of everyday living. But it does more than this.
My personal perspective on the value of poetry has some relevance here. It is a belief that poetry should always be one step removed from the obvious, the logical and rational, in order for it to awaken the right brain, the creative side of our amazing abilities as humans; to stimulate the visceral (as opposed to the purely intellectual, rational, ‘logical’) response. In turn, this has the potential to stimulate a fresh approach to solving our challenges, be they personal or global. This hits on the core mission of The BeZine in a big way.
But if poetry has this potential power to stimulate a new way of thinking outside the framework imposed by a culture of consumerism, greed and material comfort, as opposed to our social well being, then music does so with a vengeance. It is truly visceral without the constraints of language. Of course, when the poetry of lyrics is introduced to create song, then there is the opportunity to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts; synergy. It can provide something that dwells in the conscious and even subconscious for a lifetime – whoever forgets the words and melody of a song that they heard at a very poignant moment in their lives, which continues to inhabit a special place in memory, resonate and invoke the most emotional response every time it is heard. There are a few who would argue this is ‘just an over-emotional response’, but it may well be the last resort to aid the development of a greater understanding and a clearer insight into the human need for compassion as well as passion in their lives.
“If music be the food of love, play on;” said Duke Orsino “give me excess of it”. The opening lines of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” speaks much for music, even though he goes on, cynically “that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die”. Can you get too much of a good thing, I ask?
Music is so often a catalyst for romance. We could not even begin to count the number of songs that have ever been written over the ages on the subject of romantic or divine and spiritual love … and its consequences. However, I wonder how often we may contemplate how many instrumental or orchestral compositions there are, which, without words, in a different way, on a very different level, are capable of promoting a feeling of love and, equally, a sense of calm, peace, remorse, sadness, melancholy, a whole gamut of emotional responses that can and very often do bring about a state of mind that is elevated above the daily grind of our lives, the trauma, the tragedies, the disasters and injustices we witness every day in the news, and above all, the ability it has to help us cry. In this way, music can act as a protest against injustice and, in a sense, be ‘angry’, but still it can act as a relief for that anger, just as poets can find simply by writing a ‘political’ poem, which can relieve the frustration and anxiety brought about by political injustice. It is this value that I attach to music that I hold highest in my personal esteem for this art of arts.
It is, in fact, an art that can, like no other, combine the poetry of good lyrics, the rhythms of our roots, the vast array of instrumental sounds and voices, and the spine tingling harmonies they can create, into one; that can team itself with other art forms, particularly in photography, film and dance, but also notably in storytelling. What broadcast programme, be it documentary, drama, comedy, film (movie) is made without serious thought for the addition of music, a song, an orchestral piece, which so often includes a main theme along with incidental ‘tracks’ throughout its production, which then, of course, naturally leads to the merchandising of a soundtrack album.
Even the latest generation of advertisers have realised the visceral value of music, sometimes combined with poetry (look at Apple’s poetic narration by the inimitable and dearly missed Robin Williams, who significantly quoted from Walt Whitman’s poem O Me, O Life to evoke the kind of emotional responses that are known to drive most human decisions … in this case, to buy!
As a test of how important a part music plays in teasing our wallets from our pockets, next time such an advert hits your screen, try turning off the sound. What are you left with … not a lot that is meaningful. Now here, I hope the photographers and cinematographers amongst us (Naomi Baltuck) will not take exception to this notion that still and moving pictures cannot move us, which of course they can and a similar thesis to this could be written for the visceral value of great pictures, but I know you will trust that my meaning, in this context, is well intended!
This month, as lead editor for the anniversary edition of The BeZine, the first of its fifth year, we feel quite frankly blessed with the quantity and quality of contributions we have received from our regular core contributors, and I take my hat off to our new guest contributors, including some very talented young writers and musicians. The sizeable response of quality submissions makes this, I believe, our largest issue yet; like a big fat magazine, but without any adverts, in itself, says something about the importance we attach to music.
We have poems galore, almost all of which touch the music theme or contain subtle references to it. Two fellow Brits are amongst the new contributors to The BeZine. From musician and composer, Joseph Alen Shaw, a piece that addresses the core of the Bardo Group Bequines mission, Music Beyond Belief, on the subject of faith and musical composition in the 20th Century. Joseph has also contributed another account of one of his recent compositions, the Wentworth Cantata. British newcomer, historian and musician, Emily Needle, has written an account of her research on her travels through Eastern USA in 2015, into the achievements of a remarkable and little known Charleston man, who had a surprisingly big influence on Jazz music in the early 20th Century.
