Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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What is your poetry?

Poetry communicates what nothing other than poetry can. We all have those unspoken stories, the resounding silence and the brilliance of darkness that defy the structures of prose. Some of us can have poetry to speak for us, like Suheir does. Some of us do not have it and read it to know that someone else has spoken for us.

Leonard Cohen said, 'Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.'

How well is your life burning? How much ash did it gather? What is your poetry?

Dedicated to my TED friend Jim Moonan.

  • Jun 17 2013: My poetry is in one of my poems- 'I am still alive" it goes like this:

    I Am Still Alive

    I am at my learning stage
    will be learning and experimenting all the way
    Don’t judge me as a success or a failure
    I am yet not complete
    I am still alive

    Don’t record my journey I have traveled
    or will be traveling
    Record the way I have traveled
    and developed myself as a tourist
    Don’t judge me what I have seen
    or what is still unseen
    I am yet not complete
    I am still alive

    I have seen the rise and a deep fall
    tried to rub the past from my canvass
    but impression was there on the great wall
    Don’t judge me by those sketches
    by the colours and marks on the wall
    I am yet not complete
    I am still alive

    I am evidence of many miracles
    read many springs and many falls
    yet everyday something surprise me
    play with me, make me child
    Don’t judge me with my tears
    with feel of many smiles
    I am yet not complete
    I am still alive

    If still you want to judge me
    judge me by love I spread
    the way I touch the lives
    The moments of my awareness
    The depth and thinking high
    Though I am yet not complete
    Though I am still alive

    The Mindfood Chef
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      Jun 18 2013: I really like this poem. I won't judge you as you are alive and on your jounry. Great expression in your poem.
  • Jun 16 2013: She calls us undefined friends
    Because a label would undermine things
    The minute you tie strings you become
    Highly strung
    Trying to say the right things
    And what started off with drums often ends with violins
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      Jun 16 2013: But I stick out
      Like a misfit note
      In a quartet

      Drums or violins
      In the end
      She listens to only what she likes
  • Jun 12 2013: My poetry is the songs I write and construction projects. Creating something new from an emotion or need fills me with delight and can keep me high for several hours or days. There is rhyme and fluid motion to building stuff that people that do not build do not understand.

    Poetry is not just written or spoken words and that can be a fence or wall that prevents people from experiencing it. A poet can describe a forest or mountain beautifully but if it does not inspire you to visit a forest or mountain it is wasted.
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      Jun 12 2013: I appreciate your poetry. You are right, it doesn't have to be written words. I hope you have noticed I did not go by the formal meaning of poetry.
      As a civil engineer I can also appreciate your poetry in construction projects. Poetry, in a sense is a construction too.
      Thanks. :)
  • Jun 10 2013: I hope when you remember
    And tell new friends of me
    That you tell them that you love me
    And for all eternity

    I always held you tight
    And twice i let you go
    But i held onto the memories
    More than you'll ever know

    I smile every time i think of you
    But i miss you more each day
    Because you'll always be the best
    In every single way

    I miss my lovely grass
    And flowers that never settle
    But ill always miss you
    Because i love you petal
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    Jun 8 2013: Big Aeroplanes

    There were dreams
    that all had wings
    I flew them like a kite

    They came to me
    in the evening
    and left before daylight

    the rest is complicated
    so foggy and so dense

    There is no house
    no dog, no swing
    No white picket fence

    Between the sheets
    the darkness
    is everything I own
    a tire lump of flesh
    so naked and alone.

    The dreams have turned
    to memories
    its there that we still dance

    I drink some wine
    and smile....
    fixed, as if in a trance

    Yes, I do still think of you
    every time it rains
    every time I hear that song
    or see big aeroplanes.

    T A Hoppe 2012
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      Jun 9 2013: Eloquent and sublime all at once. Thank you.
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        Jun 9 2013: Thank you for the kind words. This is a wonderful thought to invite us to share these poems.
        I add one more.

        butter my roll, before you go

        lying on clean sheets
        I am wrestling with fat pillows
        That will not hold me back

        The water's drip & drip,
        wet outside the window
        drips that count a time
        the wind blows in the ruffled curtains
        in and out

        I am lying to a woman
        and she wants to wrestle on clean sheets
        with big pllows. and have curtains like these.
        Curtains that fly
        in and the breeze of the moon.

        and I am lying with the woman
        she is wrestling with choices
        she has clean sheets and the freshest breezes
        that blow in off the ocean

        tonight, I say "Take off your shoe, we'll dance"
        pick out a song we know, let's sing along

        she orders chocolates and green tea
        the birds will sing if we are quiet.
        and the branches will sway
        back and forth

        smoke spins around in my head
        Turn the stars on. the sky is charcole.
        Drink some wine. I will draw you
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          Jun 9 2013: If you are not already, you have all the ingredients of a poet, Theodore. We are lucky to discover you ! :)
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    May 27 2013: I am so happy to have found this conversation. Thank you Pabitra. My life moves so unpredictably, that it takes poetry to provide the rudder needed to at least give me some sustaining direction.

    Here is a poem I am working on. I wrote much if it in the car, heading to Yale University, thinking about the week that lay ahead of me and the fact that I would soon be immersed in a child's world and asked to lead it. Yale is ensconced in the city of New Haven, a city that lives in a parasitic relationship with the university. I wouldn't want to live there...

    This poem is not about anything in particular, just thoughts I am having....

