the perfect apathy

You remember and dwell on all the things you’ve lost and ignore all the things you haven’t. Because your scars are like stars. Yet the night stays perfectly black. —the perfect apathy (pleasefindthis Friday, August 7, 2009)

We could sing good songs about each other.

你仍记得,记忆留连在你失去的所有一切,却忽略了你仍然拥有的一切,因为你的伤痕就如同星辰,但夜晚却仍是如此完美的黑。(完美的冷漠)

我们其实可以为彼此唱出多么美好的歌呢

pleasefindthis (the pen name of Iain S. Thomas) is best known for the I Wrote This For You project, which he began in 2007 as a blog with photographer, Jon Ellis. The project was published as a book in December of 2011 and appears on bestseller lists weekly.
He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and shares his home with his wife, daughter and various animals.

cheeky rain cheeky poem

rain drops 2017 he wants to share the beautiful newly painted white pearl-glo wall
all ready for Christmas and the New Year toll
instead his phone chooses to display a mind
dropping rain drops on his file
why it’s not what I want to send to my love he cries
no it isn’t but this is far better, the phone replies
what, even rain drops on my window pane cliche?
long ago i saw a drama performed on stage called rain drops keep falling on my head
i didn’t understand why my ma sang in swimsuit with pa dressed in sailor uniform pouring buckets of cold water on her head. no, it’s mixed up with i’m singing in the rain with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. not that you nit, she says, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair.
Whatever you say. he says. She says, rain rain go away.
since i miss the moment of capturing the beautiful white glistening in the rain i just have to send this picture from a mysterious phone and say i love you rain don’t go today. last word he says. rain rain go away last word she says.
cheeky Cheeky rain

an autumn story: must be prepaid

a Pedestrian
mining town sale
nothing is free son
all must be prepaid
a voice from behind the wooden wall warns.

mind your step son
on real snow must be prepared
as he trips his foot over a thorn

the glassy bottles rattle
as he glides across and prattles
leaving behind many feet long gutter

clash, crash, clatter, smash
gliding rolling sputtering
not to worry ma’am stop hollering

i got cash to pay
boy looks up into dad’s face bathed in bright sun ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture in a mining town which had stopped operation. It is now for tourists and perhaps movies shooting. The autumn had long gone or was never there due to high altitude. But I like to keep the title as autumn story. Why? Because autumn gives a sense of forlorn beauty, a time to let go, mellow down and rest with a good warm cup of _________(fill in your favorite drink) and listen to random poetry reading, good and bad. Poetry writing is a personal thing. But reading is even better because the sound is part of the fun and you do not have to commit anything except some minutes/seconds of your life.

“Long Letter” (keeping a promise)

Cherry On Top
Mount FujiLooking at old photos I found this one by chance stored in a Nikon digital memory card. The photo was taken in 2007 December. As you would have recognized it is Mount Fuji in the morning. It was a clear morning and we had some good pictures on that day together. Traveling with someone who matters to me is always a cherry-on-top kind of experience. I just read a poem titled “Long letter”. It is about two persons corresponding with handwritten letters. It is obvious that the two have known each other for a long time and they show their valuing the friendship by writing regular long letters to each other. Even when the letters are about ordinary small matters they take the bother to write down in careful longhand with ink and share with each other the whole summer. It is like they want the other party to actually see their daily lives: the wooden table for writing, the sunshine crashing into the room, the dazzling summer blooms at the window, mysterious fireflies at otherwise pitch dark night, the faraway stars and milky way… They know the contents even before opening the letters and read. They know all the unspoken words. I remember I too wrote a letter a day one whole summer. The poet likens it to keeping a promise.

Left alone: a haiku (and a prose)

Desert

footsteps on snow

alien here I dread
print upon print I now thread
deserted I read

(After I wrote this little poem of a scene I took in US last January, I suddenly realize now of somewhat similar perspective in terms of man and nature left alone, expressed in two previous movie stories, both of which I had not watched. I googled and saw their brief reviews. The Revenant and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I would add that the ‘loneliness’ can also be felt in virtual space perspective. The word ‘thread’ is deliberate to bring out another kind of desert effect. Not a misspelt.)

Love and pain: a haiku (with prose)

white snow n black rock
Concealed and revealed
interspersed with love and pain
compelling unveiled
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He decides to dedicate today to the subject of LOVE. On waking this morning he observes that the snow has melted and revealed dark foreboding jagged black rock, like he is suddenly going through a lesson on the description of rocks, including their color and surface shape, plus characteristics such as size, shape, and arrangement of the grains or crystals in each rock. The partially melted snow has cleansed the rocks. It is as if a giant painter has walked through this patch of the mountain and used his gigantic brush and drawn a pattern for the snow to turn into liquid and flow away so that the rock may appear and assume its place in time. He think of his own life that it too has been drawn and brushed and patterned by an invisible hand from birth to this dawn of the melting snow. He wonders what each rock had been before it becomes a rock. He wonders why he had not found a love patch in his own heart until he was twenty and met her, a young smart mature precocious girl of ten. He thinks of the eight years they have had mostly on an intellectual and spiritual connection and comradeship, relying mostly on technology to link up. She lives with her very exclusive folks and travels extensively for her study of draught and underground water. He lives with the convention, also traveling extensively round the globe to all premium conventions held and hosted by the Midas hotel chain. His friends deride him, “What kind of love is that? Love in the virtual world?” He has taken her advice and started to study building. The two of them are going to take care of two major concerns of the world’s poorest and most disaster-hit people groups: water and shelter. His boss taunts him by singing the Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha with daily rendition in full*. Is he taunted? No. Remember? He is a star gazer. He sees and focuses on one star and he is going after it, and he knows it is not unreachable. The name is called LOVE.

~~~~~~~~~~
*Lyrics
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Landmark for love: a haiku (and a prose)

Purea snow landmark
snow clothing with might
authenticity that tied
love so pure in sight
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.* He suddenly recalled how he used this line and wrote his first prose. He did not have access to this book then and read it as a quote somewhere. It invoked imagination now of what he would do when he re-visited his own life in time in the different dimensions of space like a layered cake through which he sliced, exposing its various perspectives, colors, smells, textures and ingredients: sound, sight, touch, feel, appearance, love, hate, happiness, sadness, success, disappointment, fulfillment, failure, good, bad, loving kindness, mercy, charity, selfishness, delusion, indifference,  warmth, coldness, passion, hopefulness, disillusion, credibility, integrity, wretchedness,  lowliness, lacking luster, mediocrity, grandeur, majesty, magnificence, clarity, excellence, stupidity, brilliance, despondency, desolation, elation, jubilation, celebration, melancholy, exuberance, blissfulness and contentment. At twenty-eight he had gone through far more than many of his peers. He was at least happy. He sometimes wondered what was beneath the thick cloth of snow on the mountain. What the snow tried to shield and protect. His life too had been a shield for many things. The convention service too was a shield for many. The participants came and allowed the artificial environment and near real technological simulation give them a pretense of greatness and well-being. Then they left and went home with a fully charged life battery for another year on their respective fast track. He never looked for reality in the convention hall. His verisimilitude was in her. There was no need for simulation or artificial intelligence. Life was not simulation despite the money bags in that game. Life to him was authenticity. Often he and his love exchanged audio recording of each other. He listened to her laugh. They were fresh and sparkling like the mountain spring that rushed down the steep ravine as he trekked up the mountain. He could hear her smiling as she talked, exulting optimism, expectation, expectancy, confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction, assurance; promise and possibility. Love was a reality between them. (to be continued)

(*the one line quote is taken from Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye).

Eminent love: a haiku (and a prose)

snowy mountain and trees
Celebrated snow
conspicuous sheer renowned
crystal clear for now
~~~~~~~~He did not know whether his story was going to be celebrated or regretted when it happened. it was certainly a love story which had a noble beginning. As a child he had always dreamed of grandeur, the austere grandeur of mountain scenery. That was why he became an amateur mountaineer when he was not conferencing and conventioning (his coined word). He bought his first set of mountaineering equipment at ten even though he was not allowed to use them. He did not get to climb a mountain until he was fifteen. By then it was a bit late as he was already involved in a distant uncle’s booming business of catering for large hotel chains. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and took a second bachelor’s degree in physics. Instead of pursuing a phd in astrophysics he changed course to food science while doing a master degree in business management. That was how he landed himself in the convention profession. What had his first love astrophysics got to do with mountaineering? He was a star gazer. When he first met his love, he had the feeling that he was gazing at the brightest star, ever. Here are the adjectives that filled his mind when he thought of how she imprinted herself on his heart: graphic, evocative, realistic, lifelike, faithful, authentic, clear, detailed, lucid, eloquent, striking, arresting, impressive, colorful, rich, picturesque, dramatic, lively, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, scintillating; memorable, powerful, stirring, moving, telling, haunting. (To be continued)

