2011.02.13 19:00 - Poetry as Practice #3

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Calvino Rabeni. The comments are by Calvino Rabeni.
    This is a PlayAsBeing theme session on the topic of Poetry as Practice (third in a series) sponsored by Hana Furlough and Calvino Rabeni.

    Hana Furlough: Hi Cal!
    Calvino Rabeni: Hello Hana :))
    Hana Furlough: It looks like it's going to be a snowy day here in Kyoto
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah, what changes does that bring?
    Hana Furlough: Spring was on the horizon, but alas we have taken a u-turn back in to winter
    Hana Furlough: How is this evening finding you?
    Calvino Rabeni: The night is young :)

    Lucinda Lavender: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Cinda :)
    Lucinda Lavender: greetings poets:
    Hana Furlough: Hi Luci!
    Lucinda Lavender: HI hana
    Lucinda Lavender: hi Cal
    Hana Furlough: So, does anyone have verse to share?
    Calvino Rabeni: That is how the evening comes to me
    Hana Furlough: Hi Stevenaia?
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello
    Hana Furlough: :)
    Lucinda Lavender: luci is thinking...not quite ready with a poem...
    Calvino Rabeni: I have one
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Hana Furlough: great, let's hear it
    Lucinda Lavender: :)
    Hokon Cazalet: hi =)
    Calvino Rabeni: This one is about a feeling about writing poetry ... the doing of it ...
    Calvino Rabeni: it's called
    Hana Furlough: Hi Hokon
    Lucinda Lavender: hi hokon
    Calvino Rabeni:

    Now I Become Myself
    by May Sarton

    Now I become myself. It's taken
    Time, many years and places;
    I have been dissolved and shaken,
    Worn other people's faces,
    Run madly, as if Time were there,
    Terribly old, crying a warning,
    "Hurry, you will be dead before--"
    (What? Before you reach the morning?
    Or the end of the poem is clear?
    Or love safe in the walled city?)
    Now to stand still, to be here,
    Feel my own weight and density!
    The black shadow on the paper
    Is my hand; the shadow of a word
    As thought shapes the shaper
    Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
    All fuses now, falls into place
    From wish to action, word to silence,
    My work, my love, my time, my face
    Gathered into one intense
    Gesture of growing like a plant.
    As slowly as the ripening fruit
    Fertile, detached, and always spent,
    Falls but does not exhaust the root,
    So all the poem is, can give,
    Grows in me to become the song,
    Made so and rooted by love.
    Now there is time and Time is young.
    O, in this single hour I live
    All of myself and do not move.
    I, the pursued, who madly ran,
    Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

    Calvino Rabeni: I like that part where she brings the focus to the present moment
    Calvino Rabeni: her hand
    Calvino Rabeni: writing right now
    Calvino Rabeni: yet the feeling of all that is behind and around it
    Hana Furlough: yes and by extension -- through its shadow -- the paper becomes her hand
    Calvino Rabeni: there's a sort of seeking for enlightment in this focusing
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Hana Furlough: the revealing of the absolute through the provision, perhaps
    Lucinda Lavender: I like the parts about plants
    Calvino Rabeni: the poet seeks embodiment
    Calvino Rabeni: "Now to stand still, to be here, Feel my own weight and density!"
    Calvino Rabeni: when I write
    Calvino Rabeni: it often feels like most of the work is done by my body
    Calvino Rabeni: without "me" knowing it
    Calvino Rabeni: except to wait
    Calvino Rabeni: and then say "yes that's about right"
    Calvino Rabeni: or "no, lets turn around a bit"
    Calvino Rabeni: actualy more to it than that .. a partnership
    Calvino Rabeni: kind of working together cooperatively
    Hana Furlough: right!
    Hana Furlough: letting the words work themselves out
    Calvino Rabeni: I might propose one or two words
    Calvino Rabeni: they have to feel right with the "music"
    Hana Furlough: certainly
    Hana Furlough: letting it come through you
    Lucinda Lavender: yes cooperation goes on between the song and the lyrics...

