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The great poem by the italian poet Dante is the DIVINA COMMEDIA
I have tried to translate in english a few verses of the first canto of INFERNO (HELL).
It was a very difficult task.
The result below was obtained with hard work and
probably is far away from the original spirit of our greatest poet.
The italian rhymes are of 11 syllables as requested by italian terza rima. In english language several verses sound well with 10 syllables, few with 9 or 11. I assume that in english there is no fixed rule for syllables in terza rima and I simply try to obtain a good sound of verses resembling the original italian poem.
I continue to translate and to add new verses until the characters reach the limit.
I submit to soupers expecting their sincere comments and criticism
CANTO I Inferno Original italian
When half the journey of my life was crossed Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
I found myself within a forest dark Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Since the correct way was harshly lost. Ché la diritta via era smarrita
Oh, it's so hard to say and to remark Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
How strong and savage was the forest core Esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
That now again I am of fear stark! Che nel pensier rinova la paura!
So amara it is that death is lightly more; Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
But to describe the sake that there I found Ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
I shall relate what I saw before. Dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
How there I went surely I confound Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,
Since of slumber I was full so much Tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto
That I abandoned any pattern sound. Che la verace via abbandonai.
But with a hill foot when I got in touch, Ma poi ch'i' fui al piè d'un colle giunto,
There where the valley was close to end Là dove terminava quella valle
Which to my heart gave a fear clutch, Che m'avea di paura il cor compunto,
I looked up and saw its abrupt trend Guardai in alto e vidi le sue spalle
Already dressed by the planet rays Vestite già de' raggi del pianeta
Which the path to everybody always fend. Che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle.
So my fears were calmed in some ways, Allor fu la paura un poco queta,
Which in the lake of my heart had lasted Che nel lago del cor m'era durata
During the night I spent in so much haze. La notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta.
And similar to one with lena labored, E come quei che con lena affannata,
Got out of open sea reaching the shore, Uscito fuor del pelago a la riva,
Looks the perilous water behind his head, Si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata,
Just so my soul, which was fleeing more, Così l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva,
Looked behind to behold the pass Si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo
Which no living person ever left before. Che non lasciò già mai persona viva.
After a while to rest the body harass, Poi ch'èi posato un poco il corpo lasso,
The way resumed along the desert slope Ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
So that was always lower my foot fast. Sì che 'l piè fermo sempre era 'l più basso.
Here, when I started with the rise to cope, Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta,
Sudden a very rapid panther light, Una lonza leggera e presta molto,
Coated with spotted fur and little hope; Che di pel macolato era coverta;
Which didn’t leave apart from my front sight, E non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,
Or better so forbidding my path line, Anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
That more than once I gave up to go right. Ch'i' fui per ritornar più volte vòlto.
It was the time for morning starting shine, Temp'era dal principio del mattino,
And sun was rising moving with those stars E 'l sol montava 'n sù con quelle stelle
Which joined it when the love divine Ch'eran con lui quando l'amor divino
Moved for the first those full of beauty jars; Mosse di prima quelle cose belle;
So that I had more reasons to hope the best Sì ch'a bene sperar m'era cagione
About that beast whose pelt had many scars di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle
The hour of time and the season blessed; L'ora del tempo e la dolce stagione;
But not enough to forbid the fright Ma non sì che paura non mi desse
After my eyes a fierce lion guessed. La vista che m'apparve d'un leone.
This looked like against me pounced right Questi parea che contra me venisse
With ravenous hunger and head up high, Con la test'alta e con rabbiosa fame,
So that surrounding air looked to excite. Sì che parea che l'aere ne tremesse.
And a lupa, which greedy coming by Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame
Burdened looked as only skin and bones, Sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza,
And many people already made to sigh, E molte genti fé già viver grame,
This put on me indeed so heavy stones Questa mi porse tanto di gravezza
With the scare created by the appearance, Con la paura ch'uscia di sua vista,
That I lost the hope to reach the upper zones. Ch'io perdei la speranza de l'altezza.
And such as guy acquiring with decision,
And comes the time which brings him then to lose,
So that his thoughts with sorrow find collision;
Similar the peaceless beast with strong abuse
Coming against me direct bit by bit
Constrained me with shadow to confuse.
(No enough space left.
Continues in the next part.
The last rows of original italian will be repeated there)
You might wonder what happens during the course of the day with a profiler. I'm known as the watcher. Little insignificant things can make the difference in cracking a case. A subtle glance, a dilated pupil the tightening of a jaw. Let me take you back to yesterday so you will understand.
"Rick I need you to come in here." "Alright captain, what do you have for me?" "We have an Arson on our hands, Rodrigues is interviewing the family now." "What do we know about them captain?" "Husband and wife are separated, the daughter was living with the mom in the family home. Nothing left of the home, burnt to the ground." "Do we know where the fire started?" "Yes it looks like it started in the girls bedroom. Enough talking Rick lets pay attention to what's going on."
Captain Branson is an impatient man, he thinks this watcher stuff is a pile of bullshit. He's all about old fashioned police work. Still here I am detective first class with a pile of successes under my belt. So the upper brass have thrust me upon him. He tolerates me, in private he tells his buddy's I'm a lucky sh*t and one day my luck is going to run out.
I looked through the one way glass into the interrogation room. The dad was sitting furthest away. He is dressed impeccably dark blue suit, white shirt and a red tie with matching handkerchief. He also sports a hundred dollar haircut and speaks with controlled precision. While he speaks he looks at Rodriguez with a certain disdain. His arms are folded and he keep looking down at his watch.
