Christine’s thought-provoking piece on what it takes to become a poet.
“Treat all that is beautiful, good and true, just like a seed. Give it some soil, a hidden place in the heart – don’t display it.”
I’ve been using all my offline time to do exactly that, LOL. And this beautiful photo makes for a perfect desktop wallpaper 😊
Today’s moodboard is a little different. On account of today’s harvest moon on the last legs of dreamy Pisces, also in its fullest form tonight – and also the mid-autumn festival which I (um) totally forgot about – I would like to leave this passage here, directly lifted from Bernadette Brady’s Predictive Astrology: The Eagle And The Lark, which I am also reading at the moment:
The time to reap the rewards. This is not a time for new projects or ideas but rather a harvesting of that which is already there. This is the time to collect, the time to receive, to pick the fruit, for now it is in its prime. This is the climax to the cycle where the energy is at its peak. Collect the fruits of your labour. They are ripe.
Seeing as it’s nearing the end of 2017, this full moon seems like a good time to take a pause and reflect on what you’ve done so far. Wheels can only keep chugging for so long without any rest.
For me, I’ve managed to publish a few pieces of my poetry and keep blogging. I humbly acknowledge that my biggest weakness has been my congenitally short-circuited level of interest. I haven’t managed to banish it totally yet, but I’ve learnt to harness this short circuitry into actual work, which is a nice start.
Also, I seem to gravitate to the moon as an endless source for inspiration. Hell, I’ve already posted a few poems about the moon. Perhaps it’s also fitting that my natal moon is in the watery sign of Cancer. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone!
From Cyril Wong’s gently undulating chapbook, like a seed with its singular purpose –
The first sounds of the tabla
like a god’s knuckle gently
knocking against the heart’s
resounding door, then your
voice, followed by the others,
rivaling, as if at war,
but I prefer to envision trees
plunging skywards into
light, oblivious of each other
yet fuelled by that sustained
impulse to swell, to ornament
a single chant into endless
branches of pure yearning,
eventuate in a vertiginous
forest of sound, each high note
sewn into a chord vast and
dense as the canopy of trees,
then a peace as when the wind
pauses in its marathon across
the landscape to catch its
breath, then begins again to
go; trees shrug off their awe,
revving up, flexing every leaf,
twig and branch, set once more
to sway, the same way your
phrase – the final solo now –
spirals up like a gold vine to
recapture height, or how those
of us willing to lose our hours
to your melody commence
once more to move our heads,
shaping a new infinity within us.
Long ago, the man was overwhelmed by feelings of futility, and he thought, ‘I can no longer remain in the capital; I will look for a suitable place in the provinces of the east.’ Then he departed, taking a few of his old friends with him. Unsure of their way, they wandered along in a desultory fashion. Eventually they arrived at a place called Yatsuhashi in the province of Mikawa. The location was known as Eight Bridges because the river there fanned out into eight channels like the legs of a spider, with a bridge across each one.
They dismounted in the shade of the tree by the edge of the marshland to eat some dried rice. In the marsh, there were beautiful irises in full bloom. One of the party said, ‘Compose a poem on the topic “journey”, using the letters I-R-I-S, one for the beginning of each line of the poem. The man’s poem:
In these familiar, lovely robes I’m
Reminded of the beloved wife
I have left far behind, stretching far –
Sadness, the hem of journeys.
Everyone wept, swelling the dried rice with their tears.
Continuing on their journey, they reached the province of Suruga. At Mount Utsu, the path was overgrown with maples and ivy and very dark and narrow. Just as the group was fearing that they might meet a terrible fate, they encountered a mendicant monk. ‘Why are you travelling on a path such as this?’ he asked them. On hearing him speak, the man realized that the monk was someone he knew. So he composed a poem to his beloved and gave it to the monk to take to the capital.
Here by Mount Utsu
in Suruga so far away,
I cannot meet you
in the real world,
nor even in my dreams.
Then when he looked up and saw Mount Fuji, he noticed that even though it was midsummer, snow still covered the peak.
knowing not the seasons,
which one do you think it is?
Snow still covers your peak –
the dappled coat of a fawn.
Compared to the mountains at the capital, Mount Fuji was like Mount Hie piled twenty times as high in the shape of a great mount of salt.
The man and his friends continued their journey and came to a large river on the border between Musashi and Shimosa. It was called the Sumidagawa. They rested together on the bank and though forlornly about how far they had travelled. But the ferryman shouted, ‘Get on board quickly! It’s getting dark.’ As they boarded the boat, they were all filled with sadness, for there was not one among them who had not left behind a loved one in the capital.
Just at that moment, a white bird about the size of a snipe, with red legs and beak, frolicking on the water while gulping down a fish. As it was a bird that they had never seen in the capital, no one knew what it was. They asked the boatman what its name was, and he replied, ‘Why, it’s the “Bird of the Capital!”.’ Hearing this, the man recited a poem.
Bird of the Capital –
if true to your name
then let me ask you
of the one I love;
is she still alive and well?
Everyone on the boat broke down in tears.
Fun fact: in the commentary, this poem is credited with inspiring the Noh play Kakitsubata by Komparu Zenchiku, which indirectly inspired James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Cutesy video with singer Michelle Zauner kicking up a storm in her mother’s gorgeous hanbok. ❤