    Highway Ramble
    “Who is the third who walks always beside you?” – T.S. Eliot

    What should we do?
    Who will arrive and take us through the eye of the storm?
    The quiet storm that drags us on the glacial slide back to the sea?

    Who hurls the rocks that rain down on us
    From some infinitesimal spot in the cosmos?
    Who will harvest what blooms in the unattended garden
    To give us nectar or death by hallucination?

    We wait. We listen. We feel the void
    And it aches for filling.
    Within our limits we imagine a god
    In our image, a god that gives us nothing
    To hold onto as the storm descends - save our freedom of choice.
    In all religions there is a sadness that anchors the faith-filled against the storm.
    We tell ourselves to be brave,
    Stay inside the arms of gospel truths,
    Burn our fires, collect our ashes
    To spread amongst the garbage and the flowers
    To cast back into the sea that bore us
    Or place in a jar by the door.
    Who? Who is it for?

    Truths, like the patterns in a child's kaleidoscope,
    Dance into oblivion.
    The men are useless eunuchs
    Victims of their own violence
    Knowing yet not knowing that
    Peace, at least, can be found
    In the arms of a woman.

    Staring out to sea
    Her soft skin moistens
    As if the very womb that begat her
    Has come to take her back
    And release her again on another shore.
    What should we do when she arrives?

    May 27, 2013
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    May 22 2013: Poetry, like fiction and the other arts, is a cooperative creative venture: the poet weaves his/her magic carpet of words, and the reader creatively transforms this pattern into new feelings, thoughts, emotions, ideas ... The great poets are the ones who are able to evoke such creative participation by the reader. And the reader must be prepared and willing to enter into the poem, not to divine the poet's meaning, but to create the poem's meaning to oneself. Without a creative reader the poem is only half created.

    Many of my favorite great poems are at my web site:
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    May 21 2013: For now, my poetry is motherhood. It is the most discombobulated haiku I've ever written.
  • May 20 2013: I think you are spot on with your description of how poetry communicates what nothing else can.

    As a poet, myself, I am continually drawn to writing poems that help me articulate felt but unsaid ideas and emotions. Reading your question, I was reminded of Seamus Heaney's Personal Helicon: "I rhyme / To see myself, to set the darkness echoing." and Emily Dickinson's wonderful quote: “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

    In times of crisis, I have found more comfort and solace in poetry than anything else. Poetry is a place I return to out of love as much as necessity.
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      May 20 2013: I took all the descriptions
      Of the world and life
      To sit at your feet
      And mean nothing
      A poem is born in that moment.

      Is it a place like that?
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    Jun 18 2013: all men are little boys

    And as a little boy we were greatly influenced by our mothers.
    We ask our mama’s where did we come from?
    And, what is love?
    Very often we tell mama we want to marry a girl just like her.
    Then, just like that, we are no longer little boys
    But grown up men,
    And yet, we still are little boys in our heart
    Especially when we want to be the hero for the woman we love.
    It seems almost impossible, to us men, that a woman can say,
    “I don’t understand men.”
    Because, we men are very simple
    And our mothers trained us.
    As little boys, we cry just as hard as little girls,
    Perhaps louder and more often,
    And yet, as we grow—
    Big boys don’t cry
    Except in our hearts, but we don’t show it.
    How can it be that women don’t understand us?
    All we want to do is please them and make them happy.
    When we see a woman we desire and want,
    We immediately become afraid that we will be rejected.
    Some of us can’t bear the thought of it.
    Others of us just pretend and hide our fear.
    Oh how often I have fallen apart inside my heart
    And how many times I’ve hidden the fear?
    Oh how often I wondered whether or not I am even lovable?
    And yet, I continue on—
    Looking for the success to overcome my many failures
    And hoping I am not laughed at or made fun of
    Because I don’t know whether or not I can bear it?
    Oh mamma, where are you?
    I feel so alone and afraid so often.
    My tears are everywhere, and nobody even notices.
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      Jun 19 2013: Thanks Jeff. I have never seen a big boy without even a bigger mamma :) I remained a mamma's boy myself.
  • Jun 16 2013: -
    In self-conscious fear
    Of a feared self-consciousness to be
    I died before I lived
    And I´m not done killing me

    - Usama Mustafa Kamil.
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      Jun 16 2013: Nice. Particularly the last two lines.
    • Jun 17 2013: I love this and feel as if I can relate
      • Jun 17 2013: Thank you :). I think many people can relate. The basic idea is a pondering upon the alternative roads of livelihood that have been extinguished by hesitating excessively. The funny thing is how we justify the decision to stall by being afraid of the consequences as they are seen from our current point of view - as if we really did have full control of our destinies and hadn't been the victims of the recurrent ambushment of serendipity.
  • Jun 11 2013: One of my all time favorite poems...

    One Art
    By Elizabeth Bishop

    The art of losing isn't hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn't hard to master.

    Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

    I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
    The art of losing isn't hard to master.

    I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
    I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

    - Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
    the art of losing's not too hard to master
    though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
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    Jun 7 2013: For those who aspire to learn the universe
    Or even join humans at the rank elite
    You must simply have the wisdom
    To know your moment
    And gracefully watch it flee
    Knowing all that you can say is
    I was a part of it
    You were a part of it faithful dog
    We were a part of it all
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    Jun 6 2013: - Emily Dickinson

    I'm nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
    They'd banish us, you know.

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public, like a frog
    To tell your name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!
  • Jun 6 2013: The Road Not Taken

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    Robert Frost
  • Jun 6 2013: Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree".

