Sunday, 8 June 2014

Poems


"The infinity was his beginning and his end. The universe
 his sole and only friend. In deep humility and holy innocence, he saw himself mirrored in the eternal universe, and perceived how himself was its most perfect mirror."




'Oh, lord make me an insrument of thy will,
where there is hatred let me sow your love,
where there is injury your pardon lord
where there is doubt true faith in you.

Oh master grant that I may never seek,
so much to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
to be loved as to love with all my soul ...' - Francis of Assisi. 


(Random Harvests - James Hilton )
She said to him, "The day will come when men will be killed for laughing", and he answered, "That will be the day when men laugh at killing" ...



"Anna Cornelia was a good woman. She saw no evil in the world, and knew of none. She knew only of weakness, temptations, hardships and pain. Theodore Van Gogh was also a good man, but he understood evil very throughly and condemned every last vestige of it." - 'Lust for Life'


"Of course I’ll hurt you, of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence." —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince Official


'My big toe is an honest man
So down to earth and normal
Always true unto himself
And pleasantly informal.

Full of simple energy
Contented with his role
If all of me was mnore like him
I'd me a happy soul'



Voices in my head
Chanting "Kisses, Bread.
Prove yourself. Push. Shove.
Learn. Earn. look for Love."

Drown a lesser voice
Silent now of choice
"Breathe in peace and be,
Still for once, like me."



"I have a smiling face she said
I have a jest for all I meet
I have a garland for my head
And all its flowers are sweet
And so you call be gay, she said.

Grief taught me this smile she said
And wrong did teach this jesting bold
These flowers were plucked for garden bed
While a death chime was tolled
Now what will you say she said ..."



Rosie, the shopping cart lady
Rosie pushed her cart along,
While she pushed she hummed her song.
From one end of town to the other she went,
Walking and humming as if she’d been sent
To pick up the glass, the papers and wire.
She even had with her a big ol’ bald tire.
Some people said that she was sure crazy,
Some people said that she was just lazy,
But Rosie, herself, she could not explain
About the day it began to rain...
on her life.
She had some folks whom she called friends,
They said, “Good mornin’, nice to see you again.”
There was old Willie, tried and true,
He worked down on Bleeker Street polishing shoes.
He’d say: “Miz Rosie, take a load off your feet,
Rest here before you go back on the street.”
On many days she passed by Sally
Who sold hotdogs on McNally.
“Howdy, Rosie,” Sally would say.
“Have you had some lunch today?”
Then she’d take out from her cart
A hot dog...
Rosie touched her heart.
Some afternoons she’d look for Pete,
He swept up litter on the street.
Pete was kind, he’d tip his hat
And talk to her ‘bout this and that.
But Rosie knew, when he seemed blue,
That life was hard on ‘ol Pete too.
One afternoon, well before dark,
She slipped and fell near Fuller Park
A crowd of people stopped to stare,
A woman cried, “Oh my! Her hair!”
No one would lend a helping hand
So Rosie tried her best to stand,
alone..
Just then, a young boy came along.
He paused and asked her what was wrong.
Rosie groaned, she grabbed her knee,
“I don’t think I can walk, you see.
It was so kind of you to stop...”
“Hold on,” he said, “I’ll call a cop.”
They loaded Rosie on a stretcher
To take her to the hospital over on Fletcher.
“Don’t worry,” the boy said, “I’ll meet you there.
Your cart will be safe in my care.”
A doctor looked at Rosie’s knee,
(It wasn’t broken, luckily).
An icepack, so it wouldn’t swell,
A kind nurse bandaged her up well:
“Don’t go so soon. Here... rest and mend...”
But Rosie left to find her friend.
The boy recalled, while she was inside,
How the first time he saw her he wanted to hide.
He’d known about Rosie since he was a kid—
That “peculiar cart-lady” down on the skid.
One day his friends threw some rocks at her cart
But the boy felt too sad... No, he couldn’t take part.
He remembered her sitting alongside the curb,
Looking tired and lonely, a little disturbed.
He had stared at those rags that were socks on her feet
He had wondered about her strange life on the street...
How he wanted to help her. But what could he do?
Maybe save up some money to buy her some shoes?
Funny how things had happened today,
How he’d come upon Rosie right there in his way...
Now he was standing and guarding her cart
Somehow it helped that sad place in his heart.
Out on the curb as she spotted the boy
Rosie’s heart filled up with joy.
His word had been true—her cart was all there,
She blinked a tear, she smoothed her hair.
He asked: “Old lady, where’s your home?”
On the streets,” she said, “But I’m fine, alone.”
Old Rosie, she could still remember
Years ago, one cold September
When her life was torn apart.
And when she first packed up her cart.
Somehow it helped to push along
And rock and sing the same old song,
Somehow it helped her not to feel
The pain she could not seem to heal.
Then Rosie said, “I gotta go.
Tonight, I think, it’s gonna snow.
I’d best move on to Bleeker Street,
I know a place to warm my feet.”
Rosie smiled and waved goodbye
And brushed that teardrop from her eye.
“Thank you boy,” he heard her shout,
“Today you really helped me out.”
As the boy went on his way
He thought about this special day—
“Rosie, it’s true that I helped you...
I hope you know you helped me too.”