Beside Joseph and Emily, other new contributors have all embraced the music theme in such creative ways, mostly poetry but also some lyrical prose, with very interesting results. Stephanie Williams’ Singing Man is a charming prose piece that evokes a child’s certain view of what they like. S.R. Chappell has written a couple of poems in praise of music. Kakali Das Ghosh, in her poem, presents us with some very mystical feelings. Andrew Scott gives us a story of a gritty performer with all the emotional baggage that can accompany that way of life, and JB Mulligan writes three deeply insightful and thought provoking poems.
All of our regular contributors have also given us a wealth of musical delight and I thank them all for their excellence that has made this a very special issue.
Thanks are due to Glen Armstrong (his deeply nostalgic plea for vinyl records that ‘once had purpose’), Naomi Baltuck (for your photo essay with a family musical conclusion), Sonja Benskin Mesher (her beautiful reflective on ageing, remembering, companionship ends with music), Paul Brookes (fine poems, particularly clever is his onomatopoeic on a Bodhrán), Miki Byrne (whose poems about performance are both clever and revealing), Bill Cushing (and his handful of poems with oh so subtle musical references), Jamie Dedes (whose Orchestra of Impossible Beauty relates the moving story of the British ‘ParaOrchestra’ comprised of people with a variety of disabled conditions), Renee Espriu (and who can resist the image of how a child can hear the recording in a seashell of the sound of the sea or how they can bring home from school a musical instrument that’s bigger than themselves!), Denise Fletcher (on a trip to a Country Music Festival or the intrusive quality of loud music), Priscilla Galasso (for her usual insightful qualities), Mike Gallagher (for his remarkable, lyrical prose piece), Mark Heathcote (and his Whispering Muse), Charles Martin (and his ekphrastic haiku / senryu triplet), Liliana Negoi (for super imaginative variety of expression), Phillip Stephens (with a further challenging ekphrastic poem), John Sullivan (whose poems include a conversation with his radio, deeply embedded with the blues and a call to the Tripitaka of Buddhism), Lynn White (for not allowing us to forget the importance in our lives of birdsong), and the artful collaboration of photograph Amy Bassin and poet Mark Blickley in Screaming Mime.
So much delight from each and every one of our writers, I can’t tell you what a pleasure this has been, to write about one of my favourite pastimes.
It seems somehow right that we dance into our fifth year on a musical note and John’s perceptive and passionate introduction to this month’s The BeZine. It is no exaggeration to say that the longevity of this 100% volunteer effort is the outgrowth of the stalwart support of readers and contributors and the work, creativity, vision and perspicacity of our core team: John Anstie, Naomi Baltuck, James R. Cowles, Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso, Chrysty Hendrick, Joseph Hesch, Ruth Jewel, Charlie Martin, Liliana Negoi, Lana Phillips, Corina Ravenscraft ,Terri Stewart (founder of Beguine Again, our sister site), and Michael Watson.
There are so many other ways readers, contributors and team could choose to spend valuable time, but you have all chosen to invest a portion in this small effort to build a community of others.
This site was founded in 2011 with three American Buddhist friends. Two have passed on. Since that time as both blog and zine we have published the works of like-minded representing all races, at least six religions, agnosticism and atheism and, I believe, nearly thirty countries. We have stood in solidarity for kindness and joy and raised our voices for peace, environmental sustainability and social justice.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to all of us. Thank you everyone and may peace and friendship prevail.
On behalf of the Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community, Jamie Dedes
MUSIC TO THE EYES
How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:
Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.
“The chamber choir, for which I sing, along with two other local choirs (Stannington Mixed and Thurgoland Community Choir) and the talented Inyerface Arts musicians and soloists, are performing John Rutter’s Requiem as the core of a concert on Saturday, 27th May at the magnificent Victoria Hall in Sheffield. It would be very much appreciated it if you were able to share this amongst your friends, who might enjoy an amazing choral experience … Thank you.” John Anstie (My Poetry Library), is a singer, musician, poet and a member of The BeZine core team.
It cannot be forgotten why this piece of music was written at the turn of the millennium, at the end of a century dominated by the most destructive of wars. We are also in the midst of the centenary commemorating the first of those wars, WW1. Composer Karl Jenkins intention was to embrace all faiths and religions of the world. These aims are very much in keeping with those of the Bardo Group Bequines … reminding us of our need to rise above the polarisation of politics and religion across the world.