    Calvino Rabeni: by the way, .. a nice collection of poems is "Teaching With Fire" http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Fire-Poetry-Sustains-Courage/dp/0787969702
    Hana Furlough: "When reasoned argument fails, poetry helps us make sense of life."
    Hokon Cazalet: =)
    Hana Furlough: interesting, but perhaps they are not so far apart...
    Hokon Cazalet: i dont think they need to be, id agree hana
    Hana Furlough: can you say more, hokon?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: hi everyone :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: sorry, I am sleeping and must go
    Hokon Cazalet: well reason can be technical (like a mathematical proof), but it can also be analytical in a way that uncovers things, draws out the essence of something (dialectic/dialogue)
    Hokon Cazalet: byebyes stevenaia =)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: (couldnt sleep so I came here ^^)
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi, SSL :) Welcome to the third poetry Theme Session
    SophiaSharon Larnia: night Steve
    Hokon Cazalet: hehe
    Hana Furlough: Hi Sophia!
    Hana Furlough: bye Steve
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye Stevenaia dream well :)
    Hokon Cazalet: i find alot of reason in good poetry too
    Hana Furlough: "draws out the essence of something"
    Hana Furlough: i like it
    Hokon Cazalet: =)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: I may skip my turn, ok to listen?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: and be the peanut gallery?
    Calvino Rabeni: Sure, we're sharing poems we like, talking about them
    Hana Furlough: of course, SSL! but we're just chatting about poetry right now
    Hana Furlough: so don't be shy
    Hana Furlough: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: smiles
    Hokon Cazalet: more modern uses of reason lean to the technical, but alot of ancient philosophy was more poetic
    Calvino Rabeni: yup
    Hana Furlough: yes
    Hana Furlough: that is a very interesting point
    Hana Furlough: there was a clear interplay
    Hokon Cazalet: yup
    Hana Furlough: does anyone else have a poem in mind?
    Calvino Rabeni: How about you Hana ?
    Susan Aloix: (Hello all)
    Hana Furlough: hi susan!
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Susan :)
    Hana Furlough: sure
    Susan Aloix: Hi Hana :)..Cal :)
    Hana Furlough: one moment
    Hana Furlough:

    Kyoto: March
    by Gary Snyder

    A few light flakes of snow
    Fall in the feeble sun;
    Birds sing in the cold,
    A warbler by the wall. The plum
    Buds tight and chill soon bloom.
    The moon begins first
    Fourth, a faint slice west
    At nightfall. Jupiter half-way
    High at the end of night-
    Meditation. The dove cry
    Twangs like a bow.
    At dawn Mt. Hiei dusted white
    On top; in the clear air
    Folds of all the gullied green
    Hills around the town are sharp,
    Breath stings. Beneath the roofs
    Of frosty houses
    Lovers part, from tangle warm
    Of gentle bodies under quilt
    And crack the icy water to the face
    And wake and feed the children
    And grandchildren that they love.

    Calvino Rabeni: wb Sophia -
    SophiaSharon Larnia: thank you
    Calvino Rabeni: "Meditation. The dove cry Twangs like a bow."
    Hana Furlough: so nice, right?
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Can you see Mt Hiei?
    Hana Furlough: yes!
    Hana Furlough: from my apartment window
    Hana Furlough: it's the largest mountain to the northeast of the city
    Hokon Cazalet: =) im gonna head out, a friend wants to show me a new place she got; have fun peeps, nice to see you all again =)
    Susan Aloix: Nice Hana. Full of spaciousness. The places between stand out and sharpen in reverance that which is seen
    Calvino Rabeni: Take care, good to see you Hokon
    Hana Furlough: goodbye hokon!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye Hoken
    Susan Aloix: Bye Hokon
    Hokon Cazalet waves
    Hokon Cazalet: Weeee! ^.^
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :D
    Lucinda Lavender: bye Hokon:)

    SophiaSharon Larnia: that sounds beautiful Hana :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks, Susan, right to me those are the qualities that feel encompassed in the instant in those two lines - "Meditation. The dove cry Twangs like a bow."
    Hana Furlough: thanks, it really is
    Hana Furlough: mount hiei is one of the most important centers of buddhism
    Hana Furlough: home to the headquarters of the tendai tradition
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Hana Furlough: luci do you have a poem?
    Lucinda Lavender: I do not at this time...have been looking tho..
    Calvino Rabeni: I have one for you then ..:)
    Hana Furlough: great!
    Lucinda Lavender: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: One that I would like to read to children
    Lucinda Lavender: listening
    Calvino Rabeni: because it tells what can be done with imagination I suppose
    Calvino Rabeni:

    On the Other Side of the Door
    By Jeff Moss

    On the other side of the door
    I can be a different me,
    As smart and as brave and as funny or strong
    As a person could want to be.
    There's nothing too hard for me to do,
    There's no place I can't explore
    Because everything can happen
    On the other side of the door.

