Daily Poem: Count ~ Paul Celan

November 16, 2017 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Count
~ Paul Celan

Count the almonds,
count what was bitter and kept you awake,
count me in:

I looked for your eye when you opened it, no one was looking at
you,
I spun that secret thread
on which the dew you were thinking
slid down to the jugs
guarded by words that to no one’s heart found their way.

Only there did you wholly enter the name that is yours,
sure-footed stepped into yourself,
freely the hammers swung in the bell frame of your silence,
the listened for reached you,
what is dead put its arm round you also
and the three of you walked through the evening.

Make me bitter.
Count me among the almonds.

Almonds

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Daily Poem: Another Day ~ Martin Miller

November 15, 2017 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Another Day
~ Martin Miller

How mad I must have been
When I look back now
On all the reasons why
It never happened somehow
The excuses I made with
A self-constructed lie
The boldness that I lacked
That made others gently cry
You have vision
You have time
Why? You have the flair
There’s no success like failure
They flippantly cry.
But never do themselves try
Everyone’s a winner.
I’ve been heard to say
But boldness never came my way
It’s so damn easy just to say
Another day
Another day.

 

My notes: What strikes me hard about this poem is that Martin Miller was no slouch at trying new things. He had a successful career as an antiques dealer, then went on to establish a gin distillery, a small group of hotels (the place in London was fabulous, and sadly is no more), and an arts and culture academy in London. He was also an investor in several side businesses, as well as self-publishing a novel (an entertaining, if uneven read) and the book of poetry in which this poem appears. He had some major financial swings (divorce is expensive, among other factors) but he recovered each time. And yet, he somehow felt “boldness never came my way”.

 

Drawing Room, Miller's Residence, London, UK

Drawing Room, Miller’s Residence, London, UK

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Daily Poem: The Heart of a Woman ~ Georgia Johnson

November 14, 2017 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

The Heart of a Woman
~ Georgia Douglas Johnson

The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

Armored Heart/Caged Heart by Renee Stout

Armored Heart/Caged Heart by Renee Stout

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Daily Poem: Wine ~ Raymond Carver

November 13, 2017 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Wine
~ Raymond Carver

Reading a life of Alexander the Great, Alexander

whose rough father, Philip, hired Aristotle to tutor

the young scion and warrior, to put some polish

on his smooth shoulders. Alexander who, later

on the campaign trail into Persia, carried a copy of

The Iliad in a velvet-lined box, he loved that book so

much. He loved to fight and drink, too.

I came to that place in the life where Alexander, after

a long night of carousing, a wine-drunk (the worst kind of drunk–

hangovers you don’t forget), threw the first brand

to start a fire that burned Persepolis, capital of the Persian Empire

(ancient even in Alexander’s day).

Razed it right to ground. Later, of course,

next morning–maybe even while the fire roared–he was

remorseful. But nothing like the remorse felt

the next evening when, during a disagreement that turned ugly

and, on Alexander’s part, overbearing, his face flushed

from too many bowls of uncut wine, Alexander rose drunkenly to his feet,

grabbed a spear and drove it through the breast

of his friend Cletus, who’d saved his life at Granicus.

For three days Alexander mourned. Wept. Refused food. “Refused

to see to his bodily needs.” He even promised

to give up wine forever.

(I’ve heard such promises and the lamentations that go with them.)

Needless to say, life for the army came to a full stop

as Alexander gave himself over to his grief.

But at the end of those three days, the fearsome heat

beginning to take its toll on the body of his dead friend,

Alexander was persuaded to take action. Pulling himself together

and leaving his tent, he took out his copy of Homer, untied it,

began to turn the pages. Finally he gave orders that the funeral

rites described for Patroklos be followed to the letter:

he wanted Cletus to have the biggest possible send-off.

And when the pyre was burning and the bowls of wine were

passed his way during the ceremony? Of course, what do you

think? Alexander drank his fill and passed

out. He had to be carried to his tent. He had to be lifted, to be put

into his bed.

An Attic Red-Figured Bell Krater, attributed to the Erbach Painter, circa 400-380 B.C

An Attic Red-Figured Bell Krater, attributed to the Erbach Painter, circa 400-380 B.C.E.  Image: Sotheby’s.

 

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Community Altar for November 2017

November 11, 2017 | Filed Under Community Altar | No Comments
Community Altar November 2017

Community Altar November 2017

November 11 is commemorated in many western countries as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans’ Day, or by a similar name. The original day was established in observance of those who had served in World War I, at the time called “The War to End All Wars”; now in the US, it is a day to honor the veterans of all wars.

This month’s community altar honors all victims of war: those who were injured or killed fighting, the civilians who suffered and died, those who lost loved ones, homes, and years of their lives to the cruelties of war.

There are two sets of images. The lower set has Picasso’s painting of “Guernica” at the center. The image to the left is of Syrian refugees from 2012. The image to the right is Rwanda in 1994. The image at the top right is of Sandinista Rebels in Chontales jungle of Nicaragua. The final image in the lower set is of the drawing titled “Reflections” by Lee Teter, which shows a man mourning his dead friends at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.

The top image is a peace symbol, the hope of all people, and especially of those whose lives have been destroyed by war. Within its circle are three notable women, recognized as peace advocates. The bottom of the circle is occupied by Anne Frank. The top right of the circle features Kathleen Tacchi-Morris. The circle is completed by the photo of Malala Yousafzai.

The images are black-and-white and printed on plain paper to convey the factual reality of the images, and to evoke the sense of a newspaper or a documentary, of the undeniable reality of both the horrors of war and the courageous efforts of those who work to create peace.

The images are topped by a fresh bouquet of pink roses, symbolizing peace, hope, and the sweetness of life.

The community candle is inscribed with the words “Peace”, “Justice”, and “Equality”. When these become the guiding principles of our world, we can live free of war.

Until then, we keep working to create common bonds and mutual understanding, bringing peace into the world, one person at a time.

Peace be upon you, within and without.

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