Saturday, May 24, 2014

Poems for May 19

I will be taking a break from O Pen and Poems for Lunch over the summer,
back in August for O Pen, and in September for Poems for Lunch at Rundel.
Do mark your calendars: Sunday, October 5, at 2 pm, I will be giving a powerpoint talk, "When Painting Speaks and Poetry Paints" using some of my Ekphrastic Poetry.

I share these poems for our last meeting before I return in August:

Images: 1490, Bosch; 2012 Nikon
In Mother's Kitchen
Girl with Gingerale
Visiting the Magritte Museum
Plane and Boy

for discussion:
One Hand in the Fig Basket by Catherine Blauvelt (winner of Boston Review Discovery" Poetry Contest. May 01, 2013
Revenge by Taha Muhammad Ali,
translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin

Each poet comes with his baggage of culture, experience, his personality and style, his choices of words and sounds to create a spoken tapestry to share a glimpse of what it is to be alive and human. And in our group, each of us responds with our baggage of culture, experience, personality and style to these choices in different ways, sharing what each poem gives to us. And is that not the greatest gift that draws us to feel amazement?

I first heard Taha Muhammad Ali and Peter Cole in Seattle in 2007 when we were there on sabbatical. He, like Naomi Shihab Nye, who I had meet in 2005, and met also in Seattle that year, gave me courage to believe in the power of poetry and to work for my MFA at Pacific University. If we could all take the time to see each other, imagine the peace of understanding.

The comments:
sincerity in every word-- and yet associations abounded:
Kipling's story, "Dayspring mishandled" ( which tells of rivalry of two men
and why the one who worked so hard for revenge refused at the end to reveal his scheme.

The more we addressed the complexity of revenge, tied to our human need for connection, the more we fell into specifics: how we punish with prison, how with programs such as "Pathways to Peace" they still fail to save the youth who will follow the same path of those who respond to their anger with violence.
We spoke of the spirit of the Middle East, the gentle aspects of the Arab culture, and the various attempts by prophets (Navi) to bring peace... yet another modern version of Gabriel speaking to Mohammad...

I shared the poem "Twig" for yet another inspiring poem by Taha Muhammad Ali-- I believe his last sentence:
"After we die,
and the weary heart
has lowered its final eyelid
on all that we’ve done,
and on all that we’ve longed for,
and all that we’ve dreamt of,
all we’ve desired
or felt,
hate will be
the first thing
to turn to dust
within us."

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