Sunday, July 31, 2011

When you are lonely do daffodils dance? ... Poetry by William Wordsworth


"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (also commonly known as "Daffodils"[1] or "The Daffodils") is a poem by William Wordsworth.

The poem is 24 lines long, consisting of four six-line stanzas. Each stanza is formed by a quatrain, then a couplet, to form a sestet and a ABABCC rhyme scheme.[1] The fourth- and third-last lines were not composed by Wordsworth, but by his wife, Mary. Wordsworth considered them the best lines of the whole poem.[1][12] Like most works by Wordsworth, it is romantic in nature;[13] the beauty of nature, unkempt by humanity, and a reconciliation of man with his environment, are two of the fundamental principles of the romantic movement within poetry. The poem is littered with emotionally strong words, such as "golden", "dancing" and "bliss".

The plot of the poem is simple. Wordsworth believed it "an elementary feeling and simple expression".[14] The speaker is wandering as if among the clouds, viewing a belt of daffodils, next to a lake whose beauty is overshadowed:[15]

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The reversal of usual syntax in phrases, particularly "Ten thousand saw I at a glance" is used as part of foregrounding (for emphasis).[16] Loneliness, it seems, is only a human emotion, unlike the mere solitariness of the cloud.[17] In the second and third verses, the memory of the daffodils is given permanence (particularly through comparison the stars); this is in contrast to the transitory nature of life examined in other works:[18]

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

In the last stanza, it is revealed that this scene is only a memory of the pensive speaker.[12] This is marked by a change from a narrative past tense to the present tense. as a conclusion to a sense of movement within the poem: passive to active motion; from sadness to blissfulness.[16] The scene of the last verse mirrors the readers' situation as they take in the poem:[19]

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Like the maiden's song in "The Solitary Reaper," the memory of the daffodils is etched in the speaker's mind and soul to be cherished forever. When he's feeling lonely, dull or depressed, he thinks of the daffodils and cheers up. The full impact of the daffodils' beauty (symbolizing the beauty of nature) did not strike him at the moment of seeing them, when he stared blankly at them but much later when he sat alone, sad and lonely and remembered them.[17]

Personification is used within the poem, particularly with regards to the flowers themselves, and the whole passage consists of images appearing within the mind of the poet.

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Wandered_Lonely_as_a_Cloud

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interpretation of Billy Collins' poem "First Night"

First here is the poem:



First Night

The worst thing about death must be
the first night.
—Juan Ramón Jiménez

Before I opened you, Jiménez,
it never occurred to me that day and night
would continue to circle each other in the ring of death,

but now you have me wondering
if there will also be a sun and a moon
and will the dead gather to watch them rise and set

then repair, each soul alone,
to some ghastly equivalent of a bed.
Or will the first night be the only night,

a darkness for which we have no other name?
How feeble our vocabulary in the face of death,
How impossible to write it down.

This is where language will stop,
the horse we have ridden all our lives
rearing up at the edge of a dizzying cliff.

The word that was in the beginning
and the word that was made flesh—
those and all the other words will cease.

Even now, reading you on this trellised porch,
how can I describe a sun that will shine after death?
But it is enough to frighten me

into paying more attention to the world’s day-moon,
to sunlight bright on water
or fragmented in a grove of trees,

and to look more closely here at these small leaves,
these sentinel thorns,
whose employment it is to guard the rose.

***

Billy Collins takes a line of poetry from nobel prize winning poet Juan Ramon Jimenez* and writes some poetry on it. A lot of Billy's poems seem to come from the readings that he does.

So the setting is that he sitting on a "trellised porch" (latticed with vines**) and reading this poetry and makes observations. He goes into fantasy lands, like he does in his other poem about the four moon planet (from Robert Frost).

Most of the poem then speculates about what happens after death. Are there many days and nights, or just the "first night" -- which cannot be described by words that stop with our horse ride of a life at a "dizzying cliff".

At the end of the poem, the poet is scared by his inability to describe a sun that "will shine after death;" so he pays attention to the beautiful things on earth: moon, sunlight on water or dispersed on forests, and thorns along with rose. But keenly observes that these are "sentinel thorns" that guard the rose.

Here is where different interpretations can be made. I believe what he is saying is that who knows whether the first night is good or bad; even if it is bad, its probably "bad" because it is "protecting" the good.

The purpose of life is to sing; who knows what will happen after we die. Enjoy what you have and believe that the thorns in life are there to protect the beauty that we enjoy.


*
I also found that Jimenez translated some of Rabindranath Tagore's poems

**
trel·lis (trls)
n.
1. A structure of open latticework, especially one used as a support for vines and other creeping plants.
2. An arbor or arch made of latticework.
tr.v. trel·lised, trel·lis·ing, trel·lis·es
1. To provide with a trellis, especially to train (a vine) on a trellis.
2. To make (something) in the form of a trellis.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proximity - A True Story From My Travels



Indie Ink Challenge
Challenge by: "Attracted to Shiny Things" http://attractedtoshinythings.blogspot.com/
Recommed Reading: K. Syrah: http://www.shoesneverworn.com/389/


July 28, 2011

This is a true story. The only thing I have changed is the main character's name.

