Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ambulance Therapy Territory

Standard
Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

New PR–147

Just Like a Poet

“A remarkable number—writers especially—volunteered
as ambulance drivers for the Allied Powers.”
–Wikipedia

In my extreme youth
But not too young to think
I might be a poet

Not too young to try my hand
I heard on public radio talking
Yevgeny Yevtushenko about poetry

In which he said just like a poet
With those metaphors
That poetry was an ambulance

Rushing people to their cure
But now many years removed from
A blessedly non-suicidal cowardice

I am finally delivered unto happiness
Not from an outward ambulance
Of some external poet

(Though that has been a tourniquet)
But inward from my own heart’s words
Rushing to the scene

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

Note to Readers:
This is a catch-up from an old blog post, occasioned by the mysterious disappearance of most of my archives, which had been dating back to April Fool’s Day, 2013.
Also I apologize for the recent dearth of posts. I lost track of part two of the last post, which was due. (It’s hiding somewhere in the labyrinth of website-related docs, and I fear I am but a neophyte when it comes to modern technology and website/blog stuff. So please bear with me. I am shooting to get back on a regular schedule by April Fool’s Day 2016. Meanwhile, I hope to continue to gradually reintroduce the missing archive posts. Fortunately I have word doc copies, and that means I only have to handle the dashboard codes etc. (Which can take a while per post) And then I have had health problems and largely on account of that I am travelling to California to see family friends, and yes doctors. (Not to worry, nothing grave, as it were) Anyway, here’s the post from April 8, 2013) And somehow it’s hard to keep the posts coming with those distractions.

~.~.~

Gentle Readers,
This is largely a poetry production blog. I guess you could say that it exists partly to further my dream of everyone turning poet. This worked out well for me, at least psychologically. In one of my short bios for the few magazines that have published my poetry, I say this:

As a young and budding poet Eric was listening to a public radio station interviewing the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko who said that poems were ambulances. His favorite poet at this time was E. E. Cummings reprising his ambulance driver role in world war I. Eric says of Cummings, “He kept a lonely boy sane.” But after meandering quests and a tragic romantic misadventure, Eric finds one can cut out the ambulance driver middleman, writing one’s own poetry.

And here’s a thing to consider:
While poetry is the art least likely to fetch a living, it has the benefit of being the most accessible. You don’t need to know how to prepare a canvas, wield a brush, read music, or do finger exercises on the piano. You just need to talk to yourself and write down the words. And you can expand your definition of self to one of your metaphors, like for instance use the construct of angels as your muse, or wax pantheistic using flowers for mirrors. It’s amazing the reach of flowers and the concomitant spring as Cummings captured (all over the place like light) but specifically, here:

While you and i have lips and voices which
are for kissing and to sing with
who cares if some oneeyed son of a bitch
invents an instrument to measure Spring with?

And as I say, it’s ambulance therapy territory.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

Sufism, the Science of Happiness

Standard
Kurt Vonnegutt

Kurt Vonnegutt

(Published in Gentle Reader)
PR–344

A Grudgingly Budging Little Miracle

“con las manos en la masa: red-handed”
–http://diccionario.reverso.net
PR4–378
A Grudgingly Budging Little Miracle

In Guatemala the water stops a lot
So it was foolish baking bread
With no water to fix my sticky fingers
So there was I with my hands

Fresh from the masa
My eyes with a burning yearning for water
Looking at the water faucet
Fully open yet nary a drip

I had a choice of whine or risa:
I just laughed and an instant later the water
Started again but only a fickle trickle of wet
Barely sufficient to clean my gooey hands

And then it stopped again
It was a grudgingly budging little miracle
But instructive: We do get what we need
(With the right attitude)

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

Gentle Reader,
The post below is my modest beginning of the large problem of restoring two years of blog posts which mysteriously disappeared from the archives. It was over a 100 lost posts. Fortunately the vast majority were backed up and so I am starting on the backlog. My text is backed up but if you have your own website you know you have to use the right codes for the right effects. So each one of these restorations can take up to an hour. Potentially then a 100 hour project.
Deseame suerte!

