We are Layered Beings
"Each Memorable verse of a true poet has two or three times the written content"
- Alfred de Musset
We live in an increasingly superficial age, modern life and culture is becoming faster, mass produced, disposable, more technical and less natural. Yet we humans are not superficial beings, we work on many levels; like an onion we can peel away the brittle skin outer skin and each soft layer and in the core of ourselves we find a space filled with nought but pure light and love. In my book "Messages are Dancing in the Rain" there is a poem about this called "Reach Out Through the Layers" . What we show each other is but the tip of the iceberg and all too often we ourselves are unaware of our depths. There we hide our pain, anger, frustrations and fears as we seek to convince ourselves that we're okay. It is no surprise to find that poetry is enjoying a surge of popularity, as it speaks to and reaches those deeper aspects of ourselves that yearn for meaning. Most of us want peace on earth, goodwill amongst all, health and happiness throughout the world. We only have to choose to reach out to each other and create it. We can have anything on which we agree. You can read the poem here . . .
"Tread softly, for this is holy ground;
It may be, could we look with seeing eyes,
this spot we stand on is Paradise."
The Beauty of Poetry
"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty"
- Edgar Alla Poe
To recognise and appreciate beauty is, I believe, to be of vital importance. It restores our eyes to the wonders of the world and the miracles that abound; the colours of a butterfly's wings, a glorious sunset, the delicacy of petals, a leaf on the ground, the look of love in another's eyes. Our average concept of beauty has become limited, we apply it to ourselves and compare our physical beauty to that of others; but beauty is much wider, deeper and richer than superficial appearance. As we go about our day we find that to look for Beauty, and stop for a moment to drink in its harmonious energy is immeasurably rewarding. It has balancing and healing qualities.
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. -Ode to a Grecian Urn - John Keats.
There has been much discussion as to the meaning of Keats's words.
I feel they point us in the right direction. Beauty holds within it a harmony, the ability to lift the heart to underlying truths that we already know but all too often forget; the soul reaches towards a place that is always beautiful. The ugliness we have created we call 'reality', but perhaps we are wrong, perhaps true reality is always beautiful.
I wrote this poem 'Beauty' with a grateful nod to Christina Rosetti. You can read the poem here . . .
The Traces People Leave Behind
When someone we love dies it is hard to let go, we cling to what is left of them, their photographs, all those heartbreaking little possessions they'll never use again and clearing all those things out can be the hardest task of all. It's like we are dismantling that person's life and it can be so painful. When my mother died a dear friend told me to find a piece of her clothing that smelled of her and if I put it in a sealed plastic bag, the scent would remain for years. I did this with three of her soft scarves and also kept a cardigan of hers to wear when I wanted to feel comforted. This inspired me to write the poem 'The Perfume of You'.
A dear friend asked me if she could read it at a loved one's funeral as she wasn't sure which reading to choose. Naturally I agreeed, I see it as a great honour and anyone is welcome to use it if it helps in any way (a small credit would be appreciated). You can read the poem here . . .
The Tragedy of Old Age
"Old age doesn't come alone" is a Scottish saying and it's true. For some it brings contentment and continuing good health, for others it arrives unwelcomed with a bag full of aches and pains, regrets and a cruel invisibility which confirms the feeling of fading out. Nevertheless, I see older people, vulnerable as children, but still full of defiance and courage. It makes me weep to witness it, I am awed at the strength of the human spirit as people struggle against the odds to keep the fading flame of life alight, and my heart swells at the thought of it. . . . and so I wrote "The Last Dance". You can read the poem here . . .
A Love Poem to the World
"Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings and making music with them." -Denni Gabor
It is my passion in life to do all I can to help awaken and maintain the true love that is the core of us all. Naïve and unrealistic? Maybe, but what else is worth striving for than a happy world full of happy people? I’m truly selfish really, because miserable people spread it around and it’s hard to stay out of that miserable trap. I don’t want to be miserable, I want to be happy, and that needs happy people. So my selfishness is the kind you can trust. Like many of us I become despondent at the state of the world, at the stupidity, the waste, the violence and the suffering and I think that if I were a divine being I’d find the switch for humanity and turn it to ‘OFF’. At other times I’m filled with love for everybody, the real beings who live under all that muck. This poem is to everybody, my love poem to the world. I send it with love to whomever reads it and hope that it plucks at your heartstrings and makes a little music with the beauty and magic there. You can read the poem here . . .
Life is an Art
"Poetry is that art which selects and arranges the symbols of thought in such a manner as to excite the imagination the most powerfully and delightfully." - William C. Bryant
It was whilst musing on the great inner treasures locked inside humanity that I wrote “My Life as an Art”. Life is an art, but how many of us are in a position to fulfil all of our talents? Many of us don’t even know what they are. Children are driven through educational systems that suppress their individuality and many adults strive each day for survival, working purely for money in jobs they don’t enjoy. Societies create structures that inhibit personal growth and inner fulfillment with few opportunities to break out of them. I’m saddened by the waste of it all and the frustrations it creates. We need a world where all are free to achieve their highest positive potential in whichever direction we choose. Not necessarily in the arts but in any way that allows us to be the best that we can, using all our gifts and talents to the full. That would make for a happier and healthier world for all. You can read the poem here . . .
"A poet's work is to name the unnameable,
to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments,
shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." - Salman Rushdie
What is the point of poetry? I tend to agree with Rushdie, poetry should have the dynamic to make us think, to look at the world from different perspectives, to reveal something of ourselves, to reach into the invisible and and shape our experience in ways that speak to the deeper self. As I begin writing my next book of poems, I realise that my work contains both a sharing of the human experience as it is, with a plaintive cry that this isn't good enough, we were meant to be much more, to do much more, to evolve much more. This awareness can be disturbing, but also hopeful in that by choosing to share our hearts with goodwill we can achieve anything we want.
'Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.' - Rita Dove