This is a story from that memorable day when Jane reminded me how to sing at the airport. In front of everyone.

May 19, 2011

I am on my way back from a business trip to Boston, waiting for an airplane. I look for a plugpoint where I would be able to recharge my phone and my computer. I want to do some research. The only place I find near my departure gate is in the corner, near the entrance to the adjacent gate. So I go and sit there on the floor.

This gate is shut down for the moment. So while the laptop is charging, I log on to the web, and start doing some research on recording live music with some new software.

I am sitting far from most of the people sitting on chairs. I am usually sitting far from people. They are mostly watching TV or texting, apparently sitting close to each other.

Another man, wearing a business suit, not unlike mine, comes about 10 yards from me, sets his baggage and starts talking on his phone. He appears very busy talking on the phone, pacing to and from his carry-on. His only interest is this phone call; so how far he is doesn't really matter.

It is a little hot. I take my jacket off, then pack it in my bag. I also take my turban off and let my hair down in a pony tail. I am ready to relax. Streching my legs I go went back to googling my question on recording.

There are so many topics that come up on my search for the question I have; a small subset of them actually look like they would be a close answer to my question. However, when I click on each of these links, I find that I am really not getting any closer to the answer than when I started. I keep going on and on ... refining my search so I can get my answer.

And just then I hear someone crying. Loudly. Wailing more like it.

On the floor space between the busy business man and myself, is a woman crying wildly ... uncontrollably. It is clear that something is seriously wrong ... like she has lost someone very close.

My concentration is broken. I can't google anymore. But I don't have have the courage to go and talk to her.

She is facing the wall and crying uncontrollably. She stops for a few moments. The she starts her wailing again.

I notice her and then I notice around. No one has stopped doing what they are doing. The businessman is still on the phone, unperturbed. A black woman has come to the gate counter in front of me. She must keep helping her customers with their flights, so I am not sure if she can notice. The person who talks to her, notices the crying but he is in line. Another one is waiting behind him is also in the same situation, noticing but busy.

The rest are watching TV. President Obama is talking about our national debt. Now thats a serious issue that everyone else needs to pay attention to. So it has to be me, I think. I have to go and talk to her. But how can I just stop doing my google research for that reason?

But talking to this person would be very hard. What could I say to her. What if she says her mother died? Or someone young? Did I have the words for her?

From the activity in front of it, it is clear that the gate manned by the black woman was going to be opened shortly. I take that as an opportunity and start getting ready to talk to her. I take my phone off the charger; put the charger back in the laptop bag. Then I start shutting down my laptop.

Now she has stopped crying and dialed someone's number, and it is obvious she is leaving a message for a guy. I pretend to continue doing my work, while my ear is wide open to hear what she has to say. She is remarkably cool when leaving her message and controls her emotions very well. I can't hear her well from where I am sitting.

As soon as she keeps the phone back the wailing starts again. By this time I am ready. I get up, approach her, and still from a few yards away from her -- as if her wailing will swallow me if I were too close -- I ask, "Are you OK?"

She replies with a smile, "Yes, I'm OK. Thank you"

Gaining some courage from her demeanor, I go closer and ask, "But there must be something wrong. You don't look OK."

She says, "I just thought I was going to miss my flight. And, in general, its just been a tough period of time."

July 28, 2011

Then we started talking. Her name was Jane and she had a boy of my son's age. We had a lot to talk about. About kids, vacations, the economy, and loosing jobs. A few minutes later the black woman looked at us and said, "I don't know what you said to her, but I see her smiling now."

I smiled inside and out; that day and the next. Jane had actually grown reinstated my courage to talk to someone sad. Talking to sad people has been the hardest thing for me to do; I am the guy who looks for reasons to skip funerals. But Jane reminded me what a beautiful blessing is to talk to someone and making them smile.

It was really a remarkable gift that I have started using now. The next week I talked to a person who I found crying at the Austin airport. She was returning from a trip to her boyfriend who was leaving for Afganisthan to serve in the war. The following week I spent a couple of days consoling a friend who had lost his mother. Jane has become my facebook friend and we often chat about kids, vacations and the economy.

I have never found her crying or sad again; it was just that day to teach me.

Surrounding us is a crying world, a world that is largely unseen. We don't know how to connect to this world, and for that reason we are at an immense loss. Noticing the crying, and yearning to transform it to a smile is a beautiful path; it is the path of singing in harmony.

This is the song of compassion akin to the one that the Dalai Lama sings incessantly; this is the song of celebrating oneness; that what surrounds us is not different from us; this is the song that Kabir sings in our hearts, "there is no I, there is only you!"

This is the song of the realization of our purpose in life. The purpose of life is to sing. And angels surround us to remind. We just have to see how close they are.

Reverse Engineering in Poetry - A "Germ" poem by W.B. Yeats

I was reading Jane Hirshfield's poem After Long Silence:

After Long Silence

Politeness fades,

a small anchovy gleam
leaving the upturned pot in the dish rack
after the moon has wandered out the window.

One of the late freedoms, there in the dark.
The leftover soup put away as well.

Distinctions matter. Whether a goat's
quiet face should be called noble
or indifferent. The difference between a right rigor and pride.

