Tag: Poetry

A quote sent to me via one of my students:

Personalities are born once.
A mystic many times….

I am not Shams Tabriz,
But a light within his light.

The poem reminds me of my teacher who passed over a decade ago. His light continues, and is the same within us all.

I still remember the strong scent of rose when Gurudev, unexpectedly leaving his assigned seat, sat down beside me at a movie premier. Earlier, I had been asked to wait, for a time, before I entered the theatre, finally, just before the room went dark, my name not having appeared on the list. I was later than I wanted to be; embarrassed, I sat far in the back.

 

 

To Gurudev, Again

88 years you walked the firm
and the soft
through space thicker than water.

Your father called on your gift
for the rhythm and dance
of words.

You planted seeds unknown to me
until now
a tree of gratitude has grown.

 

 

November 24, 2014

A Poem

SunsetPaintedCavePoets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson have appealed to me for the metaphysical nature of their work, their innovative use of language and spirit of independence. I admire in Sylvia Plath’s poetry what has been called her “control of intolerable pain.”

Theodore Roethke’s grandfather was a Prussian, as was my maternal grandfather. I was born in the home of my grandparents in East Prussia, and when I met the poet Kenneth Rexroth in the 1970s, he said that my poetry was very “Prussian.” At the time, I didn’t get what he meant by that. However, when I review Roethke’s work, I am still drawn, as I was from the first, by his wry approach to nature as a great clarifying force.

Discovering the mystical poets such  as Kabir and Rumi was very exciting for me. They both have the quality of being refreshingly irreverent and, at the same time, intensely spiritual. I find that these mystical poets’ ability to describe the strange and awesome world of ecstasy to be a continuing source of inspirations.

The Process of Writing

 

		Adversity Series


1.

	During the night, a branch crashed;
	the wound looks
	rough, bruised, cracked.

	The broken branch invaded
	fruit trees and picnic table;
	I contain
	reaction

	to create something
	beyond confusion.

2.

	One way to go beyond 
	the wall, observe;

	along the perimeters
	are movements
	light.

	The wall dissolves.
	Everything is possible.


3.

	Listening to Ralph Nader
	on Labor Day, pain has me hard at work
	since 3:00 am;

	Let me be grateful
	to understand

	why.
	Let us not inflict
	cruel greed
	from the top.


 

A Poem

July 16, 2014

 

palacio            On one of the PBS globe trotting shows, the hostess is in Barcelona. I am seeing locations known by Salvador Dali and Picasso. I am intrigued. I am also reminded of a comment recently made by one of my blog readers. My writing style reminds her more of Latin American and European writers than those of North America. It is not the first time I have heard this, and I was tempted to say, but I’ve never been published in Europe or Latin America. Instead, I listen and consider. Yes, I do love Pablo Neruda, Kafka, Elizabeth Borchers. I have also immersed myself in Kabir and Rumi.

 

I am equally fond of Thomas Merton, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roethke, Sylvia Plath, Leonard Cohen and others. Though labels sometimes get in the way, what cannot be denied is that we love what we love.

 

On today’s walk, picking up deadwood in the forest area of the land under our care, I felt a sweet peace. I was wearing the toe shoes my daughter bought me after I broke my foot and felt well balanced in my stride. I could detect varying textures of earth underneath my feet, which somehow gave me a strong sense of belonging, after so many years of displacement and disruption in my life. This way of walking, that sensation of connection to earth, has a name given by the indigenous people of Borneo, I was told by someone born there—one is said to have “jungle feet.”

junglefeet

July, 17, 2014

 

We had a guest today, a long-time friend, who moved away, leaving a hole in our lives. There wasn’t much time, just enough for a cup of tea and conversation that felt unfinished at the end.

 

How difficult goodbyes can be, bringing to the foreground the direct experience of life’s constant movement. Yesterday, the day seemed solid and steadfast; today, I am faced with a stark sense of impermanence. And yet, there is something more.
The Presence of Absence

Between your departure and absence
my longing to have said what I didn’t
expands through space like a sound
that can’t be heard.
When you drove far away
consciousness extended until the currents
are as subtle
and powerful
as silence.

And between two points of separation
lies a vibrant electromagnetic field..

Can you see the light from my body
surge faster than your car?
Will you know me when I wait to greet you
at your destination?

 

© Gudrun Mouw

A Poem Personal Updates

During the time I was working on the poems for Wife of the House, I wrote an article for the Premier Edition of the PRACTICAL MYSTIC called “Poetry as a Spiritual Journey.” The article still CroppedRiver90seems current. Certain excerpts make me smile, because I am surprised that I knew these things then. It’s a bit like a parent suddenly thinking, wow, when did my child become a thoughtful and conscious being. Here is a quote from the article:

The concept of a spiritual quest didn’t occur to me in the beginning. All I knew was that, through the reading and writing of poetry, I experienced a joyful, creative energy such as I hardly knew existed. I wanted to develop this heightened state of consciousness….Spiritual teachers who subsequently came into my life showed me the possibility of achieving greater mental clarity [through…the] process of quiet observation and meditation.

…I often like to write poems beginning with [an area of concern] or a lack of comprehension and depict [a] clarification which is discovered by the end of the poem.

An example of such a poem in Wife of the House is “Full Moon,” which begins with:

She sits hungry
for something
she cannot eat…

and ends:

Fruit suspended
on the tree
will ripen and break loose

 

This search for discovery depends on an attitude that the poem itself is guiding me. Consequently, I work as a scribe, and the voice of the poem is a gift of higher consciousness from everything around me. If a poem is faulty…, it is because I’m not a pure instrument; I don’t always hear or see, unhindered by old programming.

Also, I don’t always know what a poem’s gift is; sometimes, it takes years. Just recently, looking at the first poem in Wife of the House as something I might want to read to an audience, I was shocked to see something I had never wanted to acknowledge before. “A Young Girl’s Dream” is about a dream that had haunted me for many years. The last stanza,

She tries and tries
to keep from going bare
blossoms dropping
to her feet

 

I understood, at last, is about the aging process. The dream was prescient, and finally I am able to admit, though blossoms may fall away, each age has its own special beauty. Going bare can also be about feeling free to be transparent.

Gudrun

The Process of Writing

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