Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Clothes Lie Folded for the Journey

Dreamed some rain so I could sleep.

Dreamed the wind left-handed
so I could part its mane and enter
the dance that carries the living, the dead, and the unborn
in one momentum through the trillion gate.

Dreamed a man and woman
in different attitudes of meeting and parting

so I could tell the time,
the periods of the sun,
and which face my heart showed,
and which is displayed to a hidden fold.

Dreamed the world an open book of traces
anyone could read who knew the language of traces.

Dreamed the world is a book. And any page
you pause at finds you
where you breathe now,

and you can read the open
secret of who you are. As you read,

and other pages go on turning, falling
through the page before you, the sound of them the waves
of the waters you walk beside
in your other dreams of the world
as story, world as song, world
you dreamed you were not dreaming.

Dreamed my father reading out loud to me,
my mother sewing beside me, singing
a counting song,

so I wouldn't be afraid to turn
from known lights toward the ancestor of light.

Li-Young Lee

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The geometric image of dissatisfaction

"The asymptote. This curve with a strange function, which never touches what it moves towards. A stroke in space. A poem about a light gentle touch. No real union, no real meeting: the geometric image of dissatisfaction, always thirsty for something else. A curve which starts from emptiness and moves outwards, never touching what it aims at, to finally lose itself in the infinite, in emptiness. "

"L’asymptote. Cette courbe à la fonction étrange, qui ne touche jamais jamais ce vers quoi elle tend. Un frôlement dans l’infini. Un poème de l’effleurement. Pas de vraie union, de vraie rencontre : l’image géométrique de l’insatisfaction, toujours en soif d’autre chose. Une courbe qui part du vide et qui tend vers autre part, ne touchant jamais ce qu’elle vise, pour se perdre à l’infini, dans le vide."


And makes the wayside ditch, burst into blossom

The Illness of Ego
Jelaluddin Rumi

If you don't want your friend of today
to be unfriendly tomorrow,
choose friendship with the wise.
You're seasick from the storms of the ego,
because you make everything stormy.

If you take a jewel in hand, it loses its luster;
near you kindness of heart becomes hatred;
and even a beautiful word becomes vulgar.

You say, "I've heard this all before;
tell me something else, my friend."
If something fresh and bright is shared,
the very next day you're cranky and bored.

Get rid of this illness. When it's gone,
every old tale becomes new,
and makes the wayside ditch
burst into blossom.

Monday, May 28, 2012


"The thing is that men, with the kind of power that comes with money and knowledge, assume the universe. It allows them an easy wisdom. But such people close doors on you. Within such a universe there are codes, rooms you must not enter. In their daily life there is always a cup of blood somewhere."

Michael Ondaatje, 'The Cat's Table'

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Drumming Happiness

Such joy it was, watching this Punjabi bhangra drummer at 7.30 in the morning - his sheer enjoyment, his involvement, while the dancers danced to his beats.

"One cannot be unhappy and drum at the same time."

'The Red Tao, A Native American Path of Learning'

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I who have lost my way

Behind her words, her eyes, her "I don't cry easily", you see the deeper request, the unspoken plea, "See me as I once used to be, this is not me........" 

Is there a greater gift, than really really listening?

My Grandmother's House
Kamala Das

There is a house now far away where once
I received love...That woman died
The house withdrew into silence, snakes moved
Among books. I was then too young
To read, and my blood turned cold
like the moon.

How often I think of going
There, to peer through the blind eyes of windows, or
Just listen to the frozen air,
Or in wild despair, pick an armful of
Darkness to bring it here to lie
Behind my bedroom door,
like a brooding dog.....

You cannot believe, darling,
Can you, that I lived in such a house, and
was proud, and loved....I who have lost
My way and beg now at strangers' doors to
Receive love, at least in small change?

Et, couché dans l'herbe, il pleura

"Puis il se dit encore:  Je me croyais riche d'une fleur unique, et Je ne possède qu'une rose ordinaire. Ca, et mes trois volcans qui m'arrivent au genou, et dont l'un peut-etre, est éteint pour toujours. Ca ne fait pas de moi un bien grand prince."