The untranslatable thought must be the most precise.

Yet words are not the end of thought, they are where it begins.


and I discovered a poem with the same title that Yeats had written. Apparently this is very popular poem:

After Long Silence

Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

This is a beautiful end result of a simple idea. Yeats started with the following "germ" poem that describes what he is trying to say more clearly. So writing a poem is really reverse engineering.

Subject
Your hair is white
My hair is white
Come let us talk of love
What other [theme?] do we know
When we were young
We were in love with one another
And therefore ignorant


Read more:
http://marjorieperloff.com/articles/yeats-silence/

Sight - A poem about a Goat I met

So stoic is this doe,
so silent after long,
so brown like earth,
she nobly grazes away.

In between grazing
she raises her head
and stares at me
with wide eyes.

They scare me and say
"we know the truth."
Then she goes back
to grazing carelessly.

Once I heard in a movie
that a goat can eat anything.
This pastures herself
away ray by ray

like under the sun
her shed looses red hue
teaching me to sing
like a pacified Guru.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mind, Drenched - Man Bheena - Guru Nanak

After a long time, I am working on a beautiful poem by my dear Guru Nanak. It is called "Baras Ghana Meraa Man Bheena," which means, "O clouds rain hard so my mind is drenched." I have decided to sing this in public for the first time at a kirtan next month. In tune with the season, this is in Raag Malhar, and the poem is about the mind of a soul bride drenched with her love. It is sounding awesome already and I can't wait to finish composing, doing kirtan and recording. It will likely take about a month ...

Here is a rough translation of this poem:

I beg you my dear angel, unite me with my love. I hear the thunder in the clouds, and my mind is cooled and soothed; imbued with my beloved, I sing his praises. ||1||

Refrain:
The rain pours down; my mind is drenched with love.
Drops of ambrosial nectar please my heart;
loving the angel, I relish his essense ||1||Pause||

At intuitive peace and poise, that one is loved by her love who listens to the angel's message. Her love never departs, her mind and body are filled with joy. ||2||

She has detached herself from negativities; the universe is her love, her marriage eternal.
She has no separation nor sorrow; the universe showers her with Grace. ||3||

There is no coming or going; her mind be steady and stable.
The one who sings, that soul-bride is true, she is right. ||4||2||

Original in Gurmukhi:

krau ibnau gur Apny pRIqm hir vru Awix imlwvY ]

suix Gn Gor sIqlu mnu morw lwl rqI gux gwvY ]1]

brsu Gnw myrw mnu BInw ]

AMimRq bUMd suhwnI hIArY guir mohI mnu hir ris lInw ]1] rhwau ]

shij suKI vr kwmix ipAwrI ijsu gur bcnI mnu mwinAw ]
hir vir nwir BeI sohwgix min qin pRymu suKwinAw ]2]

Avgx iqAwig BeI bYrwgin AsiQru vru sohwgu hrI ]
sogu ivjogu iqsu kdy n ivAwpY hir pRiB ApxI ikrpw krI ]3]

Awvx jwxu nhI mnu inhclu pUry gur kI Et ghI ]
nwnk rwm nwmu jip gurmuiK Dnu sohwgix scu shI ]4]2]

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet - Emily Dickinson


That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Believing what we don't believe
Does not exhilarate.

That if it be, it be at best
An ablative estate --
This instigates an appetite
Precisely opposite.


Other Poems of Emily Dickinson About Death
  • "Because I could not stop for Death-- / He kindly stopped for me"
  • "I heard a Fly buzz--when I died"
  • "That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet"
  • "Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell"


Emily Dickinson Poetry by themes:
http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/18661913/lit/dickinso.htm

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mirabai's Saavan sung by Ranjani and Gayatri

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. ~Rabindranath Tagore

The clouds of Saavan* rain,
to join my heart's humming
A familiar perfume airs
my love must be coming

Dark clouds from all sides
come together for an attack
Electricity charges the air,
lights a series of flash.

Tiny droplets dance around
as my hope slowly grows
my heart sings love songs
while a pleasant wind blows

- Shiv

* Saavan - Rainy season

Word from the studio ...

I found another version of this Mirabai bhajan today and listened to it. In the following rendition, the sadder minor third is used.  I am trying to sing Malhar how it was sung before Tansen's naughty invention.  I hope that can convey the delight of this beautiful poem.  Working on it!


Torch - A poem



O my love,
my song is really
a burning lamp ...
a torch to find you.
I have been looking for you
with this torch for so long
that some are complaining
of global warming.
What nonsense is that?
Advance the tide
of your love
to my shore now,
and cool things down.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The day Amy Winehouse died - A poem


The day Amy Winehouse died

"When I don't sing, I die."
- Guru Nanak

Today found in London
surprising her fans
cheating her foe
she was singing again.

Not anymore I
sing "You Know
I'm No Good"
She was singing

Noose of drugs
and alcohol
strangled my throat.
She was singing

Couldn't sing in Serbia
then Europe fell me apart
Like a house of cards.
She was singing

Going in and out
of a rehab journey
of complete starvation
she was singing.

