P/s: the poem is based on a true story of a football team of 12 boys and their young coach. They went to explore a cave on 23rd June 2018, intending to spend an hour there but were soon trapped inside by rising water due to heavy rainfall. They were trapped underground for two weeks instead. They were later found to be 1km below surface on a ledge surrounded by water. To reach the boys, divers were used. Total distance to reach the boys: 2950m (1500 on foot, 1450m diving). It was a major coordinated operation involving the locals and multinationals (naval seals, divers, medical, and supplies). Against many odds, the boys survived the ordeal.
Looking through the old photos and archives of my blog posts, here is a find of a poem named “cheeky rain” (12-11-2017). It tells of how the old and the new intermingling in a person’s mind, made of memories neatly categorized by the brain, often mixing up the occasions and meanings. Enjoy and have a mindful year end reunion with your loved ones.
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 cliché? 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. (South Pacific) 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.
Note: (2021-12-11) Here is a haiku from the heart to go with the mind.
A third way to dispel an unwanted feeling is to write a letter. No, not the digital one. Write on a piece of paper and then put it into an unaddressed envelope, seal it and put it into an empty shoe box in the filing cabinet where you keep your IRS returns and other similar kind. You may want to transcribe it into a digital/audio file, just in case you want to use it for the text of a poem or haiku in my case. But this is not my subject today, which is, what happens when two poets meet?
“When our lives meet
I can remember to be strong;” (** I took this at random from a poem of another favorite poet in not so many bygone years. )
The original poem is about a quiet place (like virtual) for two poets (my interpretation), a woman and a man, each with each own separate life/family. Each poet’s voice through their poems unintentionally resonates with that of the other.
Here is a visual: a woman poet in her above quote makes a stance to stand strong for the man on the common ground they share in their poetic ideals. In a way, it makes the poem alive. An elderly (born 1946) woman standing tall and firm waving her poetry work in her hand, to a man (born 1965) standing tall and firm waving his poetry book to her in turn across the vast ocean.
Some of the younger readers may wonder how that can be plausible, or even imaginable, seeing the vast difference in chronological gap? Possible and plausible. In a strange sublime and transcendental behavior, a poem, or rather a creative and unique arrangement of words with the intention to communicate a thought, a feeling, a picture, a sound, a story, or just the mere shape of the poetic formation of characters in visual, it somehow communicates to someone somewhere, especially to another poet.
You may want to call it a seamless connection.
Coming back to the beginning of this post, letters were mentioned as a third way out of the feeling of (fill in your adjectives). I happened to come across 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) movie clips and later listened to the audio book on a sleepless night, questioning the point of writing anything at all in this age. of uncertainty, including the question whether anyone reads anything at all for more than one minute or watch a video clip or listen to an audio recording for more than two minutes. I have not yet read any review of this book about an old book shop at the location where I used to roam, and hunt, to physically browse around, shoveling through the dust, and hopefully make a find of a rare gem of a book.
One of the thoughts that came to mind was what was the intention of the author? The content of the letters had to be restricted to books*, to find, to buy and to sell and deliver. The relationship between the two who penned the letters had to be confined to that between a customer of the bookshop and the employee of the bookshop. How can an author expect to sell her book on such contents? Amazing.
The two correspondents never met in persons. Across the oceans their letters shared their lives around books (papers). An outsider of the circle of book lovers would have imagined the relationship as thin as a sheet of paper, or a line of a poem in the case of the above two poets.
You too, may think so, because you prefer other kinds of books or the modern digital way feelings and thoughts are now communicated. But I know you are not here anyway to read this even if I send you a link.
Meanwhile, I salute fellow readers and enthusiasts for books and poetry and writing letters across oceans. I mean the real books (in paper) of course.