she has a passion for hope: a haiku (and a prose)

sunny day and trees
a sunny day up the mountain

Beloved come now
Sail away to blue beyond
Many fields to plow ~~~~~~ “How do you know you know her?” Boss asked. He didn’t answer. How does he know? He just knows. He didn’t give her the right answer the last time because she was called away before he could answer her. She shouted, “See you next time!” He returned the next year. She was there. She had grown a bit. She was seventeen. This time she stayed longer and they talked. Some names were exchanged and he discovered that she was his mother’s private student! His mother was a freelance private teacher/tutor who worked exclusively with those who could not go to the usual school. His mother had taught very exceptionally bright students. “What? You are that girl who is doing PHD study on four billion people with severe water scarcity on planet earth?” They exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch. Before she left she asked, “Do you want to play that guessing game again?” He shook his head. He said, “Maybe next time?” She nodded. She remarked before she left, “you know, you look old. Why are you so burdened and wearied?” He had no cause to feel old but he did. He thought about his life, all the 27 years. He could not remember a day when he was relaxed and happy. He thought of how in his childhood he had to move from place to place as he followed his parents. They lived in exotic places round the world where his dad was posted as a missionary. They put him in an English boarding school when he reached 13. Later his parents became settled in their respective second professions and by then he was already staying in college far away from home. Because he was a special child he graduated earlier than others of the same age. Perhaps that was why he felt old. He thought about what she said. The golden girl. She had a passion he could not understand then. She talked of dreams. She asked him to dream dreams beyond what he was doing then in the Midas Convention. “Look around you. What makes you know you are doing the right thing for your life?” He went back to the Convention and looked around and thought about his life. He could not sleep for many nights. She mentioned the 100 million homeless in the world too. “What are you going to do about it?” She asked. She was thinking about four billion people without water and she still looked radiant and fresh and full of hope. He suddenly started feeling cheerful and hopeful. There had to be ways to overcome. He wanted to be real too. Like her. That was how it all started. Their relationship. (to be continued)

against all odds: a haiku (and a prose)

a winter day by rail
a winter day on snowy mountain

He does not lose heart
burning flame consuming might
overcoming odds ~~~~~~~~~Against all odds, their love was. He did not see her again for five years. Meanwhile he worked day and night for the corporation without distraction. He did not have his own private life. The convention-conference business boomed as they partnered with tech-digital gurus who revolutionized the way people connect. Connection was no longer hindered by geographical-location constraints. The key word became connect, connect, connect. It still is today. The guests and participants came armed with their own social connecting machines in their palms, on their laps. Yet the gold continued to pour in because the modern corporate players mix business with pleasures. The Midas still had the edge over any virtual holiday resorts because it offered physically tangible reality of places and food and social connections. The boss was elated, “AJ, we have the best of both worlds: The location. The connection.” But AJ had his mind elsewhere. On the first anniversary of the encounter he went back to the beach to see if she was there, the little princess. But she was not there. Her folks took her elsewhere. On the second anniversary he went again but she was not there. Year after year he went, hoping to meet her again. He had found out that her folks were one of those oldest and rarest families who remained on earth after thousands of years. There was otherwise no information about them. They came in their own liner and private jet. But he did not see her with them. Yes, he waited for their landing every year but she was not in their midst. He could not explain why he went back every year for an appointment which was one-sided. He could not in his rational mind understand what he was trying to do and what he hoped to get in the end. All he knew was the first encounter with her impacted his deepest soul. Maybe he knew his life was to tie with hers.

On this March day when he was a month from his 26th birthday, he walked to the deserted beach again. The sea was calm and still. Gulls were feeding. He closed his eyes and listened to the wind. “Ahem.” She said. He turned and saw a young girl of about sixteen standing behind him. Her large eyes watched him with the seriousness of their first encounter. He recognized her. She held out her hands to him and asked, “Can you tell me what are inside my hands?” He thought he was prepared but he knew she would not expect the same answer. (to be continued)

No river too deep to cross: a haiku (and a prose)

no river too deep tht cannot be crossed
No river too deep to cross

Aiming for the sky
Crossing rivers and mountains
None too deep too high ~~~~~~She is not Princess Turandot but She has given him three riddles just as the boss has warned him. “Turandot will finish you off. Off with your head. Feed to piranhas. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, AJ.” The boss was now misquoting the playing card Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland). Boss also thought he was going to the Amazon. But AJ knows better. First, his princess is not Turandot. Second, he knows all riddles can be solved. Third, she loves him and it matters. She will not put him through a risk greater than what he can bear. When the riddles come he will be ready. He believes Love is on his side. On the other hand, he has to find and train a successor and hand over the business of the Midas Convention Hotel chain. He remembers the first time he came to this corporation which was conservatively named Goodworth Hotel chain. Convention hosting was only an auxiliary service for corporate or other organizational visitors who came in a group and might want to have their own official meetings. When AJ joined the group he saw the potential of a more focused and faster growing niche market. Studying the global trend in corporate training he saw what he could develop into a major hospitality market utilizing strategically located hotel he acquired. Like someone said, hotel is all about location, location, location. He did just that. Business boomed and they became a major player in the convention scene. Gold poured in. Their name was thus changed.
On the day AJ met his little princess he had already been with the company three years including part time as an intern whilst doing his postgraduate degree. He was chronologically young. But his real age was older and wearier of the drudgery of life. She said, “Ahem.” When he turned and saw her for the first time he knew he was entering into another world. That stretch of her family’s private beach was shinny and gleaming under the sun like they had been overlaid with billions of tiny specks of gold particles. Her hair, her eye-lids, her cheeks and her skin were covered with gold dust. He didn’t know whether this tiny golden girl was for real. He lost his words. “How old are you?” She asked. He had to answer, “21, this April.” “Old enough.” She said. She held out her two clenched fists and said, “Guess what I put in each hand.” He could see tiny bits of shinny gold dust stuck to her hands. “Golden sands?” He made his guess. She shook her head sadly, “No, in my right hand I carry honor, and in my left, wealth.” As she walked away, she said, “Try again next year.” (To be continued)