I had my fill.
Like Bobby Sands at 27
I finally gave in
She was singing

And in the end
I stop searching
the right narcotic.
I found singing

I don't cheat myself
nor stand where I stood;
lying out of trouble
I Sing freely, I'm good!

- Shiv
July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Clouds come floating into my life" - Quote from Rabindranath Tagore

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. ~Rabindranath Tagore

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. - Albert Einstein

Awesome Track from "Mauro the magician" from Italy: Rain


This morning I heard a new track from Mauro. Apparently it was raining and he put a mic on the window, and recorded some guitar and added some other tracks to that.

Here is Rain (This track will likely change from its current version as more musicians contribute to this, but I think it is already beautiful to listen to; I find this true of almost anything that Mauro records).



Some musicians make music that absolutely pierces your heart. Mauro Clerici from Alzate Brianza (Como, Italy) is one of those musicians. I call him "Mauro, the magician" because his music does magic to the soul. Every time I hear something from Mauro it is very inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. His music is a reflection of his self. His music is stunning because he is an absolutely stunnning human being. And we he talks and writes, even normal comments, he sometimes writes in poetry. Even his words sing and I love that.

Mauro says, "I play, maybe for passion.. or because I love vibrations.. or for an intimate need to do it." This is how one sings!

Recently I had the opportunity to make some music with Mauro. Here is the track he worked on. His guitar made the difference of an ordinary track and an extraordinary track. Much thanks!



Another song from Mauro that I love:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life is a song, don't be scared to sing along - Patrick Park

Life is a song
Patrick Park




You say life is a dream where we can't say what we mean
Maybe just some roadside scene that we're driving past
There's no telling where we'll be in a day or in a week
And there's no promises of peace or of happiness

Well is this why you cling to every little thing
And pulverize and derrange all your senses
Maybe life is a song but you're scared to sing along
Until the very ending

Oh, it's time to let go of everything we used to know
Ideas that strengthen who we've been
It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds
From the chains and shackles that they're in

Oh, tell me what good is saying that you're free
In a dark and storming sea
You're chained to your history, you're surely sinking fast
You say that you know that the good Lord's in control
He's gonna bless and keep your tired and oh so restless soul
But at the end of the day when every price has been paid
You're gonna rise and sit beside him on some old seat of gold
And won't you tell me why you live like you're afraid to die
You'll die like you're afraid to go

Oh, it's time to let go of everything we used to know
Ideas that strengthen who we've been
It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds
From chains and shackles that they're in
From the chains and shackles that they're in

Well life is a dream 'cause we're all walking in our sleep
You could see us stand in lines like we're dead upon our feet
And we build our house of cards and then we wait for it to fall
Always forget how strange it is just to be alive at all

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jules' Open Letter to God ... A must read


I recently came across this beautifully honest piece of writing on a blog, a very frank and open letter to God written by Jules. A lot of people ask me what do you mean by "the purpose of life is to sing?" Well read this and you will understand from someone who has learned to sing in life.

Thanks to Jules I remembered today again that the right way to sing. The song of life needs to be based on truth, not superstition. To sing without superstition is a pure way to sing. To acknowledge what you don't know is the right way to sing. Songs of truth are not filled with answers, they are filled with wonder!

The letter is below, but to see his other writing and comments on this letter, click the following:
http://michonmichon.com/2011/07/18/dear-god/

Open Letter to God From Jules

Dear God…

by Jules on July 18, 2011


Dear God,

This letter would have been a lot easier to write about 15 years ago, when I was searching for my faith or a faith or something. Now, I’m at peace with my beliefs. Some days, I believe You exist. Other days, I buy into the notion that everything is energy and it just gets recycled over and over again. I lean more towards the latter one.

But if You do exist, we’ve had a bumpy ride, haven’t we? Growing up Catholic, going against my family and attending the Methodist church when I was in the 7th grade, attending a Christian college, starting a college aged Bible study, the work trips, teaching Sunday school…and then finding out about other religions and realizing that religion is completely man-made and that all religions are essentially worshipping the same God, the same You.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those times. I remember sitting on the floor of that hotel in the hallway with N, crying and feeling so loved, and accepting you into my heart. I remember the weeks I spent insulating and painting underprivileged people’s homes with my youth group. I still love the friends I made.

I just don’t know, though. My rational side sees the subatomic particles and understands the science of energy moving, neither being created nor destroyed. And the things people do IN Your name, You’d be ashamed. The people I feel the most criticized by are the ones who say they love You the most. How can that be? Jesus hung out with non-believers, with prostitutes, with the unwanteds. He would give the shirt off of his back to help another. Yet the Christian right doesn’t want poor people to have health care? That makes no sense to me.

As You know, I studied the Bible intensely for all of those years, especially in college. I don’t remember it saying anywhere in there that we are supposed to try to get as rich as we can, own as many things as we can, and leave those who are not as privileged by the wayside. And don’t give me the excuse of “only wanting your money to go to Christian organizations.” Jesus didn’t care. He gave to everyone. That’s what the Bible teaches. If you believe in it.

As someone who knows that the Bible has been changed over and over and over again, based on who the king was, I know to take it all with a grain of salt. It’s not the word of God. It’s a guidebook. But humans have touched it many times. How can you take it literally?