First up is the first post from way back on April Fool’s Day, 2013

Gentle Reader,
I will call you that. It’s honorific, yes, and I do honor you and, as it happens, Gentle Reader was the name of the (now defunct) magazine in England where my first published poem appeared. There is a (very) little story behind that, so I will include the poem at the end.

Today I saw on You Tube a very short video of Kurt Vonnegutt’s advice to writers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVcIhnvSx8). A key suggestion/point was to get to the reader as much information as soon as possible. So I start the blog rolling with this short bio that appeared in Umbrella, alongside my poem:
“>~.~.~

(http://www.umbrellajournal.com/fall2009/science/LikePicassoWhoNeverHadtoP.html)

Eric Halliwell has spent many years as student, carpenter, flunked-out nursing student, and then a first grade school teacher. Through a tragic romantic misadventure he ended up in Guatemala where he lives on Lake Atitlan, writing poetry. It keeps him off the streets, or, rather, since there are no streets where he lives, off a dirt trail above the lake.

So that’s how I got to Guatemala, on Lake Atitlan, and the peace here seems to have facilitated a late blooming life-of-the-poet trip. In fact, I was just online and found an article
(http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/10-most-sacred-spots-on-earth.html?page=9)
including Lake Atitlan on a list of ten most sacred spots on the planet. (I like that they use “sacred” as if it were objective fact. Because it is)

As you now see, my view is skewed toward the “sacred.” And as you might expect, my poetry is from a metaphysical, para precisar, Sufi perspective. Yes, because I was in a Sufi order in Walnut Creek California for seven years. This order was founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan, who died circa 1927. I will no doubt regularly regale you, my readers, with some favorite inspirations (quotes) of his. I trust you will enjoy as much as I have, his lucid common sense and inspired ecumenical focus on what is, after all, the science of happiness.

For this, it’s no surprise that my poems have a Sufi (read very broad-based) theme. I’m not sure how familiar my readers may be with Sufism, which is most famously known by the writings of Sufi ecstatic poets such as Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Saadi, Attar, Ibn Arabi, and Omar Khayyam.

So I started out in Guatemala, hitching my wagon* to art (drawing, painting). But within a year, having read a book of poetry, Love Letters from God, by Daniel Ladinsky, I was inspired to try my hand at my own “ecstatic” poetry. I was ecstatic for sure in one sense: my intense happiness and gratitude to be given this sudden gift of a compulsion to listen to sweet stuff with its heart imprimatur, and write it down and even presume to call it poetry. My touchstone for that is if it touches the heart. And we know that by the metaphor that we find in our salty tears, small miracles which are a microcosm of the ocean. We know by these small miracles when we’ve written a poem from the heart. And blessedly now, for me, these small miracles keep coming regularly, like the lanchas on Lake Atitlan.

Indeed the first poem I got published, dealt with such “small” miracles.
(It’s shown at the top)
 
 
In upcoming blog posts, I will muse (as it were) about metaphysical themes, about poetry writing, particularly my own, (yours too, reader willing) art in general, favorite heart stuff. The wonderful thing about Sufism is it has relevance to every interest. You know it doesn’t matter what pebbles you install in your kaleidoscope. So they be of translucent colors and you see to a light source.
I promise to reply to any comments.

As my Grandma Dorothy used to say at bed time, “See you anonymous!”
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

PS–I believe “good-bye” is a contraction for God be with you. It’s a shame to have lost that.

*Full disclosure: Ralph Waldo Emerson reference: “Hitch your wagon to a star.”

Sufism, the Science of Happiness

Standard

Posted on April 1, 2013 by Eric Halliwell

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

Gentle Reader,
I will call you that. It’s honorific, yes, and I do honor you and, as it happens, Gentle Reader was the name of the (now defunct) magazine in England where my first published poem appeared. There is a (very) little story behind that, so I will include the poem at the end.