he knows her heart can melt snow: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowing mountain scene
a snowing mountain scene

depth and height of love
beyond his comprehension
life long wild passion ~~~~~~~~~~
One thing she does well. She makes him think of his life. Is he really living the life of the greatness he is meant to become? Night after night he wakes and asks himself. The boss sums up a physical/material perspective, “You have come this far, don’t throw it away. None of us will be there to help you if you fail.” The glitter, the popularity, the high living, the nearness to the highest society ever in human race, the social and financial rewards, the admiration and praises, the power, all. So familiar and so much a part of him after ten years of pouring out himself into a profession at a time of many changes and practically with the right people with power and wealth crashing gates to become part of his world. The boss remarked with frustrations (and obsession with opera), “Don’t go and marry the princess Turandot.” (In a legendary time, at the square in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, the Princess, Turandot, is a woman of great beauty, but has a cold heart that is as cold as ice. She said, “Any prince seeking to marry me must answer three riddles. But if he fails, he will have to die.” This opera is the last opera by Giacomo Puccini.) How little does the boss in his ivory money-making tower know the depth, width, breadth and height of true love which can never be bought with cash. He has thrown away his own golden years since graduating with an Economics degree and later a Master of Science. Others call him a “golden boy”. It means he has the Midas touch. Their convention is no ordinary convention. It generates significant monetary income for all who participate as many successful spectacular business dealings happen in their midst. Suppliers and consumers alike. At 31 he has reached the peak of global corporate success. The first time they met she came with her dad and grandad. he was 21 and fresh from university. She was a precocious child of 11. Her folks were not part of the convention. They stayed in the same golden city but in a posher and more exclusive area. They had their private golden beach. He trespassed without knowing. This stretch of the beach was beautiful and deserted. He congratulated himself for having the good sense of looking beyond what everyone else looked. The bustling convention tired him and he needed a rest by himself. While he removed his tie and unbuttoned his Armani dress-shirt, he heard this loud “ahem’ behind him. He turned and saw her, a real-life princess, and yet there is  something about her like a celestial being, out of this world. He turned red. (to be continued)

perhaps he waited too long: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowy slope 2
a snowy slope

heart melts like spring snow
waves of love surging and flow
in rhymes chimes and awe ~~~~~~~He waited too long perhaps to leave. The boss would not release him until he found and trained a successor. He could hear the clock of his heart ticking like a time bomb as he was running out of time. She had given him a year and no more to settle his affairs and go to her. The business at hand in the convention-conglomeration corporate fast-lane was booming and jam packing every bit of his life, now that every one knew he was leaving. “How can you?” They accused. They sighed. They shook their heads. “No, you are not leaving us!” His best clients begged. suddenly orders and bookings door-crashed and piled up and everyone was asking to jump queue and put ahead of the pack in time before he left. It was a nightmare as he knew there was no way he could handle all the engagements to satisfy everyone no matter how he juggled the list. “No, I am sorry, sir.” That was all he could say to each disappointed client at the other end of the phone line. One day the boss called him into his suite and made an offer which could not be refused, “Look, we are making you a partner. You do not owe us anything. We offer you 25% shares without any conditions and you do not have to pay a cent.” But he declined. His heart said NO. She said no. She was not going to wait for him. She gave her offer. She would leave exactly at one second after midnight on the 366th day if he was not there by then. Thus his and her story began. He wishes now he has not missed. Or did he ever miss? (to be continued)

what being lonesome means: a haiku (and a prose)

a lone cyprusI waited for you

thousands of suns and moon nights

lonesome windy sighs

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This is a lonesome view. Despite the beauty of the sky, the greens, the mountain, the ocean. Like a man’s heart story. A writer’s heart is always alone. No one else can share the sadness and/or the joy in the unseen heart. We can share through our words when we write or speak. But we cannot really share exactly what we think and feel inside, which often lack of the exact words or pictures. The world can only hear, see and read of what we try to communicate with the external signs (using words, pictures, songs, paintings, gestures and various modes of external usually physical expressions) and try to interpret according to its own perspectives. That’s all. Unless we are joined in the spirit.

writing fun haiku -a passenger: a haiku (and a prose)

Mount rose copySnowy looming mount

donning new robe white and gold

gaping toothless mouth (or shaking new shaved head)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~In this picture this traveler sees a giant head or a giant mouth, both of which are depicted by a mountain at fairly close range. So the third line of the haiku (which is always the climax line of expression) can be a choice between describing the giant’s head or his mouth. The reader? Obviously this is a fun haiku for younger readers to train their imagination and creativity and perhaps inculcate a love of poetry. Note the deliberate contrast between the three lines.

First and second lines are from the perspective of the traveler:

First line: at dawn the traveler (passenger) wakes to see a rather fearful sight of a large dark thing looming ahead of the car.

Second line: Then he remarks to himself, “O, it’s quite a majestic looking sight of a snowy mountain in his splendor.”

Third line: A comical (humorous) twist. Looking now from the perspective of the mountain: that he is either surprised at this early car approaching him without notice and shakes his head in a benign manner; alternatively he is so surprised and a bit annoyed at being woken at such unearthly hour by the strange sight and rude sound of this traveler’s car that he stares with his mouth wide opened. (Is he going to eat up the car? No one knows yet. To be continued…)

writing Haiku-passenger 2: a haiku (and a prose)

passenger2’tis uncertain way

nature breaks for lunch in sky

know not where she strays

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Writing a haiku using another picture of a passenger on the road viewing from a car window is a further tough lesson today. What can the traveler see? What is on his mind? Haiku in its original Japanese form is mainly (if not all) about nature (including seasons). Although I am not writing in its original language, I do try to adhere to its root of descriptive form with a tinge of feeling/mood/thought hidden in between the lines. By adding a picture or rather basing my haiku words on a picture I have limited myself and yet expanded myself. In today’s picture, the activities are in the sky. The clouds are captured with great detail occupying the centre and bulk of the sky canvas. But the little bit of blue sky is beautiful on its own like it is not concerned with the majority participants on the same canvas. It looks like serene clear water with equally tranquil white islands floating by. What is the mood my haiku reflecting? As stated in the title, a passenger’s mood. I am going somewhere and am thinking of my destination. Traffic is clear. But the sky has this looming gray cloud. Is it going to rain? I don’t quite look forward to a delay if that happens. But the natural elements flow by their own pattern over which I have no control. In a picture and a few words, this haiku has thus attempted to present a rich variety of activities and moods in heaven and on earth. For a haiku lover, you will understand what I am trying to share. Thank you for coming by.