Note: Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916 – April 9, 1997) was an American writer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known as the author of the book 84, Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a stage play, television play, and film of the same name.The epistolary work 84, Charing Cross Road was first published in 1970. It chronicles Hanff’s 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, the chief buyer for Marks & Co, a London bookshop. She depended on the bookshop—and on Doel—for the obscure classics and British literature titles that fueled her passion for self-education. (Wikipedia)
When we put our feelings in the boxes of perspective we feel safe. I just read some poems by a favorite poet in past gone years, and this is one stanza that I picked at random,
Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because — because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep. (by Pablo Neruda [1914-1973] )
Feelings are really one of the least safe things in life. How to stop a feeling that disturbs and even hurts? There are two ways. One way is to write a poem, or in my case, write a haiku, short and terse. Then I put away my unwanted feeling into the 17 sounds/syllables. For example, here is my haiku based on the above stanza from the famous poet.
go not a day long
vacant stare waiting forlorn
train not arriving
Another way of stopping an unwanted feeling is to pack it into a box. Label the boxes into perspectives. A dictionary’s definition (not exhaustive) of perspective includes: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. A picture drawn in perspective, especially one appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance. A true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion. You can name it whatever (just fill in the blank). And then put it aside.
Actually the key is “put it aside”. Can you do it?
Can I? Well, I have the haiku as a backup plan B. So one day if I find it real hard not to hear from you for a long long time, I may choose one of the two ways like a DIY dispenser of feeling numbing/removing fail-proof actions.
I first took part in Becky’s timesquare with this post, where our lives meet, there is always time posted on 12-27-2018. Looking at the pictures and the poem I realize how time has passed almost without notice. The story and poem (about an old love between a farmer and his old wife) faded like the deliberate fading effect of the pictures which were originally taken in 2015 in a homestay in a third world country.
The silence of the sea. Random music musing. War=Wall between two humans.*
“How lucky you are to live by the sea. What I like most about the sea is its silence. I’m talking about what is hidden. What can be perceived underneath. One must learn to listen to it.”
I want to say something but I just cannot vocalize because it is too sensitive to talk about. Silence is a great wall. Sometimes some music can break through the wall. If only more have ears to hear. Pure music is always without words, without singing. It is a form of silence. The sound of silence. Yet it tells stories that touch the heart. If only more will write the kind of music of yesteryears. Music that can break through walls and wars, time and space. But we each hear a different beat. So there is no condemnation for any differences if need be. We are designed to be different.
Here are just my rambling phrases being strung together in the name of a poem:
He has no idea how she has felt after all these decades, 29 years in all. He once thought they would have a long long time together and be happy ever after. In real life their time does not work that way. Time is not exactly a master but it influences. Like the fashion influencer today in the digital virtual realm. It would take herculean efforts to conquer the insurmountable hurdles set in the race of time across oceans and mountains.
Unlike today’s generation, communication was costly then. They could hardly meet or even talk on the phone. He wrote a letter daily after a long day’s work and posted it the following morning through his office boy. She later told him that her postman only delivered a stack of outdated mail once in a while. He spent his daily travel allowance calling her long distance and burnt away cold cash just for a few minutes of hearing her voice. He can still recall the time after each call. He would walk to the bay beach outside his hotel, sat on a rock and watched the sunset. He would hope, as he scanned the distant horizon, to sight a seabird or two, often in vain. The city was one of the most developed in the world, and there was hardly any space or free sky left. The bay was beautiful but it was not a home for any wild creatures.
What was on his mind? He cannot remember now. Perhaps he was imagining that somehow a strong courageous sea bird had flown to her window, perched there in the warm sunshine, at the other end of the ocean, and now came to him with a touch of her fresh air, carrying a slice of her vibrant life for him in that cold, misty, gloomy city of the lonely. Yet, today he suddenly remembers a quote about a higher kind of love. “There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.
All in all, he has no regret. Whatever they have spent together and held on in time for each other. Today is an ordinary Sunday. He stands in his garden and thinks of the time that he still has. The garden is fresh and sparkling in life after a Spring rain. Yes, Spring is here. And the day is February 14. So he decided to write this missive and like old time, post it by snail mail. She likes to hear the ring of the postman. He remembers.
Many of us have a soft spot in our hearts for our pets, e.g. a dog. My family and I have kept dogs as companions for generations. Today I found this old poem about the power of a dog. I also sighted a random news about a golden retriever stranded on a freezing mountain for two weeks being rescued by two doctors finally. The two were were hiking Lugnaquilla, a mountain in the Wicklow range, on Saturday, far away from their jobs on the front lines. Near the summit, they found the dog, 8-year-old Neesha, who’d fled from a family walk nearby two weeks prior. The retriever was so cold and weak that she could barely bark. The doctors put some clothes on her to stave off any remaining cold and then ended up carrying her back down the mountain—some 10 kilometers.