I really didn’t know that this was going to become a letter about all of the things I believe and don’t believe. That’s what poured out so I guess that’s what I needed to write.

If there is a Heaven, give big hugs to all of my loved ones.

Peace,

Jules

O holy priest - A poem


O Holy Priest!

I write to you
for you know so much
that is beyond me.

Don't I live in the
kingdom that you say
I cannot now see?

You will see me then
where good people go
but don't see me now?

What life-after-death
for a never-ending life,
what why when how?

I cannot disagree
to do good deeds
but what they are,
do tell me please.

Then ask those
as pious as you
to agree with what
exactly I should do

I am you, for me,
and you are He;
In oneness I see
nothing beyond me

- Shiv
July 19, 2011

This was in response to a twitter conversation today:

Monday, July 18, 2011

O Songlet, why so serious? - A poem


O Songlet, why so serious?

Seeing her frivolous frown
despondent dad of the bride
pledged the minor's fix
with a half-note slide.

Mercilessly, he, with a knife
Sharpened her reluctant third
Until in bloody harmony
Her bliss he fully heard.

- Shiv
July 18, 2011

For those curious about the minor third: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_third


This is a poem about a composer who creates a sad song, and then tries to make it sound happy. Earlier today I was reading Emily Dickinson; so inspired I wrote a poem using her favorite structure in response to an Indie Ink challenge (my second!) from Manju: "Why so serious"

To read my challenge read Jazminedt's blog

The lost key - A Sufi parable



Once upon a time, there was a man who lost his keys. So he starts searching for them outside the house in the bright light of day.

The Sufi master walks by and sees him searching, so the Sufi master asks: “What are you looking for?”

The man replied, “I lost my keys inside the house.”

The Sufi master asks, “Why then are you looking for them outside?”

The man says, “Because the light is better out here.”

Quotes from Nelson Mandela on his 93rd birthday


A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
Nelson Mandela

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
Nelson Mandela

Communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of Communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements.
Nelson Mandela

Does anybody really think that they didn't get what they had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?
Nelson Mandela

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela

I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders.
Nelson Mandela

I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.
Nelson Mandela

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.
Nelson Mandela

I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.
Nelson Mandela

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers.
Nelson Mandela

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.
Nelson Mandela

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Nelson Mandela

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Nelson Mandela

In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
Nelson Mandela

It always seems impossible until its done.
Nelson Mandela

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
Nelson Mandela

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
Nelson Mandela

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Nelson Mandela

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fall - A poem


The unintended
bang like the second
one or a few mockingbirds
spotting the stirred
grey first afraid
and then excited
like the prettiness
of following fall
or sweetness of
heavens' eaves like
the nostalgia
in the mist
rising against gravity
to sing Malhar
like amorphous forms
mixing black and white
moving sometimes
or striking at
others to remind
those at a distance
like my heart
or your soul
are reigning in love
out of control.

The pretty Rain - A poem by Emily Dickinson


The pretty Rain from those sweet Eaves
Her unintending Eyes --
Took her own Heart, including ours,
By innocent Surprise --

The wrestle in her simple Throat
To hold the feeling down
That vanquished her -- defeated Feat --
Was Fervor's sudden Crown --

The Window - A poem by Diana Matisz

Today my angel reminding me to sing is Diana Matisz's poem, "The Window". In this poem, Diana pictures an absolutely beautiful scene of someone waiting for her love at night. This is how you sing in raag bilawal when you are waiting for your love. It reminded me of Guru Arjan Dev's beautiful poem where the soul bride, decked up in necklaces, mascara and bridal gown waits for Krishna and says "Kab Ghar Aavai? Neend Na Aavai" - "When will you come home? I cannot sleep!"


Photo By Diana Matisz



The Window
Diana Matisz: http://dianaswords.blogspot.com/

air tumescent with fat drops
of summer rain lift and billow
the curtain at the window
where she waits

skin tattooed with the lace
of shadowed leaves back lit
by a gibbous moon and rising
silver river mist

auras of sweet grass scents
ride the surface of her body
at the window where she waits
in lavender and lace

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's my life - lyrics of Bon Jovi song

It's My Life lyrics
Songwriters: Bon Jovi, Jon; Martin, Max; Sambora, Richard S;

This ain't a song for the brokenhearted
No silent prayer for the faith departed
And I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

This is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina who never backed down
Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks

It's my life
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/b/bon-jovi-lyrics/it_s-my-life-lyrics.html ]

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life

You better stand tall
When they're calling you out
Don't bend, don't break
Baby, don't back down

It's my life
It's now or never
'Cause I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
And it's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just wanna live while I'm alive

(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, "I did it my way"
I just wanna live while I'm alive
'Cause it's my life!

The best and the most beautiful - Hellen Keller #quote

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart. -Hellen Keller

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Faith - A poem by Robert Service


The following poem reminds me of the my dear Guru Nanak's poem "Hukam Rajai"

"Hukam rajai" assumes that Ekonkar is sovereign and we do not have much control. So a lot of the things we do to attain peace/freedom/happiness are useless. The only action that makes sense is "Hukam Rajai" -- surrendering to the will to the ruler of our destiny. Surrendering is nothing but loving. And singing is the expression of love! So, the purpose of life remains to sing!