walking in the green park: a haiku (and a prose)

20160227_094527 copyI think I’m alone

I hear my friend calling me

walking far beyond ~~~~~~~~~~~~coming home means I can walk anytime of the day as the green park is just nearby, about ten minutes’ drive. My occasional (like once in a blue moon) passing sadness is that I am walking alone again, unlike the clouds which tend to gather together in pairs. Old memories refuse to obliterate themselves. The clouds are plus points here as they are clean white clouds filled with water inside. You can see the water sometimes. The sky too is not bone dry blue. The sky here is soft and watery mild blue which speaks of gentleness and tenderness like a love long gone but never really forgotten.

a haiku on haiku

20160118_133154 copy.jpg

Winter is best time

suspends in space and in me

warm and cold in rhyme

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why does this traveler write Haiku? I started writing Haiku in my teen days. I happened to read a book on Japanese Haiku (translated to English) in the library and tried writing some myself. It is simple and short and precise. It is not ambitious. It describes a moment like clicking a snapshot of something in a specific time and space. The result is a picture that tells a story.

Gold Rush: a haiku

lighttime is set for now

northern-bound train in the know

heed the gold beckon

~~~~~~~~~Words of wisdom from the wisest and richest man in history:

3:14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.

8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold;

8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver.

20:15 There is gold and a multitude of rubies, But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.

(The Proverbs of Solomon, King of Israel)

two minds: To love at all is to be vulnerable

CS Lewis

a haiku for this story of the love of two minds:

a mind who ponders

met a mirrored mind of his

late but not too late.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken…””For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … ”

Thirty great quotes from C.S. Lewis

1. “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” The Four Loves
2. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
3. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” The Four Loves
4. “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
5. “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
6. “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
7. “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
8. “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
9. “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” The Four Loves
10. “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”
11. “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”
12. “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” Mere Christianity
13. “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
14. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
15. “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
16. “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” The Problem of Pain
17. “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
18. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
19. “God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”
20. “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” The Silver Chair
21. “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” Mere Christianity
22. “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
23. “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
24. “I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” The Silver Chair
25. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
26. “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
27. “You can make anything by writing.”
28. “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
29. “He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
30. “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963), son of a solicitor and the daughter of an Anglican priest, was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. When he was four, his dog Jacksie was killed by a car, and he announced that his name was now Jacksie. At first, he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life.

As a boy, Lewis was fascinated with anthropomorphic animals; he fell in love with Beatrix Potter’s stories and often wrote and illustrated his own animal stories.  He also grew to love nature and its beauty. Lewis was raised in a religious family that attended the Church of Ireland. He became an atheist at age 15, though he later described his young self as being paradoxically “angry with God for not existing.” He eventually returned to Christianity, having been influenced by arguments with his Oxford colleague and friend J. R. R. Tolkien, whom he seems to have met for the first time on 11 May 1926, and by the book The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton. Lewis vigorously resisted conversion, noting that he was brought into Christianity like a prodigal, “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.” He described his last struggle in Surprised by Joy:

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

From 1941 to 1943, Lewis spoke on religious programs broadcast by the BBC from London while the city was under periodic air raids. These broadcasts were appreciated by civilians and servicemen at that stage. For example, Air Chief Marshal Sir Donald Hardman wrote:

“The war, the whole of life, everything tended to seem pointless. We needed, many of us, a key to the meaning of the universe. Lewis provided just that.”

The broadcasts were anthologized in Mere Christianity. From 1941, he was occupied at his summer holiday weekends visiting R.A.F. stations to speak on his faith, invited by the R.A.F.’s Chaplain-in-Chief Maurice Edwards.

It was also during the same wartime period that Lewis was invited to become first President of the Oxford Socratic Club in January 1942, a position that he enthusiastically held until he resigned on appointment to Cambridge University in 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.

In later life, Lewis corresponded and fell in love with Joy Davidman Gresham, an American writer of Jewish background, a former Communist, and a convert from atheism to Christianity. Lewis’s brother Warren described Joy:

“For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humor and a sense of fun.”

After complaining of a painful hip, she was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, and the relationship developed to the point that they sought a Christian marriage. Since she was divorced, this was not straightforward in the Church of England at the time, but a friend, the Rev. Peter Bide, performed the ceremony at her bed in the Churchill Hospital on 21 March 1957. Gresham’s cancer soon went into remission, and the couple lived together as a family until 1960, when recurrence of the cancer caused her death.

He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia which is a series of seven fantasy novels for children and is considered a classic of children’s literature. Written between 1949 and 1954, the series is Lewis’s most popular work, having sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages, has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage and cinema.

(The above is excerpted from various web sources)

Half hearted adieu: a haiku

autumn mid-November smallAutumn left her heart

such fine masterpiece of art

half done half adieu

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fall is a beautiful mellow and tender season like my favorite watercolor art. This year’s fall tried to linger but could not bear the early arrival of the cold. It was ironical that I liked the leaves to turn into richer colors while at the same time I hoped that they would not fall. I did not expect the loss of photography opportunity so soon. A few gems did appear out of the hasty work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~Wise sayings from a wise king about the late autumn of a man’s life:

Remember Him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

(Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)

 

 

 

 

Don’t wait for winter: a haiku

beautiful sea n sky

Nature cries out loud

Sea sky land and rock paint now

Don’t wait for winter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This November’s sea and sky stay clear and seemingly calm. But he knows they will not be able to hold longer for the bleak changes that shall come perhaps even overnight when he turns away to another shore. Being a traveler-writer he can only take a momentary capture of an impression either through a camera or usually a convenient smart phone which doubles up as a camera. He often wanders what an artist does. How many visits will an artist make and how long will he stay at the same spot?  Personally he carries a simple smart phone which is not the latest model. Some pictures will turn out well, he knows in his heart, the moment he imprints them in his own human memory. They turn out well because he has reinforced the pictures through the words of a story of love in his heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpts from a prayer of love from Daniel, the wise prophet who lived 2600 years ago. (Daniel 9:4)

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments,”

 

color of my heart: a haiku story

autumn color

This artist won’t stop

to lavish color splashes

brilliant flaming top

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Michelangelo

This world is but a canvas to our imagination. Henry David Thoreau

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.  Claude Monet

the eyes of your heart: a haiku

angel on horse2behind a cool glass

flying horse passed by in haste

tree friends waved in silence

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When he is just riding in a car, minding his own business, things are happening in another realm right before his eyes. The trees bend and wave. The cloud moves into position. A clear sign appears in the clear blue sky, which has been unruffled until the moment. From afar he sees a speck of shape come rushing at a good speed and it becomes clearer and larger as he focuses. Here is a clear picture of the flying horse. On other pictures he sees the rider too with a sword. This appearance takes place just after he has visited a most oppressed place of history. He has prayed when others complain of heaviness and unease. Then the celestial rider comes on a horse and the oppression lifts immediately. An amazing experience. He believes in the power of prayers.

And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people),

Dearest love, he penned: a haiku (and a prose) for someone who has turned his world around

gull family

Solo or in pair

klee-ew huoh-houh-huoh long mew

transmissions received ~~~~~~~~~~~~While onshore before he set sail he heard a phone ringing,  but when he picked it up he could hear people talking not particularly to him. Then the call was terminated. He wrote this letter and set sail alone. “Dearest love: You sent a WhatsApp text to say that you will go away to another continent for sometime. I replied,”Okay.” I added, “Please let me know you have arrived safely.” You replied, “Noted.” I also wrote, “I will pray for your safety.” You replied, “Thank you.” You said you will leave at 3am this morning so I set the alarm to wake me at 2:30am. I woke before that and WhatsApp called and messaged you. But there was no answer. I noted that the last time you read my text was 1:58am. Why did you not reply my internet call or text? After trying several times I realized that I did not take into account our different time zones! I also did not realize the difficulty of not having internet access while traveling across continents. Eight hours later you managed to text me in the airport just before you departed on a connecting flight. “Arrived safely at _____,” followed by the time of the flight and estimated arrival at the destination. Based on the scanty information of departure time and the two airports, I managed to track your flight so I knew you have finally landed safely.

While waiting for your next call or WhatsApp text I decided to write a very short email. “Dearest: One of the three phones rang but i heard noisy talking. Anyway i believe you are safe and well. Love, ______.” In case you happen to have access to email somehow. I exercised and showered with the phones but they remained silent. Strange that when you are easily accessible by internet call or WhatsApp or gmail I sometimes spend a whole day without  contacting you. I do not count the time until I realize that I may not be able to connect to you. Then I sort of worry. For hours I do nothing but trying to guess where you are.

I recall the time before internet when we wrote long letters because telephone calls were too expensive across ocean and continents. I wrote a letter a day and you said you often received a bundle as the postman did not call daily. Later I was posted to a distant city and saved my lunch allowance for our daily evening long distance call. When I returned you were posted to a rural place separated from the city by long and winding treacherous hilly country roads and I woke at four every Saturday morning and drove slowly at snail-speed for hours in pitch dark often braving the heavy monsoon rain which reduced visibility to zero. I did the same on every Monday morning on the return journey. Finally you succeeded getting a posting near your hometown in another city across the sea. I too got a posting across but in another city. In those days driving between the two cities took about ten hours return. So I wrote letters everyday. I spent a fortune on phone calls too. I flew sometimes. One New Year Day I received your call. You said, “Listen, you need to make a decision. Either we break up or we marry.” I replied, “Are you proposing to me?” You said, “Yes. Give me your answer and a confirmed wedding date within two days.”

Looking back I can see that the main reason why we decided to get together for good was so that we could communicate without having to battle mountains of hindrances to our highly compatible transmission and receiving frequencies and wave-lengths. The difficulty to connect our thoughts hastened the decision process. Human being must connect. In those days there was no social media like Facebook or Twitter. Not even smart phone. Mobile analogue phones were expensive, yet large, heavy and clumsy, newly introduced in the market, more for sales persons than anyone else. No smart phone. We really needed to communicate so badly. But not with just anyone. Many years have passed since then and we now rely on short utterances called chat typed and received on a tiny screen of a phone named smart. I cannot write letters anymore. Not the ones I used to take heart to write. Having said all that I want to say in short forms daily several times on screen, I seem to have run out of energy and imagination. Browsing through the internet I found this following passage which aptly describes what you are and will always be to me. The writer has said it so well that any addition on my part will be superfluous.

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”  (quoted from Bob Marley)

I am still waiting for your call. You are the someone who has completely turned my world around. I am sailing solo here, in search of perhaps a beautiful picture for you. Love, yours always.

perfect love, he wrote again: a haiku story

the rock.jpg
the rock

He went to the rock

in time to witness the waves

spitting spurting foams

