Celebrating Joseph Brodsky

A Russian/American poet that won the Nobel Prize in 1992.

“The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity.” ― Joseph Brodsky

I Sit By The Window
 by Joseph Brodsky
I said fate plays a game without a score,
and who needs fish if you’ve got caviar?
The triumph of the Gothic style would come to pass
and turn you on–no need for coke, or grass.
I sit by the window. Outside, an aspen.0
When I loved, I loved deeply. It wasn’t often.

I said the forest’s only part of a tree.
Who needs the whole girl if you’ve got her knee?
Sick of the dust raised by the modern era,
the Russian eye would rest on an Estonian spire.
I sit by the window. The dishes are done.
I was happy here. But I won’t be again.

I wrote: The bulb looks at the flower in fear,
and love, as an act, lacks a verb; the zer-
o Euclid thought the vanishing point became
wasn’t math–it was the nothingness of Time.
I sit by the window. And while I sit
my youth comes back. Sometimes I’d smile. Or spit.

I said that the leaf may destroy the bud;
what’s fertile falls in fallow soil–a dud;
that on the flat field, the unshadowed plain
nature spills the seeds of trees in vain.
I sit by the window. Hands lock my knees.
My heavy shadow’s my squat company.

My song was out of tune, my voice was cracked,
but at least no chorus can ever sing it back.
That talk like this reaps no reward bewilders
no one–no one’s legs rest on my shoulders.
I sit by the window in the dark. Like an express,
the waves behind the wavelike curtain crash.

A loyal subject of these second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out.

“For darkness restores what light cannot repair.” ― Joseph Brodsky
Elegy
 by Joseph Brodsky
It’s not that the Muse feels like clamming up,
it’s more like high time for the lad’s last nap.
And the scarf-waving lass who wished him the best
drives a steamroller across his chest.

And the words won’t rise either like that rod
or like logs to rejoin their old grove’s sweet rot,
and, like eggs in the frying pan, the face
spills its eyes all over the pillowcase.

Are you warm tonight under those six veils
in that basin of yours whose strung bottom wails;
where like fish that gasp at the foreign blue
my raw lip was catching what then was you?

I would have hare’s ears sewn to my bald head,
in thick woods, for your sake, I’d gulp drops of lead,
and from black gnarled snags in the oil-smooth pond
I’d bob up to your face as some Tirpitz won’t.

But it’s not on the cards or the waiter’s tray,
and it pains to say where one’s hair turns gray.
There are more blue veins than the blood to swell
their dried web, let alone some remote brain cell.

We are parting for good, my friend, that’s that.
Draw an empty circle on your yellow pad.
This will be me: no insides in thrall.
Stare at it a while, then erase the scrawl.

“For a writer, only one form of patriotism exists: his attitude toward language.” ― Joseph Brodsky

 

 

Re-evaluating life

Have you ever wondered why as women we fall into sexist traps? Is false flattery necessary for our self-esteem?  Are we so oblivious to this pattern, we hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential? Has it become more accessible to sound liberated than to go through the problematic psychological changes necessary to become liberated from sexual stereotypes?

The more I embrace Wicca, the more I realize how restrictive my life is.  I failed to see how much my life has been determined by male chauvinism. A society defined by male needs.  Recently, I heard my eldest son and longtime male friends spout NRA male driven propaganda crap creating panic over the right to own guns. It saddened me how much his father and men like influenced him. Our children’s right to be safe wasn’t a priority.

Daily, the different news spouts about a president who brags he’s a pussy grabber. His blatant disrespect of his wife, family are condoned by his male counterparts. His accepted lies are proof that we exist in a male run, man-made society.  Even the media is an extension of the patriarchy that has denied women throughout time. We’ve been crippled by tradition. We are the product sadly of two thousand years of suppression and oppression.

Seeking spiritual guidance is disappointing because the vast majority is led by men. It’s the driving factor for me in seeking Wicca because there isn’t as strong a male influence as other religions.