Chia Martin



"Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blue black cold,

and then with cracked hands that ached
from labour in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call.
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of the house.
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold,
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices ?"



I WAS STILL A thief when I met Arun and though I was only fifteen I was an experienced and fairly successful hand.
Arun was watching the wrestlers when I approached him. He was about twenty, a tall, lean fellow, and he looked kind and simple enough for my purpose. I had n’t had much luck of late and thought I might be able to get into this young person’s confidence. He seemed quite fascinated by the wrestling. Two well-oiled men slid about in the soft mud, grunting and slapping their thighs. When I drew Arun into conversation he didn’t seem to realize I was a stranger.
‘You look like a wrestler yourself I said.

‘So do you,’ he replied, which put me out of my stride for a moment because at the time I was rather thin and bony and not very impressive physically.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I wrestle sometimes.’

‘What’s your name?’

‘Deepak,’ I lied.

Deepak was about my fifth name. I had earlier called myself Ranbir, Sudhir, Trilok and Surinder. After this preliminary exchange Arun confined himself to comments on the match, and I didn’t have much to say. After a while he walked away from the crowd of spectators. I followed him.

‘Hallo’ he said. ‘Enjoying yourself?’

I gave him my most appealing smile. ‘I want to work for you” I said.

He didn’t stop walking. ‘And what makes you think I want someone to work for me?’

‘Well” I said, ‘I’ve been wandering about all day looking for the best person to work for. When I saw you I knew that no one else had a chance.’

‘You flatter me” he said.

‘That’s all right.’

‘But you can’t work for me.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because I can’t pay you.’

I thought that over for a minute. Perhaps I had misjudged my man.

‘Can you feed me?’ I asked.

‘Can you cook?’ he countered.

“I can cook” I lied.

‘If you can cook” he said, Til feed you.’

He took me to his room and told me I could sleep in the verandah. But I was nearly back on the street that night. The meal I cooked must have been pretty awful because Arun gave it to the neighbour’s cat and told me to be off. But I just hung around smiling in my most appealing way and then he couldn’t help laughing. He sat down on the bed and laughed for a full five minutes and later patted me on the head and said, never mind, he’d teach me to cook in the morning. Not only did he teach me to cook but he taught me to write my name and his and said he would soon teach me to write whole sentences and add money on paper when you didn’t have any in your pocket!

It was quite pleasant working for Arun. I made the tea in the morning and later went out shopping. I would take my time buying the day’s supplies and make a profit of about twenty-five paise a day. I would tell Arun that rice was fifty-six paise a pound (it generally was), but I would get it at fifty paise a pound. I think he knew I made a little this way but he didn’t mind. He wasn’t giving me a regular wage.
I was really grateful to Arun for teaching me to write. I knew that once I could write like an educated man there would be no limit to what I could achieve. It might even be an incentive to be honest.
Arun made money by fits and starts. He would be borrowing one week, lending the next. He would keep worrying about his next cheque but as soon as it arrived he would go out and celebrate lavishly.
One evening he came home with a wad of notes and at night I saw him tuck the bundles under his mattress at the head of the bed.I had been working for Arun for nearly a fortnight and, apart from the shopping hadn’t done much to exploit him. I had every opportunity for doing so. I had a key to the front door which meant I had access to the room whenever Arun was out. He was the most trusting person I had ever met. And that was why I couldn’t make up my mind to rob him. It’s easy to rob a greedy man because he deserves to be robbed. It’s easy to rob a rich man because he can afford to be robbed. But it’s difficult to rob a poor man, even one who really doesn’t care if he’s robbed. A rich man or a greedy man or a careful man wouldn’t keep his money under a pillow or mattress. He’d lock it up in a safe place. Arun had put his money where it would be child’s play for me to remove it without his knowledge.
It’s time I did some real work, I told myself. I’m getting out of practice …. If I don’t take the money, he’ll only waste it on his friends …. He doesn’t even pay me ….

