31 May 2007

The Golden Flute

A sea of Peace and Joy and Light
Beyond my reach I know.
In me the storm-tossed weeping night
Finds room to rage and flow.

I cry aloud, but all in vain;
I helpless, the earth unkind
What soul of might can share my pain?
Death-dart alone I find.

A raft am I on the sea of Time,
My oars are washed away.
How can I hope to reach the clime
Of God's eternal Day?

But hark! I hear Thy golden Flute,
Its notes bring the Summit down.
Now safe am I, O Absolute!
Gone death, gone night's stark frown!

from My Flute by Sri Chinmoy

Sri Chinmoy has written over one hundred thousand poems, many of these have become songs. The Golden Flute is one such poem, and it is also the first poem written by the poet in English. The music is available on Sri Chinmoy Songs. This is one of my favourite songs. I felt tremendous joy when I sang it this morning.

Beneath the tree of universal beauty,
That cradles the entire world,
I sit and sing.
My song embodies
The marriage of life and death,
My trance illumines all darkness.

In a fascinating talk named American Freedom In My Poetry, Sri Chinmoy talks about the evolution of his style:

"I have been living in America for the last 29 years, so I am enjoying American freedom in my poetry. When I embarked on my poetic career many, many years ago, I was compelled from within and without to learn English metre well. I had to learn iambic, dactylic, trochee, anapaest — endless English metre — as well as rhyme. But now I enjoy full freedom: I do not need metre; I do not need rhyme — nothing, nothing! It is a flow. When I was writing poems in those days, I felt that I was playing on the flute. Now when I write poems perhaps I am striking gongs or playing on the synthesizer. But I feel that light and power are inseparable. They are the obverse and reverse of the same universal reality."

My morning surrender-meditation
Is infinitely more beautiful,
Powerful and fruitful
Than I can ever disclose.

Aspiration-Plant by
Sri Chinmoy





29 May 2007

Spirituality is the garden of youth, it does not matter what age you are when you discover it, there you will find you are like a child, learning to unfold the dreams of infinity in your being.

This is the joy of the new I promise you.

How my Lord, when you are satisfied with the love of a fool like me, is it that no other love but thine satisfies me? I can ask the wind, but the wind doesn’t know. I can ask the stars, but they hide in the night. I can ask the water, but it only wants to go.

So I will follow you.

I came starving from the empty feast, dressed in rags, and you opened your door straight to me, there was no asking or knocking. You gave me a home and now I will call it my own, I do not care if it is a palace or a lonely beggar’s cave, for you are there.

Now I only want to sing these words and it is so late at night!

In the morning, I know you will wait for me to sing before declaring you are awake, like a happy tree offers a branch to a bird. Perhaps I will nibble some fruit and then strangers will see my messy beak and wonder what I have eaten. I will only smile and fly away, knowing you are waiting to greet me again.

No one will be able to catch me.

28 May 2007

There is no concept, no fathom to span
The age that I have kept you apart from me,
What chasm vast of dark I may cross upon
A single glance from you if I would
Leave aside my foolish thoughts.

O Lord, do forgive me, take all that I have
As your own, it pains me to know that
I have been away so long and still
You are waiting with your patience
While I squander your compassion daily.

The banquet of the senses calls me
From now to nowhere, and again
The cup of suffering fills my heart
With tears of forgetting for home,
O soul, do not delay your journey.

Make not a fool of me though
I play your eternal clown, It is
Not enough to simply break this frown,
Do grant me a shadowless smile,
Nothing save your concern feeds me.

22 May 2007

Tagore: The Crescent Moon



Rabindranath Tagore
won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore won this after his work Gitanjali (Song Offerings) was translated into English and published with an introduction by Yeats in 1912. A tale of divine providence saw this occur. Tagore made the translation to simply occupy his time on a sea voyage from India to England. This was his first attempt at translating his work into English. After he arrived, Tagore's son managed to forget a brief case in the London subway which had the notebook inside containing the translations. Fortunately, it was handed in the next day and returned to its rightful owner. After that, Tagore showed his notebook to his only friend in England, an artist, who showed it to Yeats. Yeats was enraptured by the flames of beauty and truth he found there and arranged for it to be published.

On the back of this success, The Crescent Moon was published in 1913. This is a profoundly sweet book, ostensibly about the relationship between mother and child, it can also be read as an allegory for the human and its relation to the divine. In deathless prose the words evoke endless beauty, innocence, love, purity and wonder. Allow me to share a few passages with you now.

"WHERE have I come from, where did you pick me up?" the baby asked its mother.

