Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Peace


Antonio Balestra, Justice and Peace Embracing, ca. 1700.jpg
Antonio Balestra, Justice and Peace Embracing, ca. 1700

Mercy and truth meet together: righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:10

If you look at human society, it is very easy, of course, to compare our warfare and territoriality with the chimpanzee. But that's only one side of what we do. We also trade, we intermarry, we allow each other to travel through our territory. There's an enormous amount of cooperation. Indeed, among hunter-gatherers, peace is common 90 percent of the time, and war takes place only a small part of the time. . . .
Jane Goodall

Without peace, all other dreams vanish and are reduced to ashes.
Jawaharlal Nehru

File:Colorful origami Peace Day poster.jpg

source


If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.

She wanted so to be tranquil, to be someone who took walks in the late-afternoon sun, listening to the birds and crickets and feeling the whole world breathe. Instead, she lived in her head like a madwoman locked in a tower, hearing the wind howling through her hair and waiting for someone to come and rescue her from feeling things so deeply that her bones burned.



Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1834)



Midweek Motif ~ Peace


Yearning for peace, I ask:

Where do we have peace in our lives?  How can we ~ as humans, as poets ~ help peace spread?  To whom would we give a peace prize?

Your Challenge:  Make peace the mood and motif of your new poem. Here is more food for thought:





John Lennon peace mural wall, Praha.(1993)


        
by Rabindranath Tagore, 
(Recipient of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature)

          (translated by Sumana Roy)

Grief there is, and Death; Partings char.
Yet Peace and Bliss and the Infinite stir.
Flows life ceaselessly, beam the sun, moon and stars
In striking tints and hues Spring shows up in bowers.
Waves ebb waves rise.
Wilt flowers and bloom buds.
Decays not, ends not, never ever depletes,
Unto that wholeness the mind begs a retreat.


        (The Song is Here sung by Lopamudra Mitra)



"Possibilities" by Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska
(Recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.)


(Recipient of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Literature.)
Let us go now into the forest.
Trees will pass by your face,
and I will stop and offer you to them,
but they cannot bend down.
The night watches over its creatures,
except for the pine trees that never change:
the old wounded springs that spring
blessed gum, eternal afternoons.
If they could, the trees would lift you
and carry you from valley to valley,
and you would pass from arm to arm,
a child running
from father to father.


For You

The peace of great doors be for you.
Wait at the knobs, at the panel oblongs.
Wait for the great hinges.
The peace of great churches be for you,
Where the players of loft pipe organs
Practice old lovely fragments, alone.
The peace of great books be for you,
Stains of pressed clover leaves on pages,
Bleach of the light of years held in leather.
The peace of great prairies be for you.
Listen among windplayers in cornfields,
The wind learning over its oldest music.
The peace of great seas be for you.
Wait on a hook of land, a rock footing
For you, wait in the salt wash.
The peace of great mountains be for you,
The sleep and the eyesight of eagles,
Sheet mist shadows and the long look across.
The peace of great hearts be for you,
Valves of the blood of the sun,
Pumps of the strongest wants we cry.
The peace of great silhouettes be for you,
Shadow dancers alive in your blood now,
Alive and crying, “Let us out, let us out.”
The peace of great changes be for you.
Whisper, Oh beginners in the hills.
Tumble, Oh cubs—tomorrow belongs to you.
The peace of great loves be for you.
Rain, soak these roots; wind, shatter the dry rot.
Bars of sunlight, grips of the earth, hug these.
The peace of great ghosts be for you,
Phantoms of night-gray eyes, ready to go
To the fog-star dumps, to the fire-white doors.
Yes, the peace of great phantoms be for you,
Phantom iron men, mothers of bronze,
Keepers of the lean clean breeds.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and 

visit others in the spirit of the community—
Next week Sumana's Midweek Motif will be "Rising Above."

