one day anyone died i guess

20 06 2017

e.e. cummings poem, anyone lived in a pretty how town, is glued onto the door that leads to our living room. i’ve kept it there since we built our house to serve as a reminder of aspects of world, of our humanness, that we are often up against.

i first read the poem at the age of 13 and it broke my heart to imagine all the people–the anonymous, nameless, “Anyones”–who make up our community but live their lives unnoticed. i was uncomfortable with the suggestion that seasons change but our consciousness stays much the same. the possibility that children (once wise) grow up none the wiser. and that the cycle repeats over and over. i didn’t want to live in a banal world filled with carless Someones and Everyones.

but there is more to this poem. while certainly a reflection of much our daily ongoings, it’s beauty lies in the stanzas that follow, in the individual love that No-one has for Any-one; when Anyone dies one day, it is Noone who stoops to kiss his face.

despite the disregard of the town (larger society, the state, the government) Anyone managed to thrive in life through the individual love and compassion shown by another nameless, anonymous member of society, her name: Noone.

days before the Glenfell Fire, Philomena came to me with her eyes filled with tears and said, “I don’t understand why everything is normal again, why life goes on as normal, how people die but after a short while, we aren’t meant to be sad about it anymore… the terrorist-thing that happened in Manchester well it’s as if it didn’t happen since we watched the Manchester LOVE concert. and then Borough Market happened and that now seems to be over too. but in reality it isn’t over, i’m not over it, any of it.”

in the days after the Glenfell Fire, however, Philomena said to me, “at least this isn’t like the terrorism thing or when someone gets cancer, when you can’t help death from happening. at least we can prevent a fire like this from ever happening again.”

let’s hope we can. and in the meantime, i send my blessings out to all the Noones who have opened their hearts and reached out their hands to comfort the Anyones–all those who are striving to make this place a pretty LOVED town.  

in memory of those who have lost their homes:





For The Fallen

11 11 2016

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Robert Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.





Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

11 11 2016

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ‘til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

– Leonard Cohen

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In remembrance

11 11 2015

Ode on Intimations of Immortality  – Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
             Turn wheresoe’er I may,
              By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

            The rainbow comes and goes, 
            And lovely is the rose; 
            The moon doth with delight
     Look round her when the heavens are bare;
            Waters on a starry night
            Are beautiful and fair;
     The sunshine is a glorious birth;
     But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
     And while the young lambs bound
            As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief, 
            And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep,--
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong:
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng.
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep, 
            And all the earth is gay;
                Land and sea
     Give themselves up to jollity,
            And with the heart of May
     Doth every beast keep holiday;--
                Thou child of joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 
        Shepherd-boy!
				
Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call 
     Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; 
     My heart is at your festival,
       My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.
         O evil day! if I were sullen 
         While Earth herself is adorning
              This sweet May-morning;
         And the children are culling
              On every side
         In a thousand valleys far and wide
         Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, 
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:--
         I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
         --But there’s a tree, of many, one, 
A single field which I have look’d upon, 
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
              The pansy at my feet
              Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam? 
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; 
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
          Hath had elsewhere its setting
               And cometh from afar;
          Not in entire forgetfulness,
          And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
               From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
               Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 
               He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east 
     Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
          And by the vision splendid
          Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; 
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, 
And, even with something of a mother’s mind,
               And no unworthy aim,
          The homely nurse doth all she can 
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
               Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
          A wedding or a festival, 
          A mourning or a funeral;
               And this hath now his heart,
          And unto this he frames his song:
               Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife; 
          But it will not be long 
          Ere this be thrown aside, 
          And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage; 
          As if his whole vocation
          Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie 
          Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,--
          Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
          On whom those truths rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by; 
          To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed, without the sense of sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thoughts where we in waiting lie;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
          0 joy! that in our embers
          Is something that doth live,
          That Nature yet remembers
          What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:--
          --Not for these I raise
          The song of thanks and praise;
     But for those obstinate questionings
     Of sense and outward things,
     Fallings from us, vanishings,
     Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 
High instincts, before which our mortal nature 
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
     But for those first affections,
     Those shadowy recollections,
          Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, 
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
     Uphold us--cherish--and have power to make 
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
               To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
               Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
   Hence, in a season of calm weather
          Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
               Which brought us hither;
          Can in a moment travel thither--
And see the children sport upon the shore, 
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
          And let the young lambs bound
          As to the tabor’s sound!
     We, in thought, will join your throng, 
          Ye that pipe and ye that play, 
          Ye that through your hearts to-day 
          Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
     Though nothing can bring back the hour 
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
          We will grieve not, rather find
          Strength in what remains behind;
          In the primal sympathy
          Which having been must ever be;
          In the soothing thoughts that spring
          Out of human suffering;
          In the faith that looks through death, 
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And 0, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
               Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality; 
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
   Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
   Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
   To me the meanest flower that blows can give
   Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.






Metamorphosis: for the love of the caterpillar

29 06 2015




growing wiser within the whole of LOVE

24 04 2015

The World and The Child

Letting his wisdom be the whole of love,
The father tiptoes out, backwards. A gleam
Falls on the child awake and wearied of,

Then, as the door clicks shut, is snuffed. The glove-
Gray afterglow appalls him. It would seem
That letting wisdom be the whole of love

Were pastime even for the bitter grove
Outside, whose owl’s white hoot of disesteem
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

He lies awake in pain, he does not move,
He will not scream. Any who heard him scream
Would let their wisdom be the whole of love.

People have filled the room he lies above.
Their talk, mild variation, chilling theme,
Falls on the child. Awake and wearied of

Mere pain, mere wisdom also, he would have
All the world waking from its winter dream,
Letting its wisdom be. The whole of love
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

James Merrill (1926 – 1995)

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photo by newyorkromantics

https://instagram.com/newyorkromantics/





Consciousness: Home is where the heart… longs to be

25 11 2014
 
When you are in your home, you don’t glorify home: you don’t feel its importance and its intimacy, but when deprived of home, it turns into a need and a lust, as if it is the ultimate aim of the whole journey.
Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008).
 
“Look at Athens and Sparta. Athens was an open city and Sparta kicked people out. Go and look at the ruins of Athens and Sparta now and ask which of the two cities made the greatest contribution to civilisation.” – Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)
Immigration_by_country
 
 
Philomena – Mummy, I want to go home. 
Luna [interrupting] – Which home? Greece or London?
Philomena – London, that is our proper home.
Luna – No, Greece is because this is where we are right now. This is where our family is.
Philomena – Our family is in lots of places–in America, in Bolivia, in Mexico, in Austria but London is our home because we were born in London. That’s where we’ve lived all our lives till now.
Luna – But we’re not English. We speak like English people but we’re not really English.
Philomena – Yes we are.  
Luna – No, Philomena, we’re not. And we live in Greece so this is our home. Right now, this is our home. With the turtles.
 
Poetry and exile 
works by Abdallah Benanteur, Ipek Duben, Mireille Kassar, Mona Saudi and Canan Tolon
http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/poetry_and_exile.aspx
1 October 2014 – 29 March 2015 (Free)