This video is one of thirteen. You can access the other movements on YouTube.
The Creative Nexus™ is pleased to announce that Season Two, [episode 004] of the Blue Sky Highway [BSH], entitled Valentines, Hearts & Epiphanies, will première at 2:00 p.m. ET, on BlogTalkRadio [BTR] and at 2:15 p.m. ET, on Sunday, February 14, 2016, on SoundCloud [SC] HERE .”
The latest episode continues in its ‘contemplative’ theme with alternative, ambient, contemporary, experimental, indie forms of music, mashups and more, as well as spoken word, vocals, and soundscapes.
Each episode of the BSH is designed to be without an excessive amount of talking, and/or comments, so the listener will ‘not’ be distracted from the various tracks and artists, that compose the show. The focus of the BSH continues to be placed upon the music, the artist, and their creative endeavors, and to encourage creative folk, everywhere, to work together and promote each others endeavors for the mutual benefit of all humanity, and the planet. If we are going to survive, advance, and succeed as a species we need to start working together as soon as possible.
– The Creative Nexus
Thanks to Roger Allen Baut (Chasing Tao) of Creative Nexus™ and Blue Sky Highway for sharing this announcement with us and for the fine work he does to bring a great diversity of artists together in support of one another. J.D.
NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com.
The first post in this series is HERE. Music, the language of the soul
The cultural Intifada*…From stones to musical instruments.
The story of Ramzi Abu Radwan.
They impressed the world And all they had in their hands were stones They lit like lanterns, and came like messengers From “children of the stones” Nizar Quabbani (1923-1998), Syrian poet and publisher
The first Intifada is the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation that started on December 1987 in Jabalia** refugee camp and spread throughout the rest of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It lasted six years until the signing of Oslo Accords in 1993.
It was an unarmed, spontaneous yet exploding uprising, men with their faces covered with keffiyehs***, women and children with nothing but stones, slingshots and Molotov cocktails faced tanks and live ammunition of well-trained, heavily equipped Israeli soldiers.
One of those children, a kid wearing blue jeans and a red jacket whose picture reached the world newspapers became a legendary symbol of the Intifada, a skinny kid throwing stones at an army jeep, his eyes welled with tears, on his face a mixture of anger, fear and defiance. This kid, whose picture was reproduced in posters all over the world as an icon of the uprising, never knew that his destiny will change forever and he will become a visionary artist.
This was Ramzi Aburadwan, born in Bethlehem in 1979, he spent his childhood and first teenage days in a refugee camp in Ramallah where his family was forced to live after the Nakbah****, his best friend died on their way home from school during a military operation, he was eight when a journalist took a picture of him hurling stones and was later called “the iconic child of the Intifada”.
Ramzi was introduced to music at the age of 17, when a woman invited him to attend a course, he immediately loved it and this was the beginning of his journey with music.
The multi-talented Aburadwan founded Al Kammanjati*****, a nonprofit organization that offers children especially from refugee camps music lessons, its aim is to keep them in touch with their cultural heritage, develop and nurture their skills and create an intimately entertaining atmosphere away from the violence and frustrations of their daily life under occupation. It gave them a precious chance to travel, play with different orchestras and meet young musicians from all over the world. Classical music is also introduced as a valuable weapon in the so called “the cultural Intifada” a peaceful way of resistance to save Palestinian culture and identity through letters, art and musical notes, something Palestinians began to understand with time because of Israeli policy of extensive judaisation of the land and fierce attempts to bury and distort Palestinian history and heritage.
He takes part in the West Eastern Divan Orchestra directed by Israeli-Argentine born conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim who said about him:
“Aburadwan has transformed not only his life, his destiny but that of many, many, many other people, this is an extraordinary collection of children all over Palestine that have all been inspired and opened to the beauty of life”
Al Kammanjati was honoured by “prince Klaus award” from the Netherlands in 2006.
* Intifada: Arabic word for “uprising”-Bethlehem, Ramallah: Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
**Jabalia: a refugee camp in the North of Gaza.
***Keffiyeh: a traditional black and white Middle Eastern cotton scarf, later considered a symbol of Palestinian nationalism and solidarity
***Bethlehem, Ramallah: Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
****Nakbah: Arabic word for “catastrophe” refers to the mass expulsion of more than 750.000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948 and creating a state of Israel on the occupied land.