    On the other side of the door
    I don't have to go alone.
    If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
    And fly where the wind has flown.
    And wherever we go, it is almost sure
    We'll find what we're looking for
    Because everything can happen
    On the other side of the door.

    Lucinda Lavender: Great!
    Hana Furlough: it makes me smile
    Lucinda Lavender: me too:)
    Hana Furlough: adults should read this too
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes :)
    Lucinda Lavender: nodding...I feel something that reminds me of a sea shanty about it...
    Hana Furlough: what's a sea shanty?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: sees a sea shanty by the seashore
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i like the rhythm
    Lucinda Lavender: song sung by the seagoing folk
    Hana Furlough: ahhh i see
    Hana Furlough: very nice
    Lucinda Lavender: yes...great fun to read with children...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: oh. I was thinking a sea shanty was a small residence by the sea, silly me
    SophiaSharon Larnia: lol
    Lucinda Lavender: ssl...I see what you mean...
    Lucinda Lavender: this has an empowering feel to me
    Lucinda Lavender: imagining the places we will go and growing with it
    Calvino Rabeni: A kind of magical thinking .. I don't feel out of place for adults either
    SophiaSharon Larnia: a feeling of 'later' about it, like something isnt available right now
    Calvino Rabeni: Theres the feeling of being invited
    Calvino Rabeni: of passing through a threshold or portal
    Hana Furlough: yes! that is the key
    Hana Furlough: not losing "a kind of magical thinking"
    Hana Furlough: seeing that portal everywhere
    Calvino Rabeni: every moment has that potential
    Lucinda Lavender: to picture the scene that is within imaginations reach...and put ourselves there
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Hana Furlough: yes indeed
    Calvino Rabeni: it is ... I'm noticing that difference
    Lucinda Lavender: it perhaps becomes real...
    Calvino Rabeni: going the extra step - a little extra action
    Calvino Rabeni: giving it "being"
    Hana Furlough: can you say more about "giving it 'being'" cal?

    Calvino Rabeni: I have a sense .. of being surrounded by possibilities, but they need a little extra kick somehow of consciousness or intention to somehow actually inhabit them, to enter or stand there such that they become fully part of the present ... on the other hand, there are many possibilities not pursued, in which I choose to remain as-is
    Hana Furlough: :)
    Hana Furlough: beautifully put
    Hana Furlough: i agree
    Hana Furlough: you have to participate in their manifestation
    Calvino Rabeni: YES
    SophiaSharon Larnia: like potentialities
    Calvino Rabeni: "participation required" :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: sorry typos
    Hana Furlough: yes!
    Calvino Rabeni: I'm sure the body gets mobilized and centered and muscular when that happens
    Hana Furlough: i have to get back to work
    Hana Furlough: thanks so much for all of the inspiration
    Hana Furlough: until next week!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)) bye Hana, nice to see you
    Lucinda Lavender: bye and happy week to you!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: smiles
    eggsalad Ormstein: greetings
    SophiaSharon Larnia: hi eggsalad :)
    eggsalad Ormstein: hi sophia
    Calvino Rabeni: Good evening Egg :)
    Lucinda Lavender: hi eggsalad:)
    eggsalad Ormstein: hiya cal!
    eggsalad Ormstein: hi luci!
    Calvino Rabeni: A poem seems like a door one draws in imagination and then can step through into something new
    Lucinda Lavender: new because it looks different after?
    Lucinda Lavender: after walking though?
    Lucinda Lavender: everything feels differnt...
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: who knows what is through the door
    Lucinda Lavender: one feel they have entered a new place or awareness
    Calvino Rabeni: nods
    Lucinda Lavender: and when a poem does not really provide the necessary transition for me I just feel kind of the same...
    Lucinda Lavender: and wondering if I understood it
    Calvino Rabeni: umm
    Calvino Rabeni: sometimes frustrating
    Calvino Rabeni: I am .. not sophisticated .. don't like to think a poem is a puzzle to be decoded with a combination lock before I can enter :)
    Lucinda Lavender: me neither...
    Calvino Rabeni: The "making a door" seems part of reading as well as writing ...Even if it is like "nature poetry" about mountains and birds and water