    "And after a long time
    the boy came back again.
    "I am sorry, Boy,"
    said the tree," but I have nothing
    left to give you -
    My apples are gone."
    "My teeth are too weak
    for apples," said the boy.
    "My branches are gone,"
    said the tree. " You
    cannot swing on them - "
    "I am too old to swing
    on branches," said the boy.
    "My trunk is gone, " said the tree.
    "You cannot climb - "
    "I am too tired to climb" said the boy.
    "I am sorry," sighed the tree.
    "I wish that I could give you something....
    but I have nothing left.
    I am just an old stump.
    I am sorry...."
    "I don't need very much now," said the boy.
    "just a quiet place to sit and rest.
    I am very tired."
    "Well," said the tree, straightening
    herself up as much as she could,
    "well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting
    Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
    And the boy did.
    And the tree was happy."

    Here is the original spoken version:
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    Jun 3 2013: What is it that fills your mind?
    That stirs the essence of your being
    That tightly holds today together
    That has always your full attention

    Will it calm the raging tide?
    And sit you quietly to one side
    Or will it make of you a moment
    That will make your presence known

    Will it take you someplace else?
    Where the time need not some filling
    And the words are not remembered
    To the anthems that are sung

    Will you envision what should be?
    Upon the stage in which you play
    And misplace that which is
    Within the world that you partake

    Is there peace within your mind?
    In the sounds that echo wide
    From the orchards and the tubes
    For the chorus of your making
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    May 31 2013: The city is in ruins
    The ashes fall like snow
    The survivors look for an escape
    But there is nowhere to go

    From the toppled skyscrapers
    To the underground subway
    We wish it was better
    No rain will wash it away

    Our life here is hard
    There isn't much to eat
    The ruined structures hardly provide shelter
    For our people to sleep

    I put on my coat, load my rifle
    And crack open the vault door
    The cool night air greets me
    The wasteland implores

    Out in the darkness
    The scavengers lie in wait
    Their eyes glow from the moonlight
    Bringing with them, ill fate

    I slowly close the heavy vault
    poise my rifle, prepared to fight
    This is Metro, the ruined city
    And this is my last night...
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    May 31 2013: so fresh for future times is this historic soul;
    because life drips with glorious unknowns,
    I want to labor over every shadow
    and cover in gilded light of knowing.

    Mysteries are invitations to delight in something new.
    I want to embrace them all,
    savor every atom and love it all til I burn away.

    "Everything that is burnable must burn,"
    Kirsch assured.
    If that is my life-my poetry-
    then let me rise, my curiousity a legacy,
    a phoenix to enlighten the future
    as to what wonderment truly means.
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      May 31 2013: Do you know
      You are poised
      On the point

      You can dive inside
      From here
      Implore and implode

      You can dive outside
      As well
      Explore and explode

      All this is eternally true
      Or you just imagined it.
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    May 28 2013: My life is burning but too much of the ash is choked in me and only as the ash builds up do some clouds spew out of my pen and my mouth. My poetry is a piece of my voice, and so much of my scream is silence.
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    May 28 2013: ah, I've just come away from a best ever Leonard Cohen Concert a few weeks ago. I can feel him speak the words.
    What is my poetry? a near 40 year Haiku'ish stateMend of which we still have most of the last 20 years worth, A painting of thought, a play with words, a puzzle and tEase of purrceptions, and oft a hearty laugh ere figuring out which side is up an then. it what you get for being upside down and backwards well as revolting from every norm and yes, SPArk off By Cohen's words near 40 years ago, Who he to tell me we's not to flutter N fly as we puzzle and play the strings of well being , which has just begun sing in mind to yet another Christmas Carol . I swear the universe wants all those Christmas Carols rewrit, i just never get more than the first couple of lines. . hopefully to ignite the light years down on earth
    Attended a workshop, 45 minute talk on having her pieced rejected, 4 times at it just wasn't quite right. . fed up, handed the first one back in. . .Just right this time. What ? catch the momend and let it go.
    then a bring 15 copies for our go over. ? what? I just took seven years to put me back together the secod time, and that not counting the first 7 Which were spoke of in Annie Murphy Paul's video on the long lasting effects of children mothers of who were pregnant with them as the war broke out and the effects of the famine on the children.
    What she did not go into are the shock waves of the 180 loaded bomber blanketing the land and skimming over the house tops night after night after night after night. twas only in 97 we learned why we frazzle at the sound of lawnmowers well as any which sounded like automatic riffle fire gave us nightmares. as we drove away from where we went tearing through the memoryes we didn't know we had. I do no call my notes poetry. poets is dutch for polish, and I've never polish my notes into poems, though I am said to wax poetically. They are in fact, an impregnable wall or words about my sense of being.
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      May 28 2013: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
      and rightdoing there is a field.
      I'll meet you there.