~~~~~~~He thinks he should write this letter to her to report his whereabouts. “My dearest love:

You have heard that I come to the ocean to visit the rock. Yes, I have just returned safely to my well-heated room, warm, filled with festive food and drink, slept for eight quality hours, now feeling rested and contented despite having braved the somewhat physically taxing journey in this cold alone. As you will note in some pictures you will receive, the general look is sunny but the feel of the north wind is freezing and slashing over exposed skin like sharp razor-thin blades of ice. The ocean remains innocently blue like the clear uncluttered sky. But do not be deceived -the waves rage. Being completely trusting you will not ask why I choose to proceed with such a trip in the first place to such a desolate and void wilderness. Like before, you will look at the scars and marks on my limbs and shake your head gently and sigh softly, like a light breeze that brushes my forehead unobtrusively and soothingly. “Just look at you!” You will wash and mend the gaping new wound with clean running water, wipe with a swap, apply olive oil and then pray. “Don’t hurt the same spot again, okay?” You will urge me to be careful. But you will not tell me not to go away again. You will not ask me to retire from travel like others do. You will not put fear in me.

I just want to say how much you have lifted me and built me up by your kind silence. Indeed, the physical world (the sea is the world) is not what it appears to be. Things (living and otherwise) with evil intent may try to intimidate but they will be in vain when we stay fearless. Often they use sounds, movements, volume with speed, suddenness of onslaught, and other means with the purpose to bring fear. Who will fear? A ship without an anchor and a safe unshakable anchoring place will be in fear. A ship without a clear and accurate direction will have fear too. Because it will not reach its safe and sure harbor. Sometimes I lie in bed at night far away in a distant shore from your land and wander why you do not have fear that I will be lost.

Many years ago I read of a family printing thousands of handbills to distribute all over their country because the grand-dad went out to buy a packet of cigarettes and never returned. He had forgotten to come home. They are still looking for him. Year after year on his birthday they publish an open letter signed by all his family members: children, grandchildren and their spouses, appealing for him to return. at the time of this letter he would be close to 90 or more if still alive.

I once met a young ‘derelict’ who said he had traveled from his parents’ home across the sea to become a cook without success for two years until he had lost every cent. “Why do you want to be a cook when you have no qualification or experience?” I asked after hearing his brief account. I was interested to hear perhaps a touching story of a young person who would be cook. He answered plainly, “Because I think cooking is easy.” I tried to advise him, “Return to your parents. Maybe even for a short while.” But he shook his head. He said he could not afford to call them either. I found him a factory job which gave him free board and warm meals. When I next called they said he had left after a few days as he said he still wanted to be a cook. He seemed to have vanished. You know the story ending. I never found him. Perhaps he has returned to his parents’ home. Perhaps they too have been printing handbills and plastered posters all over to find their lost son. He would be in his forties by now.

