Poetry, Whither Though Comest

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

I am not an artist/poet. I tend to the practical rather than the romantic. I have no sense of rhythm. My body does not sway to the music of the dance floor. If I give voice to the music in my head, it erupts into a discordant howl. I agonize over the thoughts swirling in my mind , desperately trying to type them into coherent words. I describe this as, my stick figured writing, reaching for Van Goth. And yes, my attempt at art is confined to stick figures.

Lent starts tomorrow, a time of purifying the body to renew the spirit, and so I thought this would be the perfect time to coax some poetry from my soul.

My past poetry experience had been limited to the poetic works of St. John of the Cross, Jessica Powers and my life long friend ‘Selected Works of Poetry and Prose’. However, since signing on to WordPress a year ago, I have read some wonderful blogs expressing various forms of poetry and am starting to think that attempting to write some poetry would improve my overall writing.

I started this blog as a diary but have recently attempted some short fictional stories. I would like to express my endless gratitude to fellow bloggers, who help and encourage new comers like me, by posting thoughtful prompts and offering encouraging comments, when these prompts are attempted.

To start my poetry experience, while searching for inspiration I am going back to a biblical source, The Song of Songs. I will be reading and reflecting on this unusual section of the Old Testament…….and perhaps share some of my findings over the next forty days. The Song of Songs starts with:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
 for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
 your name is like perfume poured out.
 No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
 Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Here are the first two stanzas of a poem known as The Shepherd, by St. John of the Cross.

A lone young shepherd lived in pain

Withdrawn from pleasure and contentment,

His thoughts fixed on a shepherd girl

His heart an open wound with love.

He weeps, but not from the wound of love,

There is no pain in such a wound

However deeply it opens the heart;

He weeps in knowing he’s been forgotten.

So, my learning path to writing poetry starts tomorrow. If anyone reading this can offer some advice I will be eternally grateful……and promise not to return from the grave to haunt you. Exactly how long is eternal?


The Saviour

This is a speculative fiction prompt by D. Wallace Peach-Myths of the Mirror

Pluviam, a child of the planet Spes, stood alone in the shifting sands of this once great city, awaiting his destiny. He was the planets hope for the future, as so many of the children before him. He had been raised, trained and tested for this moment. Two days ago he had been judged to be the prime receiver of the Gift and since then had spent his time in prayer and fasting to be a worthy vessel. He wondered if he would succeed and be able to share the Gift with his planet, or would he be reduced to ashes, another failed candidate.

Rain had stopped falling on the planet countless generations ago. The lakes had dried up, plant life had withdrawn deep into the earth, seeking moisture and protecting its seeds. The planet had become a desert, the inhabitants surviving only by constant drilling to find untapped sources of water beneath the planets surface. But these limited resources were dwindling and people were starting to die.

Once a year the planet entered into its solar eclipse. At that moment in time all other planets in the solar system came into perfect alignment, unleashing a great cosmic force that funneled into a specific area of Spes. Pluviam now occupied that spot, waiting for the occultation to begin.

He saw the moons body slowly creep across the sun. The planet darkened and remembering his training he opened his awareness to the cosmos. He prayed to the creator of the universe that he would be a worthy vessel to except the gift. He humbled himself and begged for life for his planet and its peoples. Casting out all extraneous thoughts, he centred himself, concentrating on being a willing sacrifice to bring the planet in harmony with the cosmos once more.

A tingling sensation started running through his body. A shiver of ecstasy followed as he became one with the universe. His minds eye saw a path winding through the centre of the alignment, disappearing into a glowing flame. The flame flared, running along the path, reaching out to him, warming his body. The love for his planet and his people expanded to include the whole of creation, as his body continued to be consumed by the flame. His body no longer able to contain this living flame of love, gifted by the Creator, shattered into a million fragments and ascended into the stratosphere.

He, who was once Pluviam, looked down upon his planet, viewed its desolation and misery and became full of sorrow. He wept and his tears flowed, turning the desert to mud, filling the lakes and beckoning the seeds that long lay dormant to reach once more for the surface.

Live Forward, Look Backward

Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #76
by Reena Saxena based on one or more of following word prompts. 1. Disorientation. 2. Live forward, look backward and 3. You are made of stardust, and to stardust you will return. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

The past and future collided on a Friday night at the University of Toronto as Alice and Owen debated the question : Should Indian Reserves Be Abolished.