      When the soul lies down in that grass
      the world is too full to talk about.”
      ― Rumi
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        May 28 2013: minutes ago: remembering a series about the MILLENNIUM once. . one tribe of people always in meeting another lie down on the earth , face up, to become acquainted with one another

        my wings are still
        a thought in flight

        a light never sees
        the shadow it leaves

        life is still a poem
        in the process
        of being written
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    May 26 2013: Only the private is holy; the soft light
    On the yellowing page of a book, the print
    Legible as stars on the open page of the sky
    Or the languid letter you write at midnight to a faraway
    Friend, stern only to timorous sleep. Do you think
    Jesus was director of a philanthropic foundation?
    Or Buddha the babbling, balding, amiable president of an NGO?
    Beyond the incense and flywhisks of those
    Gaunt keepers of salvation, their Lofty Holinesses, the Most Ancient and Supreme Guardians of the Truth,
    They have escaped their disciples, cool
    as clouds.
    There is more in half an hour’s indolence
    Than in galloping away after the grail.
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      May 28 2013: seriously guys are we having a "poetry off" here? :)
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    May 25 2013: Poetry is something that has to do with my thoughts. I often find myself rhyming my sadness, resentment or pain. Most of the time I don't want to do it, because not on purpose, but i DO cut myself with a sharp knife of memories or presumptions...I understand that I have a power of putting words in my head into a particular order, a beautiful order, but it frightens me, because I often create poems that make me cry.
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      May 26 2013: My personal experience is that poetry does not happen for me when I am content, happy or euphoric. It only happens when I am bothered with life and see it through an unrest of mind. Poetry is no spirituality for me.
      I find it prophetic that your life needs to burn to produce the ash that is poetry - not embalmed and glorified. So, yes, poetry may demand tears. Tears are equally beautiful as smiles.
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    May 22 2013: G'day Pabitra

    Time is of the essence of being
    as every moment is precious,
    time is indeed precious for every moment
    for without time precious moments
    just wouldn’t be. No more precious
    moments, what I thought that would be
    to think to be without these precious
    moments of time. Oh what I life we have
    with these precious moments of time that
    give so much joy in life. Time is indeed of the
    essence of joy, what a time to be in the essence
    of time itself for time gives so much for us
    to enjoy, this is the true essence of time.

  • May 21 2013: Pabitra, my dad listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen. That quote brings back good memories.

    It's hard for me to say, whether the achievements in my life have produced ash... I'd certainly like to think so!
    I think, my poetry is my children. They are products of my genes (and my husband's, obviously), but very much unique individuals, with their own thoughts, feelings, opinions.
    If the virtues and traits I hold dear are absorbed and practiced by them, I would consider that evidence that my life was well-burnt...!
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      May 21 2013: And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
      And he said:
      Your children are not your children.
      They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
      They come through you but not from you,
      And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
      You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
      For they have their own thoughts.
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,
      For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
      You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
      For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
      You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
      The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
      Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
      For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

      Children Chapter IV - Kahlil Gibran
      • May 21 2013: Yup, you made me cry.
        Happy tears, Pabitra.
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        May 21 2013: My friend Pabitra,

        This (the passage from Kahlil Gibran) is how poetry, at it's best, works. It speaks the truth.

        What an honor to have this conversation about the fire and ashes of our lives dedicated to me - Your life is a poem, Pabitra.

        So good to see some of the familiar aliases :) here on TED (Kate, Scott, you)

        Thank you for bringing me to this conversation. We have found poetry.
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          May 22 2013: Now that you are here, it will be further meaningful :) Stay with us and enrich us with your comments, friend!
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    May 21 2013: Neil Young, John Lennon - some of the best pop songs are poetry wrapped in a melody which, for me, makes the cerebral physical which in turn becomes powerful emotion.

    I try to write poems and songs as a way to apprehend what I experience and think about. It's addictive once you start to do it.

    Expressing something ephemeral concisely.
  • May 21 2013: Ooooo I am blind of poetry.I don't know how I love those poetries once I read them at first sight.I think they hide in my body deeply,once I pump into them,shinning out loud I couldn't help loving them more than I do:).Here is one of my favorite poetry:
    I am willing that it is a torrent --Petofi Sandor(《我愿意是急流…》-----裴多菲·山陀尔)

    I am willing that it is a torrent , 我愿意是急流,
    the river in the mountain , 山里的小河,
    pass the rock on the rugged mountain path. 在崎岖的路上、岩石上经过……
    Only my spouse It is a small fish, 只要我的爱人是一条小鱼,
    swim happily in my spray. 在我的浪花中快乐地游来游去。

    I willing neglect woods,我愿意是荒林,
    two sides in river,在河流的两岸,
    to a burst of blast,对一阵阵的狂风,
    Fight bravely勇敢地作战……
    Only my spouse只要我的爱人
    It is a bird Dense in mine Make the nest among the branch Pipe.是一只小鸟,在我的稠密的树枝间做窠(kē)鸣叫。

    I am willing that it is the ruins,我愿意是废墟,
    on high and steep mountain and rock,在峻峭的山岩上,
    this ruin mourned in silence does not make me dejected 这静默的毁灭并不使我懊丧……
    Only my spouse It is the blue and green blue and green Chinese ivy,只要我的爱人是青青的常春藤,
    along my bleak and desolate volume,沿着我荒凉的额,
    climb up by holding on to and rise on intimate terms with each otherly.亲密地攀援上升。

    I am willing that it is the thatched cottage,我愿意是草屋,
    in the deep mountain valley bottom, endure the strike of the trials and hardship to the fullest extent on the top of the thatched cottage在深深的山谷底,草屋的顶上饱受风雨的打击……
    Only my spouse It is the lovely flame, in my stove,只要我的爱人是可爱的火焰,在我的炉子里,
    flash slowly happily .愉快地缓缓闪现。