She answered half crying, half laughing, and clasping the baby to her breast,-- "You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling.

You were in the dolls of my childhood's games; and when with clay I made the image of my god every morning, I made and unmade you then.

You were enshrined with our household deity, in his worship I worshiped you.

In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of my mother you have lived.

In the lap of the deathless Spirit who rules our home you have been nursed for ages.

When in girlhood my heart was opening its petals, you hovered as a fragrance about it.

Your tender softness bloomed in my youthful limbs, like a glow in the sky before the sunrise.

Heaven's first darling, twin-born with the morning light, you have floated down the stream of the world's life, and at last you have stranded on my heart.

As I gaze on your face, mystery overwhelms me; you who belong to all have become mine.

For fear of losing you I hold you tight to my breast. What magic has snared the world's treasure in these slender arms of mine?"

I WISH I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby's very own world.

I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops down to his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.

Those who make believe to be dumb, and look as if they never could move, come creeping to his window with their stories and with trays crowded with bright toys.

I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby's mind, and out beyond all bounds;

Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms of kings of no history;

Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, and Truth sets Fact free from its fetters.

THE END

IT is time for me to go, mother; I am going.

When in the paling darkness of the lonely dawn you stretch out your arms for your baby in the bed, I shall say, "Baby is not there!"--mother, I am going.

I shall become a delicate draught of air and caress you; and I shall be ripples in the water when you bathe, and kiss you and kiss you again.

In the gusty night when the rain patters on the leaves you will hear my whisper in your bed, and my laughter will flash with the lightning through the open window into your room.

If you lie awake, thinking of your baby till late into the night, I shall sing to you from the stars, "Sleep mother, sleep."

On the straying moonbeams I shall steal over your bed, and lie upon your bosom while you sleep.

I shall become a dream, and through the little opening of your eyelids I shall slip into the depths of your sleep; and when you wake up and look round startled, like a twinkling firefly I shall flit out into the darkness.

When, on the great festival of puja, the neighbours' children come and play about the house, I shall melt into the music of the flute and throb in your heart all day.

Dear auntie will come with puja-presents and will ask, "Where is our baby, sister? Mother, you will tell her softly, "He is in the pupils of my eyes, he is in my body and in my soul."

BENEDICTION

BLESS this little heart, this white soul that has won the kiss of heaven for our earth.

He loves the light of the sun, he loves the sight of his mother's face.

He has not learned to despise the dust, and to hanker after gold.

Clasp him to your heart and bless him.

He has come into this land of an hundred cross-roads.

I know not how he chose you from the crowd, came to your door, and grasped your hand to ask his way.

He will follow you, laughing and talking, and not a doubt in his heart.

Keep his trust, lead him straight and bless him.

Lay your hand on his head, and pray that though the waves underneath grow threatening, yet the breath from above may come and fill his sails and waft him to the haven of peace.

Forget him not in your hurry, let him come to your heart and bless him.

MY SONG

THIS song of mine will wind its music around you, my child, like the fond arms of love.

This song of mine will touch your forehead like a kiss of blessing.

When you are alone it will sit by your side and whisper in your ear, when you are in the crowd it will fence you about with aloofness.

My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams, it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.

It will be like the faithful star overhead when dark night is over your road.

My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes, and will carry your sight into the heart of things.

And when my voice is silent in death, my song will speak in your living heart.

THE LAST BARGAIN

"COME and hire me," I cried, while in the morning I was walking on the stone-paved road.

Sword in hand, the King came in his chariot.

He held my hand and said, "I will hire you with my power."

But his power counted for nought, and he went away in his chariot.


In the heat of the midday the houses stood with shut doors.

I wandered along the crooked lane.

An old man came out with his bag of gold.

He pondered and said, "I will hire you with my money."

He weighed his coins one by one, but I turned away.


It was evening. The garden hedge was all aflower.

The fair maid came out and said, "I will hire you with a smile."

Her smile paled and melted into tears, and she went back alone into the dark.


The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke waywardly.

A child sat playing with shells.

He raised his head and seemed to know me, and said, "I hire you with nothing."

From thenceforward that bargain struck in child's play made me a free man.





It's me again. Thanks for reading. Is that not absolutely exquisite? I really wish I had written it, particularly, 'Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms of kings of no history.'

If you ever seek inspiring poetry then check out Poetseers.

19 May 2007

Mac

People like to argue, and there's no shortage of arguments to be had in general. We sometimes argue about whether Mac's or PC's are better. The thing is, Mac's are really cool and so is everyone who uses them. What's there to argue about? It's not rocket science - is it?