You will not ask me why I bother to recall others’ stories in my love letter. I ask myself too. I can imagine the disappointment in the readers’ thoughts. There is not even a love phrase. What kind of love letter is this?  I am not the old man who will forget to come home. Neither am I the young man who has lost himself in his unreal dream. I suppose I can relate to the common factor of love and loss in a manner. Each man is given perhaps one or more loved ones. The pain is always in the one who wants to give love. The giver loves more than the receiver. In the case of the old man I like to think that he has truly forgotten his home and those who love him. In the case of the young man too. I like to think that they do not feel the pain of being left behind. Having loved and being made to stop is a sad thing in life.

Sometimes I hear and see fear in a person. He fears because he cannot perform adequately to earn love. Fear cripples. Fear makes one flee. He wants to flee being hurt. Some flee physically. Some mentally and emotionally. What can cast out fear? You know my answer: Perfect love.

I am not saying that you and I have perfect love for each other. I am saying that you and I have one Perfect Love. The Love that will never cause us to flee from each other. Even when I cannot perform to be worthy of your love, it does not matter. The same applies for you. Perfect Love casts out fear. My love for you will not base on your performance. Neither is yours for me. Many years ago I read this verse:

“Love does not demand its own way.”

It hurts. But it gives the material to sustain love. For a long long time to come. I believe. From your beloved. “

1 John 4:18 [Full Chapter]

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

[ Love and Joy Perfected ] “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

[ The Consummation of Love ] Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

Dearest son: a love haiku

(I might be gone sometime: a haiku to a son)

wavesHard to end goodbye

no rendezvous on earth yet

left sure not end word

~~~~~How to tell a young sunny cheerful vibrant boy what death is and why must all old people still die? How to make a bud newly sprang from thawing crust of frozen clay on the first day of spring, grow into a mighty tree overnight, with strength of deep roots and resilience that can only come from solid foundation consistently built and persistently held firm over tested time, to instantly withstand the imminent freezing cold and brutal wind and torrential storm flood sweeping down from the north? He starts writing a letter.

Dear beloved son: I might be gone sometime but not in words -only briefly in humanity life-span touching the end of line and migrating into another span in time and space and form and existence called eternity which has no end or beginning and where your mother and you will go too after ending each earth-span in time and space where the real happy and tearless rendezvous will take place and where we shall no longer say goodbye and you will never be alone or lonely as an only child because you will have countless brothers and sisters like stars in the sky.
“You ain’t very old!” You said rightly. True. But by the time you have grown up and read this letter I would have been very old like the patriarchs in the Bible. This letter is not about old age. It is about love in battle. I have read an article about seismology – the branch of science concerned with earthquakes and related phenomena. The Really Big One. I have copied and made some notes. Read and understand why I say I am talking about love in battle.
“4-6 minutes after the dogs start barking, the shaking will subside. For another few minutes, the region, upended, will continue to fall apart on its own. Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin…depending on location, they will have 10-30 minutes to get out (to higher and safer ground)…when the tsunami is coming, you run. You protect yourself. You don’t turn around, you don’t go back to save anybody. You run for your life…We can’t save them (the elderly, disabled and tourists).”
Preparation requires capacity and capability which must be consistently practiced over time at one specific terrain. The elderly, disabled and the tourists do not have these resources. Indeed even in ordinary everyday allotment of perceived limited resources for example health care the disadvantaged will ultimately lose out in the utilitarian based priority selection process. Like any disaster the time to save people from a tsunami (or any catastrophe) is before it happens. The devastation and the vast losses resulted are often due to inadequate preparation. How often do catastrophes of devastating tsunami or tropical typhoon magnitude occur? Frequency does not matter. Because an individual either encounters it or does not encounter it. Risk is either 0% or 100%. People like to believe that they are less likely to be caught in unfortunate events than others. It is called ‘optimism bias’, crime victims, smokers, gamblers, speculators or traders who think they are less exposed to losses. “What has this got to do with love?” You may ask.

Love does not align with a natural selection of the fittest process. Much as people believe otherwise, the love that overcomes all odds is not based on external physical selection but an internal invisible choice. Do you love or do you not love? Many think that love is fulfilled by not harming or causing harm to others. But even our inaction to save could amount to harm. Your mother would have no hesitation to whom she would even give her life. So I do too. Long ago we have made our vow and eternal covenant. I pray you remember yours on that day.

1 Corinthians 13 [Full Chapter]

[ The Greatest Gift ] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. …

Precious love dies not: a haiku (and a prose)

red love

nothing to declare
except love transcending soul
beyond mortal hate ~~~~~~~~~~He is determined to write a love letter despite having recently shed tears of shock and sorrow for  his beloved. In separate time and space two men suddenly lost their young and lovely wives, both mothers of very young boys. Both men believe that their loved ones have gone to heaven and they shall meet again. One brave young man declared to the killers, “My beloved wife shall always be with us, and one day our liberated souls shall meet together in heaven, but the gate of heaven will never open to you (whose souls are dead).”
As the traveler walks through the spiritual waste land of human numbness and despair, he asks, “Does love continue after death?” He remembers a book about a post-apocalyptic journey of a father and his young son across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. Many of the remaining human survivors have resorted to cannibalism, scavenging for flesh. The boy’s mother, gave up hope and committed suicide some time before the story began. The man continued to raise up the boy as a human being and tried hard to cope with the minimum of whatever semblance of life left behind. At the end, the man too was no more. (Story from The Road)
The traveler asks: “Will the boy ever find and learn to love a love that transcends self and and rise above the whole world of bestial ‘human’?”
Then he remembers these last few lines of a letter (from the book Gilead) from a father (toward the end of his life on earth) to his very young son: “I’ll pray that you grow up a brave man in a brave country. I will pray you find a way to be useful. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.”

Isaiah 51:11 New International Version (NIV)

 Those the Lord has rescued will return.
    They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He heard a sound so familiar: a haiku story

a sound from above

 

he heard his name called

from a distance but not far

warm and tender thought