Et, couché dans l'herbe, il pleura."

'Le Petit Prince', Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“And then he said: I thought that I was rich, with a flower that was unique in all the world; and all I had was a common rose. A common rose, and three volcanoes that come up to my knees--and one of them perhaps extinct forever… That doesn’t make me a very great prince…”

And he lay down in the grass, and cried."

Photo from Google Images.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Thursday. Was ill. But listened to the windchimes all day, from my sickbed. The wooden ones. The Egyptian wooden chimes. Gurgling like water.

The wind is back. My oldest friend. All those who plan to abandon me, do it now. While the wind is here, with me.

Afterwards, I will be defenceless.

That sensuality, that innoncence..

John Montague

From the bedroom you can see
straight to the fringe of the woods
with a cross-staved gate to re
-enter childhood's world:

the pines
wait; dripping.

Crumbling black-
berries, seized from a rack
of rusty leaves, maroon tents
of mushroom, pillars uprooting
with a dusty snap;

as the bucket
fills, a bird strikes from the bushes
and the cleats of your rubber boots crush
a yellow snail's shell to a smear
on the grass
(while the wind starts
the carrion smell of the dead fox
staked as warning).

Seeing your former
self saunter up the garden path
afterwards, would you flinch,
that sensuality,
that innocence.


About Jane Kenyon, poet:

"She married fellow poet Donald Hall, whom she met as a student at the University of Michigan, where he was a professor. They lived in his family farmhouse in New Hampshire. Hall wrote:

"We got up early in the morning. I brought Jane coffee in bed. She walked the dog as I started writing, then climbed the stairs to work at her own desk on her own poems. We had lunch. We lay down together. We rose and worked at secondary things. I read aloud to Jane; we played scoreless ping-pong; we read the mail; we worked again. We ate supper, talked, read books sitting across from each other in the living room, and went to sleep. If we were lucky the phone didn't ring all day.

In January Jane dreamed of flowers, planning expansion and refinement of the garden. From late March into October she spent hours digging, applying fifty-year-old Holstein manure from under the barn, planting, transplanting, and weeding."

Would such a life have suited you (it hugely appeals, you were so envious when you read this passage), or would the "wild, restess gods within you" have strained at the bit, to be off, in search of problems to solve, a world to save, a balance to set right, a solitary space?

Are you like Camus' Rambert after all, who returned to stay in a plague-infested city and volunteer at the hospital, because he would "feel ashamed to seek a merely personal happiness"?

To the Light of September

To the Light of September
W. S. Merwin

When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later

who fly with them

you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


A friend who took around a group of teenage Kenyan girls, whom I met during their lunch in the park:

"One of the girls lost her money (about Rs.2000) at the museum, as her bag was open and with such a big crowd there, I am not surprised that it was stolen. She seemed quite dejected but wait! As soon as we got into the bus, Sr. Winifred said a magic word "Harambe!". Immediately, 100 rupee notes appeared and within a minute or two, funds were pooled together and the girl got her money back. I was amazed.

"What is Harambe?", I asked. Harambe is Swahili for "working together in unity" or "let's pull together". Following Kenya's independence in 1963, the first Prime Minister of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta adopted "Harambe" as a concept of pulling the country together to build a new nation. He encouraged communities to work together to raise funds for all sorts of local projects. This is still a strong and widely used concept in Kenya."


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning, and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."

Anais Nin

Monday, May 21, 2012


For some reason, this recurrent nonsensical vision continues to be my idea of happiness....a simple state of being, and wellbeing......

The earth is flat. So they should keep wooden park benches all along the round edges, brown ones with green paint on the legs, and you and I, some nice warm sunny evening, will sit down and share roasted grounnuts and trade childhood stories and laugh and laugh like a bunch of crazy bandicoots, while constellations turn somersaults playfully over the glorious setting sun, and our old wounds begin to heal, powerless in the face of such wellbeing....

