it must be painful for them to write, those poets in tough-times and hard places
where blood and tears and poverty contaminate the air, stain the sidewalks, and consume the people
the blood must be soul-sick and rusted and tasting of acid, not salt,
and the poems meant to heal the writer and stroke the cheeks of the wounded,
to dry their eyes and gently kiss their gray heads
to poem in such places must be like walking shoeless on glass shards
perhaps the most sacred thing in the dream-time meadow of poets’ desire is Light ~
can you awaken to meet the Divine on the battlefield, in the camps, in government housing or in the ghettos?
if so, you are a saint, not simply an artist
in my small world, my civilized world, people fall asleep reading or after making love or playing in the yard with their children
if they wander, it is through books or planned travel
there are luxuries
there is food
there is cleanliness and paper on which to write
no bombs are dropping to scorch and scar the Earth
there is a certain dignity
in San Francisco we walk along the beach at night, near the Cliff House
we walk to the sound of the waves, the sound of the Earth chanting its joys
our feet are bare and relish the comfort of cool sand
the air is clear and cold and easy to breathe, tasting of salt and smelling of sea life ~
here is a pristine moment of peace
i want to bequeath this peace to you, to everyone,
as though it were a cherished heirloom
it is really a birthright
i want to plunge into the waters and gather the ocean in my cupped hands, to offer it to you as sacramental wine
i want to form seaweed into garlands for all of us to wear, to hang over our hearts, a symbol of affection
i want to collect pine cones from the trees that congregate along the coast and feed them to the children to remind them to cherish this Earth and all its creatures, themselves included, and to say …
do not make war in your heart or upon your mother’s body
This is my post for The Bardo Group’s Valentine’s Day event: Bloggers in Planet Love. It is an older piece that I’ve have rewritten for this occasion. Please join us HERE and share the url to a post of yours that expresses your love of the Earth and nature or your concerns about the environment.
© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ BrokenInaglory via Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
WE INVITE ALL writers, poets, artists, photographers, musicians and other creatives to join us at The Bardo Group for our Valentine’s Day event, BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE. Link in your work that shares your appreciation for the beauty of nature or your concern for environmental issues. You can share the url to your post via Mister Linky, which will stay up for seventy-two hours. Corina Ravenscraft (DragonDreams) hosts. I’ll visit sites and comment. We hope you will also visit others and comment on their work, lending support and encouragement and making connection.
If tonight is date-night for you, remember that you do have seventy-two hours to link your work in. It doesn’t have to be a new or recent piece, just something in the spirit of the event, something that expresses your love of our planet.
See you there. Meanwhile, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Photo credit ~ Tropical Rainforest, Fatu Hiva Island, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia by Benutzerseite: Makemake via German language Wikipedia under CC A-SA 3.0 Unported license.
“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” Billie Mobayed, British woman living in Dubai, Director, Life Model Management
Would we feel compelled to ply our art – poetry or other forms of creative expression – if we were whole, if we were not wounded soldiers? Do we write out of our broken places? Smarter folks than me have pondered and pontificated on this, but surely we do sometimes create to heal, filling in the cracks in our psyches with poetic gold.
This came home to me when I noticed that the quotes I put up on my FaceBook page that seem to resonate most* with people are the ones that point to a sense of not fitting in, of feeling alienated, of being a loner …
“Blessed are the weird people – poets, misfits, writers,mystics, painters, troubadours – for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” Jacob Norby, American inspirational writer and entrepreneur
“Almost every truly creative being is alienated and expatriated in his own country.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b.1919), American poet, painter, activist, and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers/SF, CA
On the cold sea, empty of life
A solitary craft
Edward Abbey (1927-1989), novelist, essayist and environmental advocate from “Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey,” which is his the only poetry collection – the poems gathered and published posthumously by David Peterson
I noticed as well that this Blake quote and short poem of mine from a March 2011 post also resonated …
“Madmen I have been called Fool they called Thee
I wonder which they Envy Thee or Me”
English Encouragement of Art by William Blake (1757 – 1827), English poet, printer, artist, luminary
It speaks to them like an old-growth forest
whispering into a wise and willing ear.
Or perhaps its cellular memory or ancestors
not silenced by death at all but having their
say along some thread of DNA by which
chaos becomes story becomes chaos again.
Or might it be some rarely seen insanity.
Check the DSM*, where you’ll find it laid out
grossly defined and oddly diminishing.
No naming stops its quiet flow, slow and
cool in a swift and overheated world.
- Jamie Dedes
Perhaps we sometimes do write out of our broken places, but I believe that just as often we write to understand and to live more fully and that mostly we write out of our sacred space.
These are the two quotes that resonate most for me:
“The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its supreme purpose through him.” Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychiatrist, psychotherapist and founder of analytical psychology.
“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.” John Updike (1932-2009), American novelist, poet, short story writer, art and literary critic
The meaning in our craftiness and its use and impetus may be viewed in many ways; but it would seem that whatever the view, we are always filling the cracks with gold. That is how we – and the world with us – heal and understand. It is how we, as Hemingway wrote of one of his characters, “grow strong in broken places.”
* with a Facebook page, just as with a blog, the owner can see how many people actually visit a post, though these statistics are not visible to readers.
©2013, essay/poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved, licensing for online publications is nonnegotiable and requires permission, attribution, link to this site, my copyright, no modification, noncommercial only and does not imply permission to include the work in the site’s printed collections or anthologies.
Photo credit ~ original source unknown. If it is yours, please let me know and I’ll credit you or take it down as you please.