Monday, September 18, 2017

LIFE OF A POET - PAUL SCRIBBLES

Buckle up, kids, for this feature is going to leave you breathless. Paul Scribbles, who writes at his blog of the same name, is a new Toad at our sister site, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, a new bartender at dVerse Poets Pub, and he has made forays into our Pantry recently. I knew that Paul leads a very interesting life, so I asked him if he would favour us with a visit. Pour yourself a beverage of your choice and settle in. Prepare to be blown away!






Sherry: Paul, it is so nice to be meeting with you. Would you give us a snapshot of the poet at home?


Paul: I currently have a couple of bases both of which are rural. One is in an old hunting lodge in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. This is a venue for the various events I host and manage, (Drum Circle Facilitation Trainings, Music Medicine Trainings, Mindfulness retreats), and also a place where I volunteer in a Music and Arts capacity for a charity called Wiston Lodge and a Community Interest Company called Tinto Music and Arts. I get to actually live in this place when I’m there.


Wiston Lodge

My other base is in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire where my life partner Nessa, who is a Head Teacher of a Primary school, (5-11yrs) lives. We have had quite the journey. She is my rock, (a soft and gentle one).

Nessa

Hebden is a lovely old Mill Town with a large artistic community.


This is the family home, number 24, where we raised our three children, (2 girls and a boy now aged 32, 28, 25). They are all up and away doing their own thing. There were 3 cats along the way but all are now buried in the ground opposite the house.

Wherever I am, I spend time outside with the land, be it walking quietly, taking photographs or doing my music medicine practice. (Essentially playing music in nature). I have a sitting Zen meditation practice, too, that comes and goes with my moods and the seasons, but has been there on and off for many a moon. I play guitar too when I can find the time.

Ness and I spend the summers together doing festivals and walking in wild places.

Sherry: It sounds like a wonderfully rich and fulfilling life. You have had a fascinating career of facilitating community drumming circles since 1999. Tell us about it. We are all ears!

Paul: After we married in 1985, I worked in a variety of jobs to get a foothold on the property ladder. (I’d dropped out of university and had been unemployed for 2 years when we discovered Ness was pregnant in her final year of study. The classic shotgun wedding ensued). I eventually found myself working as a buyer for an electronics firm making Ionisers to clean the air. I was poached from there into the world of electronic sales where I stayed until 1999. Outside of work I was drumming with bands and doing a bit of teaching/workshop leading. My interest had developed from kit playing to drumming from other cultures, particularly West Africa. 

During 1999 I attended a drum circle being facilitated by Arthur Hull and had an experience that would change the course of my life. I saw a practice being demonstrated that pulled all of the threads of my life so far into one ball. I quit my job and was training with Arthur by the summer of 2000. I had decided to follow my bliss. 

Since that time I have facilitated thousands of circles all over the world and become the producer of the UK trainings. I am also a Village Music Circles (Arthur’s Company) certified Drum Circle Facilitator. I’m very proud of that piece of paper because I really had to work for it over a number of years. In October of this year I will become part of a small global team of Trainers who will continue Arthur’s work as he prepares to step back a little. This will be a big moment in my life.

Drum Circles are a tool for building community, for making connections or building bridges, as I like to say. I called my company Rhythmbridge for two reasons. I lived in a town with a famous bridge (see earlier) and I thought the metaphor for what I did in my work was apt. I’m also using storytelling with rhythm as a major part of my education program and am now training teachers worldwide to do the same with these Expressive Rhythm Stories.





Sherry: I love stories about people following their bliss! What is it like, in a drumming circle, as you wrote on your blog, “when the music becomes a living, breathing entity”. Tell us about your motivation to “serve your community and share your bliss."

Paul: Being in the middle of a community drum circle is an astonishing experience. We are talking drop in crowds here normally, so a whole range of ages and abilities, including professionals at times. Without going too deeply into the mechanics of it I’d say this about the Drum Circle. It might look from the outside like someone is ‘conducting’ what is happening. In reality the opposite is taking place. 