Arun was asleep. Moonlight came in from the veranda and fell across the bed. I sat up on the floor, my blanket wrapped round me, considering the situation. There was quite a lot of money in that wad and if I took it I would have to leave town—I might make the 10.30 express to Amritsar ….

Slipping out of the blanket, I crept on all four through the door and up to the bed and peeped at Arun. He was sleeping peacefully with a soft and easy breathing. His face was clear and unlined. Even I had more markings on my face, though mine were mostly scars.

My hand took on an identity of its own as it slid around under the mattress,the fingers searching for the notes. They found them and I drew them out without a crackle.

Arun sighed in his sleep and turned on his side, towards me. My free hand was resting on the bed and his hair touched my fingers. I was frightened when his hair touched my fingers, and crawled quickly and quietly out of the room. When I was in the street I began to run. I ran down the bazaar road to the station. The shops were all closed but a few lights were on in the upper windows. I had the notes at my waist, held there by the string of my pyjamas. I felt I had to stop and count the notes though I knew it might make me late for the train. It was already 10.20 by the clock tower. I slowed down to a walk and my fingers flicked through the notes. There were about a hundred rupees in fives. A good haul. I could live like a prince for a month or two.

When I reached the station I did not stop at the ticket office (I had neverbought a ticket in my life) but dashed straight onto the platform. The Amritsar Express was just moving out. It was moving slowly enough for me to be able to jump on the footboard of one of the carriages but I hesitated for some urgent, unexplainable reason.
I hesitated long enough for the train to leave without me.

When it had gone and the noise and busy confusion of the platform had subsided, I found myself standing alone on the deserted platform. The knowledge that I had a hundred stolen rupees in my pyjamas only increased my feeling of isolation and loneliness. I had no idea where to spend the night. I had never kept any friends because sometimes friends can be one’s undoing. I didn’t want to make myself conspicuous by staying at a hotel. And the only person I knew really well in town was the person I had robbed!

Leaving the station, I walked slowly through the bazaar keeping to dark, deserted alleys. I kept thinking of Arun. He would still be asleep, blissfully unaware of his loss.
I have made a study of men’s faces when they have lost something of material value. The greedy man shows panic, the rich man shows anger, the poor man shows fear. But I knew that neither panic nor anger nor fear would show on Arun’s face when he discovered the theft; only a terrible sadness not for the loss of he money but for my having betrayed his trust. I found myself on the maidan and sat down on a bench with my feet tucked up under my haunches. The night was a little cold and I regretted not having brought Arun’s blanket along. A light drizzle added to my discomfort. Soon it was raining heavily. My shirt and pyjamas stuck to my skin and a cold wind brought the rain whipping across my face. I told myself that sleeping on a bench was something I should have been used to by now but the veranda had softened me.

I walked back to the bazaar and sat down on the steps of a closed shop. A few vagrants lay beside me, rolled up tight in thin blankets. The clock showed midnight. I felt for the notes. They were still with me but had lost their crispness and were damp with rainwater. Arun’s money. In the morning he would probably have given me a rupee to go to the pictures but now I had it all. No more cooking his meals, running to the bazaar, or learning to write whole sentences. Whole sentences ….

They were something I had forgotten in the excitement of a hundred rupees. Whole sentences, I knew, could one day bring me more than a hundred rupees. It was a simple matter to steal (and sometimes just as simple to be caught) but to be a really big man, a wise and successful man, that was something. I should go back to Arun, I told myself, if only to learn how to write.

Perhaps it was also concern for Arun that drew me back. A sense of sympathy is one of my weaknesses, and through hesitation over a theft I had often been 0caught. A successful thief must be pitiless. I was fond of Arun. My affection for him, my sense of sympathy, but most of all my desire to write whole sentences, drew me back to the room.

I hurried back to the room extremely nervous, for it is easier to steal something than to return it undetected. If I was caught beside the bed now, with the money in my hand, or with my hand under the mattress, there could be only one explanation: that I was actually stealing. If Arun woke up I would be lost.