~~~~~~~~~~Naturally her. Gentle. Firm. Hope overflowing from every pore if sound has pores. He heard a sound so familiar that for a moment he thought he was at home seeping hot coffee reading new poems at his favorite armchair settling down to his much loved routine of living normalcy with familiarity. Looking through the audio files in his external travel backup he has found an unnamed file today. The sound that comes through surprises him pleasantly. She is reading a book, chapter by chapter. Like she is standing at the podium, casually lifting up her head from time to time, her long thick black hair blown and somewhat ruffled under the twirling ceiling fan, occasionally smiling with her large, dark eyes that could speak countless words just by looking so intensely at the awe-struck audience. “The Kingdom of God –Chapter One,” she reads effortlessly with a certainty and assurance that comes only with her cool confidence and belief of the subject. The voice. He remembers the first time they met. Newly returned to his home country after a long and weary corporate posting far faraway he was invited to a fund raising function. Formal and crowded with important guests. Having been cramped in an economy class cabin due to unavailability of business class then, flying and not sleeping for over twenty hours, he arrived late straight from the airport, decided to stand near the door as all seats were taken and he thought perhaps he could slip away without being noticed. An elderly clergy went up the stage and said a prayer. After that she walked to the center of the platform from the backstage. A very young woman with long black hair in her early twenties in a comfortable white cotton dress with blue waves at the fringe. He was too far to see her facial features clearly but he thought he needed to hear her out because he was drawn to the voice as she spoke the first sentence. He stood there for about two hours because of the voice. There was kindness in her voice. When he closed his wearied and heavy eyelids he heard a lifting kindness. Like a gentle hand lightly holding a tired, cold, weathered, scarred with old wounds and bleeding with fresh wounds seagull who had lost its way at the vast ocean, fell and swept ashore, flown inadvertently inland and too far home, and crashed in from the storm, the voice said, “Don’t be afraid. Come to me. I will give you rest.” The deepest part of his wound-up soul which he thought he had secreted into a forgotten treasure chest sealed and hidden so well was suddenly exposed, unlocked, touched, unraveled and the thick opaque veil on his hardened heart lifted. He could not help but walking toward the stage, nearer and nearer, spurred by an anticipation that drew out every effort from a tired body that silently and sensibly advised, “Go home, and go to bed!” He just wanted to say “hello” to her, shake her hands, thank her for her efforts for all those lost people, and perhaps look into her large dark deep pupils that smiled at him so kindly. Perhaps as habitual in his profession condescendingly, “You seem too young to be doing this,” he practiced in his mind. Or should he say affectedly, “Thank you so much for all the little homeless children”? Or simply bluntly and honestly, “I like your voice!” He practiced and revised many times before he had the courage to go and shake her hands and introduced himself. He was being presumptuous he thought. Did he look preposterous and out of place in his rumpled executive suit dragging a suitcase? What did she see? An anonymous stranger of indeterminable age who was obviously out of place in that crowd. What did she hear? Some cliché words or sentences which real meaning she did not have time to digest. What did she expect of him? Really nothing much. Many hands she shook. Many kind and appreciative words she heard. The rain came. Heavy armored thundering battalions of horses and chariots marched down from heaven, drowning out every mortal sound. People were leaving. She was surrounded and protected by her admiring friends and they shielded her to her vehicle and drove off. He did not speak to her after all. But he found out her name and her profession. O yes, even her age. Her friends had hurried her off to celebrate her 29th birthday. Not as young and juvenile as he had first thought but still half a generation away from him. What can he ever say to her? What words did her generation use? What words could a man from the forties speak to a woman of the sixties? What could they have in common? He called a cab and left the hall alone in the silence of his mind. The year was 1992.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Dearest love, he continued: a haiku (and a prose)

Snowland #1 - The countryside near Castagnole, Piedmont, Italy

Dearest love, soul-mate:

winter is here now so soon

frozen land in heart ~~~~~~~Often words are too many and yet too few. There is never a moment of silence in the traveler’s heart. What shall he write? To someone who really cares and knows him so well. They breathe the same words. Is there any hope ahead? For such vastness of desolation? Sometimes he braved the freezing cold and ventured into the open, perhaps looking for a view of a picture for her. He walked miles of emptiness. So bare. So void. Like a discarded master piece lacerated by some careless nonchalant hands with all its former brilliant colors wiped off leaving the tattered canvas still hanging on to its hard cold bony wooden frames. No picture today. He sighed. But he does wander where the flowers, the bees, the butterflies, the birds have gone. Is there a warm home for them? He wanders where the small insects, birds and animals live in winter. Or do they live until the end of autumn and say goodbye? He just listened to a writer-poet teacher reading a lovely audio piece downloaded a long time ago. She found out that crickets know their seasons and months. In September they come into the house. Perhaps the traveler can hear them in the stillness of the night, that they are safe after all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.

(Psalm 91:9-11)

Dearest love, he began: a haiku (and a prose)

a letter from up

Dearest love, he began,

seeing her at other land,

write to me, she said. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When he travels he likes to write down what he sees, hears and thinks. A picture in his selective perceptive mind often helps him to recall the moment of encounter with colors, sounds, and lives that co-exist: a pleasant surprise, a happy feeling, a tinge of sadness, a glimpse of greatness beyond his comprehension, an act of courage, a light that stands out on the face of someone, eyes that speak kindness, a smile that spells hope, a bowl of hot soup that warms his soul, a word of friendliness like “Good morning” from another jogger, a mother pushing a pram, an old man walking his dog, yes, the general non-hostility of the expressions from nature, creatures, and even human. So he writes.

“A letter makes ordinary things seem important.”
― Marilynne Robinson, Lila

“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
― John Donne

“You deserve a longer letter than this; but it is my unhappy fate seldom to treat people so well as they deserve.”
― Jane Austen

“Only write to me, write to me, I love to see the hop and skip and sudden starts of your ink.”
― A.S. Byatt, Possession

Memory can make a thing seem: a haiku

(traveler’s view through a car window)

a rabbit in skymissing a rabbit

he saw this one following

she said it’s a pig

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“There is so little to remember of anyone – an anecdote, a conversation at a table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming habitual fondness not having meant to keep us waiting long.”― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.” ― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“I wish I could leave you certain of the images in my mind, because they are so beautiful that I hate to think they will be extinguished when I am. Well, but again, this life has its own mortal loveliness. And memory is not strictly mortal in its nature, either. It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment, when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing. I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve.” ― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

why do the seagulls come to the city: a haiku

four seagulls 2He thought they were planes

each carried a light so bright

at the gulls airshow

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Often we see what what we happen to be thinking. The traveler was thinking of last weekend’s end. He was more accustomed to seeing planes than seeing seagulls in this place. Later someone said that the seagulls had become city scavengers. Why? He asked. The person explained that perhaps the tourists had left behind some foodstuff after their picnics. It is very common these days. Do not be so surprised. She said. But the traveler could not help wondering further why the seagulls have found it necessary to come to the city. Have they no food at their shore home? What has happened to their food source? He has seen them at the edge of the ocean some days ago. Have they followed him thus far as he travels inland? Is this a new pattern of the sea creatures, coming to shore and then inching their way inland? What has happened to their ocean? No one has offered any answer to these questions. They are just insignificant birds. Someone remarked. If every tourist stops giving them food they will go away. Having encountered scavenger birds while traveling in other parts of the planet, the traveler knows they do not give up easily and  they breed fast and reproduce in great quantity. They eat anything. One municipality even offered money to hunters who killed scavenger birds which eventually became a menace to their residents. Watching the silver gulls glistening against the clear blue sky backdrop the traveler sighs and wonders why the ocean can no longer contain them.

random words, definitions, quotes: LIBERAL

Claude_Monet_023sToday we look at the definition of a popular English word that came from France. LIBERTY/LIBERAL/FREE. French libre ‎(free, having liberty, at liberty)

Origin of LIBERAL comes from:Middle English: via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man)’. The original sense was ‘suitable for a free man’, hence ‘suitable for a gentleman’ (one not tied to a trade), surviving in liberal arts. Another early sense, ‘generous’, gave rise to an obsolete meaning ‘free from restraint’.