The facilitator is more of a conduit for what the group is offering and by ‘getting out of his/her own way’ they can allow a place of service to emerge. You are there for them, not for you, and by allowing them to feed you rhythmical information you are then in a position to help them to help themselves. It is hugely symbiotic, that living breathing being, if you like, until the point where they don’t need you to facilitate anything anymore and you can just sit and play as a part of the circle. 

The funny thing is that the circle ‘philosophy’ has started rippling out into my whole life. Service is a core value for me in all that I do.

I’m just back from a festival I have been running drum circles at since 1999. I did my very first one there before I had trained, having read Arthur’s first book. This year all the chairs were filled before we even unloaded the drums. People just love them. 

There are always moments of connection and this year was no exception. A young boy of perhaps 12 was playing around the edge of the circle with a cowbell (one of the most powerful facilitator’s tools). We had a bit of rhythmical fun during a stop start sequence when he would carry on at the stop point. I walked over to him with a mock serious face and asked him his name to which he replied whilst pointing at his friend, ‘He did it.’ ‘That’s a strange name,’ I replied, and he laughed. I then introduced ‘He did it’ to the circle and showed him how to facilitate a beginning for a new piece which he did magnificently. His smile afterwards was priceless.

Sherry: I love that story! When did you begin writing poetry? Is there a person in your life you feel had a significant influence in your becoming a poet? Can you see, looking back, things in your childhood which influenced your becoming a poet?

Paul: I wrote some verse at school during English Lit lessons and my teacher Mr Whittle was complimentary and said I should keep going with it. My first attempts at really writing were in my late teens. I was raised in an Irish home, albeit in England, and I think the songs and stories I was exposed to offered me a good ground for lyrical development. I’ve kept journals on and off through my life, musings and observations which also act as compost for growing poems in.

Sherry: What do you love about poetry?

Paul: I would probably answer this question in different ways on different days. Today, I love that it is immediate, at least the way I write it. Open the poetry door and let it out. I don’t judge what appears and do little in the way of editing. It’s not quite Kerouac’s stream of consciousness, but there is a nod to that idea in my words and my method. I can sit and pen a poem in seconds that says something I can’t say with prose. I don’t really understand how that works, but I trust it. I don’t always feel the need to explain what it is about and I think that even if you do, the reader will make of it what they will. Sometimes the meaning is obvious anyway, other times less so. Sometimes I’m left wondering why that word or phrase appeared myself, but it usually makes some kind of sense.

Over time I think I am slowly developing a voice that is very much mine.

I like to read poetry that addresses the magic and the mystery. You’ll find Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Whitman, Yeats, E E Cummings, William Stafford and Wendell Berry on my bookshelf.

Sherry: Wonderful choices! Would you like to share two or three poems with us? And tell us a bit about each?


There is a flow

a kind of unfolding

a wave like thing

that will


if you step aside from it

and from yourself


proceed outwardly

and inwardly

at once


it brings in its wake

beauty

marvel

and awe


and the knowledge that


it has precisely

nothing

whatsoever

to do with you


you may witness it

be touched by it

be held momentarily

in the beloved’s gaze

in this gift of grace


and


when this occurs

this rapturous blessing

that falls gently upon you

as light rain in a parched land


become as open to it


as that flower which waits in hope

as that embrace for an old friend

as a heart burst by a lovers touch

as a tear for a loss too deep for words


bring it fully to your being

and let it overcome you

so that you no longer are

without it


for all the senses of it

will expand your without-ness


so that when this grace has passed


a shadow borne of light

will linger


causing you to smile

knowingly

and in remembrance


of that which binds us all


Grace is a poem about that moment when you feel held in the cradle of an experience bigger than yourself, bigger than all of us, when the hand of the Great Mystery is at play.



whispers of wind

rustling trees

birdsong at dusk

rhythm of my footsteps

padding on the grass


frog jumps in pond

splashes in my consciousness


a ripple of thought

at the frequency of now


stillness falls over me


cloak of magic


feather light


nada brahma*


[Notes: *In the beginning was sound, the word, and the word was “God.” Yet we complicate the original meaning of the words – forgetting our root, deaf to the sound. Forget that the whole point of our “uni-verse” is to bring us towards the oneness.