The daughter is a contrast in opposites, unkept purple hair and wearing a black loose fitting dress. There are scratches on her arm that she is picking at. Several piercings adorn her lips nose and eyebrows. On her shoulder there is a broken heart tattoo that says Daddy's Girl.
The wife is a thirty something beauty with long blond hair. She is casual yet elegant, a natural look that has taken hours to achieve. She is on the opposite side of the table from her husband and somehow it does not seem far enough. As her husband speaks her left eye has a subtle twitch.
Rodriguez fidgets with the earbud as he asks the dad if he wants something to drink. The dad snaps back " let's just get this over with I have to get back to work." Rodriguez just smiles and asks the wife and daughter if he can get anything for them. The daughter continues to pick at her arm. The wife politely says "no thank you." "Well then we can get started." Rodriguez gets up opens the door and a large matronly officer enters. Rodriguez asks the daughter and mom to accompany her. The daugter rises and walks with a slow detached gait, her mom follows with a practiced elegance.
Rodriguez looks at the man and says, "let's start with what we know, we know the fire wasn't accidental. There was an accelerant used in your daugters room." The dad looked Rodriguez in the eye and said "so why are you talking to me? I don't even live there anymore." Rodriguez asks the dad where he was between nine and eleven that morning. The man quickly responds that he was working at the office with his assistant. Rodriguez asks if anyone else may have seen him that morning. He says not that he's aware of. Talking through the earbud I ask Rodriguez to end his questioning for now.
Captain Branson says, "we checked the Navigation on his BMW, it shows his vehicle didn't leave the parking lot till three this afternoon. Personally my money is on the crazy daughter, I checked and she started a fire a few years ago behind their neighbors shed." "Ok captain we'll start with her next. I'll be back in a minute I need a cup of coffee." I leave the room just as the dad leaves the interrogation room. Rodriguez motions for him to sit down. As he sits he crosses his legs and I notice he is wearing a new pair of shoes and there is a small white stain on his cuff. Once again I notice him looking at his watch. I walk by him to the coffee machine without him even giving me a glance.
Back in the interrogation room Rodriguez is sitting with the girl, she has yet to make eye contact with him. I tell Rodriguez to start the interview. He does the usual attempt at rapport building but it garnishes no warm and fuzzies. Enough of that he asks her where she was this morning. She says she was out behind the bleachers at school. He asks if anyone can verify her being there. She says no, she was by her self. He asks about the fire behind the neighbors shed. She says "it looks like you have already made up your mind. Why don't you just lock me up?" This is the first time she looks him in the eye. Rodriguez says he just wants to get to the truth. "The truth? No one cares about the truth, why would I burn down my own room?" She looks defiant and hurt, the look of someone who has been accused of many things. I tell Rodrigues enough for now. The captain says "what? Is that it?" "Relax Captain she's not your girl. Rodriguez bring the wife in."
The wife looks a lot more relaxed without the husband in the room. She sits back easily in the chair with her legs crossed gracefully at the ankles. She pulls out a lighter and cigarette and asks if it is okay if she smokes. Rodriguez apologizes and says there is no smoking on the premises. She says "that's okay I'm trying to quit." She tells him she started again after the separation. Rodriguez asks her who she thinks started the fire. She says she has no idea but she can't imagine who would want to burn down their home. She loses her composure for a moment and starts to cry. She looks up at him with her big blue eyes filled with tears. Rodriguez passes her a tissue and asks if she is okay to continue. She says sure she just needs a moment to compose herself. He asks her to tell him about her husband.
Yoga in Poem A Novel Approach Step 6
Brahmari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath
IMP. NOTE: Temporarily I am stopping new episodes
of Yoga in Poem due to personal reasons and will try
to restart Yoga in Poem at a later date…
How to do Brahmari Humming Bee Pranayama
Sit in Sukhasana (Step 1) or in Padmasana in the morning hours, if you have achieved easiness to sit in Padmasana or else sit in Sukhasana. It is important that while performing Brahmari your stomach should be empty and bowls clear. Sit erect while practicing Brahmari in a neat and clean, quiet and calm place preferably an open place.
Raise your both arms and bring your all four fingers as a screen on your eyes. Now close your ears by the tips of your thumbs in such a way that your index fingers are touching your eyebrows and the middle finger the inner corner of your both eyes and other two fingers rests on the slopes of your nose and face joints gradually.
Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with the fresh air and then exhale slowly from both the nostrils while creating a humming sound. At the time of doing this do not open your ears and keep pressing it gently so that your humming sound gets more clear and it create vibrations in your mouth, throat, ears, eyes and even other parts of your body ( this stage would come when you practice this exercise regularly )
Try to creat the humming sound continuously as loud and clear as possible for you.
IN PRAISE OF BRAHMARI PRANAYAMA
We all know and accepts
The miracles of Sound
On everything which
We live, we love, and we work
We play and we laugh
With one or the other kind of sounds
We become harsh or soft
Even we weep and sometimes
We hate with some or the other kind of sounds only
These are all the effects of
Which make us
What we are and what
We become as a man or woman in life
Kind hatred or benevolent
A lover or a hater
A teacher or a Poet, a writer or an artist or a Musician
A leader or a preacher
A dictator or a Don.
When sound comes
From a serene source
It binds the hearts
And we began to love and adore
That sound and even that source
And keep it as a source of energy and joy.
But when it comes
A biased mind and selfish source and
Tries to destroy our peace
And began to dictate us
We feel fed-up
To bear that sound
And then we try
To get rid of that source or sound.
Brahmari or the humming Sound
Is one such elegant self-music
Which opens our heart and mind
With its vibrations
To fill life in those dead or sluggish
Nerves and spine
The Melody not only
In your voice but also in your heart and mind.