I opened the door clumsily and stood in the doorway in clouded moonlight. Gradually my eyes became accustomed to the darkness of the room. Arun was still asleep. I went on all fours again and crept noiselessly to the head of the bed. My hand came up with the notes. I felt his breath on my fingers. I was fascinated by his tranquil features and easy breathing and remained motionless for a minute. Then my hand explored the mattress, found the edge, slipped under it with the notes.

I awoke late next morning to find that Arun had already made the tea. I found it difficult to face him in the harsh light of day. His hand was stretched out towards me. There was a five-rupee note between his fingers. My heart sank. T made some money yesterday” he said. ‘Now you’ll get paid regularly.’ My spirit rose as rapidly as it had fallen. I congratulated myself on having returned the money.
But when I took the note, I realized that he knew everything. The note was still wet from last night’s rain.

‘Today I’ll teach you to write a little more than your name” he said. 

He knew but neither his lips nor his eyes said anything about their knowing.

I smiled at Arun in my most appealing way. And the smile came by itself, without my knowing it.
"

RUSKIN BOND




As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets.."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

(For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone's heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? Just "do it".

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it?
"Believe in Angels, then return the favor."






During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive.

Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids.

Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi's broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, In a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.




What Remains
By Lisa A. McCrohan
I see now how this life is fleeting.
Every breath,
every time my little ones
wrap their tiny arms around my neck
and shout, “Mama!,” every gleeful plea for
“one more story” at bedtime
is holy
ripe and ready in this moment to savor,
then it is gone.
Like a breeze that flutters the curtains in my room,
kisses my skin on a warm summer night,
then returns to where it came
and only stillness remains -
I see how fleeting my life is.
Suddenly from darkness I am born,
I caress this world with my gentle presence
for only a short while,
then I return to where I came
and I am no more in this form.
What remains?
I want it to be my thousand gentle kisses on
my children’s forehead before going to school,
my slow caress on their backs they’ve felt
a million times as they drift off to sleep,
my voice of steadfast encouragement
at decisive moments to leap and
follow their hearts,
their inner prompting to notice suffering
and respond with compassion
as they’ve seen my hands
and heard my soothing words
hundreds of times on ordinary days,
the everyday moments of me returning to
my holy stillness that slowly filled them –
like sweet, sacred drops of holy water -
with an inner quiet that sustains them
when life shakes them,
the words I’ve whispered into their being
a million times a million times,
“you are my delight.”
Lisa A. McCrohan, © 2014



I PLAYED with you 'mid cowslips blowing,
When I was six and you were four;
When garlands weaving, flower-balls throwing,
Were pleasures soon to please no more.
Through groves and meads, o'er grass and heather,
With little playmates, to and fro,
We wandered hand in hand together;
But that was sixty years ago. 
You grow a lovely roseate maiden,
And still our early love was strong;
Still with no care our days were laden,
They glided joyously along;
And I did love you, very dearly,
How dearly words want power to show;
I thought your heart was touched as nearly;
But that was fifty years ago. 
Then other lovers came around you,
Your beauty grew from year to year,
And many a splendid circle found you
The centre of its glittering sphere.
I saw you then, first vows forsaking,
On rank and wealth your hand bestow;
Oh, then I thought my heart was breaking, --
But that was forty years ago. 
And I lived on, to wed another:
No cause she gave me to repine;
And when I heard you were a mother,
I did not wish the children mine.
My own young flock, in fair progression,
Made up a pleasant Christmas row:
My joy in them was past expression; --
But that was thirty years ago. 
You grew a matron plump and comely,
You dwelt in fashion's brightest blaze;
My earthly lot was far more homely;
But I too had my festal days.
No merrier eyes have ever glistened
Around the hearth-stone's wintry glow,
Than when my youngest child was christened: --
But that was twenty years ago. 
Time passed. My eldest girl was married,
And I am now a grandsire grey;
One pet of four years old I've carried
Among the wild-flowered meads to play.
In our old fields of childish pleasure,
Where now, as then, the cowslips blow,
She fills her basket's ample measure, --
And that is not ten years ago. 
But though first love's impassioned blindness
Has passed away in colder light,
I still have thought of you with kindness,
And shall do, till our last good-night.
The ever-rolling silent hours
Will bring a time we shall not know,
When our young days of gathering flowers
Will be an hundred years ago.
- Thomas Love Peacock

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861
If thou must love me, let it be for nought 
Except for love’s sake only.
Do not say,  
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way  
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought  
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—  
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may  
Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,  
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for  
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore  
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!  
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore  
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.


There will always be a 'lie' in believe
an 'over' in lover
an 'end' in friend
an 'us' in trust
and an 'if' in life...