    eggsalad Ormstein: I must be off, thank you all
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye Egg
    Calvino Rabeni: Cinda, to me, you work in a world that is on the other side of the door... I imagine colors and bustle and voices behind it
    Lucinda Lavender: ah yes!
    Lucinda Lavender: and the young minds...hearing what they hear
    Lucinda Lavender: a very busy world on that side of the door
    Calvino Rabeni: I wonder if there are poets who also work in preschools and sort of write to keep that door open, between the children's world and the adults
    Lucinda Lavender: Good question...I bet so...
    Calvino Rabeni: nowadays it feels, if it is possible ... one may be able to find it
    Calvino Rabeni: Somewhere someone is doing just about anything ...
    Calvino Rabeni: now we have the chance to find it, even perhaps to participate
    Lucinda Lavender: yes...we had a moment at work this week..
    Lucinda Lavender: whe one teacher did a sell job about the disco songs that might be available for the children to dance to after wevoted and were actually at party day.
    Lucinda Lavender: so she went through a whole cd describing each song but not yet playing it
    Lucinda Lavender: and the children voted for something called The Electric Slide
    Lucinda Lavender: So as party day arrived and we gave them colored scarves and put the song on...we got to see why they chose it!
    Lucinda Lavender: they began to run with their scarves ,throw them down and slide across the floor!
    Calvino Rabeni: hehe :)
    Lucinda Lavender: It was pretty wild...and we saw through their eyes what it meant to them...
    Lucinda Lavender: you can hear it on youtube...:)
    Lucinda Lavender: "love the men's voices saying"It's Electric".
    Calvino Rabeni: hmm tempting :)
    Lucinda Lavender: well not poetry but a story about seeing into what children hear....
    Calvino Rabeni: there are a lot of videos with that dance ...
    Calvino Rabeni: was it a special version for kids?
    Lucinda Lavender: just a disco cd...
    Lucinda Lavender: nothing for them to see...
    Lucinda Lavender: we talk about ideas and then get them to draw what they picture....

    Lucinda Lavender: then there is the awakening for the adults...what the children heard...
    Calvino Rabeni: what's that about?
    Lucinda Lavender: well they center in on certain words...and then improvise from there
    Calvino Rabeni: the awakening of adults you mean, to understand what is significant to the children?
    Lucinda Lavender: yes awakening for adults!
    Lucinda Lavender: we think we know what we are saying but maybe not...
    Calvino Rabeni: aha :)
    Lucinda Lavender: do you have another poem?
    Calvino Rabeni: No, but I could find one ... any ideas?
    Lucinda Lavender: one moment
    Lucinda Lavender: Toward the Unknown Region- Walt Whitman
    Lucinda Lavender: unknown
    Lucinda Lavender: sorry:)
    Lucinda Lavender: Are you familiar with it?
    Calvino Rabeni: is it this-
    Calvino Rabeni:

    Darest Thou Now, O Soul
    by Walt Whitman

    DAREST thou now, O Soul,
    Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
    Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?

    No map, there, nor guide,
    Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
    Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

    I know it not, O Soul;
    Nor dost thou—all is a blank before us;
    All waits, undream’d of, in that region—that inaccessible land.

    Till, when the ties loosen,
    All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
    Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds, bound us.

    Then we burst forth—we float,
    In Time and Space, O Soul—prepared for them;
    Equal, equipt at last—(O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.

    Lucinda Lavender: yes:)
    Lucinda Lavender: Just introduced to this one because we will sing it...
    Calvino Rabeni: wow really
    Lucinda Lavender: yes...
    Lucinda Lavender: the music written is by Vaughn Williams
    Lucinda Lavender: Equal, equipt at last-(Oh Joy!) interesting line...

    Calvino Rabeni: Savoring it ..
    Lucinda Lavender: me too
    Calvino Rabeni: In an earlier session we were talking about memory
    Calvino Rabeni: or rather the combination of memory and imagination
    Calvino Rabeni: How it creates a sense of oneself
    Calvino Rabeni: if my sense of myself is composed partly of memory and imagined significance
    Calvino Rabeni: then it matters what and how I do it ...
    Lucinda Lavender: ah...how you build it...
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: A word is "remembrance"
    Lucinda Lavender: some parts wild...some serene
    Calvino Rabeni: and it can include respect and reverence in it ... too.. for the "not self" as well
    Calvino Rabeni: Nice yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Here's a poem
    Lucinda Lavender: ok...
    Calvino Rabeni: another by William Stafford in the collection "The Way It Is"
    Calvino Rabeni:

    You Reading This, Be Ready
    by William Stafford

    Starting here, what do you want to remember?
    How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
    What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
    sound from outside fills the air?

    Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
    than the breathing respect that you carry
    wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
    for time to show you some better thoughts?