**** *Al Kammanjati: Arabic word for “the violinist”
A concerto for stone and violin:
The story of this generous musician and fighter inspired me to write this poem
A Poem for Ramzi Abu Radwan
The meditation of stone
In my hand
Is my song of freedom
That even your bullets
Can never pierce
Look at me
I am the child of the Intifada
These Palestinian hands
That were uprooted from my village
Like olive trees
And grew up in a camp
Small and scratched
will braid another song
From strings of a violin
And the weeping violin
In my exiled soul
Will always remain
My song of freedom
That even your oppression
Can never silence
IMEN BENYOUB ~ is a multilingual, multi-talented writer, poet, and artist from Guelma, Algeria. Imen currently lives in East Jerusalem. She is a frequent guest here on The Bardo Group blogand withOn the Plum Tree and Plum Tree Books Facebook page as well.
pull apart the fibers of the soul weave the strains into strings pull them tight against a curved body of wood stroke them with passion now that’s jazz or you might prefer to create a single sheet of soul the drum heads that pound like hearts inside the breast of mankind now that’s jazz but maybe you’d like to compress them into a reed then wet the reed with life making the soul’s song with fluttering fingers now that’s jazz oh but some of you will want to forge them into metal so you can hear gabriel’s horn at your door now that’s jazz jazz announcing the presence of god playing bass holding the whole thing together
Editorial Note:With this poem, The Bardo Group honores its own International Jazz Day. Jazz music began its evolution in the late nineteenth century the Southern United States with a combination of European harmony and African musical elements: improvisation, blue notes, syncopation, swing notes and polyrhythms. It has since developed in diverse directions and has been joyfully adopted by cultures the world over.
CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.
People find the light in their life in so many ways and places. It can be as easy as turning on a switch.
Some find all the light they need in a sunset…
…or a moonrise.
Others find illumination in a church…
…or a library.
Sacred is a place that lights up your heart.
It isn’t always easy to find…
Some look for it in food…
…at the bottom of a wine glass…
…or through yoga…
Some light up with the joy and anticipation of adventure.
And what constitutes an adventure is very personal.
Sometimes light comes in the form of a bright idea, a flash of inspiration…
The joy of creation in all of its many forms…
Everyone’s light shines through differently. To each his own.
For me, love shines brightest of all.
It’s our life’s work and pleasure to follow the light…
…or to make our own.
It is there.
It is there.
It is there.
All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck
NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com
[This impressive one man a cappella video wall production of Imogen Heap’s composition “Hide and Seek” brings me to another parallel of poetry. I should say that, whilst I much prefer live performance to what seems to be music’s equivalent of Photoshop’s adjustment and stitching process in photography, the main focus of the piece rests on this particular song written by Heap. Heap’s own production of it became a significant international hit when it was chosen to play out the finale of series two of “The O.C.” in 2005. It also featured in the film “The Last Kiss” amongst others a year or two later.
I chose this cover rather than her own production, because, well, because I have my own preference for a polyphonic choral sound. She is one of those impressively industrious creative musicians, who manage to make music and rhythm from an extraordinary array of instruments and production techniques. She is a singer, songwriter and producer with her own record label, which must take a lot of doing – being a creative and managing the show require a whole lot of different skills and aptitudes – hence my admiration for such talent, but, above all this, she wrote lyrics, which come close to poetry in their use of metaphor and their inclination to conjure absorbing imagery that leaves a lot open to interpretation. Great lyrics, nay poetry, is what separates journeyman songwriters from the great ones. I’d like to know what you think. I hope you derive some enjoyment from this piece, either in the performance, or the words, or both. My favourite lines are “Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth. Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.” What do you think?]
“Hide And Seek”
Where are we? What the hell is going on?
The dust has only just begun to fall,
Crop circles in the carpet, sinking, feeling.
Spin me ’round again and rub my eyes.
This can’t be happening.
When busy streets amass with people
Would stop to hold their heads heavy.
Hide and seek.
Trains and sewing machines.
All those years they were here first.
Oily marks appear on walls
Where pleasure moments hung before.
The takeover, the sweeping insensitivity of this still life.
Hide and seek.
Trains and sewing machines. (Oh, you won’t catch me around here)
Blood and tears,
They were here first.
Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that you only meant well? Well, of course you did.
Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that it’s all for the best? Of course it is.
Mmm, what you say?
Mm, that it’s just what we need? And you decided this.
What you say?
Mmm, what did you say?
Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.
Speak no feeling, no I don’t believe you.
You don’t care a bit. You don’t care a bit.
(hide and seek)
Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.
(hide and seek)
Speak no feeling, no I don’t believe you.
You don’t care a bit. You don’t care a bit.