Restore your love and even your confidence
Bringing your beloved more close to you
And you to your beloved
Becomes a soft target of differences
Age effected unnoticed deeds and actions.
Brahmari gives you the boon of
Music and melody
Even when age has taken you
On the withering heights of life
You often find yourself standing alone
Looking for someone to
Restore your energy and mind.
The miracles of
Humming bee sounds
Brings an instant coolness
To your otherwise
Anguished mind and heart
Which began to enjoy
The colors and moods
Of Love and Life
A peaceful mind
Is the dwelling place of heavenly gestures
And even of God.
The regular practice of
Balances your hormonal secretions
Invigorating the thyroid gland
And thus increasing your metabolism.
Even Brahmari balances
Your blood sugar and helps
In our body and
It completely removes the causes which
Leads to the curse of human body
By giving you the joys and comforts of
Relaxation which ultimately
Soothes your Heart to pump more actively
The fresh flow of blood
To your nerves and mind
Thus making your pressures
To work happily
Without crossing the limits
Unless you have done some extreme wrongs.
It’s a boon for those
Who suffers from Diabetes and heart problems
And a real gift of God
For those who are in pregnancy
As its wonderful effects on
Human nervous system
Effects the pituitary gland
To balance the growth and control
Of hormones in our body
Thus the practice of this wonderful
Pave way for easy and trouble free
Child birth or delivery.
I often ponder
What a treasure of blessings
Yoga has given to the world and
In these simple and wonderful
To make every human being
More befitting and joyous
To enjoy the blessings of Nature
Thus elevating the human body to absorb
The Beams of the Light and Love of God.
Kanpur 4th Aug. 2013
Duration: Not more than 3 to 5 times in a day in the beginning. Maximum 10 to 12 times only in a day without any force beathing or straining yourself.
01. Never perform this Prayanama while you are lying down
02. If you are having any ear infection do not perform Brahmati till your ears get rid of all infections.
03. Do not hold your breath while doing Brahmari and Heart problem persons should do it under a trained instructor only.
04. Do not perform it when you are not empty stomach and try to perform it preferably in the morning/evening hours only.
05. If for any reasons you do not feel comfortable stop it and take few normal deep breaths
IMP. NOTE: Temporarily I am stopping new episodes of Yoga in Poem due to personal reasons and will try to restart
Yoga in Poem at a later date…
Brahmari Pranayama is a boon for human being
brought mainly in the lime light of the world
by Swami Ram Deoji about 20 years back.
It is a terrible thing
To be so open: it is as if my heart
Put on a face and walked into the world.
Sylvia Plath, Three Women, 1962
Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque,
an incongruity, a clever imbalance
that spins collections her hounds facilitate.
Failures and fractures she bravely lanced
with noncompliance. Reader, rebuff collars
labeled as forewords, smug introductions,
for Plath’s voice is tenfold more a scholar
than those receiving undue benedictions.
Lofty beggars seek to bookend her words
and that empty space she instinctively refills
with her universe, a mayhem that girds,
unapologetic. Mirror images spill
over margins, searching for identity,
negating preamble, snubbing apathy.
Negating preamble, snubbing apathy
with language that flickers, catches, combusts,
her volumes of wicks, her lit soliloquies,
glint behind the stained-glass of trust.
There are those who are not really here,
they wander fault lines then crisscross chasms,
lost pilgrims who easily commandeer
unwary emotions. Some hearts just spasm,
pulled by their own nature, their delicacy,
for poetry is a weakness; poets die
between verses. Odes can become elegies.
The thin-skinned hear a snared rabbit cry,
and pray for the moonflower, always closing,
while cursing that page, unmoved and dozing.
While cursing that page, unmoved and dozing,
she corners rigid guides, keeps fingers poised,
synchronicity goes, the flow of typing
disappears, mislaid, that perfect noise
of a carriage return, a sound exclamation.
Joy is inspiration making its way home,
her Olivetti forages like a raven,
gifting found nouns, verbs that glare like chrome,
but love still flits, turns from hoarse requests,
and she longs for more than any man can give
for what snags worn ribbons will not rest,
it emits a strong beat, throbs as it loves.
Bless the bitter of life, all wisdom owing,
curse the open heart, its shadows showing.
Curse the open heart, its shadows showing,
for worldly delights take full advantage
of the wounded, their brokenness growing.
Everyday beauty wrings arteries, dredges
chambers with barbs, a prompt disobedient.
Fact, there’s no folder large enough to hold
elation’s girth, no ink conveniently
on hand to black out depression. So, scold
the yew, its roots and branches reaching,
then poke at petals for being complacent,
when all the while a candle is preaching
of give and take, surrender, luminance,
So, carefully archive apprehension,
revealing blue veins to tender lesions.
Revealing blue veins to tender lesions
requires much more than a room of one's own,
hours do dissolve, days lack cohesion
when milk sours and tantrums are thrown.
Solitude is in short supply, loneliness,
however, is overstocked; her mind tugs
at busy hands for attention, such darkness
contrasts to jammy smiles and sleepy hugs.
Elusive titles whimper each morning,
and short stanzas steep, so desperately,
all the while a manuscript is scorning
her swipes at dry crumbs, cold pots of tea.
A life sheds its months, gallows take delight
as sundials atrophy in the arms of night.
As sundials atrophy in the arms of night.
the moon blanches tidepools, suckles sand,
even the face of the clock is pulled too tight
and the new calendar can not understand
that writing is sex, is fresh bread, is air,
that time is a brute, quick fisted, rough,
that weeks come and go without a care
that a marriage vow is never enough
to mend adoration, repossess bliss.