I read a comparison of our society recently as a tree, metaphorically traditions are merely roots and roots are only one part of the whole tree. The roots provide a base but don’t define the shape or the beauty of the tree as it reaches its potential. It’s the external influences that impact the tree the most. I ask why is it so impossible to see men and women exactly the same except for a minute anatomical difference?  It saddens me the answer is primarily because we are socially conditioned to believe otherwise.

I’ve believed for a long time we must embrace a society without gender or role divisions for us to evolve to our full potential as human beings and for discrimination to end. We need to rethink the male-female polarity if the change is going to happen and embrace chromosomal diversity. Sadly, women have been brainwashed in a patriarchal society for so many years they’ve forgotten how to use their positive energy for a better world. We’ve made progress with women’s spiritually, but, we haven’t found a solution for our co-existence because women still seek safe harbors from men instead of working together for human potential. We can’t remain divided or become stagnant if our children’s future is going to be better.

Rupi Kaur says “The most significant lesson a woman can learn is from day one… a woman has everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that has convinced women otherwise.”

 

Change is inevitable

Reflect, absorb and embrace life
Imitate all things to make one smile
Experience what one should not miss

Resist familiarity, embrace change
Intuition says to be careful but not incapaciated
Excel in ways you never dreamed possible

Reality may knock on your door but
Inspiration will incite desire
Expect prosperity and love as a norm

©Lyn Crain

 

I am a maiden, I am a mother, I am a crone, I am a goddess and I am a witch.

I am a strong woman who feels deeply and loves fiercely.  My tears flow as abundantly as my laughter. I choose to be practical and spiritual and maybe my poetic gift will influence this world.

Blessed be.

 

 

Breath

by Lyn Crain

A breath

A tree crashes shatters the window.

the ground shudders with its weight.

The storm rages… rips every fragile

fragment of nature to shreds.

A  life is born, fighting to live

in a desperate struggle for air.

An old life shudders  a frenzied surrender

death claims his last gasp.

A breath

What once was …

I once believed in America

I, Too
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

When Hughes wrote this poem it was a singularly significant affirmation to tell the history of United States through the lens of the African-American experience. It embodies that history at a particular point in the early 20th century when Jim Crow laws throughout the South enforced racial segregation; and argues against those who would deny that importance—and that presence.
Although today, it could be any immigrants story as most of us know all too well.

Rage and Injustice

Political Abuse Invites Promises

Promises denied in darkness

Darkness and lies comprise

Comprise lures trusting souls

Souls led into complacency

Complacency allowed zealots to strike

Strike fears flamed into silence

Silence enabled more abusive behaviors

Behaviors accelerate without boundaries

Boundaries violate trust and dignity.

Dignity denied to the innocent

Innocent betrayed by political abuse.

 

 

Loop Poetry is a poetry form created by Hellon. There are no restrictions on the number of stanzas nor on the syllable count for each line. In each stanza, the last word of the first line becomes the first word of line two, the last word of line 2 becomes the first word of line 3, last word of line 3 becomes the first word of line 4.

 

In this poem, I am not discussing physical or mental abuse but that of our present leadership. Hardworking immigrants betrayed and cast out because they were not born on this soil. Soil that we ourselves stole from the Native Americans with lies and guns. Here we are again, using political tactics, force when needed based on lies. Religious zealots claiming they’re making America great again when in fact all we’re showing is what an abusive culture we really are.

Normally, I do not engage in political commentary on my blog but then something happened to change my mind. A dear woman I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many writing experiences was one of the innocent immigrants tossed out of our country. She’s been twenty two years, has a social security card, worked, paid taxes. She’s done everything asked of her but time and time again red tape has denied her citizenship. She was tossed in a detention camp and treated similarly to how Hilter treated the Jews. We refused to believe that atrocities happened then as well. We’ve become a country that has selective sight, we overlook anything that doesn’t directly affect us. I’m guilty as well or I was until this became personal. She is a delightful woman who did not deserve to cast out of our country. She has broken no laws. She reported every week faithfully as required by the immigration board in  Atlanta. That belief in the system and that goodness would outweigh evil allowed this to happen. She should have fled but she didn’t.