One of the favourite features of my Mac is the Photo Booth. It's a built in camera that takes photographs and is good for video chats too. I have had my laptop less than 6 months and I have taken about 500 shots so far. This makes about one thousand eyes, which means nothing in particular.

Why so many pictures of mostly me? Am I that obsessed with photography? Am I that bored? Am I such a narcissist? Am I just really easily amused? All of the above?

Noivedya didn't believe there was a camera built into the computer. When I told him I was going to do a post dedicated to stupid pictures of me, he said, "I'll skip that one. I don't have to go far..."



That's Amalendu.



This is Rathin. He plays guitar.



A side of my versatility.



Take me to your leader.



Here's John and I in New York.



My little sister complained that she is not on my blog.



People say I look like Sylar. I don't believe them. Luckily, the actor played a goody on 24, and I looked like him too. Apparently.



The future looks bright.

17 May 2007

The Sound of Music

O Eternal Child,
Babe that shines through man,
Do illumine me!


Delicious contradictions I savour for breakfast,
Sublime realisations I encounter for lunch,
Surprising gratitude I favour for dinner.



Upon poetry, the lyrics below begin the Sufjan Stevens song Sister, one of my favourites:

What the water wants is hurricanes,
and sailboats to ride on its back.
What the water wants is sun kiss,
and land to run into and back.

Dance Hall Hips has posted a whole Sufjan concert for us: Live at The Crystal Ballroom. You can hear the orchestra having a lot of fun, it's an awesome concert, well worth checking out.

After meditating, I like to sing songs by Sri Chinmoy. My favourite songs are about beauty and suffering, there is the contradiction I am thinking of. After an hour of singing the other morning, I discovered:

No song sad does not sound sweet
To Your Listening,
A clam sea of peace abides
In Your Eyes that mirror the chaos of
My destruction world.


Sri Chinmoy has given an explanation about his songs that reference darkness. He even discusses this in relation to my favourite song: Sundara Hate: "Inside the pain I feel so much sweetness, and that sweetness helps me."

13 May 2007

Slowly



Barter no tears

For your imperfection,
A blossoming goodness
Is each human life.

12 May 2007

Saturday

Today I published a gallery of race photos from last weekend. You may check out the gallery at the Sri Chinmoy 2007 Yerrabi Pond/Mulligans Flat Multi-Sport Race. This is my favourite shot below, because of the concentration power there, and also because the expression seems so mutable.



I recorded some more vocals today, we will have to see what Rathin comes up with in response. I have seen him reading the music for Beethoven's violin concerto lately, so it might be interesting!

On classical music, I stumbled across the clip below. The music is composed and performed by an Italian cellist, Giovanni Sollima, and the clip is by a Norwegian called Lasse Gjertsen. It is called Sogno ad Occhi Aperti. It means, 'dream from open eyes,' or just 'daydream' if you are not feeling so poetic. The ending is cool.



The director said, "
On the six arms parts, which by the way took most of the time to make, I filmed Sollima playing the different layers of cello after each other. I then edited the video frame by frame in Photoshop (remember, it's 25 frames per second of video), cutting his arms out from the other layers and pasting it on top, matching the movement of the cello. This was done ca 4000 times, by myself."

Impressive, but it may be old news to anyone who keeps a close eye on Youtube, as the director was the wunderkind of 2006.



The Mirror




Music: Rathin
Singing/lyrics: Alf
Images: Rathin/Alf
Montage: Rathin

Apparently, we are called Cosmic Wanderer, we might need a band meeting about that. We don't have a myspace page yet so any offers of recording contracts or requests to produce and direct variety shows will be received in the comments section. Val Doonican is very keen to collaborate with us currently and we have a tour of Minsk planned for the Northern summer. After that we may cut some new tracks.

11 May 2007

The Part In The Curtain

The impossibly soft pillow
Of a rose’s breath or
The welcoming dew
Of the morning grass
Hiding to hold a ray of sun
And meet glad extinction,
The merry chaos of earth
Sees such things pass
And return, Like a
Thankful heart stirred
By the moon wakes, but
Yields again to sleep.

Never Fails

To look at you
Is to see a smile,
To feel your heart
Is to know a smile,
To be your life
Is to really smile.






ps coming soon: a music video with yours truly singing and the incomparable Rathin strumming,

10 May 2007

Little Ways

Thy Mystic Form bends not to our sight,
But gazes within, to know without, who He is.

The Eye beyond the horizon that watches all,
Yet sees nothing of our errors, Only
Nurtures greater deeds in silence.