The words not spoken
Goes not quite unheard
It lingers in the eye
In the semi-arch of the bow.
A gesture of hand
Speaks pages more than words
Echoes rest in the heart
As driftwood does in the sand
To be rubbed by time
Until it rots or shines.

The word not spoken
Touches us as the music
Does the mind.


Samih al-Qasim समीह अल-क़ासिम سميح القاسم
Palestinian poet (11 May 1939 - 19 August 2014)

TRAVEL TICKETS
 The day I’m killed,
 my killer, rifling through my pockets,
 will find travel tickets:
 One to peace,
 one to the fields and the rain,
 and one to the conscience of humankind.

 Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
 Do not stay and waste them.
 Take them, use them.
 I beg you to travel.

 THE WALL CLOCK
 My city collapsed
 The wall clock remained
 Our neighbourhood collapsed
 The wall clock remained
 The street collapsed
 The wall clock remained
 The square collapsed
 The wall clock remained
 My home collapsed
 The wall clock remained
 The wall collapsed
 On went
 The clock

  

They seemed to those who saw them meet
The casual friends of everydayHer smile was undisturbed and free
His courtesy was free and gay
And yet if one the other's name
In an unguarded moment heard
The heart you thought so calm and tame
Would flutter like a captured bird

 And letters of mere formal phrase
 Were blistered with repeated tears
 And this was not the work of days
 But had gone on for years and years

 Alas that love was not too striong
 For maiden shame or manly pride
 Alas that they delayed too long
 The goal of mutual bliss beside.

 But what no chance could then reveal
 And neither would be first to own
 Let fate and courage now conceal
 When truth could bring remorse alone.







 Derek Walcott.
"The time will come
 when,
 with elation
 you will greet yourself arriving
 at your own door, in your own mirror
 and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
 You will love again the stranger who was your self.
 Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
 to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
 for another, who knows you by heart.
 Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
 the photographs, the desperate notes,
 peel your own image from the mirror.
 Sit. Feast on your life."



"Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”
...
~ Mary Oliver, Thirst




Dipti Naval -
" Sharing a moment with Smita . . . at Band Stand on a monsoon day . . . "

Always on the run
Chasing our dreams
We met each time -...

At baggage claims
VIP lounges
Check- in counters

Stood a while together
Among gaping crowds
Spoke, unspoken words

Yearning to share
Yet afraid, afraid
Of ourselves

All around us
People cheering, leering
And we, like spectacles
Amidst all the madness

Trying to live a moment
Of truth
A glance, a touch
A feeling to hold on to
And move on…

The last time we sat together
Waiting for a flight
I remember I’d said,

‘There must be another way
Of living this life!’

For a long time
You remained silent

Then,

Without blinking
Without turning
Said,

‘There isn’t’

Today
You are gone, and
I’m still running…

Still trying
To prove you wrong . . .

"


THE WELL OF GRIEF
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,
...
turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering,
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else."
David Whyte