“The Power of the Dog” a poem by Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; And when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy Love unflinching that cannot lie— Perfect passion and worship fed By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head. Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs To lethal chambers or loaded guns, Then you will find—it’s your own affair— But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will, With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!). When the spirit that answered your every mood Is gone—wherever it goes—for good, You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way, When it comes to burying Christian clay. Our loves are not given, but only lent, At compound interest of cent per cent. Though it is not always the case, I believe, That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve: For, when debts are payable, right or wrong, A short-time loan is as bad as a long— So why in—Heaven (before we are there) Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
A haiku by Kainotes, 2021-02-11 (on “a lost friend“)
Same as last year. Goodbye and farewell, my friend. One day, if perchance, we shall meet, let’s pay for each other’s cup of kindness…and we will take a right goodwill draught, for old times sake. Just this once.
for Auld Lang Syne dear
I sing this cup of kindness
blue sea yonder clear
Dougie MacLean was awarded the 2009 Tartan Clef Award for his song Caledonia. In 2011, he was invested as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth, and in 2013 he was awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Lifetime Achievement for Contribution to Songwriting.
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)
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.
“The Winter comes too early to my heart”
Amidst falling leaves the geese fly south
over water chilled by a cold wind north
my distant home is up this river bend
in the Chu mountain’s cloud it hides
as my journey ends some tears are shed
Folks at home are yearning for this lone horizon sail
for I seem to have lost my way, my quest
while the sea remains as calm as the vast night veil
New Horizon Of course this horizon is familiar to many. It is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I took this picture outside looking at the blue beyond. There were few visitors outside that day at that time. One friendly oriental couple with a young child were around taking photos like me. It was a sunny day. I was alone. The others had gone somewhere else as they had visited this place before. I saw some gulls. A sailing boat at the distant horizon. I decided to present this blue horizon with hope. At the same time I also add a sunset horizon at the coast of San Francisco.
Meng Haoran 孟浩然, a Chinese poet who lived from AD689 or 691 to AD740, wrote a poem about the horizon. I quote below the poem and my attempted translation.
“I haven’t written to you for a long time,” he scribbled in long hand, “it is not because I have forgotten our times. ” The letter came to a halt in the next white space, meant for paragraphs to be filled, stained with patches of water (something spilled?) mark. “It is Christmas Day and I think of you, standing under the tree outside my window, long hair blowing in the wind, with the kindest look in your smiling dark eyes, just as we first met.” Again, white empty spaces sprawled out where words could have spawned. “I pray you will soon read this friendly invitation and find time to meet your OLD spouse, waiting for love.”
On December 27 he received this —— She replied with a short poem/note below.
Note: I admit this is a rather primitive and ‘impromptu’ attempt made as I imagine how the poet Robert Frost had contemplated when he decided to leave New Hampshire and sail to England. The decision paid off. His poems were published and given recognition. He left America an unknown writer and returned to be hailed a leader of “the new era in American poetry”. The discerning fans of the poet may note that the above attempt included some titles of the poet’s poems.
This months photo challenge in square format from Becky is #timesquare
Without the weekly-Photo-challenge some of us are feeling a bit lost regarding where to hang out and what to take a photo of. Admittedly many of us have lots of photos in our stock so we are not exactly all dry up and out of ideas. I have discovered that the world is not all that big and soon one traveler just runs out of a new place to go. Maybe I am just not motivated to move…(LOL) Of course I have the excuse that I have been busy with a practically round the clock project during the interval between the end of the daily/weekly prompt and now when I realize that my project is over and I do have an empty space in time into which I may slot a photo or two. Alas, the photo is just nowhere to be found.
So here I am looking at my old stocks. In my farewell post (weekly photo challenge “all times favorites) I inadvertently titled it “don’t look back, she says, I am not there.” A love story in suspense. Yet, here I am, looking back a bit. Maybe a picture and a poem to continue…a story.
doesn’t ever glance backward
yet i stand here gazing forward
as if she may chime
no matter the distance
i shall keep my stance
in case this station
will be called to mail
a poem for the Liquid big splash.
One day I randomly looked out
and caught your timely pauses
horses after horses
men with pointed noses
all glimmering in gold dust
what a sight what a sight
a troop marching right outside
Note added: a famous Christian man who lived for 99 years and is known to perhaps millions in this world died on 21st February 2018 . This poem was written and posted on the 16th five days before that day while fasting for Lent.