Monday, October 03, 2005



Your absence has gone through me  
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

W. S. Merwin


Mysteries, Yes
Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Photo: Weaver Ant Nest

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Anchor: A central cohesive source of support and stability.

To become un-hinged.
To come un-done.
To lose mooring.
To drift away.
To unravel.
To fragment.
To come apart.
To disconnect.

There are days we live

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

From Blossoms
by Lin-Young Lee

Now I seek mornings

"At the time (in my youth), I was seeking out late afternoons, drab outskirts, and unhappiness; now I seek mornings, the center of town, peace."

Jorge Luis Borges
Prologue to 'Fervor de Buenos Aires'

What Was Told, That
Jalal al-Din Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.
What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

Photo: Cubbon Park, this Sunday morning

Saturday, May 19, 2012

But I want to be :)

Terrance Hayes

I am sometimes the clarinet
your parents bought
your first year in band,
my whole body alive
in your fingers, my one ear
warmed by the music
you breathe into it.

I hear your shy laugh
among the girls at practice.
I am not your small wrist
rising & falling as you turn
the sheet music,
but I want to be.

Or pinky bone, clavicle.

When you walk home
from school, birds call
to you in a language
only clarinets decipher.
The leaves whistle
and gawk as you pass.

Locked in my skinny box,
I want to be at least
one of the branches
leaning above you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What now radiates...

The Irrelevant Song
Brian Patten

Already in the woods the light grass has darkened.
Like a necklace of deaths the flowers hug the ground.
Their scents, once magically known,
Seem now irretrievable.

Because joy and sorrow must finally unite
And the small heart beat of the sparrow
Be heard above jet-roar
I will sing,
Not of tomorrow's impossible paradise
But of what now radiates.

What a rich place it became, within our vocabulary

When a Friend
Stephen Dobyns

When a friend dies, part
of oneself splits off
and spins into the outer dark.
No use calling it back.
No use saying I miss you.

Part of one's body has been riven.
One recollects gestures,
mostly trivial. The way
he pinched a cigarette,
the way he crouched on a chair.
Now he is less than a living flea.

Where has he gone, this person
whom I loved? He is vapor now;
he is nothing. I remember
talking to him about the world.

What a rich place it became
within our vocabulary. I did not
love it half so much until
he spoke of it, until it was sifted
through the adjectives of our discussion.

And now my friend is dead.
His warm hand has been reversed.
His movements across a room
have been erased. How I wish
he was somewhere specific. He
is nowhere. He is absence.

When he spoke of things
he loved - books, music, pictures,
the articulation of ideas -
his body shook as if a wire
within him suddenly surged.
In passion he filled the room.

Where has he gone, this friend
whom I loved? The way he shaved,
the way he cut his hair, even
the way he squinted when he talked,
when he embraced an idea, held it -
all vanished. The books he loved
I see them on my shelves. The words
he spoke still group around me. But this is
chaff. This is the container
now that heart has been scraped out.

He is defunct now. His body is less
than cinders; less than a sentence
after being whispered. He is the zero
from which a man has vanished. He
was the smartest, most vibrant,
like a match suddenly struck, flaring;
now he is sweepings on a roadway.

Where is he gone? He is nowhere.
My friends, I knew a wonderful man,
these words approximate him,
as chips of stone approximate
a tower, as wind approximates a song.

And in the skin of the grapes, I thought I touched you...

Your Hands
Pablo Neruda

When your hands go out,
love, toward mine,
what do they bring me flying?
Why did they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
dove wings,
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.

The wood suddenly
brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nachiketa, or the Quickening Spirit

While trying to re-arrange the rising pile of books at home, I came across one of my late father-in-law's books, printed in 1921, a commentary on the Katha Upanishad by Swami Sharvananda. And was reminded once again of Nachiketa's story, and his conversations with Yama, the God of Death.