Words make better lovers, rarely stray,
upon her lips, the impression of a kiss
feels as cold as sheets then melts away.
Paper sops afterbirth, accepts her all:
fossil and seed, shackles and free falls.
Fossil and seed, shackles and free falls,
unlocking visions, defying any cage,
art resists validity, upsets stone walls
to scale the scarlet heights of a rampage,
to breach the barricades to euphoria.
She excavates id, bares teeth at ego,
plays the parts of illusion and phobia
then infuses rhyme with soft indigo.
Colossus begins to shrivel as Ariel
unmans him, riding hard upon metaphors,
and will remain strong, constant, ethereal.
but curtailed are epics that still implore
like the cusp of dream long after you wake
Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque.
* For Craig Cornish, whose contest inspired this piece. Thank you, Daddy-O.
About this poem
This is my first crown of sonnets. It took over 25 hours to write, a full week of me-time!
These are modern sonnets and the syllable count is extremely loose, intentionally, as it would seem odd to keep things too tight when writing of Sylvia. If anything, I regret not being even looser, altering syllable counts DRAMATICALLY. Also, I used a great deal of slant rhyme for the same reason.
I really wanted to capture Sylvia Plath with this poem, and it was a real struggle. Her language is so precise, and I wanted to do her justice. I had wanted to feel, upon its completion, that Sylvia would have said, "Well, it isn't quite horrible. Not bad for a novice. And there are parts of me there, but only the smallest bits." I do not feel I did this. I feel like I didn't even TOUCH her mastery of language. But, it is good enough for now.. one day, who knows?
Oh, Sylvia's typewriter was a Olivetti Lettera 22. It was portable!
Phantom Journal Entry 1
Wednesday 8:03 A.M.
I found Jesus at a bus stop this morning. He recommended that I comb my hair. I told him if I had any nails I would hand them over. Monty found a shoe full of vomit by a dumpster. Someone had an interesting night. This apartment smells like stale french fries. Frank is still sleeping on the counter next to Mr. Coffee. There is a stray cat clawing at the windowpane. The town is gradually waking up. The park across the street is filled with shirkers. My mind is still living in last night’s conversation. But I don’t remember it very well. Shit, I’m going to be late for
Phantom Journal Entry 2
Wednesday 11:13 P.M.
Work sucked. I think the bartender is an alcoholic. She hides a flask in her bra. It fell out when we were in the stall together. Frank is sprawled across the kitchen floor. Monty steps over him to grab a beer. The stray cat is now sleeping on the windowpane. Nothing ever changes from morning to night. Except Monty is drinking coffee and not beer.
Phantom Journal Entry 3
Good Friday 9:47 P.M.
The ocean left the brine. The girls here are all made of smoke, and their dreams are living in my beer. The worms are drunk on the stove. Frank passed out hugging the toilet. Monty takes a piss right next to his face. Some girl just asked me what I was writing. I told her that I was rewriting the Bible. She seemed confused. Her hair wasn’t combed either. The guy at the bus stop would be ashamed. I can’t remember his name though. The television can’t stop spewing poorly scripted ‘reality’ shows. This Friday isn’t very Good.
Phantom Journal Entry 4
Monday 3:12 A.M.
My eyes are broken garage doors off the tracks. I’ve drank too much Red Bull. She keeps waking up and asking me for water. Apparently her mouth is in a drought. A dead soldier lays between her breasts. Frank keeps drooling on the carpet. My favorite ash tray is tipped over next to Mr. Coffee. This desk keeps hiding words from me. Monty wonders how much a plane ticket to Hell costs. He never sleeps.
Phantom Journal Entry 5
Thursday 12:31 A.M.
It smells of raw fish and bleach in here. My palms are sore. Monty told me to stab myself with pencils to make sure I could still bleed. So I did. That girl ordered me a pizza. But I forgot it under the couch. The medicine chest is nearly empty. When Frank wakes up he is taking a trip to 5th Street to get more. I wonder if they sell bandages there? Will Mr. Coffee brew marijuana for us? My brain is starting to throw up.
Phantom Journal Entry 6
Thursday 12:38 A.M.
This desk keeps mocking me. I offered it to the guy at the bus stop, but he said he didn’t want anymore wood. The dishes are now a chemistry project. But Mr. Coffee is always clean. I can’t get this girl to stop showing me her tattoos. I miss the bartender at work. She got fired tomorrow. So I bought her a new bra. The medicine chest is empty now. Frank is never awake when I write.
Phantom Journal Entry 7
Thursday 4:30 P.M.
I finally got the garage doors fixed. I guess they weren’t closed enough. There is a ghost that keeps haunting the hallway in my dreams. She is pretty hot. Except she keeps tilting the pictures on the wall.
The thirsty girl still won’t leave. Neither will the cat. We may have found the cure for cancer in our dishes. But probably not. Frank is talking in his sleep about stepping on rats. Monty is listening to Beethoven while he attempts to write poetry. He is an awful writer.
Phantom Journal Entry 8
Monday 1:49 A.M.
The guy at the bus stop asked me if I wanted to drink his blood. I told him I wasn’t thirsty. The water was running from the shower. Frank was dreaming in the tub. Monty ate chicken wings with the tattooed girl. I can’t remember her name. I think that cat is hungry too. Mr. Coffee wants to go to sleep. There is broken glass sticking out of my feet. The sky is bleeding white. My mind begins to masturbate.
Phantom Journal Entry 9
Sunday 3:33 A.M.