Faith

Since all that is was ever bound to be;
Since grim, eternal laws our Being bind;
And both the riddle and the answer find,
And both the carnage and the calm decree;
Since plain within the Book of Destiny
Is written all the journey of mankind
Inexorably to the end, since blind
And mortal puppets playing parts are we:

Then let’s have faith; good cometh out of ill;
The power that shaped the strife shall end the strife;
Then let’s bow down before the Unknown Will;
Fight on, believing all is well with life;
Seeing within the worst of War’s red rage
The gleam, the glory of the Golden Age.


Vacation of a lifetime - An essay

The following is an essay that I wrote in response to an Indie Ink challenge (my first!!!) from Greg Perry: "On vacation, first time visiting a new place. Nobody here should know you, yet at lunch you overhear your name in a conversation at the next table ..." I don't write fiction, so I am not sure if this fits the normal scheme. But here it is.

To read my challenge read Jan's post who did a marvelous job on a tough challenge: Question of Territory 

*********************************************
Vacation of a lifetime


"Is that him?" I heard from the corner of my eye.

The spoon was still in my mouth.  Savoring the last of my sauteed silence, I tried to figure out who had found out I was here.  The exotic spring sauce that glazed my appetizer had nothing to do with the burning sensation in my eyes. Her eyes were so bright that it hurt to see her.

Disturbed from a lunch that was about to ensue one of the finest lulls of my life, I felt like walking up to her and retorting, "No! I really died yesterday. What you are really seeing is my body double." But, perhaps because of the silent conditioning, I was neither as abrupt nor sarcastic. 

Encouraged by my silence, and assuming I remembered our forgotten relationship, she walked right up to me and said, "Is that you?"

I had never seen her before. But she was sounding more and more familiar.  I heard her question this time. I will never forget what happened after this because it commenced the vacation of my lifetime.

What is a vacation anyway?

Is it meant to be in a quaint town that I reach by a boat, where the roads are paved of stone. Where there is just one cafe, one restaurant, one hotel, one grocery store, and one main road. Where there are no cars, no computers, no mobile phones, and no egos. Where Time Square lights are a distant memory. Where I can talk to my solitude for hours during walks without saying a word and being surrounded by people who were strangers once. I could spend 1 or 2 days here, but not any more than that. Tweets would then call me back ... not those of exotic birds on the island.

Or is it meant to be on a California hill top where we have set up a camp in the summer. Every day we take a new trail exploring plump quails and yellow-painted mustard flowers. The family is around us; kids running around; friends laughing. Stories are told in the dark around campfires while the art of roasting marshmallows imported from Egypt is perfected. And stars are counted laying on the grass waiting for the neighborhood rooster to call in the morning. Even if I had enough supplies of my allergy pills, that would only work out for a month or two. But then I would need to get back to "real life."

Having thought this through, I was not happy with vacation for a few days, weeks or month.  I wanted a lifetime of vacation.  I wanted a permanent getaway from my quotidian servitude.  I did not want a period of sunshine in-between the rains, but a never ending summer where happiness would be controlled like an AC from a wall-mounted control panel.   I wanted to be able to turn a knob to Spring and in my wild ecstasy make mud pies by the lake and pick daffodils in the shade of delight and carelessness.

I have in the past chosen to ignore the song that asks me the identity question.  Instead I have focused on tasks that are so near and dear to me.  I have in the past piled these tasks on my back one by one, day after day. And I have in past only gotten ready for that fateful day that my donkey-self would collapse on the weight it was carrying.

I know that then I would return to vacation: being carelessly subordinated to the wishes of the universe around us. I know that then I would be One without option. "You don't have to die to be free," said the angel smiling at me.

I recall when I used to work in a laboratory to help my company make a better glucose meter. Researchers working in a lab would try to invent new meters for diabetics to check their blood glucose levels. They would play with blood in test tubes, add different quantities of glucose in it, shake it vigorously, test the glucose in climate-controlled chambers. And experiment would be done and data would be analyzed time and again. One day we would hope to make life better for diabetics. And one day we would die and someone else will make an even meter glucose meter.

All it takes is a teacher of this simple know-how to interrupt our pig-like gorging with an irritating question, "Is it you?" And we get back to our senses. We start to vibrate a song that defines us. We start to realize that we are singing of freedom like the caged bird. In such a way, the teacher teaches the student to live forever in vacation.

I was used to singing songs to the world. That day my song sang to me. She held my hand, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Is that you?" When I tried to answer that question more thoughtfully, I felt the noose of time that was strangling me to death lost its grip. Completely.  True vacation, I realized, was free from the fruits of labor. And true vacation sang because it does not have any chains of place or time tying it down.

So I, who thought he knew the path of peace through secluded meditation, was transformed. I, who had believed that silence would come from sitting quietly for hours, who had believed I would be cleaned by cleaning, that I would be wise with knowledge and rich with gold, was woken up from this dream and put in blissful vacation even before death.