Nachiketa is the main character of the Katha Upanishad. The name Nachiketa, (nA chiketas, that which is unperceived) "refers to the quickening Spirit that lies within all things like fire, latent in wood, the spirit that gives."

Once when his father Vajasravasa was donating cows to gain religious merit, Nachiketa, who was just a teenage boy, asks him - "What merit can one obtain by giving away cows that are too old to give milk?"

His father does not pay heed to his questions, and is irritated that his young son is seeing through his hypocrisy, and spelling it out too.

To make his father realize the meaninglessness of this false ritual, he asks, "To whom will you offer me?" He asks this again and again. Angered, his father blurts out ,"To death I give you!"
So the obedient Nachiketa goes to meet Yama, the God of Death, and waits until he gets an audience with him.

All of the Katha Upanishad is the dialogue between Yama and Nachiketa, after Nachiketa asks to know about life after death, as the last of the 3 boons that Yama grants him, a boon that Yama hesitates to grant him at first.

Not swayed by the riches and pleasures that Yama offers him instead, he remains steadfast in his desire for the knowledge of the Self. Yama, impressed by the young boy's steadfastness and readiness, then proceeds to teach Nachiketa about self-knowledge, realizing the Atman, and emancipation from rebirth.

It will soon be a year since this death in my family. The Katha Upanishad is read during death ceremonies. And like the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the Garuda Purana, it gives you so much perspective on life - on living so well, with so much understanding, that Death, when it comes, will hold no terror for you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Leonard Cohen

I never really understood
what he said
but every now and then
I find myself
barking with the dog
or bending with the irises
or helping out in other little ways.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Your hands, trees borne away on a flood...

The Nails
W. S. Merwin

I gave you sorrow to hang on your wall
Like a calendar in one color.
I wear a torn place on my sleeve.
It isn't as simple as that.

Between no place of mine and no place of yours
You'd have thought I'd know the way by now
Just from thinking it over.
Oh I know
I've no excuse to be stuck here turning
Like a mirror on a string,
Except it's hardly credible how
It all keeps changing.
Loss has a wider choice of directions
Than the other thing.

As if I had a system
I shuffle among the lies
Turning them over, if only
I could be sure what I'd lost.
I uncover my footprints, I
Poke them till the eyes open.
They don't recall what it looked like.
When was I using it last?
Was it like a ring or a light
Or the autumn pond
Which chokes and glitters but
Grows colder?
It could be all in the mind. Anyway
Nothing seems to bring it back to me.

And I've been to see
Your hands as trees borne away on a flood,
The same film over and over,
And an old one at that, shattering its account
To the last of the digits, and nothing
And the blank end.
The lightning has shown me the scars of the future.
I've had a long look at someone
Alone like a key in a lock
Without what it takes to turn.

It isn't as simple as that.

Winter will think back to your lit harvest
For which there is no help, and the seed
Of eloquence will open its wings
When you are gone.
But at this moment
When the nails are kissing the fingers good-bye
And my only
Chance is bleeding from me,
When my one chance is bleeding,

For speaking either truth or comfort
I have no more tongue than a wound.


Monday, May 14, 2012

How One Woman Revitalized a Watershed

This amazing woman prevented the Kosi river in Uttarakhand from drying up by teaching the villagers that the forests belong to them, not to the government – and therefore it is their responsibility to actively prevent deforestation, for their own survival.

Positive News. Happy Stories. Unsung Heroes:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let’s walk in the woods tomorrow...

Such beautiful imagery, such utter simplicity, so much joy. After all the poetry you've read across the years, this still takes your breath away.

"....maybe Rembrandt and da Vinci’s jeweled colours
were real – not just painted,
the way life looks through crystals of tenderness….

you smiled at me tonight
at the bottom of the stairs
with so much love in your eyes

all you said was…
“let’s walk in the woods tomorrow
at sunrise
just you and me… alone
before the world’s awake

I’ll show you
how to make a deer come near
by remaining very, very still
projecting kindness.”