The brine is looking for the ocean. The girls here are all made of smoke, and their realities are dead on the floor. This desk is growing a face. The medicine chest is full. Monty picks up a filthy habit from the black lake. I haven’t seen Frank for a few days. He must be under the couch. I robbed the guy at the bus stop. Turns out he didn’t really save much. The thirsty tattooed girl shattered Mr. Coffee last night. I will miss him dearly. Now my shot glass is spawning worms.
Phantom Journal Entry 10
Tuesday and I don’t know what time it is
It’s been 369 days since I last wrote an entry. I’ve simply had nothing to say. Monty is living in the streets somewhere. I think of him every time I buy a loaf of bread. I wonder if he found out how much tickets cost? That cat finally starved a few weeks ago. I married that thirsty tattooed girl. I still don’t remember her name though. Frank went to sleep in someone elses apartment. Never did talk to him much. The worms are all marching in a line. Someone stole my medicine chest. I think it was Monty. The guy at the bus stop was thrown into an asylum. But somehow vanished one day. The garage doors are now closed on a regular basis. That ghost finally straightened out the tilted pictures. I think I’ve been combing my hair a lot better lately. I am still a phantom to society. But that’s okay. Nobody knows my name.
It was a visit long overdue by most people’s standards. I had last seen my daughter two years prior to that during a whirlwind trip which she and her fiancé had made to Cape Town. I had an unexpected financial windfall and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. On the spur of the moment, I called my daughter and asked her to source accommodation for me in London over the Christmas season. A few days later, she called me back with the news that all the hotels had been booked up, save for the Ritz. I chuckled at the idea of having to spend my entire holiday budget on just one night at the Ritz. Then reason asserted itself and we put our heads together to come up with an alternative solution. I could hear her flatmate in the background, chipping in with her penny’s worth of advice. My daughter hung up and I was feeling down in the mouth about the plans for the trip being derailed in such a fashion. Later that evening, my daughter called back with the offer that if I did not object to sleeping on the settee in the lounge, I would be most welcome to stay with them at their London flat. I gladly accepted. She is a chef at a top restaurant and I was looking forward to gourmet meals prepared by her - including the Christmas turkey.
screeching seagulls dive
at sushi scraps on a plate -
the urchin watches
The evening of the booked flight to London, arrived. It was an uncomfortable hot day and I showered and dressed with only minutes to spare before my friend took me to the airport to book in the statuary two hours before international flight departures. At the airport everything was in chaos. We were given the unwelcome news that our flight had been cancelled. This was the third direct flight to London which had been cancelled that week due to London experiencing the worst weather and snow since records began in 1890! We were offered alternative flights and had to stand in queues for hours in order to procure a new airline ticket. Some people became very verbose and insisted on being granted passage on other airline carriers (at the cost of our local airline carrier).
I do not know whether it was due to the weather or the disappointment I was feeling, but when my turn came at last to book a new flight, I readily agreed to fly on Christmas Eve ( three days hence) to London. If I had been given time to reflect on this date, I would not have accepted it. Arriving in London on Christmas Day would have been disastrous: The tubes and other public transport would have been curtailed on Christmas Day and shops and other amenities would have been closed for the day. This I knew from previous trips to the UK over the festive season. To add insult to injury, taxis would have charged triple for cab fare and no amount of quibbling would have swayed them. I phoned my friend to collect me and when we got home, I poured a large glass of Merlot and retired on the sun lounger in the garden. It was *full moon that evening and it was almost worth missing the trip to witness its beauty. I left my bags in the hallway and retired early – after phoning my daughter and giving her an update on the status quo.
between moon flowers -
Six am the following morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. Sleepily I took the call. It was the airline inquiring whether I could get to the airport by seven am. My friend was dancing up and down in agitation and already had the car out by the time I had brushed my teeth. I offered to pay any speeding fines which she might incur during our mad dash to get to the airport on time.
The flight was an additional service which was laid on to get the backlog of passengers to their desired destinations. Heathrow had given our pilots permission to proceed, hence the call to me that morning. We were a total of thirty six passengers on the Boeing 747 – it translated to two passengers per crew member. We were treated to five in flight movies which were current and could eat and drink as much as we wished to. By the time we landed in London at seven pm that evening, there was a festive spirit among us. A radio taxi (which my daughter had organised) was waiting to collect me at Heathrow airport. It was a chilly four degrees Celsius below zero and I was grateful for my leather coat and wool accessories.
steep steps to flat
shut out the bitter world -
a heart pounds
*The December 2010 lunar eclipse occurred from 5:27 to 11:06 UTC on December 21, coinciding with the date of the December solstice. It was visible in its entirety as a total lunar eclipse in North and South America, Iceland, Ireland, Britain and northern Scandinavia.
"bitter" means piercingly cold..... A term commonly used by Britishers...
"flat" means apartment. The Londoners I know, refer to it as just "flat" with no adj or possessive noun or article. Please see the About section for explanations regarding the 1ST AND LAST haiku.
Haibun(literally, haikai writings) is a prosi-metric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and includes the autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal. ~ Wikipedia
One morning early a Dad and his son Tom went for a walk in the country, they journeyed
through the still mist looking for flowers for the boy's Mom, but they did not see many.
Just then the foggy air began to thin as the sun climbed higher in the sky “look” cried the lad
pointing! There through some old white wooden gates were lots of flowers in the
garden just behind them. “Let’s get some for Mothers Day, Dad” said the boy,’ “hold on” said
his Dad, “first we must ask whoever lives in the house up there”, as they thought about that,
they seemed to hear a sad sighing sound. The Dad looked down and saw a pushed over
mushroom where he thought it came from, so they knelt down to hear properly. He straightened
the mushroom up with a toothpick which he pulled from his pocket. That’s when they saw a
small person shivering in fear hiding in the grass near the mushroom; “don't be frightened little
girl” said the Dad “we do not mean you harm”.. a very high voice answered them saying
“I thought you were the old witch”, “the old witch”, repeated the Dad and boy in questioning
tones, “yes” said the small girl, “we are Dymwellian folk, we live in the woods and gardens in
peace, when the weather is good we like to sleep under the mushrooms when they grow but
there is an old woman who has come down and torn up all our spring roofs, it has happened
twice just lately and we don't feel safe”. “Now, do you know where this old lady comes
from? ” said Tom’s Dad.