My father said, “This sound [vibration of God] is the source of all manifestation….The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole universe.” Who is not listening?]

Ding is two things. One, it is an expression my teacher Arthur uses to describe a light-bulb moment (realization) and two, it is the sound of my mindfulness bell bringing me into the present. The poem is about being in the moment and there is a nod to the Master Basho in there. He is one of my inspirations. I also introduce the phrase Nada Brahma, which has significant meaning for me.


[The choka (長歌 long poem) was the epic, story telling form of Japanese poetry from the 1st to the 13th century, known as the Waka period. I have used the 5-7-5 form with a 7-7 closing.]

woken by the call

of the birds and warm sunlight

sleep had been deep and

disturbing this night just past

so with a shadow

cast by the window light and

by my self’s inner

i begin my day’s journey

coffee fuels me and

in my unwashed vehicle

i drive past folk who

wash cars now it is sunny

i head for my place

though I claim no ownership

just a deep kinship

there i own nothing at all

not even a self

composing this poem i

stop in lay by’s and

make notes from which I now type

Tinto Hill languid

long and green lies to my left

the fells of Coulter

hazy and grey to my right

indicator tock

adds rhythm to my write

just so beautiful

I wonder where is terror

now in this moment

my dark consciousness says ‘here’

the spring sun is wearing

a petticoat of winter

and warms then bites

the daffodils for tourists

cheer me on my way

trumpeting the way ahead

in the fields today

every fleece is golden

i park up the van

a single leaf greets me there

se-ren-dip-i-tous

browned and treeless it dances

movements of freedom

or loss – i am not sure

up on the fell tops

the farmer is sending clouds

up to the deep blue

as he burns moorland heather

trees cut recently

weep themselves sap filled tears

i hear the birdsong

wonder is it alarming

the trill of the call

and the baa’ing of the sheep

offer a soundtrack

syncing breath with my footsteps

fly visits notebook

and seen – lives to tell tales

this day i will walk

to get to nowhere at all

flash of memory

guides me on and crow cawn-firms

sweet burning heather

fills nostril and labors breath

smoke made sunglasses

filter warm vanilla tones

a biblical sky

brings my mind to darker things

is our destruction

a conscious act of rebirth

as with the burning

of the heather above me

decisions. choices.

i see a new way

no footprint of mine is there

i know not its end

but follow it I must now

the path leads nowhere

or seems so until it does

i follow it on

ridge offering light

away from the smoke and fire

delivering me

to another place in time

open swathes of green

i feel my edges expand

slate blue layered fells

fading to infinity

what can I allow

where do i begin and end

shadow clouds cross fells

change is dancing before me

decisions.choices.

birdsong without me in it

at least i think so

crow again calls long and low

here we all are now

bird and man and fell and cloud

is this it i think

and of course it is not so

shadows from the world

are thrown at me from fells fire

i empty myself

into you my earth mother

and i am burdened

by the pain you have to bear

it is a long way

to get to nowhere at all

patterns man has made

sidle up to nature’s art

in both of these things

i see a deep and present

beauty that tells me

we have a chance of changing

why do we not see

decisions are our choices

scattered fur on grass

tells a tale of life and death

fire’s breath births seed

heather’s Hiroshima ghosts

curl grotesque and black

dust of ash puffs off my boots

all seems bleak but then

shadows fly with twist and shout

crow flies oozing fun

here i can see with both eyes

not media eye

nature herself is singing

my heart to itself

i am witnessing dead bone

brought to life by flame

death is not the end

planted seeds of bright new hope

all things must pass on

save for the song of this land

water’s dappled light

pathways wrapped in shady trees

earth forms hide in view

answers nature will provide

to those who will see

patterns that are underneath

the soil and the soul

whispering to your deep mind

this voice is ancient

resonating within you

howling in a brave new world
This poem is observational and a story about a walk (journey) which I took, that opened up an internal narrative about the state of the world and our place in it. I used the Choka form because it just lends itself so well to this kind of journey poem.