…and all I said was…
“I’ll set the alarm for five”

but we were stained glass
ruby red and cobalt blue
and the choir was singing…"


Compassion. And Co-feeling

“All languages that derive from Latin form the word “compassion” by combining the prefix meaning “with” (com-) and the root meaning “suffering” (Late Latin, passio). In other languages—Czech, Polish, German, and Swedish, for instance—this word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefix combined with that word that means “feeling” (Czech, sou-cit; Polish, współ-czucie; German: Mit-gefühl; Swedish, med-känsla).

In languages that derive from Latin, “compassion” means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, “pity” (French, pitié; Italian, pietà; etc.), connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. “To take pity on a woman” means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves.

This is why the word “compassion” generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love.

In languages that form the word “compassion” not from the root “suffering” but from the root “feeling,” the word is used in approximately the same way, but to contend that it designates a bad or inferior sentiment is difficult.

The secret strength of its etymology floods the word with another light and gives it a broader meaning: to have compassion (co-feeling) means not only to be able to live with the other’s misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion—joy, anxiety, happiness, pain. This kind of compassion (in the sense of soucit,współczucie, Mitgefühl, medkänsla) therefore signifies the maximum capacity of affective imagination, the art of emotional telepathy.

In the hierarchy of sentiments, then, it is supreme.”

Milan Kundera, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anthony Lee

Discovery of the day: Anthony Lee!  "Choreographer/Dancer/Artist/Student of Life" :)

This is so brilliant!  I have graciously accepted that no one can teach me to dance - :) -  but dance - or movement  - never ceases to fascinate me - to be able to say so much, without words.

Or to say nothing at all, but create so much beauty, by just moving. They move, and we are moved up from the dreary center where our everyday selves have parked themselves.

Somebody That I Used to Know | Choreography by Anthony Lee:

More dances on their Facebook page:


“...We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.

The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public.

The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. They are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives.

Then there is the third category, the category of the people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of the people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark.

And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers. Franz, for example. He traveled to the borders of Cambodia only for Sabina. As the bus bumped along the Thai road, he could feel her eyes fixed on him in a long stare.

So also, Tomas’s estranged son, Simon. He wrote a letter to Tomas. He did not ask him to write back. He only wanted him to focus his eyes on his life. And later on, after Tomas’ death, he searched and found the address of his mistress. Because he desperately needed an imaginary eye to follow his life, he would occasionally write her long letters.”

'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'
Milan Kundera

Friday, May 11, 2012


Is a sense of wonder connected to a belief in God? Or at least to a wanting to believe in God? Beyond all disputable utilitarian functions, is God finally just a sense of Wonder? At the sheer beauty of people, things, coincidences, surprises, disproved prejudices, and the endless ability of life to renew itself?

And if you lose your sense of Wonder, will you become all dry inside, and when someone shakes you, will they hear the dry hard nut of your heart knocking against your sides?

From 'Report to Greco', the autobiography of Nikos Kazantzakis:

"........We stopped at a little monastery occupied by dervishes who danced every Friday. The arched doorway was green and had an open hand of bronze-Mohammed's sacred symbol - on the lintel. We entered the immaculate courtyard. It was paved with large white pebbles; there were flowerpots and creepers all around the edges, and in the centre a huge fruit-laden laurel.

We stopped beneath its shade to catch our breath. One of the dervishes saw us from his cell. Approaching, he greeted us by placing his hand over his breast, lips, and forehead. He was wearing a long blue robe and a tall kulah of white wool. His beard was pitch black and pointed; a silver earring hung from his right ear. He clapped his hands. A chubby barefoot boy came and brought us some stools. We sat down. The dervish chatted about the flowers we saw around us, then about the sea, which we observed sparkling between the laurel's lanceolate leaves. Finally he began to speak about dancing.

"If a man cannot dance, he cannot pray. Angels have mouths but lack the power of speech. They speak to God by dancing."

Father, what name do you give God?", asked the abbé.

"God does not have a name", the dervish replied. "He is too big to fit inside names. A name is a prison, God is free."