Alice was from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve and was a strong advocate for indigenous rights and improving life on reserves. She was against the motion. She argued that reserves nurtured a sense of history and culture where indigenous languages, spiritual beliefs and values were shared. She passionately detailed the past wrongs of the residential school system in Canada and how many of the social and economic problems were linked to that experience. For the next fifteen minutes she eloquently argued her case on how reserves were the last stronghold of indigenous traditions and were needed to keep First Nations peoples firmly grounded in these traditions.

Owen was studying robotics and was excited about the possibility of furthering human possibilities by continued progress in technological and social engineering. He argued, with some irritation, of the $billions poured into the First Nations reserve system over the years with minimal tangible benefits. The money could be put to better use in research, to make Canada a world leader in robotics. According to 2016 statistics only 44% of First Nations with Indian status lived on reserves. Many of the reserves are isolated and remote which contributed to the high rate of unemployment. Suicide on reserves was five times the national average and 20% of housing on reserves needed major repairs. He continued to argue how indigenous people would be better off without reserves.

At the conclusion of the debate voting was evenly split for and against the motion. As was usual after the monthly debate, all members of the debating society retired to the Crown and Anchor to further their debating skills. With alcohol releasing the inhibitions of club members the bar was quickly filled with the raucous sounds of heated discussions.

Alice and Owen carried their debate into the Crown and Anchor, both passionately arguing their point of view. After a while they became aware of the silence around them and noticed that many of the other students had left. Alice looked at her watch and with surprise noticed how late it was and told Owen that she should be going, she had an early class the following day. She hesitated as she was about to leave and asked Owen if he would care to visit an Indian reserve to judge conditions for himself. Owen expressed his delight at the idea and they agreed to meet the following week.

After a day visiting the reserve and a late supper, cooked by her mother, Alice led Owen to her private hideout within the reserve. They both settled down on the grass, staring up at the stars in a cloudless sky.

Alice while admiring the stars looked inward trying to find her spirit animal, the butterfly. Owens words from the debate kept reverberating in her head. Was he right. Did the reserves need to change. If so in what way. She passionately believed in her culture and spirituality. Could they still be preserved outside of the reservation. This was a disorientating time in her life and Alice was trying to grasp the implications of change. She had always thought that she belonged on the reservation but was it now time to explore new opportunities.

Owen was transfixed by the majesty and wonder of the night sky. His eyes flickered to the moon and he vowed that he would land on its surface one day. He gloried in the star dust that was so, so distant and wondered if it would be possible to send a robot there some day. Something with artificial intelligence that could decipher and send meaningful information back to earth. Of course a new kind of fuel was needed or were there shortcuts across the universe yet to be discovered.

So Alice and Owen, together, but alone in their dreams, contemplated past experiences and future hopes.

Forty Days

“Why did she give up wine for Lent? Polly was more sensible. She had given up strawberry jam. Cecilia had never seen Polly show more than a passing interest in strawberry jam, although now, of course, she was always catching her standing at the open fridge, staring at it longingly. The power of denial.”
Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret

Is it possible for forty days to transform your world.

Lent, the Christian tradition of fasting, prayer and good works starts Ash Wednesday March 6 and ends Holy Thursday April 18.

For me it means.

Goodbye to chocolate chip cookies.

Goodbye to chocolate chip, banana muffins

Goodbye to chocolate mint ice cream.

Goodbye to swearing at drivers.

Hello to increased prayer life and meditation.

Hello to being a kinder, more understanding person.

At this time of year I often reflect on forgiveness and reconciliation.

Society needs to rediscover the art of forgiveness, penance and reconciliation. Social media is deeply into shaming politicians, celebrities and others on perceived past misdeeds.

If a person has offended someone’s sensibilities, should they suffer for the rest of their lives or be forgiven after a suitable time and allowed to move forward with their lives.

Have we become such an unforgiving society.

Can forty days transform your world.

Why not give it a try.


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #75
by Reena Saxena to write based on above images. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

I’ve always equated wearing eye glasses with intelligence. I think it started with Collette Heaney in grade 6. Her hand was always raised in triumph the instant a question was posed by Mr. Murphy. Her face, framed by wire rimmed eye glasses, pleading for the teachers attention. I was devoted to her single minded quest for intellectual respect. I tried to approach her a number of times, to bathe in her aura of intelligence, but her head was invariably stuck in a book and she never acknowledged my presence.

