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October 31, 2014

Madison Evening

October 31, 2014

Today the evening was
An upturned bowl
With a trickle of wine
Staining the sky
The color of happiness.

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Thursday Night Flights

October 31, 2014

Flying,
Above the plains
Light as a cloud,
A migrating swallow
Returning home.
Above the vast expanse
Fields, towns and expressways
All melting into the evening.
The color of the evening,
Wine drunk, sky stained
With lopsided smile
Happiness of being on the way.
Descending from the clouds,
Dreams and thoughts melt away
Into the girdle of lights, into another dream
Jeweled smile of Manhattan
To home and end of the day.

Autumn

October 25, 2014

Through a half opened door
A red leaf scampered in.
Blood dark
With brittle heart
Whipped away from safety.
Fluttering softly
On the wooden floor,
It gasped in horror at the touch,
Recoiling, fell over
Only to be crushed
By an indifferent heel that
Followed it in before the door shut.

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Ithaka

October 24, 2014

For a blog called The Road to Ithaka, it would be remiss to not have the poem that celebrates it. For what is Ithaka – but just a dream that drives us forth, through the “scudding drifts”, through perambulations and consternation, through the loves, the lives, victory and defeat. And in the end it’s not the island in the dream that matters, for it was always such, a figment of imagination – an ideal not based on reality, but the way we got to it that matters most. Cavafy was Greek poet and I had fallen in love with his poem of exhortation with it’s seemingly lamentable ending. Below is his verse that still rings true each day…

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
– Constantine Cavafy

No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.

By writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts….

http://mic.com/articles/98348/science-shows-writers-have-a-serious-advantage-over-the-rest-of-us

And though we are not long for this earth,
For it is a terrible thing,
Let us stand not idly by
And let the dark swirling currents of the night take us in
For we are men, who have the strength to strive and fight back
Against the screaming black fear of Hellja
Feel in your hands
The cool blade,
Clear and rippling like the river,
Let it soar, let it make way
Through the forest of spears ahead,
And cleave, and cleave
And wear away through the souls of men
That stand in opposition to us.
Come my friends, those who are of Saxon kind,
Let us hesitate no more
But to the battle stir,
Let us rush to that meeting of spears,
Let us rush against this incoming sea,
The black tides that have seemingly never felt defeat,
And hold back the raging waves, so that tomorrow
We can say we truly rule these unwieldy lands,
Forging a home, forging a dream
Enabling England to come to be.

Love

October 17, 2014

I love, not knowing how or when
Or why.
All I know is that I love completely.
It comes to me mysteriously,
Stealing into my room in the depth of night.
Then, when the world is at its darkest,
When even the anemic glow of lamps
Have faded and all that remains are the dregs
From the day, the savage legacy of reality,
That’s when it enfolds me and takes me away
From this Tartarus of the everyday
And gives me the joy,
However fleeting,
Of that fragile and doomed paradise of Adam,
That unlike him I have been condemned,
With little reluctance it is true,
To live and repeat again and again.

ART & Thoughts

Tibor Honty - Sans Titre, ca. 1950 Tibor Honty – Sans Titre, ca. 1950

The poem holds its ground, if you will permit me yet another extreme formulation, the poem holds its ground on its own margin. In order to endure, it constantly calls and pulls itself back from an “already-no-more” into a “still-here”.

This “still-here” can only mean speaking. Not language as such, but responding and – not just verbally- “corresponding” to something.
In other words: language actualized, set free under the sign of a radical individuation which, however, remains as aware of the limits drawn by language as of the possibilities it opens.

This “still-here” of the poem can only be found in the work of poets who do not forget  that they speak from an angle of reflection which is their own existence, their own physical nature.
This shows the poem yet more clearly as one person’s language become shape and, essentially, a presence…

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Long time ago, in an age now obscured by the swirling mists of epic smoke, a faint rumor rippled through the streets of the villages and cities scattered across a long dusty plain. The rumor grew stronger with each passing hour turning into wave, silent and yet electrifying, of communal joy. Like an invisible herald it proclaimed the improbable, though ultimately fleeting, end of evil and the return of the one true King. And on the streets the multitudes gathered and gave voice to this spreading wave with collective roar of elation that arose from the depths of their hearts and souls. The elation at the thought of a brighter age, of a kinder and gentler time, the dawn of righteousness and the hope in everlasting light.

That evening the people celebrated their freedom, freedom from an oppressive weight of uncertainity and from the baying hounds of chaos, that had surrounded them for so long. Great fires were lit to repel the savage soundless spectres of the night and the blaze turned the sinking evening sky into a shade of wild gold. In every hearth, in every window stood lamps radiating barely concealed hope and joy which threw up ceaseless dancing shadows against the clay walls. In the mighty palaces the mourning and tears of fourteen years ceased and the jangle of jeweled feet echoed through the porticos and columned halls. Steel clashed, horses neighed, bristling with excitement, until the great sacred conches stridently brayed the long awaited confirmation; Lord Rama had finally returned.

Today in much baser age, in age of rust and of decay we still celebrate that age. Not out of mere habit but due to that pernicious belief in hope and the dawn. A hope so deep rooted that now the only fitting expression of it is a great body quivering sob. We dream that the year so filled with deceit and with hurt, with blood and with iron, with tears and with aching sorrow will have finally forever passed and a new more perfect age have finally dawned.

And so tonight, as the nights lengthen, summoning back those specters, and the great moon wanes I do wish that, just like our forefathers who exulted in communion due to the burgeoning of hope that late autumn night, this Diwali, like all Diwali’s before it, we too enter and experience, even if only for a brief moment, the start of a more perfect age.

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