(hide and seek)
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.
(hide and seek)
You don’t care a bit.
You don’t care a bit.
JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer. John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).
John has 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.
When you still fit
like an instrument
at my heart, you would, at times,
cry without cease,
without reason–without reason that I
could reason out–and I, almost without
reason myself, would play a music
of Kora and guitar
in which the strings,
sounding of bells,
plucked us from the closed-in walls
from the hard wood floor we walked, transported us
to some bigger brighter world where sun streamed
vibrationally, where leaves echoed, where
life strolled, where tears caught in scrunched cheeks seemed almost
ripples re-centering a well
on a day when one
craved water, a natural wrinkle
of wells and water.
Whirled shine glinted
upon our faces whether we looked
up or down, and even though, in that apartment,
metal gates shadowed the nearest windows;
we knew–even as an infant you could hear–
that the music held want as well
as tinkle, that knells mourn even as
they proclaim, that the lone also
still you at last would smile, me
too, as if both of us were tuned
by those stringed scales,
so gratefully tethered.
Kora ~ a twenty-one string bridge-harp used extensively in West Africa
KARIN GUSTAFSON (Manicddaily) ~ a guest contributor to Bardo focuses (sometimes) on the interface between creativity and stress, with a side of little elephant drawings. She is a writer and illustrator, having published a collection of poetry, Going on Somewhere, a children’s counting book, 1 Mississippi ( for lovers of light, water. and pachyderms) and, most recently,Nose Dive, a light-hearted mystery novel about teenagers, Broadway musicals, love, noses, New York City. (More information about the books may be found at www.BackStrokeBooks.com and at Amazon.) Since July 2009, Karin has been engaging visitors to her blog with her observations, poetry and artwork, especially her elephant sketches and cartoons. She is an active participant in d’Verse Poets Pub and a member of its d’Team.
Our thanks to Laurel D. for sharing Vienna Teng’s video with us …
This crowd-funded (Kickstarter) video by the remarkable singer and song-writer Vienna Teng was released in December. The song Level Up is featured in her album Aims which was released last September. In this video, Ms. Teng moves through four scenes of devastation including one featuring b-boy Tommy Guns-Ly, dancer, bone cancer survivor and amputee. Tommy Guns-ly is part of the ILL-Abilities crew.
“Originally created in 2007 with the idea of being a “Super Crew” of disabled dancers, it is now becoming a global movement helping to spread the message: No Excuses, No Limits. ILL-Abilities’ mission is to redefine society’s view of disability, promote empowerment, and encourage limitless possibilities through motivational entertainment.”
Source: Breakin Convention.
Probably most of us connect to music of some sort. And we all have our favorites. My favorites are a moving target…sometimes Katy Perry and sometimes Arvo Part. I’d like to consider that all music is sacred in some way. The creative spirit arriving and making something new. But, I admit, I can be an old fuddy duddy when I hear some of the music the youth I work with listen to. On the other hand, it is definitely a creative expression of their understanding of life; it is a way that they share their story.
What I’d like to consider for an exercise in capturing sacred space today, is not just any old music or reflection on your favorite song, but an exercise of audio divina. Listening with a contemplative spirit. I have chosen the Amen chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I chose this because Amen, strictly translated, means “So be it!” and it is a soaring and beautiful ending to this grand piece of music. So get comfortable! Here we go!
The earth has music for those who listen.” ― George Santayana
I invite you to use this extraordinary listening and enter into the contemplative prayer practice of Audio Divina using the video and the steps outlined below.
Explore the music. Listen once. Journal any notes you wish to make about the piece.
Go deeper, listen a second time. Where were your ears drawn? What feelings rose up? Engaging your imagination, enter the music. Where are you? What are you doing? Do you see something differently from this vantage point? What relationships do you notice? Journal your reflections.
Allow the music to lead you into a time of meditation Silently, offer prayers of gratitude, intercession, lament, confession, or praise – whatever wells up in you. If you wish, journal these prayers.
Adjust your sitting position so that you are comfortable. You can continue listening to the music with your eyes closed. Release tension in your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet. Breathe deeply and slowly. Find your quiet center. Rest in this quiet for 10-15 minutes, being open to all that is within you. Allow thoughts to drift past you as if they were clouds. If your mind wanders, that is okay, call it back to attention when you are able. At the end of this time, slowly open your eyes. Breathe deeply. Journal any insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, and any thoughts or feelings that are present. You may have only had random thoughts flying though your mind the entire time. Journal about that. Be gentle with yourself and have no expectations of grand revelations. The point is to practice and to offer quiet time to be attentive .