    I am willing that it is a cloud,我愿意是云朵,
    it is the grey breaking the flag,是灰色的破旗,
    swing too lazy to feel like floatingly in the vast sky ,在广漠的空中,懒懒地飘来荡去,
    Only my spouse Coral's the setting sun,只要我的爱人是珊瑚似的夕阳,
    draw near me pale face and show bright-colored brilliance.傍着我苍白的脸,显出鲜艳的辉煌。

    the information comes from:
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      May 21 2013: "Only my spouse It is a small fish,
      swim happily in my spray. "

      Wonderful :) Who translated this Ed? Loved it.
      • May 22 2013: Hi Dear Pabitra Mukhopadhyay:).I got it from "" website.didn't dedicate by anyone.Guess a super fan of peoms who must be an expert in languages.wowoow..maybe not an expert but a group ?thanks:).I read the peom in chinese loud often:) I feel the love is warm and cool.I like it deeply from my heart.
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    Jun 14 2013: If I say that this discussion is an hybrid colony of poets then am just voicing out a part of it...
    but musing over these self evident that these are expressions of beautiful minds and that is the heart of it...

    am a spoken word artist/poet and i just finished working on a piece which was born out of life little lessons...the piece tells a story of people who have helped - through doing little things - immensely on our path to success or achievements or attainment of great feats.

    Please kindly express your thought about this piece...thanks!


    Framed for fashion
    Formed for functions
    seldom fashionable
    sometimes uncomfortable

    especially when imposed feels like wearing another foot

    undervalued when priced less
    overvalued if described priceless
    some say you are old school
    for them, new is cool

    I guess that makes you classy
    like a colourful girly boat
    nicely keeping me afloat
    under the flood light... Looking sassy

    on that red carpet, this common bloke now roll with stars from Lagos
    hoping not to get Los(t) in Vegas
    “rocking” new Salvatore Feragamo tags
    While the Lifter of My Feat lay in rags
    At every ovation, standing beneath
    but together we toiled the earth

    * * * * * *

    you could go in TOMS, Dick n Harry
    but not a mile in my SHOES.
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      Jun 14 2013: You may be interested to know that my native place that is Bengal in India had a tradition of spoken poetry too but added with music. It used to be in the form of a duel between two artists engaged in extempore spoken verse fitted in impromptu music. This art was known as kobigaan (poet's music). Unfortunately it is lost now.
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        Jun 14 2013: Hi, kindly share your thoughts on the piece...thanks for that insight too
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    Jun 13 2013: 32 Years ago I graduate from as small, Liberal Arts College in the South/Central-Southwest U.S. ---
    I was an English Major (and a few other Majors over the five years it took me to graduate). I was lucky to make it into graduate school.

    Here are three of my favorites of all time. All three are about one man's relationship with God. And all three carry forward some very deep and abiding themes. And here's an extra you might find familiar . . .

    John Donne
    Meditation 17
    Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

    "No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...."

    For whom the bell tolls a poem
    (No man is an island) by John Donne

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
    Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thine own
    Or of thine friend's were.
    Each man's death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.
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    Jun 13 2013: John Donne

    74. "Batter my heart, three person'd God;

    BATTER my heart, three person'd God; for, you
    As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
    That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
    Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
    I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due, 5
    Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
    Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
    But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
    Yet dearely'I love you,'and would be loved faine,
    But am betroth'd unto your enemie: 10
    Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe;
    Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
    Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
    Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
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    Jun 13 2013: THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

    By William Blake

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare sieze the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art.
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears,
    And watered heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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    Jun 13 2013: On His Blindness, or "on Going Blind" by John Milton

    When I consider how my light is spent
    Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
    And that one talent which is death to hide
    Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest he returning chide,
    "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
    I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
    Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
    Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
    Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
    They also serve who only stand and wait."
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    Jun 10 2013: 75 watts gives something alive to the electric plant
    It brings the seed from sea to surface
    It is turned on and plugged into by me the finger
    Who listens to the electric lights
    Scream round the world
    From the highest Tibet to the lowest see

    & I am it's radio wave & it's receiver
    And receptor to be touched
    I am it's battery, but not it's source
    I am the guide but not it's direction
    I am the cord. the socket, the sprinkler,
    Servant and tender of roots
    I am the bystander to the reflex
    The speed of sight and light and life
    I am the impulse in the daily alive
    The breathing exchange reminding
    You, I ,We are in search of green skies
    The Global Pond. X and Y.

    & I think of you as the storyteller
    That branch the essence
    You are my plant my tree
    my earth I love you.

    Copyright ã 2000 by Meghan E G
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    Jun 6 2013: 1.
    Sex is sexier
    At my age

    So is rage. Let's try again
    my queen of Spain
    This time, in the rain.

    Be decisive
    Let me go
    It doesn't
    really matter
    where I go

    As long as
    It's far from
    you and me

    Accost me
    with colors I have never seen
    words I have never heard
    loves I have never known

    And I will show you
    where the rainbow
    ends tonight

    Pritish Nandy, Stuck On 1 Forty
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    Jun 6 2013: Tomorrow’s Child
    © Glenn Thomas
    Without a name; an unseen face
    and knowing not your time nor place
    Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
    I met you first last Tuesday morn.

    A wise friend introduced us two,
    and through his sobering point of view
    I saw a day that you would see;
    a day for you, but not for me

    Knowing you has changed my thinking,
    for I never had an inkling
    That perhaps the things I do
    might someday, somehow, threaten you

    Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son
    I’m afraid I’ve just begun
    To think of you and of your good,
    Though always having known I should.