    When you turn around, starting here, lift this
    new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
    all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
    reading or hearing this, keep it for life -

    What can anyone give you greater than now,
    starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

    Lucinda Lavender: lovely...
    Calvino Rabeni: smiles
    Lucinda Lavender: love the line about the gift...breathing respect
    Calvino Rabeni: To me this is about the act of concious energy that marks the doorway between the mundane present and the "greater present moment"
    Calvino Rabeni: Like, without that, life just passes one by
    Lucinda Lavender: seems very true to me...
    Calvino Rabeni: but this seems to be about showing up and "participating" as we were talking about earlier in the session
    Lucinda Lavender: engaging
    Calvino Rabeni: yes :)

    Calvino Rabeni: That poem is also interesting what it does with sense and mind, to draw away from conceptual thinking and into the present
    Calvino Rabeni: the visual of watching sunlight creeping along a shining floor
    Calvino Rabeni: uses vision mixed with a whole different feeling for time
    Calvino Rabeni: one would have to relax and empty the mind to even notice that
    Calvino Rabeni: impression
    Lucinda Lavender: a simple source of light
    Calvino Rabeni: and then the sense of smell ... brings subtlety and atmosphere and a very "primitive" or archaic way of being in the world
    Calvino Rabeni: and the light ... a focus on what it "is" rather than what it signifies .. just light
    Calvino Rabeni: these things would not be noticed, much less remembered, without gathering and focusing awareness
    Lucinda Lavender: nodding
    Calvino Rabeni: and I like the part about turning around, with a new glimpse
    Lucinda Lavender: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: that is, having gone through a door into something new
    Lucinda Lavender: imaging looking without judgement...:)
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Calvino Rabeni: something more constructive than judgment
    Lucinda Lavender: yet with some self understandoing or love first
    Calvino Rabeni: and closer to the bone
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: exactly

    Calvino Rabeni: I was thinking, the earlier poems "Now I Become Myself" and "On the Other Side of the Door" and the one by Whitman, seemed to put the "door" (the epiphany) in the future...
    Lucinda Lavender: not really graspable with the mental body...
    Calvino Rabeni: while with this one it is already in place
    Calvino Rabeni: no not graspable that way
    Lucinda Lavender: nodding
    Calvino Rabeni: more "bodies" need to be brought into play before that can be grasped
    Lucinda Lavender: :)
    Lucinda Lavender: I like this placement of the epiphany
    Calvino Rabeni: it's refreshing isn't it?
    Lucinda Lavender: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: What makes memories vivid? Or even makes them be created?
    Calvino Rabeni: That might be different than what makes them memorable, I suppose
    Lucinda Lavender: well sometimes I think about there being a certain glue that holds it all together
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Lucinda Lavender: not buyable at the store...but on some atomic level...
    Calvino Rabeni: hehe
    Calvino Rabeni: If you can bottle it, you can be a billionaire
    Lucinda Lavender: perhaps love
    Lucinda Lavender: can't say I know how love could be glue but seems like a nice story
    Calvino Rabeni: perhaps so ... I was going to say, a particular quality of attention.. one that doesn't collapse onto something, and isn't aversive to it, and that is inclusive and invites all parts of oneself to meet something .. but it occurs to me that could be one description of love
    Lucinda Lavender: exactly
    Lucinda Lavender: the not collapsing, judging kind
    Calvino Rabeni: yes :)
    Calvino Rabeni: "carry into evening all that you want from this day"
    Calvino Rabeni: There is so much in that one line
    Lucinda Lavender: nodding...all you want to carry...
    Lucinda Lavender: engaging with what is carried
    Calvino Rabeni: the natural turn of the day ... a kind of sacred transition time ...

    Calvino Rabeni: being a good host ..fulfilling desire .. creating a bounty ..
    Calvino Rabeni: carrying it .. like an armful .something valuable ... held close to the heart .. like a hug
    Lucinda Lavender: nodding
    Calvino Rabeni: This part reads like a prayer or invocation

    When you turn around, starting here, lift this
    new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
    all that you want from this day.

    Calvino Rabeni: its powerful in that way
    Calvino Rabeni: and very concise
    Lucinda Lavender: yes it really is
    Lucinda Lavender: it seem to go in all directions
    Lucinda Lavender: not sure what I mean there...
    Lucinda Lavender: works universally
    Lucinda Lavender: think I am beginning to fade...
    Calvino Rabeni: same here...
    Calvino Rabeni: Good sitting with you, thanks
    Lucinda Lavender: yes thank you so much:)
    Calvino Rabeni: Dream well :)
    Lucinda Lavender: same for you:)

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