The tiny person pointed to the old house faintly seen at the top of a twisty path that led up
from behind the white gates. “Did you say we, meaning there are more of your type of
people?” said Tom “Yes” said the Dymwellian girl person “if you promise not to harm us. “Yes
I will call them forth,” “Oh, we would not hurt you” said Tom and his Dad together, just then
she spoke some words in her high pitched voice and motioned with her hand; there was a
soft rustling in the undergrowth and soon she was joined by six other like her; two girls and
four little men. ‘" We were going up the path to ask if we could pick some flowers, “Oh we
don't think it wise” said the little people who repeated that they thought the old woman
to be a very wicked witch; as why else would anyone want to destroy their mushroom roofs?
“Well” said Toms Dad “I think we shall go up there and see about this situation! I don't like
seeing such nice folk as you deprived of their shelters,” so leaving the little people, Tom and
his Dad started up the winding path; after a long walk they stopped in front of the house
door. It was a very old house and the door shone plum red. Tom’s Dad reached out and
taking hold of the brass knocker banged it twice; after a bit they heard footsteps and the
door opened a crack there was what appeared to be an old lady peering out at them “What
do you want?” she asked in a wary voice, “Oh we have come to see if you are a wicked
witch” Tom blurted out all of a sudden!! When she heard that the old lady looked most
shocked.’ “My, Oh my” she said... Just like that.! “What ever gave you that idea?” So they
told her of their journey to gather flowers, and the plight of the Dymwellian folk who were living at the bottom of her garden,
she listened her eyes began to fill with big tears, which she wiped away on her large white
pinafore. “Oh I do feel sad” she said, “you had better sit down on the those seats”. And she
motioned to a table and chairs to one side of the door. “I shall be back soon” she announced,
then with a bustling move she disappeared; well she didn't just disappear into the air! but
went back into her house I mean. After a bit she returned with a maid and they both held
trays of the most delicious fare of honeyed tea, cherry cake and the like, then she
introduced herself; her name was Alice, which was a nice name Tom thought, and wondered
how they could have thought her a witch. “Now” said Alice “I have not lived here long and I
was merely picking those large mushrooms for a stew, I had no idea I had such neighbours
at all.” “You shall have to introduce me.! You go ahead and tell them it is safe and you may
pick a large bunch of flowers for Mothers Day. “We shall not be long.” Tom and his Dad said.
They went quickly back to the little people who stood in a rather bedraggled group near the
gatepost, once Tom and his dad had told them of the old lady’s response they were happier
but Tom and his dads knees got wet from kneeling in the grass, so the little folk decided it
would be safe enough to climb onto the gate so they could all understand each other better.
Just then Alice came along accompanied by a man dressed in country garb; the little people’s
spokesperson was the girl who introduced herself as Alfrisia. Alice told her if they did not
mind, her woodsman would be willing to make sturdy wooden mushrooms for them to use
when they made visits, that way Alice could enjoy mushrooms and know she was not causing
them hardship. The little people were overjoyed at this and apologised for telling Tom and his
Dad she was a wicked witch in the first place, then they all helped pick a large bunch of flowers for
Mothers Day and Tom and his Dad set off home to tell Mom all about their adventure!
©Joe Maverick 5-11-13
He stood and aimlessly watched the parade of patrons and volunteers that wandered daily past his kennel. All so familiar, so ordinary. Just like every other day he mused. Nothing new. Nothing special.
Moving to the small crumpled blanket near the back of his cage, he turned several times and finally curled up, head on his paws, positioned so that he could watch the activity around him. But in reality, he was bored. It had been a long time since he had met each morning with anticipation. Too many days. Too much disappointment. He would leave all that barking and racing to the front of their cage to the younger pups who hadn’t figured out yet that the cute ones went first. It didn’t really make any difference what you did to attract attention if you weren’t young or cute, or both.
Too much time had gone by to participate in the charade. In reality, Walter had seen a lot of people that he would rather not spend a lot of time with. You know the type. Kind of hyper, bouncing from stray to stray, looking for a perfect dog. Kids poking their fingers through the kennel screen or banging on it. Some even making barking sounds. He didn’t need any of that and was glad when they were gone.
Walter was very picky. Set in his ways after so many years. He had had it good for a long time. An only dog in a household of two people that let him be himself. No tricks. No stunts. Just long naps and daily walks. A yard to himself to reflect on what was for dinner. He had been fond of his doggy bed in their bedroom. Each night he would help his owner walk through the house turning off the lights and checking the doors before they climbed the stairs together. And there was always one last good night pat before settling down.
But those days were gone now. First one had become ill and went to the hospital and never came back. The other one changed overnight, spending long days, sitting mostly. The walks became less frequent. Walter did what he could. He could see it in their eyes that they were hurting from their loss. He would make a point of laying his head in their lap, trying to let them know that he missed them too. At times like this, he instinctively knew that although it remained unsaid, they only had each other.
He remembers well the day that his owner snapped a leash on him and said, “well Walter, I’m afraid we have to say goodbye. I have to go to a place where they won’t let me keep you, so I am going to have to let you go.” Walter could see the tears in his eyes. He knew it would do him no good to whine or resist. It was obvious there were no alternatives. And besides, it would just make it harder on his owner. But he was going to miss him. It was not going to be easy to adjust.