Sherry: I love this poem so much, as it touches upon the beauty of the earth and our grief and acknowledgment of Mother Earth's pain, both of which I also feel very keenly. I especially love the title: "Hope Gets In Your Eyes". We all need to keep hope shining there. 

I have a favourite poem of yours I would like to include here, in case some of our members missed it. It expresses so beautifully feelings many of us share about Mother Earth, and our place in it in these times.





grieving for that which i had let go of

and never knew i had let go of 

until now 

grieving for time i cannot get back

as i never knew i had given it away

until now

grieving for a dream that somehow could

have been but was not 

until now 

wishing for a world that dances in beauty

and holds  its people

tenderly in love

but has not

does not

will not

until when

when will we hold ourselves dear 



all my relations



when we will honour all of creation



all my relations 



Father Sky

Mother Earth

and all who dwell between



all my relations 



when will we learn

to sing our song

of silence



all my relations



to drum out the rhythm

of our

deepest

heart connection



all my relations 



to come together with a

melodious

roar 



all my relations



to stand together in

harmony 



all my relations 



as if a great tree

moving in the moment

strong but flexible

present but fluid

rooted but free



all my relations



my heart bleeds

for the world i live in today

red tears stain this Earth

dropped tears 

of beauty

of re~union

of re~membering

of re~minder



all my relations



today is that day

call in beauty

call in sacred community

call in love

call in the medicine of our souls

call in the music



all my relations



Sherry: Truly so beautiful, Paul. I feel and mourn with every line. Thank you for your very beautiful poems, Paul.

Tell us a little about your 26-day Drum Trek across the UK, won't you?


Paul Dear Photography


Paul: This was a journey inspired by a late night/early morning camp fire conversation at a Stainsby Festival. The land upon which the festival has been held for almost 50 years (50th next July 2018) was possibly coming up for sale and the trustees wanted to put themselves in a position to bid for it if and when it did. At the same time Tinto Music and Arts had just come into being and I wanted to support them too. All sorts of suggestions were being made about fundraising and marathons were high on the list. I didn’t fancy running 26 miles with a drum but thought the idea of a 26 day trek with the drums might catch on. 

I put the idea out on Facebook and within 24 hours I had 26 hosts lined up all over the UK. Drum Trek became a reality. John O’Groats to Lands End (or the reverse) is a popular charity route for all sorts of folk and is about 985 miles. My journey turned out to be not so straightforward and I covered 3500 miles and facilitated almost 35 drum circles in the 26 days. I raised £8000 to split between the two charities and had an experience that will stay with me forever and which I will write about. (I’m thinking 26 linked Choka’s in a book along with my photos). 

I did blog and vlog daily and that material plus the many hours of the road ahead I filmed will provide the platform from which the book will be born.

As with all journeys, you meet yourself on the road and also connect up with the bigger picture and, in my case, a wider drum circle. It was magical.

Sherry: It sounds completely extraordinary! You are rather amazing, Paul.  I am also interested in your Beeline project, your walk to raise awareness of the plight of the bees. Would you tell us a bit about it?



Paul Dear Photography


Paul: One of the directors of Tinto Music and Arts is a woman called Meg Beresford. Meg is a gardener and lifelong peace campaigner and activist (CND, Friends of the Earth, etc). She lived on Iona for a while and runs the local Sangha where folk can meet and sit in mindfulness together in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She came up with the idea of a walk to raise awareness of the plight of the bees worldwide and so we sat and worked out a route that took us from Edinburgh to Wiston via Bee friendly gardens, community gardens, botanical gardens and herb gardens.

We walked for 9 days to cover the 80km (Meg is 80 this year) and raised £2500 to help us continue to put on events to focus on the humble bumble and all the other bees and pollinators. We are ongoing with this project. [The link to the website is here.]