We need to take our country back from this nightmare it is existing in. Normally, I don’t support violence but I’m beginning to believe revolution must occur for these tragedies to end. Innocent lives should not be treated as if they have no value. Families should not be ripped apart because of laws pushed by parties to gain influence.

I speak for the women, the children like my friend that believed this country was special but were hurt by the deception of our lies, America is not great. Bullies have become the new norm.

 

Motivation Monday

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

I’ve been working on poetry forms again. The focus I find is helping me rethink my word usage in my book. Writers are guilty of using extra verbiage that doesn’t add to the story.

I decided to give a Fib aka Fibonacci for short a try because of its rigid structure.

Form: Fibonacci~ 8 Lines~ Syllabic Structure: 1/1/2/3/5/8/13/21

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding. Fib is an experimental Western poetry form, bearing similarities to haiku, but based on the Fibonacci sequence. That is, the typical fib and one version of the contemporary Western haiku both follow a strict structure. The typical fib is a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – with as many syllables per line as the line’s corresponding place in the Fibonacci sequence; the specific form of contemporary Western haiku uses three (or fewer) lines of no more than 17 syllables in total. The only restriction on a Fib is that the syllable count follows the Fibonacci sequence.

 

Barriers Aside

I

need
freedom
to take steps.
A bold move beyond
the usual path love follows.
I want no boundaries, no rules to confine my heart.
I wonder if you are the one to join me on this elusive passion-filled journey.

 

 

 

Does it inspire you, make you ask questions,

or leave you with that cookie cutter ending all’s right in the world?

Last night in our local writing group we discussed a haiku for twenty minutes.A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. Imagine that twenty minutes of animated conversation over seventeen syllables. The group sitting at the table all had different perspectives on the piece. It was a philosophical poem by a younger poet in our group, he was trying different forms to expand his poetic skills. I was very happy to see and hear what he brought to the group after all isn’t that what makes us all great in our ways.

From the time we’re born we absorb information in all manners and that data is processed and stored for future use. As we age, we see it in action and reprocess it forming new skill sets. Writing, observing, reading, talking all are essential tools in a writer’s tool basket that must be continuously honed to improve our craft.

The question last night that arose is should the author end a poem providing the reader the answer or at the very least a strong clue as to the writer’s intent. My own opinion is no, The reader should fill in the necessary information, ask questions, ponder and then formulate their own conclusion. The author is only the instrument to guide the reader in the journey. The beauty of poetry is to take the reader from the darkness and hopefully awaken beauty in the reader’s mind. That ah ah moment when the reader feels connected to the author experiencing the moment or vision. Poetry opens the mind to possibilities outside of the daily norm to me.

My question to you is what do you feel poets should do?

Provide you a window to and let you decide what you’re seeing or provide you a window and the answer.

These are a few of my personal favorites my Buson, Jess, Waters and myself  I hope you enjoy:

The light of a candle
is transferred to another candle—
spring twilight.

Written by  Copyright © 2007 by Yosa Buson

my motto for life

                      – merit, not sympathy, wins-

my song against death.

E

i stroke piano’s

eighty eight mouths. each one sings

hot colors of joy

                                                                                                 F

pentatonic black

keys raise up high into bliss,

born to sing my name

                       F#

whippoorwill, hawk, crow

sing madrigals for blind men.

forests blooms through each note.
                                   G

my eyes: buried deep

beneath earth’s skin. my vision

begins in her womb.
                             B

darkness sounds like God

flowering from earth’s molten tomb…

writhed wind. chorded cries.

C

rain, flower, sea, wind

map my dark horizon. i

inhale earth’s songbook

written by Copyright © 2016 by Tyehimba Jess.

hitchhiker:

this ladybug

on my hand

written by Bill Waters Published in Brass Bell: A Haiku Journal

https://billwatershaiku.wordpress.com/2017/10/

Words boldly impressed
Scribbles upon broken soul
An author’s remorse

A frosty petal
stood strong alone at sunrise
a beacon to me.
 It begins today
Struggling flowers bloom thru ice
A joyous moment
3 Haikus Written by Lyn Crain