I was put in a vacation that is not dissociated from time, place, or this world. It does not grows old like Tithonus when I sing; singing grants me youth along with afore-promised immortality. I have opened my heart to the song that teaches me; and her blinding vision does not hurt me anymore.  I am no longer a donkey working for a living.  I am a free bird singing for living.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You need to understand the language of love - Rabindranath Tagore


This was a comment in response to an article about Rabindranath Tagore in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jul/08/rabindranath-tagore-rereading

On a flight from New York to Boston I was rereading Tagore today (Click here for more on Tagore). I do it whenever I need inspiration to sing. And I do it often in English, although I have sung his poems in Bengali as well. And I am not a native Bengali speaker.

Rabindranath Tagore's poetry has the mastery that cannot be understood by pitiful literary analysis. And while I agree with Amit that some people do not understood the greatness of his poetry, I beg to differ with the reason that its because of not understanding Bengali. It is not important to know Bengali to understand Tagore. The beauty of Geetanjali -- both the Bengali version and the English version -- cannot be understood unless you have been mesmerized by hues of love between the words. You cannot understand what Geetanjali is unless you know how to sing or hear a song. Rabindranath Tagore honed the art of singing for decades as he wrote. I have now been singing for 30 years; now I hear him sing when I read his lines. There is no better bandaid for a bleeding soul than Geetanjali. I feel bad for those who have not been enraptured by Tagore's sweet voice.

I often give my translation of one of my favorite Tagore poems to people and in my experience it is universally liked.
http://shivpoetry.blogspot.com/2010/11/walk-alone.html

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You are missing out if you don't know Mali Woods (@maliwoods)


I am listening to Mali Woods today and excited that she will have some new music out soon (video section of her website: http://www.maliwoods.com/webisodes/). I am also excited that this will be a free download!

I have been thoroughly impressed with Mali ... with everything she does. In my opinion, she is likely one of the most accomplished and well-rounded independent musicians in the US. She really knows how to sing the song of life. She is a constant reminder of the song of oneness, which I believe is the purpose of our living. In whatever she does, whether it is singing, blogging, photographing (OMG!), videographing and speaking ... oneness shines in it; she reminds us of universal love.

It is clear that she works very hard on what she loves doing. She looks for perfection in whatever she does and it is quite apparent in her works. She is very entrepreneurial and thinks outside the box; her work stands out because it blends categories in many different ways and still is pure and beautiful (which is difficult to do in any neo-fusion work).

Words really aren't enough for this talented person. You have to go and check all that she is and all that she does. So go, if you haven't tasted what beauty tastes like, go check her website out:http://www.maliwoods.com). And add her on twitter (http://www.twitter.com/maliwoods) and facebook (http://www.facebook.com/maliwoods.music). In Mali's woods, those who have lost it, will find their hearts. I usually find mine.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Modest Proposal - An Satirical Essay by Jonathan Swift in 1729


"A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick", commonly referred to as "A Modest Proposal", is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy in Ireland in general.

It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand our charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true, a child just dropt from its dam, may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathing of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expence than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old; except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; during which time they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers: As I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this age, they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half a crown at most, on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriments and rags having been at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.

I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolifick dyet, there are more children born in Roman Catholick countries about nine months after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of Popish infants, is at least three to one in this kingdom, and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of Papists among us.

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants, the mother will have eight shillings neat profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flea the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

As to our City of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing on this matter, to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supply’d by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service: And these to be disposed of by their parents if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our school-boys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission, be a loss to the publick, because they soon would become breeders themselves: And besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice, (although indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty, which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, how well soever intended.

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Salmanaazor, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country, when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, as a prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at a play-house and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for; the kingdom would not be the worse.

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed; and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken, to ease the nation of so grievous an incumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known, that they are every day dying, and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth, and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young labourers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, and consequently pine away from want of nourishment, to a degree, that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labour, they have not strength to perform it, and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.

Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, and help to pay their landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.

Thirdly, Whereas the maintainance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.

Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.

Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.

Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the publick, to their annual profit instead of expence. We should soon see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sow when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barrel’d beef: the propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fat yearly child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a Lord Mayor’s feast, or any other publick entertainment. But this, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and ’twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, ’till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.

After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, As things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, There being a round million of creatures in humane figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock, would leave them in debt two million of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers, cottagers and labourers, with their wives and children, who are beggars in effect; I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor cloaths to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of intailing the like, or greater miseries, upon their breed for ever.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

Apologia - A poem by Oscar Wilde


Is it thy will that I should wax and wane,
Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

Is it thy will--Love that I love so well--
That my Soul's House should be a tortured spot
Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
And sell ambition at the common mart,
And let dull failure be my vestiture,
And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.

Perchance it may be better so--at least
I have not made my heart a heart of stone,
Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast,
Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.

Many a man hath done so; sought to fence
In straitened bonds the soul that should be free,
Trodden the dusty road of common sense,
While all the forest sang of liberty,

Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight
Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air,
To where some steep untrodden mountain height
Caught the last tresses of the Sun God's hair.

Or how the little flower he trod upon,
The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold,
Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun
Content if once its leaves were aureoled.

But surely it is something to have been
The best beloved for a little while,
To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
His purple wings flit once across thy smile.