Sherry: Oh my goodness, we could do an entire interview on Meg alone. I love her without even knowing her. Paul, you lead a most fascinating life.

I resonate with your writings about our collective grief over what is happening to the planet. This hits a nerve for me, as my own grief is almost more than I can bear. And yet we must bear it.

Paul: This quote kinda wraps it up for me.

“Surrendering to your sorrow has the power to heal the deepest of wounds.”  Sobonofu Some

I feel a deep sorrow rising in me and others in the world, and I want to find ways to work with that.

I think we must face up to the realities being presented in the world. Species becoming extinct at an alarming rate, climate change surging forward, wars, famine...it’s depressing and potentially disempowering for people, myself included. Sharing that feeling communally has great power. I have suffered with depression myself throughout my life and I find the approach of ‘being with’ rather than ‘running from’ is very powerful. The writing of Pema Chodron in particular has helped me in this area.

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” Pema Chodron

also

“Grief is not a form of negotiation with Death, it is a generous love letter to Life.” Azul Valerie Thome

Sherry: Thank you, Paul. This all speaks very strongly to me. When did you find the world of online poetry? Do you feel it has had an impact on your work? What is the best thing, for you, about the online forum?

Paul: I started Paul Scribbles as a Wordpress blog to help develop and put my writing ‘out there’ in February 2013. I wrote some prose and short stories mostly through following the Daily Prompt and then finally cut those ties and just wrote. I drifted around in the internet backwaters for a couple of years and then started to post in dVerse in Oct 2016 and then over at Real Toads (where we met) in Jan 2017. 

I’m now one of the Bartenders at dVerse and a member of the Toads team.

The last 8 months have been a poetry whirlwind. I’ve written far more regularly and I have benefited enormously from having writers that I admire in the online groups offer me positive commentaries about my work. My default setting is usually “I’m not really a ....poet, musician, photographer....it’s just something I enjoy doing.” I’m learning to recognize that I am all of those things.  I think being a part of the online poetry community has really helped me with my confidence as a writer. 

I would not be getting interviewed here, for example, if we had not worked ‘In Tandem’ over at Real Toads, which was, I have to say, a hugely enjoyable experience. I will have 3 or 4 of my poems published in the dVerse anthology soon (not the ones I chose here) and one of my photos will adorn the cover. Blimey!!!

Sherry: LOL. I enjoyed working with you in tandem, too. It sort of blew my mind, the way that poem took off. And yay! re the dVerse anthology!

How long have you been taking your wonderful photos, Paul? [Kids, check out Paul's photography site here.]


Paul: I started shooting film when I was 18 years old (I’ll be 54 this year) with a Pentax Me Super, which I still have. I shot only film until about 6 years ago when I tip-toed into digital. I mostly use the dslr these days. I am happiest out in nature, but I do like a good portrait.

Photography is very much ‘me time’ and slows me down to the point where I see everything differently. It is a kind of meditation. Here are some of my personal favourites.






























Sherry: I love your photos very much. Thanks for sharing these. You sound extremely busy with your creative pursuits. What other things might we find you doing when you aren’t writing or drumming or trekking?

Paul: In my spare time, as I mentioned earlier, I really like to pick up my guitar. I just took a DADGAD workshop and so have a new tuning to experiment with. I love to walk with or without the camera in the mountains, along the coast, woodlands...just in nature really. I like a good movie, live music (playing and watching), dancing with Nessa and watching football (Soccer). I grew up in Manchester and have supported Manchester City since my dad took me to my first game aged 6. I do love catching up with the kids when they are in town too.

Sherry: A lovely and loving life, well-lived. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Paul: Thank you for having me along, Sherry. It’s a new forum to me, and I hope to spend more time here in the coming months. 

Sherry: We hope to enjoy much more of your work in the months to come, Paul. Thank you for this very lovely - and inspiring! - look at your life. You show how much one person can do in the world.

Wasn't this amazing, my friends? Each poet's path is so unique. I never know, when starting out, what story will be revealed, but they always blow me away. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!