"But in case you should want to call Him," the abbé persisted, "when there is need, what name will you use?'

The dervish bowed his head and thought. Finally he parted his lips: "Ah! - that is what I shall call Him. Not Allah, but Ah!"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Please Help!

To Bangaloreans:

Remember the beautiful open grasslands next to Nrityagram, where Vasanthahabba used to take place? Please sign this petition if you want to help prevent it being destroyed to construct a theme park.(AAAARGHH!)

Hesaraghatta is the last remaining grassland in and around Bangalore and requires immediate protection.  It took me less than a minute to sign, it's a very simple process.

Please sign and share on your FB walls, thank you! 

Everything is waiting for you

So I spent years reading philosophy. And somewhere along the way, I gave up the Search for the Self and slipped into the Search for Beauty. And I now realize that all that I ever wanted to know, it was already there, in the poetry I have always drunk deep from, been intoxicated by.

Is seeking Beauty, and seeking the Self, one and the same, do these paths lead to the same light?

Everything is waiting for you

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden

To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings.

even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.

Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

David Whyte

The Moment

"I now exist on the principle of shortsightedness, which demands enhanced attention to the moment. Late wisdom, but close to the wisdom of childhood. A lovely summer day. Color, taste, scent. A squirrel. Cherries. Good tiredness. Cauliflower for supper. Clean house. And always darkness, darkness that spreads around all of it."

A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook, by Anna Kamienska

If there is a squirrel in it, I melt, anyways :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Then Too There Is This
J. Allyn Rosser

Joy in the day's being done, however
clumsily, and in the ticked-off lists,
the packages nestling together,
no one home waiting for dinner, for
you, no one impatient for your touch
or kind words to salve what nightly
rises like heartburn, the ghost-lump feeling
that one is really as alone as one had feared.

One isn't, not really. Not really. Joy
to see over the strip mall darkening
right on schedule a neon-proof pink
sunset flaring like the roof of a cat's mouth,
cleanly ribbed, the clouds laddering up
and lit as if by a match struck somewhere
in the throat much deeper down.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You wouldn't recognize me

I have this thing about hands. And poems that speak of them. Hands, these far edges of us, to which all our warmth flows down. And then the reaching out. And the drawing in.

"......One of my friends, whose wife is a physician, went on to elaborate that when his wife's medical class dissected cadavers, the hardest task - the most psychologically upsetting for the students - wasn't dissecting faces. It was hands. He offered, "It's our hands that give us our humanity."

I guess it is appropriate that we hurt the most through them too.

Across a Great Wilderness without You
Keetje Kuipers

The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I'm drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—


if language can be a kind of crying.
The tin cans scattered in the meadow glow,
each bullet hole suffused with moon,
like the platinum thread beyond them
where the river runs the length of the valley.
That's where the fish are.


I'll scoop them from the pockets of graveled
stone beneath the bank, their bodies
desperately alive when I hold them in my hands,
the way prayers become more hopeless
when uttered aloud.

The phone's disconnected.

Just as well, I've got nothing to tell you:
I won't go inside where the bats dip and swarm
over my bed. It's the sound of them
shouldering against each other that terrifies me,
as if it might hurt to brush across another being's
living flesh.

But I carry a gun now. I've cut down
a tree. You wouldn't recognize me in town—
my hands lost in my pockets, two disabused tools
I've retired from their life of touching you.

Open. Close.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


"For we are only alive to the degree that we can let ourselves be moved...."

From 'The Gift, How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World', by Lewis Hyde 

The Gift

The most fascinating book I have probably ever read, recommended by a friend to whom I am indebted now, because of the same - :) - Lewis Hyde's 'The Gift', "the sort of book that you remember where you were, and even what you were wearing, when you first picked it up".

"It is the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange that a gift establishes a feeling-bond between two people, while the sale of a commodity leaves no unnecessary connection.