“The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair” by Ray Bradbury
 He called her Stanley, she called him Ollie.
That was the beginning, that was the end, of what we will call the Laurel and Hardy love affair.
She was twenty-five, he was thirty-two when they met at one of those dumb cocktail parties where everyone wonders what they are doing there. But no one goes home, so everyone drinks too much and lies about how grand a late afternoon it all was.
They did not, as often happens, see each other across a crowded room, and if there was romantic music to background their collision, it couldn’t be heard. For everyone was talking at one person and staring at someone else.
They were, in fact, ricocheting through a forest of people, but finding no shade trees. He was on his way for a needed drink, she was eluding a love-sick stranger, when they locked paths in the exact center of the fruitless mob. They dodged left and right a few times, then laughed and he on impulse, seized his tie and twiddled it at her, wiggling his fingers. Instantly, smiling, she lifted her hand to pull the top of her hair into a frowzy tassel, blinking and looking as if she had been struck on the head.
“Stan!” he cried, in recognition.
“Ollie!” She exclaimed. “Where have you been?”
“Why don’t you do something to help me!” he exclaimed, making wide fat gestures.
They grabbed each others arms, laughing again.
“I-” She said, and her face brightened even more. “I-I know the exact place, not two miles from here, where Laurel and Hardy, in nineteen thirty, carried that piano crate up and down one hundred and fifty steps!”
“Well,” he cried, “let’s get out of here!”
His car door slammed, his car engine roared.
Los Angeles raced by in late afternoon sunlight.
He braked the car where she told him to park. “Here!”
“I can’t believe it,” he murmured, not moving. He peered around at the sunset sky. Lights were coming on all across Los Angeles, down the hill. He nodded. “Are those the steps?”
“All one hundred fifty of them.” She climbed out of the open topped car. “Come on, Ollie.”
“Very well,” he said, “Stan.”
They walked over to the bottom of yet another hill and gazed up along the steep incline of concrete steps toward the sky. The faintest touch of wetness rimmed his eyes. She was quick to pretend not to notice, but she took his elbow. Her voice was wonderfully quiet.
“Go on up,” she said. “Go on. Go.”
She gave him a tender push.
He started up the steps, counting, and with each half-whispered count, his voice took on an extra decibel of joy. By the time he reached fifty-seven he was a boy playing a wondrous old-new game, and he was lost in time, and whether he was carrying the piano up the hill or whether it was chasing him down, he could not say.
“Hold it!” he heard her call, far away, “right there!”
He held still, swaying on step fifty-eight, smiling wildly, as if accompanied by proper ghosts, and turned.
“Okay,” she called, “come back down.”
He started down, color in his cheeks and a peculiar suffering of happiness in his chest. He could hear the piano following now.
“Hold it right there!”
She had a camera in her hands. Seeing it, his right hand flew instinctively to his tie to flutter it on the evening air.
“Now me!” She shouted, and raced up to hand him the camera. And he marched down and looked up and there she was, doing the thin shrug and the puzzled and hopeless face of Stan baffled by life but loving it all. He clicked the shutter, wanting to stay here forever.
She came slowly down the steps and peered into his face.
“Why,” she said, “you’re crying.”
She placed her thumbs under his eyes to press the tears away. She tasted the result. “Yep,” she said. “Real tears.”
He looked at her eyes, which were almost as wet as his.
“Another fine mess you’ve got us in,” he said.
“Oh, Ollie,” she said.
“Oh, Stan,” he said.
He kissed her, gently.
And then he said:
“Are we going to know each other forever?”
“Forever,” she said.
*And that was how the long love affair began.
They had real names, of course, but those don’t matter, for Laurel and Hardy always seemed the best thing to call themselves.
For the simple fact was that she was fifteen pounds underweight and he was always trying to get her to add a few pounds. And he was twenty pounds overweight and she was always trying to get him to take off more than his shoes. But it never worked and was finally a joke, the best kind, which wound up being:
“You’re Stan, no two ways about it, and I’m Ollie, let’s face it. And oh God, dear young woman, let’s enjoy the mess, the wonderful mess, all the while we’re in!”
It was, then, while it lasted, and it lasted some while, a French parfait, an American perfection, a wilderness from which they would never recover to the end of their lives.
From that twilight hour on the piano stairs on, their days were long, heedless, and full of that amazing laughter that paces the beginning and the run-along rush of any great love affair. They only stopped laughing long enough to kiss and only stopped kissing long enough to laugh at how odd and miraculous it was to find themselves with no clothes to wear in the middle of a bed as vast as life and as beautiful as morning.
And sitting there in the middle of warm whiteness, he shut his eyes and shook his head and declared, pompously:
“I have nothing to say!”
“Yes, you do!” she cried. “Say it!”
And he said it and they fell off the edge of the earth.
*Their first year was pure myth and fable, which would grow outsize when remembered thirty years on. They went to see new films and old films, but mainly Stan and Ollie. They memorized all the best scenes and shouted them  back and forth as they drove around midnight Los Angeles. He spoiled her by treating her childhood growing up in Hollywood as very special, and she spoiled him by pretending that his yesteryear on roller skates out front of the studios was not in the past but right now.
She proved it one night. On a whim she asked where he had roller-skated as a boy and collided with W.C. Fields. Where he asked Fields for his autograph, and where was it that Fields signed the book, and handed it back, and cried, “There you are, you little son-of-a-bitch!”
“Drive me there,” she said.
And at ten o’clock that night they got out of the car in front of Paramount Studio and he pointed to the pavement near the gate and said, “He stood there,” and she gathered him in her arms and kissed him and said gently, “Now where was it you had your picture taken with Marlene Dietrich?”
He walked her fifty feet across the street from the studio. “In the late afternoon sun,” he said, “Marlene stood here.” And she kissed him again, longer this time, and the moon rising like an obvious magic trick, filling the street in front of the empty studio. She let her soul flow over into him like a tipped fountain, and he received it and gave it back and was glad.
“Now,” she said, quietly, “where was it you saw Fred Astaire in nineteen thirty-five and Ronald Colman in nineteen thirty-seven and Jean Harlow in nineteen thirty-six?”
