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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Why read Omar Khayyam? Why read fine poetry?

Poetry is all about our feelings and it is a device by which we bring them into the open. We use words to communicate our needs. It may be as prosaic as asking your barber for a hair cut or ordering the sandwich from a deli. Even to your barber you need be more specific than saying ‘just a cut’. It goes for sandwich as well and you need to choose what shall make it as  appetizing as you want.  Poetry is no way different.

Poetry sets all your feelings with greatest economy of words so words are not stumbling about under the weight of all that you feel but you make them sing, rather. That felicity arises not because you with a trowel slap-dashed your beloved in superlatives. You need not bury but burnish her just enough to please her as well as get your inner state across in no uncertain terms.

It is often you hear man calling woman a peach. It is not out of place when she is in her bloom and has a lovely complexion. I would not find it incongruous if Socrates had called his Xanthippe as pineapple. She was a virago according to historical records and the piny sheath of a pineapple just about describes her prickly nature. Be that as it may peach and pineapples are fruits better left on the dinner table. The point is  objects serve as certain clues for something else. They are symbols. These evoke certain emotions and when you read poetry how these are positioned in a line serves as goad in us to trigger emotions associated them.

Poetry works very well when you are in love. When you moon over your love something more than hormones are at work. Ideas of Juliet standing at the balcony kickstarted in Romeo feelings so hard that he wishes he were a glove: 

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand

That I might touch that cheek!

That is what poetry meant to do. It makes an idea stand for so many ideas like a cloudburst choking on his heart. Touching a girl’s cheek shall not end there. But everything has its time and place. For the time being the symbol of glove hints his desire without being crude. He desires such closeness.

Can we not use this analogy while we speak of our body and soul? Like young Romeo thrown about by fortunes in love losing Rosaline or finding Juliet are all by chance. We are all eking out a living in the sun, in love and out of love subject to pain and sick of pleasures that are killing us in some other manner. In short our body pulls us in one way while our soul has its needs that need to be met. Like Romeo our body has not yet climbed the balcony to commune with our soul’s delight. Just the same it is there. As humans and given our rational mind we seek our place in the cosmos. There is out there something far greater than our body and its beggarly cravings warrant and when we consider the majesty of celestial spheres and the million years that keep them blazing away our measly four score years must seem beggarly indeed. If such starry canopy is stretched out we must be touched by some royal emblem that we are not aware of. Soul is a symbol of our happy circumstances. If then it is a moot point why do we rather feed the body and starve our soul? Are we fools or what?

Suppose all that cosmos is a bunk why delude ourselves with mysterious cosmos or for that heaven and hell? Such are questions that we can never answer and yet we allow some who claim special privileges as a prophet or an Acharya  to take their words as true! Such a class of conscience keepers can put their yoke on us on fear of hell and damnation to plough this mud-hole we call the earth. What wisdom is there in rejecting our true state to serve motley fools who themselves do not know hereafter and yet on their sayso we are willing to reject our present now?

As a mystic I have composed in the same style as Omar Khayyam using the rubā’iyyāt to express some of the big questions man has down through the ages wrestled with.

You can check out www.lulu.com/spotlight/bennymkje

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Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;


Eat I must, and sleep I will,—and would that night were 
here!


But ah!—to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!

Would that it were day again!—with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don’t know what to do;


This or that or what you will is all the same to me;


But all the things that I begin I leave before I’m through,—

There’s little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me,—and the neighbors knock and
 borrow,


And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse,—


And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow

There’s this little street and this little house.

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The Illustrated Omar Khayyam took three months of labor but before I got down to the task there were dry runs. My WordPress blog was one such. (http://omarikhayyamdotcom.wordpress.com).

In submitting myself to the rigour and setting out my offering I have in turn discovered a few things about myself. After seeing my work into print what have I learned? Soul has needs  and in order to give it expression the writer/artist must also be equipped by inclination and training. The Illustrated Omar Khayyam was like a bouquet of flowers made up of flowers that fitted with an overall design I had in mind. After laying aside Omar Khayyam my soul urges me to carry on with another for which my life has prepared me. So be it.

My garden has not gone to pot merely because I made one bouquet. In the making of it I looked for colours and shapes that sat in harmony with the overall scheme not to mention the volume and fragrance to underpin the aesthetic arrangement my conscious self could agree with. I could think like a soul engaged in writing poetry as Persian masters would have done in which my belief-systems or religion played no role. Soul knows no religion, nation nor labels which man has willingly put on in order to be like every other. I resisted the idea.

I could make a living as an architect and at this time of life don’t need sell myself to be touted by some publishing house as an author of best seller. If the world discovers this old man or not is immaterial. This book is my calling card, proof of my earthly life.

 My next book shall be similar in approach but has nothing to do with poetry.

A thoughtful life of seven decades fortified by soul as back up, can endure great many things. Even so soul needs to be fed with every ounce of energy I can muster. Writing it all down would be back-breaking but pain soon passes.

If an angel in the next life should ask me if I wasted my gifts on the earth I have many witnesses but my works shall be my proof. More so since my soul shall say: Amen

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/rubāiyyāt-2014/paperback/product-21805897.html

Illustrated paper back and ebook

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/paperback/product-21799136.html    

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/ebook/product-21799421.html

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With all the hype of blood and gore IS bombed at the  box office.  From Syria to the Levant bad poetry is dead.  But good poetry still rocks! For instance in the Illustrated Omar Khayyam you can begin any where and still find on any page music of the soul.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out

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If those I loved were lost

The Crier’s voice would tell me –


If those I loved were found


The bells of Ghent would ring –

Did those I loved repose

The Daisy would impel me.


Philip — when bewildered

Bore his riddle in!

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and science.” ~ Albert Einstein

What greater mystery can we plumb than that of life? Is there any purpose or direction for which we have been programmed beforehand?

Life is a precious gift and every man and woman has the same gift to be used and it must make sense to our rational mind. So that window of opportunity to make yourself useful to you and others around you is narrow. Between birth and death is it not wisdom if you can throw light on or connect in some way to the mystery with the key you have? If we have been endowed with fine faculties to know ourselves why do we leave it to others? Do we make sense or make sense of what others tell as truth? Of what worth is the lamp of life it it were to be shown under the direction of others than to lead our own path? These are the questions I have covered in the Illustrated Omar Khayyam.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/rubāiyyāt-2014/paperback/product-21805897.html

Illustrated paper back and ebook

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/paperback/product-21799136.html    

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/ebook/product-21799421.html

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If you must keep the curl of the unbroken wave

I shall take the whole  ocean with their swells

with staccato rhythm of ships tossed back and forth-

In their desperate flailing

I see spirit of man still daring to steer clear

And that is much more than oceans can bear.

I am a man and nothing less than whole continent

Is my haven.

If you must give this hour and show its hustle

And bustle of senses touching heights

I shall rather settle for this moment’s grace

Where my spirit is put to its rest

By both heaven and the earth.

I am a man nothing less than this indivisible

wholeness shall keep hour and the continent

Past time’s injury.

benny

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