But adjust he did. He had been here a long time now and had seen countless pups and dogs trot past his cage with light hearts and new owners, heading off with new found hopes and expectations. But it soon became obvious that there weren’t a lot of people that wanted an old yellow hound. Everyone wanted the young ones. So here he lay, dozing a bit, but still keeping an eye on those walking by, many giving him but a glance before moving on.
He heard them before the saw them. ”Honey” the voice said. ”That looks like Walter, old Mr. Whitney’s dog.” Walters ears perked up a little. ”Do I know them” he thought. ”They seem to know me”. I’d better go take a closer look” and with that, he stood and slowly ambled toward his kennel gate, giving a cautious wag of his tail.
“It is him” the man said. ”Walter, how you doing boy? Do you remember me?”
And upon closer inspection, Walter did remember him. He used to live right across the street. He would see him in his yard and if Walter were to ramble over, he usually had a dog treat in his pocket. With the recognition, Walter gave a little stronger wag and moved toward the fingers extended through the fencing. It was good to see an old friend.
“What do you say hon” the man said. ”How would you feel about bringing Walter home with us?”
Walter looked at the woman and saw her nod in agreement. ”You wait here and I’ll go find a volunteer.”
The man bent down and said “What do you think Walter? Would you like to go home with us?”
Actually, Walter decided, he could think of nothing he would like more. A chance to go back to the old neighborhood with people he already knew. What was there not to like.
Soon the woman returned and the gate opened. A leash was snapped on Walter and together they proceeded past the rows of dogs and puppies, all vying for their attention. Walter couldn't help but stand a little straighter, stepping a little more lightly, showing off. ”This is what going home looks like guys.” he thought. ”Good luck and goodbye”.
As they neared the car the man said “I can’t believe we found you Walter. There is someone I am going to take you to see. I can’t wait to see the expression on his face when you walk in his room>”
Walter, of course, knew exactly who he was talking about. And he couldn't wait to see the expression on his face either.
Scent Of Paddy Flower
By Goutam Hazra
My father told me
I was just a boy then,
“Follow the scent of paddy flower
move with the wind it carries,
surely you will go to heaven.”
he would catch
fistful of wind
bring near to my face
“Isn’t it godly!”
Magically, opened his hand
but I never felt
what scent he meant.
Days of kind rain
“Son, see the misty wind
rushing all over the paddy field
comes every year
to drink the scent of paddy flower.”
Mere as a boy
I could see only
tides of a green plane
touching my little finger
and racing far… too far.
I would ask
“Where have they gone?”
Smiled my father
“Did not you listen,
they are going to heaven,
call the goddess then,
‘come goddess dear’
we all are ready with paddy flower.”
Curious was my face,
“Goddess will arrive smiling
her feet will be here
Seeing a pot in her hand
all those paddy flowers
delighted, will open their mouth more wider
and life will be poured…”
“Where these flowers come from?”
Remained my father smiling
speaking all his mind
looking high at sky
asked me to see there
spoke he again.
“Rain, rain, kind monsoon rain
on the first day of its shower
kind rain would ask me to come here
with bagful of paddy seeds,
‘let seeds be spread all over,
let its eternal relation with soil
be the fertilizer’
when all said is done
starts showering its kind
make visible hiding life in the abyss of seed.
Happy wind changes color
being green all around
waits for the day
when the wind would smell the scent of paddy flower.”
Days passed by,
kind rain was still in waiting
sometimes hidden beyond horizon
or simply making sun blind with its smoky face
and whenever wind said,
‘Dry I’m now’
quenched the thirst.
Someday wind played naughty with sun
asked kind rain to make it misty
and with brushes of sun rays
painted a rainbow on the face of east sky.
Wait was over
green field blossomed with flowers
and wind said,
“Fill in my heart
with scent of flower
I shall bring life…”
Happy was my father’s voice
“Rain, rain, kind monsoon rain
green wind brining life
scent of paddy flower
is made so.
Bare footed be here
print your soul
in the dust of this soil
kind rain will come
green wind being there
life will be yours
with the scent of paddy flower.”
How old was I then
nine or ten
my father looked up
up to the sky
again and again
for a month long
only to see
change of sky’s color
from the color of a summer day to a long humid night.
Dry wind cried at last
over my father’s sweating body
“Rain, rain O kind rain, where have you gone.”
One day sudden
kind rain came again.
Cried to my father
“Why no green wind came this year
to bring me here.
Desert wind why
dry my breath
seeds you have sown
how could I then
enliven with my rain.”
my father had asked the rain.
Short-lived, hurried rain could spell its last breath,
“I am not that rain
as was your friend,
I am the curse of dying forest
I am the ghost of all pollution
I am born out of acid weather…”
Who knew, it left for where?
My father cried
As kind rain left him alone
hiding in a dry wind’s bone.
My father was still
going every morning
asking the soil
if soil could alone
make the paddy flowers to be born.
Year passed by,
came back the time,
for green wind to bring kind rain.
Rain came one day.
as a cloudburst
like an unkind monster
in the life of a simple farmer?
Dumb remained my father
for days together
sad was his voice at last,
“Run away, son, run away from here,
sky rain wind
river village land;
thread of this garland
who cuts it
go, stop now there hand.”
Draught and flood,
uncertainty of life
changed my mind
as of a farmer’s son.
Books, studies and education
reasons, truth and compassion
might have had fulfilled my father’s mission.
Does not this civilization
as the products to do more production.