    Begin I will to weigh the cost
    of what I squander; what is lost
    If ever I forget that you
    will someday come to live here too.
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    Jun 6 2013: I have a friend at school who, like myself, enjoys making electronic music, Nine Inch Nails style. Neither of us really "write songs" as our pastime (lyrics are hard), but we do enjoy making little 1 or 2 minute pieces of music that we share with each other. We try to hide little references to different things as well as challenge ourselves in musical theory (he is a music theory student, I'm just an enthusiast) so that we can get better and keep making music.

    Music is my poetry.
  • Jun 2 2013: Pabitra - Thank you for this conversation! My poetry is my amazing 10 year old daughter, Sarina who has a passion for writing poems. She wrote the following poem:

    Poetry can be brilliantly brash and bold,
    It too can also be evanescent
    Reminiscent of the kindred soul
    Which never perishes or deteriorates within
    Left unstrung after the battles are fought
    Splattered with blood and wounded,
    But never fatally injured.
    Deserted harshly; left to investigate the complicated mysteries of the universe.
    All the thrilling sensations can be condensed into the most cramped of childish curlicue.
    Those are the finer pieces of writing because of their eagerness to explore, and the jovial youth,
    That nobody can seem to find etched into the weary lines of adult faces.
    Poetry- so expansive and generously caring,
    Infused with juvenile frustration and zesty attitudes,
    Can create the perfect type of literature...
    The one that can lighten you when you're suffering,
    The type of writing that can amuse and delight you on the loveliest of days.
    Poetry is the human spirit, the flighty and brave essence of what we have evolved into,
    As kindhearted people with big eyes and open hands,
    That may even see the world with sightless eyes yet still acknowledge your presence warmly.
    That may even hold out their hands for you to take them and step into your new future.
    Poetry is what we have become as human beings,
    What has come and what will come.
    A mysterious, sweet, clear, and peaceful sound that you can hear if you listen quite intently.
    This is the fascinating world of poetry that speaks directly to me.
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      Jun 2 2013: Hi Bhavna!
      Send my love to Sarina. As a father of an artistically gifted son, I appreciate and understand your joy and other feelings towards your little daughter :)
      I am impressed with the enthusiasm and passion that is reflected in her poem. It is a bit long and heavy for a kid, but it is also very normal. I hope you will let her flourish in her poetic expression - just make available to her the wonderful works of so many poets from all across the world.
      Please ask her to read this now and 20 years later.

      Our little Sarina
      Is a cozy marina
      Waiting by the poetry’s shore

      She will grow
      In unspoken flow
      Where words will mean no more
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      Jun 14 2013: ws73ief,fjbwiu20384jkYJde;o932WQLE/PFH! hmm... poetry is no respecter of age...Sarina flourish...the world awaits to hear your ish...
      • Jun 14 2013: Thank you for your kind words. Here is another lovely poem Sarina wrote for her favorite teacher.

        Fire Of Knowledge

        Fine language spawned,
        In a brilliant, golden heart like yours,
        Is enough a flame kindled by
        Passionate knowledge.
        It's strong enough to be alit,
        Once more by the next strong pupil,
        Such as myself.
        With such an inspirational spark
        And a fire shining bright
        Wisdom flourishing is unstoppable
        As the next eager person carries the fire.
        A mentored pupil so fiercely willing,
        To be well educated, to fight for literature; tooth and nail.
        Therefore triumphs true, proving the taught ambition,
        Of such an immaculate, excellent teacher.
        For that reason, my thoughts are layered with gratitude,
        As I would repay you over for the many blessings bestowed.
        The countless hours battling and absorbing,
        Wondering and questioning,
        Brainstorming and negotiating,
        Were clearly not put to utter waste.
        Thank you, my awesome teacher, for all that you've done.

        Sarina Patel, age 10.
  • May 31 2013: A collection of unrelated haiku:

    Mountain dog
    licks dew from grass
    coughs once

    A green fog
    springtime forest

    Crazy lookin lady
    under west seattle bridge
    strippin wire

    Lafarge the barge
    has come and gone,
    along with his ship-shaped friend

    Juicy ripe blackberries
    fall right off the vine
    in the greenbelt

    Coyotes howl
    owl winks at me
    in the green belt

    An owl steals my hat
    then gives it back
    western sky blushes

    blue jays' klaxon
    bald eagle takes flight

    Old plywood on tarpaper
    green bucket, blue lawnchair
    a perch in the trees
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    May 30 2013: The poet's life that lives in you, your inner poet, has juste love as a rule, for all the others he has artistic lecense!

    Bom dia!
  • May 28 2013: So much of our decision making is reliant on thin slicing the data coming at us every second of every day and sometimes it seems like explaining the reasoning behind those decisions that seemed so evident in the moment can become such a mystery with the passage of even a matter of minutes. My poetry is the moment it all makes sense, the inception. I think poetry is a snapshot, or a series of snapshots of moments that try to make sense of our world as we see it.
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    May 28 2013: i think it is when some one shares their experiences with you and you sharing your experiences with some one. poetry is an event to me. We experience poetry when we open up and explore our selves( especially when we write these happenings down).
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      May 28 2013: Bolted doors, the neighbourhood sleeps still
      All I hear is the knocking of the night
      Abani, are you home?

      Here it rains all the year round
      Like grazing herds the clouds here drift
      These green blades of grass
      Look askance as they choke my door
      My heart near-suffused with ache,
      Is bound for far away. I fall asleep
      To hear the knocking of the night

      Abani, are you home?
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        May 28 2013: Talk to me...
        Talk to me...
        I really want to hear what you have to say
        you are important to me.

