“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
During these trying times, each of us finds a way to cope. The response I’m hearing most often from my author and illustrator friends is, “Make Something Beautiful.”
The simple act of creating something new is not only life affirming — it affords the creator the calm that comes with total immersion in a project. Writers often talk about “being in flow,” when you lose all sense of time and place, and the only thing that matters is the work.
I liken “being in flow” with mindfulness. When we are fully present there is no worry over future events or regret about the past.
Not too long ago, when my father was a young whippersnapper in his late 80’s, we gave him an internet subscription for his birthday.
He was already on the computer playing video games, but had yet to venture onto the world wide web. He started out with a dial-up connection, quickly learned the ins and outs of sending emails, and before we knew it he was happily visiting news sites, participating in a chat forum, and placing dollar wagers on his favorite lottery sites.
Today, James turns 102. Willful and wireless, he’s burned through at least 3 desktops since his first foray online.
Every day he logs onto Facebook and shares clusters of updates with his friends. Ever the fastidious organizer, he opts for a recurring series of themed posts rather than mundane status reports: tree houses, bonsai plants, interesting facts, old Hawai’i, music fix of the day, joke of the day, and of course, FOOD. On Sundays he shares a hymn and a prayer.
“When our trust in politics has run out, when our faith in humanity has run out, art is there to make sense out of chaos.” ~ Janis Ian
Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!
I actually had an entirely different post planned for today that I’d written two weeks ago, celebrating the first female President of the United States. But it was not to be, and the world as I thought I knew it changed on a dime. I’m trying hard to understand and accept, but it is very difficult. I know many of you share my pain, sadness, and disbelief.
So instead, I thought I’d share a poem I stumbled upon last year. Joe Salernowas new to me, and I think you’ll appreciate what he has to say about the nature and power of poetry. When we seek expression of the ineffable, it’s poetry that steps in with words bred of emotion, infused with truth. Poetry sometimes unearths the profound with far reaching consequences.
Spanish writer José Bergamín once said, “The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.”
POETRY IS THE ART OF NOT SUCCEEDING
Poetry is the art of not succeeding;
the art of making a little ritual
out of your own bad luck, lighting a little fire
made of leaves, reciting a prayer
in the ordinary dark.
It’s the art of those who didn’t make it
after all; who were lucky enough to be
left behind, while the winners ran on ahead
to wherever it is winners
go running to.
O blessed rainy day, glorious
as a paper bag. The kingdom of poetry
is like this — quiet, anonymous,
a dab of sunlight on the back of your hand,
a view out the window just before dusk.
It’s an art more shadow than statue,
and has something to do with your dreams
running out — a bare branch darkening
on a winter sky, the week-old snow
frozen into something hard.
It’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short
and likely to be gray.
A bland light is best to see it in.
Middle age brings it to flower.
And there, just when you’re feeling your
it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car.
Nothing to do now but roll up our sleeves and get to work. No time for despair, self-pity, or blame. Creatives create. Making is the best healing. Make stories, songs, pictures, soup, cookies, poems. Model a world of diversity, inclusion, love, decency, and tolerance for all the children out there. In our own spheres, what we do with purposeful intent can make a difference. Let’s remember to support each other, be generous with our time and advice, always be kind, and “never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
Now, please leave your links with the always hungry Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the name of the poem or book review you’re sharing in parentheses after your name. Thanks for joining us today!
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Though every elementary school student in Japan is familiar with Misuzu Kaneko’s poetry, relatively few in the English-speaking world are familiar with her work.
Marked by a refreshing ingenuousness, curiosity, and extraordinary empathy for the world around her, Misuzu’s poems resonate with people of all ages, demonstrating that quiet, gentle words have their own special power.
Let’s not tell anyone.
In the corner of the garden this morning,
a flower shed a tear.
If word of this spreads
to the ears of the bee,
it’ll feel it’s done wrong
and go back to return the nectar.
Thanks to this breathtakingly beautiful picture book, a new audience of North American children can now read a selection of Misuzu’s poetry in English, learn about her short tragic life and the fascinating backstory of how her work was lost for half a century before being rediscovered in 1982.
Hello Friends. Can’t believe it’s already the end of October!
Fall is going much too fast for me. I wish there was a way to make it last longer — trees aflame with color, deep blue skies, crisp mornings, apple everything and friendly pumpkins! If I had my way, I would skip summer entirely and have two autumns in a row.
More than any other season, Fall reminds me to make the most of each moment. Lovely though it may be, there’s always this sense of reckoning, the gathering in and taking stock, and with that an acute awareness of life’s evanescence.
AUTUMN by Linda Pastan
I want to mention
without meaning the death
of somebody loved
or even the death
of the trees.
Today in the market
I heard a mother say
Look at the pumpkins,
it’s finally autumn!
And the child didn’t think
of the death of her mother
which is due before her own
but tasted the sound
of the words on her clumsy tongue:
Let the eye enlarge
with all it beholds.
I want to celebrate
color, how one red leaf
flickers like a match
held to a dry branch,
and the whole world goes up
in orange and gold.