Run, run and run
run ahead of time
let be it, at the cost of inhaling killer tension,
stress taking over your life.
Insomnia, cholesterol or cynicism
is our success’s companion?
‘A’ is shaped as ‘B’
and ‘B’ is sold as ‘C’.
but I found the basic
what it remain
as life’s supreme conviction
‘simply a fist full of paddy
and its grain’.
Scent of life
So here, I am again
standing in front of this green plane
searching for the shadow of my father.
Green wind surrounds my existence
I can see the dance of those bunches.
My mind whispers to my ear
echoes those words of my father,
“Bare footed be here
print your soul
in the dust of this soil
rain will come
green wind being there
life will be yours
with the scent of paddy flower.”
I never felt so,
what I smell now
is the scent of paddy flower.
Dedicated to the 2000 National College Football Champions, the Oklahoma Sooners
Over fifty years, boy and man, I’ve been a Sooners fan
Watched and reveled in their glories, every one;
But there’s no more glorious “Sooner Magic”
Than the Red October Run.
The new millennium's first football season,
Excited Sooners fans’ hopes did soar.
They had tasted victory in Bob Stoops’ first year;
Now, they wanted - no, expected - even more.
There was a glint of promise in Bob’s eyes,
Strength and confidence in his every word.
“Our Team has shown improvement”, is what he said;
“We’ll win!” is what fans heard.
By September’s end, the Sooners were 4 and O,
A “cupcake schedule” some anxious fans would say;
Twenty-two days in October would rule their destiny.
Texas, K-State, Nebraska, the teams they’d have to play.
“OU’s October is a gauntlet”, said ESPN;
“Play #10 and #2 and #1…and win”?
So, on a rainy Saturday morning in Dallas,
The Red October Run would begin.
The Texas State Fair at the Cotton Bowl,
Fans were welcomed by Big Tex.
They screamed, “Go OU!” and “Hook’em Horns!”;
But none could imagine what happened next.
Heupel was a dominating General;
The Sooners Offense, his relentless troops.
Calmus and the Defense assured a total rout,
The Coach of the Day was Bob Stoops.
Sooners fans were wild, delirious with glee;
But Bob seemed focused and sedate.
“We’ll enjoy this victory Sunday;
Then Monday, we’ll prepare for Kansas State”.
No time to revel in the Glory, #2 was tough.
Better than the Huskers? The possibility was real.
The road to #1 went through Manhattan,
And the Sooners would have to win it on the field.
The sportscasters had a field day.
Last year’s “coaching coup” was news again.
Beasley versus Heupel was “The Match-up”.
Could Heupel evade K-State’s awesome defense
and find a way to win?
Again, Heupel and his troops met the challenge;
And as the Sooners “D” assured a hard fought win,
Every Sooners fan’s heart was stirred.
Could our Sooners be “Big Red” again?
Mighty Nebraska, #1, was coming to Owen Field.
“Biggest OU - Nebraska game in years!” Corso said.
It would be 1 versus 2, a heralded gridiron epic
For the coveted title of…”Big Red”.
It was OU’s biggest home game ever.
The campus was alive with vendors and would-be
Every Sooners Fan’s heart was pounding.
Could the smell of #1 stoke the Sooners' fires?
The Huskers struck so quickly.
At 14 to nothing, Sooners fans were stunned.
It was shaping up to be a long, long day;
And it wasn’t going to be fun.
Quickly tho’, Heupel rallied his Sooners troops.
They scored and scored and scored again.
The Sooners “D” built a Wall at the 50,
And would not let the Huskers in.
Winners, the Sooners ran and jumped with glee.
Fans flooded Owen Field, milling all around,
Praising and hugging their Sooners Heroes.
They even tore the goal post down.
Now #1, the Sooners had won it on the field.
Their preparation had been well taught.
Bob Stoops, all his great coaches and assistants,
Took pride in how the Sooners fought.
Someone once said, “Everyone loves a winner.”
Everywhere you looked confirmed it’s true.
OU flags fluttered. Decals, hats, and clothes abound.
Come November, the Sooners and their Fans
had been renewed,
There’s no slighting the importance of Red October.
The Sooners came together as a Team.
No doubt too, without “The Red October Run”
Their National Championship would still be just a dream.
For the next five games, it was simply unacceptable
For the Sooners to even think that they could fail;
And, tho’ Heupel played injured, they won the Big 12 Championship;
Great Sooners Defense had prevailed.
But no one gave these Big 12 Champs the slightest chance to win
Against the mighty Seminoles of Florida State.
The Heisman Trophy Winner was their quarterback
And their defense was touted to be great.
At the coin toss, Team Captain Torrance Marshall
Said to their quarterback in words most serious and sure,
“You took our boy’s trophy”. Then he smiled,
“Now we’re gonna take yours”.
The Sooners “D” was everywhere and completely shut them down;
And, when Quentin Griffin’s touchdown closed the door,
Their quarterback knew that Marshall’s words rang true;
The not-so-mighty ‘Noles had not been allowed to score.
Yes, Bob Stoops and his Sooners knew the challenge:
To win Each game ‘til Every game’s been won;
Win for Sooners and their Fans the unchallenged right
To revel in the Glory of being #1.
Yes, my Sooners Team goes on and on,
Different faces, different names;
But these Sooners Champions will be well remembered
For the Season they won Every game.
Undefeated National Champions!
Before October, who would have ever dreamed?
Why, just last year, we didn’t even know the players' names;
And now, they’re College Football’s Greatest Team.
To overcome all adversity and rise to every challenge,
The reward for such a feat is being #1;
Their path to Glory born of a Sooners Legend
Called The Red October Run.