The iron law of thought
Pounds a beat to the senses
Holds will to ransom for naught
Sees for love a tame shadow in a jar.

The puissant trumpet of light
Rends the beams of matter’s door
And shatters the howl of night.

08 May 2007

Earth

i.

Sovereign sphere.
Lone shore of inevitability
Where waves of possibility break,
Here dream to reality make.
The ribbons of doubt and faith,
That I am, Tied in a bow of hope.

ii.

My little-sunset-smile
Is called
Peace.

iii.

Nothing is fatal in the land of
Four seasons. No cure unknown
To the Eye of Compassion.

Doubt beckons to roam, where mind
Knows no home: The city under endless siege.
It is never lonely in the Faith cave.

iiii.

My poetry
Is a most beautiful
Flower of Love.

iiiii.

To begin again is to learn that joy remains.
No more false starts.



With gratitude to the smile of my Master.

07 May 2007

Savitri

I spent some of the journey reading Savitri on the weekend. Not the book itself, but an inspired selection of qoutes by M.P. Pandit. (My copy of the work is a thousand miles away, so thousandeye must collect it later.) As I fell under its spell, I felt happiest communicating in archaic prosody.

What can be said of Savitri then? It is a breath of Vast to which our spirit harks...

Here is a photo of Sri Aurobindo near the conclusion of his sojourn. A friend once told me, "Isn't it funny how when you are a kid, you imagined God as an old man, with a big white beard and long white hair?" Certainly, the All Beyond in those eyes shine.



Sri Chinmoy has written a poem in honour of Sri Aurobindo and the translation of my favourite verses runs:

In fire and water,
In dust and atoms,
Seeing You, Your Meditation-Trance,Many poets have depicted
Your immortal Beauty.

They are our pioneers.
We are walking along the same road
To reach Your hallowed Feet.

from August 15 1945 by Sri Chinmoy


Here then are a few of my own words of late:

God appears as our need,
The slave of dust we trust,
The King of Truth we feed.

As the child clings to its mother,
Hold fast to Him.

Temptation.
Who has a word to say against you?
Only God:
“Resist!”

05 May 2007

The Word pt 2

Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It's the word I'm thinking of
And the only word is love
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love

The Word
The Beatles



Mother

She who is everywhere the same,
And knows me so well. There must
Be some other word for her between
Affection and understanding. Her
Joyous carriage of life’s travail is
Love enough for all the earth.
To know it is to have the richest
Gift of nature upon man bestowed.



Copyright 2007

04 May 2007

The Word pt 1

To complete my poetic week, a visit to A Sensitivity to Things, led me to sumangaIi.org where I read Who by Sri Aurobindo. I listened to Sri Chinmoy recite this poem in April while I was in New York.

In the thrall of those moments again, I discover not words, but the fulcrum of existence. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

When we write poetry,
God says, "Look,
Here is My Crown:
Take it.
I am tired of My Throne,
I want to stay with you,
I need to drink all your tears;
Then we will widen
Our smiles completely.
Nothing else will satisfy me.
Don't you know?
It is not so comfortable
In Heaven all alone.”

The poet smiling,
Holds the cup of bliss
Flowing, Knows no
Sweeter kiss, Saying:
“Take, drink,
There is so much
We must share.”





Copyright 2007




03 May 2007

To live is to create
My art is my breath
Death is only rest
Some other day




Red leaves falling

Autumn


Copyright 2007

02 May 2007

endless rain inside a paper cup

Lately, I can barely begin to meditate before I am composing poetry, so here is some fruit for your banjo.

In The Time of The Full Moon

The perfect round announces
Fullness of enterprise, A circle complete,
But gravity is weak. Nothing holds me;
The mighty wave of sorrow
Swelling on the sea
Breaks before the shore;
The jaw is broken,
Its pinch weak,
Gone.

At The Shrine of Morning

O not so fatal was the night,
Seed of hope, borne of love,
Opening the door of light.

*

The luscious union of pink and blue
That hugs the evening sky
Holds peace.

*

Fever
The mind-life is
A gigantic headache.

Happiness
The heart-life has
A sweet blossom.

*


Here is a link to some free meditative music. I've been keeping it going in another tab a lot lately. The same site has the ABCs of meditation if you want to read more about the source of my inspiration.


Copyright Alf Zollo 2007

Song of The Internet

I started this poem after meditation this morning, but didn’t quite finish before heading off to work. It’s a Whitmanesque tribute to my recent visitors. Google provides me with a map showing where my hits come from and it provided a little assistance with the writing too. If I missed anyone who has dropped by recently, then rest assured: it ain’t no crime to find no rhyme.