Ay! though the gorged asp of passion feed
On my boy's heart, yet have I burst the bars,
Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed
The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Topography - A beautiful poem by Sharon Olds


Topography by Sharon Olds

After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
intricately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

By Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks Selected Poems, 1980 - 2002
Published by Alfred A Knopf

Meera's Malhar - A Poem


I'm working on Meera's bai's song Barsai Badariya and that inspired me to write this poem today. Even the warlike rain to Meera is a remembrance of her love.


In the battle of the skies
the clouds swarm in
from all four directions
thunder follows lightening

Peace is found on the run
and darkness on the sprawl
But When cannons are fired
rose petals gently fall

Then surrender of true beauty
lets a pleasant wind blow
incensing everything
that comes in its flow

Meera unites with Krishna
with each note of Malhar
so bring it on again,
O rain Gods, your war

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Be humble; you might not know the truth" - Nehru


"Let us be a little humble; let us think that the truth may not perhaps be entirely with us." ~Jawaharlal Nehru

That is why you need a Guru, a master, who is perfect; that guru who sees the truth clearly and holds your hand so you can sing in harmony with Him. The purpose of life is to sing the praises of the Guru who knows the melody of truth, and constantly plays it in your head. O soul, don't sacrifice humbleness on way to the epitome of knowledge; thank the Guru who lighted your path.

"One love, one heart; lets get together and feel all right" - Song by Bob Marley



One love, one heart
Let's get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One love)
Hear the children crying (One heart)
Sayin', "Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right."
Sayin', "Let's get together and feel all right."
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One love)
There is one question I'd really love to ask (One heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
Believe me

One love, one heart
Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One love)
So shall it be in the end (One heart)
Alright, "Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right."
"Let's get together and feel all right."
One more thing

Let's get together to fight this Holy Armageddon (One love)
So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One song)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation

Sayin', "One love, one heart
Let's get together and feel all right."
I'm pleading to mankind (One love)
Oh, Lord (One heart) Whoa.

"Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right."
Let's get together and feel all right.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Music is like a bouquet of flowers

In the past couple of days I have been sharing some of my new music (Prem, That's Amore) with some of my Russian angels. This evening I received a gift from one of them named Svetlana (http://www.myspace.com/543574422), and here is what the gift was: a picture of a bouquet:


This wonderful gift reminded me of how to sing of oneness, and that is to share your love with your friends. When you passionately send something that you have made with love with friends, you have gone beyond the human boundaries of love. For to love is only human, but to share your love is angelic. Because it inspires others to love more.

What is really beautiful about Svetlana is that she reminded me that love needs no language. My music is like a bouquet of flowers that conveys love better than words. No wonder there are so many people who do not understand Brij Bhasha (the language of my singing), and quite a few who have a limited understanding of English (the language of my poetry), but they still see my love clearly. What is more magical? I am grateful for angels like Svetlana in my life.

Edgar Allan Poe - Alone

In the following poem, Poe talks about his troubled childhood in foster care with his father portrayed as a demon. It is amazing that in these circumstances he became one of the best poets in US history.



“ALONE”

By Edgar Allan Poe


From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Loneliness is the most terrible poverty - Quotes by Mother Teresa


Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
Mother Teresa

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
Mother Teresa

Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
Mother Teresa

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.
Mother Teresa

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
Mother Teresa

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Mother Teresa

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Mother Teresa

If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
Mother Teresa

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
Mother Teresa

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
Mother Teresa

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Mother Teresa

Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given.
Mother Teresa

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.
Mother Teresa

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
Mother Teresa

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
Mother Teresa

Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.
Mother Teresa

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
Mother Teresa

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.
Mother Teresa

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
Mother Teresa

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson - A Nation's Strength


What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

April Morone ('Annika Doe'): The Shining Hour - A Poem

April Morone ('Annika Doe') is today my angel, not just for writing this poem that I love, but also for leading and creating a loving community of poets. Thanks April! The purpose of life is to sing, and angels like April are here to teach me how to sing with others harmoniously. Here is her beautiful poem, "The Shining Hour":

"The Shining Hour"

I look out at the crowd
And see
Everyone, looking at me
Expectedly,

And I slightly tremble,
nervously,
Behind that beautiful, red velvet curtain
Praying to God a plea

I hear "Fur Elise" played elegantly
The pianist putting her all into it, completely
And I then give myself into its melody to calm me
Then take deep breathes as I'm signaled to get ready

I nervously walk up to take my place
At center stage
And as I start to play
Calmness settles in and stays

Because I am enveloped in beauty-
Music a beauty that only I can see-
such sweetness that I hear as it pours out of me
into the well crafted piano keys

I give into that beauty,
And put all of me
Into it, effortlessly,
As my hands caress these piano keys


With the notes and emotions that pour out of me,
All else is gone away from me-
The sights and sounds of people looking at me,
The shimmering of my silk dress and jewelry,

As the light shines down, softly-
Only those looking at me
notice this subtlety
because I am too immersed in my poetry [of music]


Then, I finish the piece
and am brought back by my family and niece
All clapping for me
It is my shining hour before everybody

I smile and silently take it all in
noting that music is the real one to win
for without it,
I am not complete, within


This is Music's shining hour

Author: April Morone ('Annika Doe')