Close by lifting up your gratitudes and thanksgivings.
If this music does not appeal, use this same process with music of your choice.
It is not often that we get the chance to listen to something-not for the pleasure it gives us, but for what it can teach us. I hope you can find a little sacred space in the music you choose to learn from.
Shalom and Amen,
For a longer experience that delves into the beautiful music of Handel’s Messiah. You could listen to Part 3 (below).
REV. 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!)
The heart of this little gem is the gift of the very dear Br. David Steindl-Rast. If you are familiar with Br. David’s philosophy, writing, and voice, you will have immediately recognized who wrote and delivered the narrative though for some strange reason he is not credited.
Louie Schwartzberg, the film-maker, is an American and well-known for his time-lapse photography. The short-film here is one of several – each with a different theme – which you can find on YouTube.
The mood music background is by composer Gary Malkin. “He is founder of Musaic and Wisdom of the World™, a media production company and web site. He is also the co-founder of Care for the Journey, a care-for-the-caregiver initiative for healthcare professionals.” MORE
Recently we traveled down to Shelburne Farms for the world premiere of the Emergent Universe Oratorio, composed by Sam Guarnaccia. The Oratorio is a work that re-imagines the dominant culture’s physics-based creation narrative, and seeks to universalize the story. Before the Oratorio we were treated to the soulful playing of Eugene Friesen, of Paul Winter Consort fame. New Paintings, created for the event,by our friend, the marvelous artist, Cameron Davis, graced the walls in the remarkable, “cathedral-like” Breeding Barn.
Just prior to the performance, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Co-Directors of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, and whose film of the same title was the inspiration for the oratorio, spoke. They acknowledged, and expressed appreciation for, Indigenous friends and adopted family. (No Indigenous people spoke.) They then spoke about a vision they hold, in which all of the Earth’s people have one creation story, a story that leads us to an Earthly paradise.
The Oratorio draws on texts from many Western traditions, but appears to include no Indigenous authors. This is problematic and, unfortunately, common in the Deep Ecology world. ( I have been reviewing Ecopsychology texts in preparation for teaching and have noticed a paucity of Indigenous voices, even in texts published this year.)
Of more concern is the notion that any narrative should be the ONLY narrative. This is an idea Indigenous people know well, whether presented in the guise of religious or economic dogma. The very idea of a universal point of view is imperial and colonizing, and alien to Native American cultures. We have many creation stories, each loved and valued.
I was feeling rather blue as I read the text and listened to the lovely melodies of the oratorio. I imagined myself to be the only one in the audience of hundreds who was discomforted. Then intermission came and others stopped by to share their concerns. As so often happens following such events, the concert has remained a topic of conversation at our house.
A few days ago I was having coffee with a Six Nations friend. Out of the blue he looked me in the eye and said, “I am so appreciative of time with you. It’s such a relief to not have to explain myself.” When I asked what he meant, he replied that I understood his struggles and, although we are from different tribal backgrounds, we share a similar ethos. Sometimes I forget how wide the divide between cultures can be in one geographically defined country. To be reminded, as I was at the concert, of the chasm we cross daily can be painful indeed.
MICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.
an awkward word,
vowels lurking with malice
between those rock hard t’s
and stumbling past that sinister s,
into that endless z…
Even educated women know;
the seeds of broken dreams will gather
nearest to the heart
until the Gardener’s sharpened shears
snip away the wretched, rotted root.
That puckered rose, that brutal scar,
my brave and beautiful friend;
wear it as a medal:
triumphant, survivor, heroine!
– Cindy Taylor
Minnie Julia Riperton (1947-1979), American singer-songwriter: In January 1976 Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a modified radical mastectomy. Though she was given just six months to live, she continued recording and touring, and in 1977 she became spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Riperton was one of the first celebrities to go public with her breast cancer diagnosis, but did not disclose that she was terminally ill. In 1978, Riperton also received the prestigious Society’s Courage Award presented to her at the White House by then-President Jimmy Carter. She died at age 31 on July 12, 1979.
A VOICE SILENCED TOO SOON
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
CINDY TAYLOR ~ originally contributed this piece to us in 2011 for our Perspectives on Cancerseries. She is multitalented: a freelance writer, a poet, editor and proofreader. She also has an abiding passion for food and an endearing zeal for life, which she shares with us on her award-winning blog, The Only Cin. Cindy lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.