        When I ask how your day was,
        I really want to know.
        I spend my days surrounded by petty office politics,
        and children picking at each others cracks to stir up the dust instead of just loving each other.

        You are my last great hope against the tide of noise that would overwhelm me,
        And I long for that human interaction --

        Talk to me...
        And tell me how your day was and let me,
        for this moment,
        ease the pent up rebellion in you against all thing mundane.
        I want to help you let go of all that frustrates you and
        be your mental hot-tub.

        Talk to me...
        and tell me about your big dreams that take a long haul approach,
        and your little ones, so simple as to require only whip cream and some fresh fruit
        or maybe a glass of something crisp and sweet.
        Allow me to help you dream them into reality.

        Talk to me...
        and share your thoughts and your silences
        each are just as welcome and celebrated in my world.
        For between us there is so much to say, that requires no audible pronouncements,
        that is eloquent and tender and achingly beautiful.
        Talk to me. (shhhh)
        -- dahlia holmes
        August 2, 2010 8:45 p.m.
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        May 30 2013: pabitra, what does this mean? or better yet what do you mean by this?
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          May 31 2013: Thaddea, by this I mean that notwithstanding the depth of our perceptions and power of expressions we all get to hear a call of the profound wanderlust and a desire to go beyond our defined territory of feelings. We are all like Abani.

          But what you get may be very different from this.
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    May 26 2013: If poetry rhymes it is compromised.
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      May 27 2013: Not true.
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      May 28 2013: But Tim Tinklenutz
      Your poesie platz
      Sometimes is too boring without rhyme

      Words are bells
      To poetic nobles
      They can make them meaningfully chime
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      May 28 2013: I had to laugh with this, for really can you put rules to the language of the soul?
      • May 31 2013: Not really really, but we can pretend that there are rules, just so we can break them.
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    May 22 2013: Poetic thought on the spur of this moment:

    My life is, at the end of the day, lonely. That's OK. I have my friends I visit throughout the day and a woman who sleeps with me through the night. But at the end of the day, I am alone. Poetry keeps me company, comforts me, ignites me, puts happiness in the place where loneliness wants to be. If I can write poetically I have made friends with myself.
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      May 22 2013: Whose life burns more to have poetry, do you think? One who is happy, and content or one who is lonely and wandering?
      Poetry seems to put words in unfamiliar contexts, seems to seek a connection that is unappreciated. I can see how it can help you to make friends with yourself.
      Any other description is not you really. You don't know yourself unless you take a poem and shine it on your soul.
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    May 22 2013: It's a good topic, Pabitra! You know, nowadays there are multiple ways we can relate with poetry, such as readings, music and movies. But I deeply believe that MY poetry is where I can fully loose myself and find new meanings and new perspectives to look my life with: others people eyes and others people stories. I'm convinced there's nothing more poetic than the life experience of every single man and woman, and than them narrating it.
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    May 22 2013: Oh, do I love Rumi, Gibran and Thoreau
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    R H

    • +1
    May 20 2013: Poetry reminds me there is more. It reminds me I am a human being, and that I am more. It reminds of the world I live in, and that there's more. It gives me hope for more, expectation of more, and the reality that more exists. I read poetry more, so I can be in more, until that day that more is here.
  • Jun 18 2013: -

    The burdens of a mind unshy.
    Oh no recluse ever found that ivory tower.
    And many there were exhausting their books as they tried.
    Unduly in the hunt and the pry.
    That profligate stream of consciousness.
    Leaving the curious with but ever more to cry.

    - Usama Mustafa Kamil.
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    Jun 12 2013: It’s a cigarette’s distance
    From here to your block
    But in a June afternoon
    The black asphalt
    Starts stretching like a red shift
    I can see everybody
    Walking in slo-mo
    Walking, walking
    But never reaching

    A dirty wind blows
    Paper napkins
    And our unspent desires
    Between here and your block
    I feel anxious about
    Phone messages
    Taking longer and longer to open
    What is that unfinished
    Business we kept pending since
    Last Holocene

    The school bus full of kids
    Take eternity before returning
    To moms waiting at gates

    The roads grow
    Like black serpents
    And they wrap up cities after cities
    In a June afternoon
    I keep standing
    Beneath the Sycamore tree
    Watching the universe expanding
    From here to your block

    Pabitra Mukhopadhyay
    Thanks to Jim.
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      Jun 13 2013: Just out of respectful, silent, curiosity -- who wrote this? Jim Moonan or Pabitra Mukhopadhyay?
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        Jun 14 2013: Pabitra Mukhopadhyay. This was first published in a conversation started by Jim.
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    Jun 6 2013: Nothing's happened to Jim, right?
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    May 30 2013: "No, please don't go away!"
    The man cried.
    And she came back.
    'Cause she was not sure.

    But the universe split
    And moved into worlds.
    Into two possibilities.....

    Now we are happy.
    It's a happy ending.
    We see her dancing with the man
    Looking at his eyes.