I hope you like it.

Adelaide, city of my birth, Welcome,
A is for Alpha, You came first;
I probably know you by name.
In
Epping, who are you?
Do you meditate too?
New Zealanders of
Takanini and Havelock,
Some commentary generous, Hello.
Say what in
Singapore?
How’s tricks in
Taipei?
In
Istanbul, (not Constantinople),
Your coffee is full of grounds.
In
Benevento, good wind, perchance
We share the blood of my ancestors;
Some Roman spearmen of long ago.
Do violins play in
Vienna? How is
It being in
Berlin? Can I catch a tram to
Karlsruhe? Whereabouts is Wesseling?
Can you smell the Cologne there?
In
Vanves et Marolles,
Parle vous Francais? Oui,
Et I am found in
Oslo too.
In
Sao Paolo, do the eyes of Jesus,
So tall upon Corcovado gaze upon you too?
28 de Septiembre, you are mystery to me,
How do you feel every other day of the year?
In
Philadelphia, the bell of freedom sounds;
I saw Orlando and Kirsten in
Elizabethtown.
What’s up with
Wallingford?
Is it so spiky in
Thornhill?
In
Jonesboro, who was Jones to have a borough?
Who is that in
Olin, Jones County, Iowa: pop 716?
In bits and bytes I am fast approaching
Cedar Rapids.
In
Orchard, what grows upon your trees?
In
Meadow, how feels the pleasant breeze?
In
Wichita, who can still speak you?
Who scanned my
lines in Meridian?
Do you still see angels in
Los Angeles?

Hark, World Wide Web, I am not done with you yet!
Saskatonians of Saskatchewan I’m calling you now.




Copyright Alf Zollo 2007


01 May 2007

Ecce in pictura est...

I struggle to define the goal of my photography at times. Often the best I can do is, "I want to take really cool photos." Yeah man, totally, but when I think of brilliant photography, I think of an exhibition called The Family of Man.



I used to "read" this book every night in bed. The shots are all in black and white. What makes black and white photography so special? The ubiquitous dichotomy of our daily lives perhaps? In Earth's Dream-Boat Sails, Sri Chinmoy says, "Dreaming in black and white signifies the union of darkness and light, night and day, negative, destructive forces and positive, constructive forces." This answer supplies a different perspective on the situation and one that satisfies me.

I searched my hard drive and found this portrait I took of my brother Steven. It is in colour, but the colours aren't exactly true to life. This looks superior to the black and white version I also made. I am pretty fond of desaturating pictures at times. I guess that means turning the colours down - the wonders of the digital playground.



While looking around, I came across another old shot, a scanned B & W negative. The happy children of Vanuatu. I love how the kid on the left looks so approving.


In the eye of the other I will see myself. That is poetic enough to satisfy my photographic aspirations. I just need to say a little prayer when I press the shutter, because God has very big ears.

The title of today's post is the first line of my Latin text book in high school. It means, 'Here in the picture is...' It seemed apropos. Once I remembered the rest of that sentence, and could even recite quite a few of the following lines with an odd thrill; but all things go.

Anyway, today it turns out if ends with '...me' - which needs no translation either way.

The Curious Phenomenon

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

The Queen, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I wrote my last post last night after hearing from an old friend, but the impossible thing was waking up in the middle of the night and actually becoming that poem. That is the point of poetry: to enter into a subtler world, but now I can't even remember what it was like floating out there. Disturbed again a few hours later, it would have been impossible for me to feel any colder, even though I think it was only 3 degrees celsius. If you had lit a fire under my bed, I would have said, "Brrrrr."

Yesterday, Rathin asked me, "If you are dressed like this {trench-coat and scarf} in Autumn, what are you going to wear in Winter?"

"Furs," I replied.

Okay, that is only two impossible things, but I haven't had breakfast yet.

If you would like to read a little more about poetry, then check out the short talk Poetry The Winner by Sri Chinmoy. It's wonderful.

I am totally digging this poem by Sri Chinmoy at the moment:

You can be proud
Of yourself
Only if you change
Your present way of thinking.
You can be grateful
To yourself
Only if you change
Your present way of loving.

It's very sunny now, so I am off to work, thanks for visiting. It might be a perfect day, especially as Sufjan Stevens has just released a new track called, "Aunt Margaret got a hole in her sock but Father Patrick came and lent her his holy knitting needles." That is I am afraid, impossible too; but that makes three, so I am half way there.