Today I saw on You Tube a very short video of Kurt Vonnegutt’s advice to writers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVcIhnvSx8). A key suggestion/point was to get to the reader as much information as soon as possible. So I start the blog rolling with this short bio that appeared in Umbrella, alongside my poem:
“>~.~.~

(http://www.umbrellajournal.com/fall2009/science/LikePicassoWhoNeverHadtoP.html)

Eric Halliwell has spent many years as student, carpenter, flunked-out nursing student, and then a first grade school teacher. Through a tragic romantic misadventure he ended up in Guatemala where he lives on Lake Atitlan, writing poetry. It keeps him off the streets, or, rather, since there are no streets where he lives, off a dirt trail above the lake.

So that’s how I got to Guatemala, on Lake Atitlan, and the peace here seems to have facilitated a late blooming life-of-the-poet trip. In fact, I was just online and found an article
(http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/10-most-sacred-spots-on-earth.html?page=9)
including Lake Atitlan on a list of ten most sacred spots on the planet. (I like that they use “sacred” as if it were objective fact. Because it is)

As you now see, my view is skewed toward the “sacred.” And as you might expect, my poetry is from a metaphysical, para precisar, Sufi perspective. Yes, because I was in a Sufi order in Walnut Creek California for seven years. This order was founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan, who died circa 1927. I will no doubt regularly regale you, my readers, with some favorite inspirations (quotes) of his. I trust you will enjoy as much as I have, his lucid common sense and inspired ecumenical focus on what is, after all, the science of happiness.

For this, it’s no surprise that my poems have a Sufi (read very broad-based) theme. I’m not sure how familiar my readers may be with Sufism, which is most famously known by the writings of Sufi ecstatic poets such as Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Saadi, Attar, Ibn Arabi, and Omar Khayyam.

So I started out in Guatemala, hitching my wagon* to art (drawing, painting). But within a year, having read a book of poetry, Love Letters from God, by Daniel Ladinsky, I was inspired to try my hand at my own “ecstatic” poetry. I was ecstatic for sure in one sense: my intense happiness and gratitude to be given this sudden gift of a compulsion to listen to sweet stuff with its heart imprimatur, and write it down and even presume to call it poetry. My touchstone for that is if it touches the heart. And we know that by the metaphor that we find in our salty tears, small miracles which are a microcosm of the ocean. We know by these small miracles when we’ve written a poem from the heart. And blessedly now, for me, these small miracles keep coming regularly, like the lanchas on Lake Atitlan.

Indeed the first poem I got published, dealt with such “small” miracles:
PR–344
A Grudgingly Budging Little Miracle
“con las manos en la masa: red-handed”
–http://diccionario.reverso.net
At this latitude: Guatemala
The water stops a lot
So it was foolish baking bread
With no water to fix my sticky fingers
So there was I with my hands
Fresh from the masa
Looking at the water faucet
Fully open yet nary a drip
I had a choice of whine or risa:
I just laughed and an instant later the water
Started again but only a fickle trickle of wet
Barely sufficient to clean my gooey hands
And then it stopped again
It was a grudgingly budging little miracle
But instructive: We do get what we need
(With the right attitude)

In upcoming blog posts, I will muse (as it were) about metaphysical themes, about poetry writing, particularly my own, (yours too, reader willing) art in general, favorite heart stuff. The wonderful thing about Sufism is it has relevance to every interest. You know it doesn’t matter what pebbles you install in your kaleidoscope. So they be of translucent colors and you see to a light source.
I promise to reply to any comments.
As my Grandma Dorothy used to say at bed time, “See you anonymous!”
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

PS–I believe “good-bye” is a contraction for God be with you. It’s a shame to have lost that.

*Full disclosure: Ralph Waldo Emerson reference: “Hitch your wagon to a star.”