    We never know
    In the other world,
    In the split world,
    She has gone away
    In search of her destiny.....
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    May 29 2013: we, are nothing but dust.You were not fish or monkey. If we look in the mirror which shows the aerial view of existence, one shall find only dust. Dust, which consist of mysterious energy. That’s everyone’s true ‘shape’. Shape of ‘dust’. “Shapeless”!It’s the ultimate artwork. Yet we were fish and indeed monkeys too.So, stop wearing MASK at least in front of the mirror and witness ‘Reality’.We were always here. Your presence today is the only evidence. There was no beginning and surely it doesn’t have any end.We think, ‘this’ is our beginning but it is not. Simply because we ‘THINK’!It is madness to imagine how much we have traveled in the Universe.
    You will never experience how to be ‘not two’ unless you join the ‘flow’. Without joining the ‘flow’ even the champions of individuality could never understand what it means, who are you to say anyways? Because you have been conditioned till core, your inner self has been sent for vacation. Your inner self is locked in a hotel room since your childhood. All it wants is to take a walk on the road where ‘One’ will find ‘Mortals’ and ‘Immortals’. You have been conditioned all your life, to be smart like a fox and your actions are controlled by foxy mind tricks.
    The distractions offered by the society makes it worst. But you are the MASTER because you hold the key to free your inner being to take that walk which will open the Third Eye. We are a part of this ultimate Artwork. The Ultimate Workshop. This is what we are here for. To realize that everything is connected.That’s the only reason.
    Just be prepared with an open mind and you shall see your inner being singing and dancing.There is no goal for anyone. No need to become. If there is any goal, we have already achieved it, now its time to sing and dance.You are standing on top of your goal, looking all around, trying to chase the goal in every possible direction.It’s always been there, right under your nose.There is simply no need to chase.
    No need to go anywhere but HERE
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    May 28 2013: Your "self" is called your mirror
    Your good or bad deeds are seen and revealed by it.

    Your "self" is God, nothing is greater than your "self"
    When the self is enlightened, it illuminates the whole world
    Let not the dust decrease clarity of this illuminated mirror.
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      May 28 2013: Enlightened or ablaze?

      Bless my life
      Bless my life
      Bless my life with thy warmth

      With thy holy hand uplift my body
      Make me the flame of thy holy alter
      The incessant flame would brighten, the day and night
      Light my soul with thy holy flame.

      Thy holy hand touch the dark hour
      Twinkling stars beget in your holy bower
      The eternal darkness fade from the blinking eye
      And see thy light in the darkest alcove where thy light might lie
      My pain, my darkness my sadness would burn in thy holy flame.

      Rabindranath Tagore

      It's not only Leonard Cohen who knew about the burning !
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    May 28 2013: What is poetry, what is life, what is the subject or is the doing verb the focus for our minds.
    A poetic entry is more than just that. It delves into our true selves that, analyse and critique, compare and match.Configure and rationalise and interpret that, which to one means one thing but to another something else.
    Words have two meanings and ambiguity would seem that what to one is real to others is fantasy. So in the world of fanatsy our dreams can come true and it is so in the world of fantasy that poetry does rule!
    But for the true believers who take it as fact, some poetry will ring and resonate and feel as real as a heart attack.
    That is not to say that reality is harsh but more that a poem can resonate to your very core and heart! :D
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    May 22 2013: Do you believe that the best poem ever has yet not been written?
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      May 27 2013: Define "best".

      I don't think I have read the poem that, for me, will give me the most pleasure. I certainly have not written my best poem, yet - it's still within me, and I would think your best poem is still within you, Pabby :)
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        May 27 2013: :) Jim, I know that you that only a poet knows the best ! I have never seen you but yet i know one Jim Moonan who is so special in his poetic communication. I seem to have trouble taking your poem out of my head. I hope to reply in awhile.
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    May 21 2013: Does this ever happen to you? Fragments of poems come to me at different times, like these opening lines from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land:

    "April is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain."

    And it sends me back to re-read the full poem; it is as if I am reading it for the first time and the poetic force of it's beauty and vision bring me to a state of mind that is something close to euphoria.
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      May 22 2013: It does and always! It's as if I have a mind removed from everything, as if in a secret garden somewhere that only poetry can reach and arouse. :)
      When a poet says, "“I want
      To do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” it's just not about lovers, I guess.
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    May 21 2013: Well, I'm going to be a little poetic here and say that my poetry, and my art in general, is the art of the world; the beauty of every single structure, every single action, the curious formations of all matter and energy of the world.
    But my favourite poets are Rumi and Hafiz, because this poetry that I spoke about, they've grasped it quite well.
  • May 21 2013: Rumi
  • May 21 2013: I have been kind of drifting to Ogden Nash, Kipling, Poe, and William Blake (whose art is so wonderful). Of course the Romantics are outstanding and how can we get by without Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott. Okay, as I get older poetry rocks.
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      May 21 2013: Me too. Btw, do you see a 'man' in the romantics?

      I was looking for the line and only now I found it.
      “It was at that age
      that poetry came in search of me.”
      • May 22 2013: Pabitra I am probably being pedantic because I am made that way, but the Romantics include Shelley, Lord Byron, and a few of their contemporaries I believe. That's what I meant.
  • May 21 2013: For me to understand poetry I need to reflect it on movement.
    In a way poetry can flow, so it can in movement. And be knowing myself, I experienced I can better understand by looking it from the point of view of movement.

    Just being able to make that connection is for me already the beauty of poetry
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      May 21 2013: And how do you make that connection? Can you tell us?
      • May 21 2013: Through emotional experiences that I associate with movement. I use dance to express myself. And poetry can be my inspiration. So what I feel about poetry can then be expressed into movement. And that is my process :)

        I hope this makes any sense. If not, I can always try to explain it differently or with examples.
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          May 22 2013: Dance IS poetry in motion, I understand now Robbert :) Thank you.
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