...a gift makes a connection. To take the simplest of examples, the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss tells of a seemingly trivial ceremony he has often seen accompany a meal in cheap restaurants in the South of France. The patrons sit at a long, communal table, and each finds before his plate a modest bottle of wine. Before the meal begins, a man will pour his wine not into his own glass but into his neighbor's. And his neighbor will return the gesture, filling the first man's empty glass.

In an economic sense nothing has happened. No one has any more wine than he did to begin with. But society has appeared where there was none before. The French customarily tend to ignore people they do not know, but in these little restaurants, strangers find themselves placed in close relationship for an hour or more. 'A conflict exists,' says Lévis-Strauss, 'not very keen to be sure, but real enough and sufficient to create a tension between the norm of privacy and the fact of community...'This is the fleeting but difficult situation resolved by the exchange of wine. It is an assertion of good grace which does away with the mutual uncertainty.'

Spacial proximity becomes social life through an exchange of gifts. Further, the pouring of the wine sanctions another exchange - conversation - and a whole series of trivial social ties unfolds."

Page 58, Chapter 4, 'The Bond', from 'The Gift, How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World', by Lewis Hyde

I found it on Flipkart.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Orpheus, and the Descent into Hell

A brilliant review, makes me want to read the book Right Now. :)

"The book is divided into seven chapters, each chapter representing a "string" of Orpheus's lyre.

The "Fifth string: Death" shows the author at her most powerful and poetical. She seems to agree with medieval theologians in seeing Orpheus's wife Eurydice as his own "lower self", and also, perhaps, as death; in Cocteau's Orphée, she tells us, "Orpheus had gone down to Hell to find her, his own Death, as much as to retrieve his wife."

That phlegmatic savant Maurice Blanchot enters a more ambiguous, darker plea, seeing in the quest to the Underworld an attempt by Orpheus not only to rescue Eurydice, representing truth or art, but also, as Wroe writes, "to look at her in 'the other night', as the still-unattained object of his desire".

Orpheus: The Song of Life, by Ann Wroe
Ann Wroe showcases a new kind of writing in this playful and passionate paean to Orpheus.
John Banville

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Raag Kaushi Kanada

I love Hindustani classical music solely because of Ustad Hameed Khan, our dear friend in Dharwar, the most gentle person I know, and the only person I know who can make gentleness heard through a sitar, so perfectly. Because whenever he does his riyaaz in our guest room, I walk around the house in tears, because I cannot contain any more joy...........

I've never heard Vasant Rai before. A friend sent this to me. I know nothing about raags, but I know this piece is beautiful beyond expression. I suspect you will too. As I keep saying, you don't always have to understand. Poetry, or music, or people. There is still a giving. To open up and receive is a choice we make.

The most beautiful evocation of Raag Kaushi Kanada

* Photo from

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Classic Adams :) :)

So Zaphod and Trillian are stuck on the spaceship 'Heart of Gold', floating around for days in some remote area of the Galaxy, and Zaphod is going a little out of his mind - and he's drinking.

"That he had thought about what his position actually was and the renewed shock had nearly made him spill his drink. He drained it quickly before anything serious happened to it. He then had another quick one to follow the first down and check if it was all right.

'Freedom.' he said aloud.

Trillian came on the bridge at that point and said several things on the subject of freedom.

'I can't cope with it,' he said darkly, and sent a third drink down to see why the second hadn't yet reported on the condition of the first. He looked uncertainly at both of her and preferred the one on the right.

He poured a drink down his other throat with the plan that it would head the previous one off at the pass, join forces with it, and together they would get the second to pull itself together. Then all three would go off in search of the first, give it a good talking to, and maybe a bit of a sing as well.

He felt uncertain as to whether the fourth drink had understood all that, so he sent down a fifth to explain the plan more fully, and a sixth for moral support.

'You're drinking too much,'  said Trillian.

His heads collided trying to sort out the four of her he could now see into a single person...............

He boggled at her. He had never seen anyone sit on their own lap before.

'Wow,' he said. He had another drink.

Page 356, 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe',  Part 2, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', Douglas Adams

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