In high school it was Miss Kelly, my English studies teacher that captured my soul. Her face adorned with those sensible, oversized eye glasses sent a thrill through my body, which electrified my very being. When she quoted Shakespeare, especially Portia from the Merchant of Venice, my heart resounded with joy and I entered into Rapture.

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

In university it was Ophelia from my psychology 101 class. She came to classes twice a week, each time wearing a different style of eye glasses. One day it would be pink, full rimmed, cat eye glasses and another it would be blue, semi-rimless oval eye glasses. She never spoke much, but would concentrate on the professors words with great intensity, tapping away on her laptop. I eventually mustered the courage to speak to her and asked her out for a cup of coffee. She accepted and we spent a pleasant hour in the coffee shop discussing the pros and cons of our psychology course. We made a habit of this for the rest of the semester, and at the courses conclusion she casually asked me up to her apartment. As we entered the elevator I could feel my heart pounding louder and louder, the surface of my skin alive with an electrical current waiting to find an outlet.

Upon entering her apartment she went to the kitchen cupboard, removed her eye glasses and placed them in a floral container. She then turned to me and asked if I wanted a drink. Who is this person, I no longer recognized her. Her face had changed in an instant from a vision of intellectual beauty to a rather plain, nondescript shade of her former self. My heart sank and I sat in misery for the next hour while she droned on about her family background. At the first opportunity I made my excuses and made for the exit, noting the disappointed look she gave me.

After graduation from university I was hired as a contributing columnist for an online start-up. Over time I noticed a marked deterioration in my eye sight and made an appointment with the local optometrist. She gave me a prescription for eye glasses and I headed off to the eye glass store. I entered intellectual Nirvana. There were about four women standing in front of a glass wall trying on various styles of eye glasses and my body shuddered with ecstasy. The sales lady came over, in her stunning fashionable eye glasses, gave a charming smile and asked if she could help. We were married a year later.

Sapio-Sexual is one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. Sapiosexual is a recently constructed word that has come into common usage, especially on social networking sites where some people are self-identifying as sapiosexual.

Think before you act

“ In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer-Letters and Papers from Prison

I have just finished watching on TV the Chicago Police Department responding to the Jussie Smollett case. According to evidence uncovered by the Chicago Police, Jussie Smollett a black actor and celebrity, staged a racial attack on himself, thinking it would help him in salary negotiations for his acting role. Social media, Main Street News and politicians aided him in his victimhood by trumpeting preconceived ideas and by using minimum critical thinking in their dissemination of news.

Their have been countless issues in 2019 where many people have jumped to conclusions based on their ideology instead of waiting for facts.

Peaceful street protests are usurped by violent parts of society with an agenda on both the left and right.

The middle class is eroding and the divide between have and have nots is increasing leading to greater anger and social pressures.

We have to get a grip, be more rational in our thoughts, be more responsible on social media and not follow the mob mentality.

The seven social sins were first formulated in a sermon given by an Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925.

I think the above seven social sins formulated by reverend Frederick Donaldson and adopted by Gandhi are just as relevant today as in 1925.

Politics with principles.

Commerce with morality.

Science with humanity.

This is my little rant in response to watching todays news.

Life is Messy

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our ten month old daughter loved to paint with chocolate pudding. She scattered the chocolate like a frenzied artist, over her face, the high chair,her parents and everything she touched. She was our chocolate Midas and we attempted to avoid her touch. I wagged my finger at her, ” you are a very messy baby”

At two years of age she pushed over the canary cage. The cage door opened. The canary serenaded its first taste of freedom, bumping into walls around the room. My wife and I fetched the vacuum and the mop and bucket as we rushed to clean up the seedy mess.

At ten years of age our daughter would respond to our constant mantra of “Clean your room” by entering into a state of contemplative bliss, ignoring all worldly distractions.

At the age of fourteen things got really messy as she stormed home from school upset by male dominance. The boys out numbered the girls in their classroom group and instead of having a reasoned discussion the boys voted as a block against the girls. The topic under discussion “What are the two most important conditions for survival”. The girls suggested food and shelter, the boys countered with hockey and banning school.

After graduating from university our daughter went to teachers college. Then things really got messy. She decorated every room with magazine cut-outs, bristol board, glue, tape and crayons.

Now our daughter is a teacher, married with five children.  She constantly complains about the untidiness of her children. They leave their mess everywhere, homework all over the place, won’t clean their room. We just smile.

Life is messy.