Oxford dictionary Definition of liberal in English: adjective

1Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. 1.1Favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms 1.2 (In a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform. 1.5 Theology Regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change. 2 [attributive] (Of education) concerned mainly with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training. 3(Especially of an interpretation of a law) broadly construed or understood; not strictly literal or exact: 4Given, used, or occurring in generous amounts: 4.1(Of a person) giving generously: noun 1A person of liberal views.
Synonyms of liberal in English: adjective
1 the values of a liberal society
tolerant, unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded, open-minded, enlightened; permissive, free, free and easy, easygoing, libertarian, indulgent, lenient
2 a liberal social agenda
progressive, advanced, modern, forward-looking, forward-thinking, progressivist, enlightened, reformist, radical
3 a liberal education
wide-ranging, broad-based, general
4 a liberal interpretation of divorce laws
flexible, broad, loose, rough, free, general, nonliteral, nonspecific, imprecise, vague, indefinite
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Oxford dictionary Definition of liberty in English: noun (plural liberties)

1The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views 2The power or scope to act as one pleases: individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own interests and preferences 2.1 Philosophy A person’s freedom from control by fate or necessity.
Origin Late Middle English: from Old French liberte, from Latin libertas, from liber ‘free’.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
QUOTES ON “LIBERTY”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
George Orwell
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Nelson Mandela
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
Mahatma Gandhi
“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
[Inaugural Address, January 20 1961]
John F. Kennedy
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
John Philpot Curran
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
John Milton, Areopagitica
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
QUOTES FROM THE BIBLE: LIBERTY FROM FEAR
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36
“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” John 10:9
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”  1 John 4:18 [Full Chapter]

And that is what happened: a haiku

october clouds 2
fascinated awed
glimpses of another realm
daily marching pass
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened.
You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.

His eyes are too blurred: a dictionary of a haiku

blurred eyes

His eyes are too blurred

hands too shaky to focus

a sharpness in soul

~~~~~~~~~

Writing Haiku is an art and a science. Here is a summary of the structure and usual form. Being a haiku writer since I first encountered a Japanese haiku many years ago, I now say it is more an art than a science. Although I like to discipline my writing to its form and structure, I have allowed the moment of event (a picture, a thought, a feeling) free flow in the content. It takes seconds to put down the words. But it could take sometime to look at the pictures I have taken and try to capture the moment in time as spoken in my picture.

A summary of basic haiku writing (without a picture):

There are no specific rules for writing haiku; however, the structure of a haiku is usually the same, including the following features:

  • Only three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout
  • The first line is 5 syllables
  • The second line is 7 syllables
  • The third line is 5 syllables like the first
  • Punctuation and capitalization rules are up to the poet, and need not follow rigid rules used in structuring sentences. (For ease of typing, I do not use punctuation or capitalization unless a particular haiku warrants them.)
  • Haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact many times it does not rhyme at all. (I like to rhyme at times as I sing the haiku out loud.)
  • Some haiku can include the repetition of words or sounds. (The sound of words adds flavor to languages. As I read out loud I like to put in words that sound right.)

The content: Haiku is a descriptive form of poetry. Originating in Japan, haiku poems typically discuss the natural world: seasons, months, animals, insects, and even the smallest elements of nature, down to a blade of grass or a drop of dew. However, the individual today writes whatever words that come to mind. I am not particular about this. On the whole, my readers would have noticed I tend to stick to nature in my photography and poems.

small lone man at ocean: a haiku

small man at oceannothing to declare

even footprints are awashed

erased without trace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. Our heart has not turned back, Nor have our steps departed from Your way; But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

(Quotes from Psalms Psalm 17:5; Psalm 40:2; Psalm 44:18; Psalm 73:2; Psalm 119:133; Psalm 37:23)

a closer look at the heart in the rock: a haiku

(a closer look at the heart in the rock)

heart in a rockhis heart is too small

she nonchalantly flew pass

becoming a dot

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

“Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

(Matthew 6:21; Genesis 24:45)

so still is my heart: a haiku

(reaching the waves, he became a rock.)

so still is my heartno more tears to cry

see here my heart bare and dry

so still and so brave

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

(John 14:27; John 16:33)

a branch at land’s end: a haiku

oceanawed by majestic

vast water and sky beyond

he became a branch

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ A Promise of Restoration ] But in that day, the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel.
(Isaiah 4:2 )

SHORT STORY (quotes)

short storyThe first sentence(s) and the last sentence(s): 7 SHORT STORIES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  1. A STORY: A man, once a wealthy banker but now anonymous in rags, retired, richer than ever, wandered the streets of our city. And looks at you, as if for the first time.
  2. THEY LET ME tend to my husband’s burial and settle his affairs. And it’s the only one I get.
  3. WALLACE WENT ALL the way to Florida to fight a Brazilian middleweight he’d never heard of for ten thousand dollars. It was delightful.
  4. AFTER DINNER, NOBODY went home right away. Then sometimes I get up and don my robe and go out into our quiet neighborhood looking for a magic thread, a magic sword, a magic horse.
  5. MANY YEARS AGO, after I retired from the bank, James brought a small terrier to our apartment in Paris. “Please don’t leave,” I say.
  6. THIS HAPPENS A lot-people travel and they find places they like so much, they think they’ve risen to their best selves just by being there. –we were having an unavoidable moment, my aunt and I, of each feeling sorry for the other. In our separate ways. How could we not?
  7. MY FATHER MADE it as far as Little Iceland. That was the name of the iceberg they found his notebook frozen into, interred like a fossil. By which she means she understands that one day I will leave her too. Lift off the ground, think myself beyond gravity. Let go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Excerpts quoted from: Fingerprints, Moving On, You’ll Apologize if You Have To, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, Madame Lazarus, About My Aunt, North.)

spiritual traveler’s confession: walking free

walk in the light of Godspiritual journey

This traveler decided to live with one of the poorest people groups for awhile. One finding is there is relevance in the following words of wisdom today which is the 30th of June. The verse are taken from Proverbs 30:5-9 in two translations. There is a heavenly allotment of this world’s goods for each of us on earth. I find that even though I may have plenty if I had wanted to, I could not possibly use or consume all. I would have wasted the surplus precious resources for no purpose except to gratify my eyes and a false sense of self-esteem. So I have practiced a just-enough lifestyle for years and really enjoyed my liberated life. I have reduced excessive harmful weight and increased sharpness and discernment in my mental faculty. I look at life in a different and much wider and deeper perspective walking this life’s journey in a new freedom. My body and my soul become youthful and ageless. I can pursue spiritual reality more accurately. Living free of excesses is a blessing. It takes self-will and self-control. I could not have done it consistently by myself. thank God I have very good friends who have made the same decisions and we have walked this new life journey together cheering and encouraging each other. It’s a wonderful life!

The following verses reveal that the purpose of everyone’s life is to give glory to God.

Traveler’s observation: Take note the link between richness and pride (to the extent of denying God’s reality in one’s life) and poverty (to the extent that stealing becomes a norm in life). Both cases do not honor or glorify God. Any other explanation or excuse become a lie. A life of lies and deceptions is not worth living for. (Revelation 22:15)

Proverbs 30:5-9 (NLT)

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
Do not add to his words,
    or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.

O God, I beg two favors from you;
    let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
    Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
    Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Proverbs 30:5-9 (NKJV)

Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.