And he drove her to those three different places all around Hollywood until midnight and they stood and she kissed him as if it would never end.
And that was the first year. And during that year they went up and down those long piano steps at least once a month and had champagne picnics halfway up, and discovered an incredible thing:
“I think it’s our mouths,” he said, “Until I met you, I never knew I had a mouth. Yours is the most amazing in the world, and it makes me feel as if mine were amazing, too. Were you ever really kissed before I kissed you?”
“Never!”
“Nor was I. To have lived this long and not known mouths.”
“Dear mouth,” she said, “shut up and kiss.”
But then at the end of the first year they discovered an even more incredible thing. He worked at an advertising agency and was nailed in one place. She worked at a travel agency and would soon be flying everywhere. Both were astonished they had never noticed before. But now that Vesuvius had erupted and the fiery dust was beginning to settle, they sat and looked at each other one night and she said, faintly:
“Good-bye…”
“What?” he asked.
“I can see good-bye coming,” she said.
He looked at her face and it was not sad like Stan in the films, but just sad like herself.
“I feel like the ending of that Hemingway novel where two people ride along in the late day and say how it would be if they could go on forever but they know now they won’t,” she said.
“Stan,” he said, “this is no Hemingway novel and this can’t be the end of the world. You’ll never leave me.”
But it was a question, not a declaration and suddenly she moved and he blinked at her and said:
“What are you doing down there?”
“Nut,” she said, “I’m kneeling on the floor and I’m asking your hand. Marry me, Ollie. Come away with me to France. I’ve got a new job in Paris. No, don’t say anything. Shut up. No one has to know I’ve got money this year and will support you while you write the great American novel–“
“But–” he said.
“You’ve got your portable type-writer, and a ream of paper, and me. Say it, Ollie, will you come? Hell, don’t marry me, we’ll live in sin, but fly with me, yes?”
“And watch us go to hell in a year and bury us forever?”
“Are you that afraid, Ollie? Don’t you believe in me or you or anything? God, why are men such cowards, and why the hell do you have such thin skins and are afraid of a woman like a ladder to lean on. Listen. I’ve got things to do and you’re coming with me. I can’t leave you here, you’ll fall tomorrow. That means you, Paris, and my job. Your novel will take time but you’ll do it. Now, do you do it here and feel sorry for yourself, or do we live in a cold-water walk-up flat in the Latin Quarter a long way off from here? This is my one and only offer, Ollie. I’ve never proposed  before, I won’t ever propose again, it’s hard on my knees. Well?”
“Have we had this conversation before?” he said.
“A dozen times in the last year, but you never listened, you were hopeless.”
“No, in love and helpless.”
“You’ve got one minute to make up your mind. Sixty seconds.” She was staring at her wristwatch.
“Get up off the floor,” he said, embarrassed.
“If I do, it’s out the door and gone,” she said. “Forty-nine seconds to go, Ollie.”
“Stan,” he groaned.
“Thirty,” she read her watch. “Twenty. I’ve got one knee off the floor. Ten. I’m beginning to get the other knee up. Five. One.”
And she was standing on her feet.
“What brought this on?” he asked.
“Now,” she said, “I am heading for the door. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve thought about it more than I dared even notice. We are very special wondrous people, Ollie, and I don’t think our like will ever come again in the world, at least not to us, or I’m lying to myself and I probably am. But I must go and you are free to come along, but can’t face it or don’t know it. And now-” she reached out. “My hand is on the door and-“
“And?” he said, quietly.
“I’m crying,” she said.
He started to get up but she shook her head.
“No, don’t. If you touch me I’ll cave in, and to hell with that. I’m going. But once a year will be forbearance day, or forgiveness day or whatever in hell you want to call it. Once a year I’ll show up at our flight of steps, no piano, same hour, same time as that night when we first went there and if you’re there to meet me I’ll kidnap you or you me, but don’t bring along, and show me your damn bank balance or give me any of your lip.”
“Stan,” he said.
“My God,” she mourned.
“What?”
“This door is heavy. I can’t move it.” She wept. “There. It’s moving. There.” She wept more. “I’m gone.”
The door shut.
“Stan!” He ran to the door and grabbed the knob. It was wet. He raised his fingers to his mouth and tasted the salt, then opened the door.
The hall was already empty. The air where she had passed was just coming back together. Thunder threatened when the two halves met. There was a promise of rain.
*He went back to the steps on October 4 every year for three years, but she wasn’t there. And then he forgot for two years but in the autumn of the sixth year, he remembered and went back in the late sunlight and walked up the stairs because he saw something halfway up and it was a bottle of good champagne with a ribbon and a note on it, delivered by someone, and the note read:
“Ollie, dear Ollie. Date remembered. But in Paris. Mouth’s not the same but happily married. Love Stan.”
And after that, every October he simply did not go to visit the stairs. The sound of that piano rushing down that hillside, he knew, would catch him and take him along to where he did not know.”
And that was the end, or almost the end, of the Laurel and Hardy love affair.
There was, by amiable accident, a final meeting.
Traveling through France fifteen years later, he was walking on the Champs Elysees at twilight one afternoon with his wife and two daughters, when he saw this handsome woman coming the other way, escorted by a very sober-looking older man and a very handsome dark-haired boy of twelve, obviously her son.
As they passed, the same smile lit both their faces in the same instant.
He twiddled his necktie at her.
She tousled her hair at him.
They did not stop. They kept going. But he heard her call back along the Champs Elysees, the last words he would ever hear her say:
“Another fine mess you’ve got us in!” And then she added the old, the familiar name by which he had gone in the years of their love.
And she was gone and his daughters and wife looked at him and one daughter said, “Did that lady call you Ollie?”
“What lady?” he said.
“Dad,” said the other daughter leaning in to peer at his face. “You’re crying.”
“No.”
“Yes, you are. Isn’t he, Mom?”
“Your papa,” said his wife, “as you well know, cries at telephone books.”
“No,” he said, “just one hundred and fifty steps and a piano. Remind me to show you girls, someday.”
They walked on and he turned and looked back a final time. The woman with her husband and son turned at that very moment. Maybe he saw her mouth pantomime the words, So long, Ollie. Maybe he didn’t. He felt his own mouth move, in silence: So long, Stan.
And they walked in opposite directions along the Champs Elysees in the late night of an October sun.




Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium.
 Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest....
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
~ Wendell Berry
from "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” (excerpt)




"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



To Sir With Love
"A friend who taught me right from wrong, And weak from strong -- that's a lot to learn
What -- what can I give you in return?...
If you wanted the moon,
I would try to make a start... But I
Would rather you let me give my heart
To Sir, With Love" !!!
(The whole song -
"Those schoolgirl days
Of telling tales, and biting nails, are gone
But in my mind,
I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone
Who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try
If you wanted the sky,
I would write across the sky in letters,
That would soar a thousand feet high:
"To Sir, With Love"
Those awkward years
Have hurried by. Why did they fly away?
Why is it, Sir,
Children grow up to be people one day?
What takes the place of climbing trees,
And dirty knees in the world outside?
What is there for you I can buy?
If you wanted the world,
I'd surround it with walls. I'd scrawl
In letters ten feet tall:
"To Sir, With Love"
The time has come
For closing books; and long last looks must end
And as I leave,
I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong,
And weak from strong -- that's a lot to learn
What -- what can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon,
I would try to make a start... But I
Would rather you let me give my heart
To Sir, With Love")



For what shall I wield a dagger , o lord
What can I pluck it out of
Or plunge it into
When you are all the world.
...
- devara dasimayya (10th century indian poet-saint)


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to Be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing Enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make and manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~Marianne Williamson




Once Krishna and Arjuna were walking towards a village. Arjuna was pestering Krishna, asking him why कर्ण should be considered an unparallelled Donor & not me.?
Krishna, turned two mountains into gold.
Then said "Arjuna, distribute these two Gold mountains among villagers, but you must donate every bit of it ".
Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest.
For two days and two nights Arjuna shovelled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.
Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. Now Arjuna was exhausted, but not ready to let go of Ego, told Krishna he couldn't go on any longer without rest.
Here Krishna called 
कर्ण and told him to donate every bit of two Gold mountains.
कर्ण called two villagers, and said "Those two Gold mountains are yours " and walked away.
Arjuna sat dumbfounded. Why hadn't this thought occurred to him?
Krishna smiled mischievously and told him "Arjuna, subconsciously, you were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination.
कर्ण holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn't expect people to sing his praises, he doesn't even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back. That is the sign of a man already on the path of enlightenment".
 


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