Tor Ulven

The shaftPark_of_idols

I am falling and

Falling

down through

The shaft

within myself

crossing through layer

after layer

of ruin cities

where only sleeping jailers

are left

crossing pre-linguistic habitations

and the cave wall with imprints by

the first hand: your hand.

Falling. Falling

I am not

nevertheless

bottomless.

But the bottom also

is falling. And the falling

is falling. None

obtains

the last

word.

Tor Ulven (1953–1995)

Collection of poems: For us, Signs

Tor Ulven was a Norwegian poet. He is considered one of the major poets of the Norwegian post-war era, and he won several major literary prizes in Norwegian literature.

His early works, consisting of traditional modernist verse poetry, were heavily influenced by André Breton and the surrealist movement. As the 1980s progressed he developed a more independent voice, both stylistically and thematically. The later part of his work consists mainly of prose. He committed suicide in 1995 in Oslo, the city where he was born.

Ono no Komachi

Selected Poems

Ono_no_Komachi 1

1

Though I go to you
ceaselessly along dream paths,
the sum of those trysts
is less than a single glimpse
granted in the waking world.

2

How sad,
the end that waits me –

To think at last

I’ll be a mere haze

pale green over the fields.

3

Blossoms blooming
Yet making no seed are
The sea-god’s
Garlanded
Whitecaps offshore.

4

On such a night as this

When no moon lights your way to me,

I wake, my passion blazing,

My breast a fire raging, exploding flame

While within me my heart chars.

5

The flowers withered

Their color faded away

While meaninglessly

I spent my days in the world

And the long rains were falling.

6

A thing which fades

With no outward sign

Is the flower

Of the heart of man

In this world!

7

Whose bloom will fade,

And yet the color does not show,

Is this alone:

In the world of love the flower

That opens in the human heart.

8

In this bay

There is no seaweed

Doesn’t he know it -?

The fisherman who persists in coming

Until his legs grow weary?

9

More heart-wrenching than

To sear my body with live coals

Against my flesh,

Bidding farewell on Miyakoshima’s shore

As you part for the capital.

10

Did he appear,

because I fell asleep

thinking of him?

If only I’d known I was dreaming

I’d never have wakened.

11

The autumn night

is long only in name –

We’ve done no more

than gaze at each other

and it’s already dawn.

12

When longing for him

Tortures me beyond endurance,

I reverse my robe –

Garb of night, black as leopard-flower berries –

And wear it inside out.

13

Since encountering my beloved

While I dozed,

I have begun to feel

That it is dreams, not reality,

On which I can rely.

14

Tears that but form gems on sleeves

Must come, I think,

From an insincere heart,

For mine, though I seek to repress them,

Gush forth in torrents.

15

Yielding to a love

That knows no limit,

I shall go to him by night –

For the world does not yet censure

Those who tread the paths of dreams.

16

I know nothing

About villages

Where fisher folk dwell;

Why must you keep demanding

To be shown the seashore?

17

Now that I am entering

The winter of life,

Your ardor has faded

Like foliage ravaged

By late autumn rains.

19

How bitter it is to see

Autumnal blasts

Strike the rice ears;

I shall, I fear,

Reap no harvest.

20

This body

grown fragile, floating,

a reed cut from its roots…

If a stream would ask me

to follow, I’d go, I think.

21

Men call love

Is simply

A chain

Preventing escape

From this world of care.

22

His heart, grown cold,

has become my body’s autumn.

Many sorrowful words

may yet fall

like the rustling leaves.

23

I thought to pick

the flower of forgetting

for myself,

but I found it

already growing in his heart.

24

Those gifts you left

have become my enemies:

without them

there might have been

a moment’s forgetting.

25

Submit to you –

could that be what you are saying?

the way ripples on the water

submit to an idling wing?

26

The pine tree by the rock

must have its memories too:

after a thousand years,

see how its branches

lean toward the ground.

27

The hunting lanterns

on mount Ogura have gone,

the deer are calling for their mates…

How easily I might sleep

if only I didn’t share their fears.

28

Since this body

was forgotten

by the one who promised to come,

my only thought is wondering

whether it even exists.

29

This abandoned house

shining

in the mountain village –

how many nights

has autumn spent there?

30

If, in an autumn field,

a hundred flowers

can untie their streamers,

may I not also openly frolic,

as fearless of blame?

31

While watching

the long rains falling on this world

my heart, too, fades

with the unseen color

of the spring flowers.

32

Seeing the moonlight

spilling down

through these trees,

my heart fills to the brim

with autumn.

33

Upon my breast

Floats a boat of heartbreak

And I have just embarked;

There’s not a single day when waves

Do not soak my sleeves.

Ono no Komachi

(c. 825—c. 900)

Ono no Komachi (小野小町?, c. 825—c. 900) was a famous Japanese waka
poet, one of the Rokkasen—the Six best Waka poets of the early Heian period. She was noted as a rare beauty; Komachi is a symbol of a beautiful woman in Japan. She is also numbered as one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals.

The place of Komachi’s birth and death is uncertain. According to one tradition, she was born in what is now Akita Prefecture, daughter of Yoshisada, “Lord of Dewa”. Her social status is also uncertain. She may have been a low-ranking consort or a lady-in-waiting of an emperor, possibly Emperor Ninmyō (r. 833-850).

As a poet, Komachi specialized in erotic love themes, expressed in complex poems. Most of her waka are about anxiety, solitude or passionate love. She is the only female poet referred to in the preface of the Kokin Wakashū, which describes her style as “containing naivety in old style but also delicacy”.

There are legends about Komachi in love. The most famous is a story about her relationship with Fukakusa no Shosho, a high-ranking courtier. Komachi promised that if he visited her continuously for a hundred nights, then she would become his lover. Fukakusa no Shosho visited her every night, but failed once towards the end. Despairing, he fell ill and subsequently died. When Komachi learned of his death she was overcome with sadness.

I?

Me?

Who am I?

I merely sheerly just a coincidence…

Or just a hap!

Like water


The heart is like water

Passions agitate its surface

Rippling water in water

Creature-like, an utterance

Commingles both the good and bad

Like time, human beings body forth

As much of darkness as of light

Just as day illuminates before the night

So an extinguished star begets

Another brilliance

Similar to our vanished forbears

So we, similarly, must disappear

Time alone ensures its own endurance

As plainly as you can plainly see

Strangers in their native land are

Ardent practitioners of good

Whose intimates sever ties and turn

Frequentation to a widening gulf

Remember, should you have sealed

Friendship in the throes of poverty

Should prosperity arrive, remember

Al Ma’arri

Al-Ma’arri (full name in Arabic: أبو العلاء أحمد بن عبد الله بن سليمان التنوخي المعري, Abu al-‘Alā Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sulaimān al-Tanūkhī al-Ma’arri, December 26, 973–May 10 or May 21, 1057) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer. He was a controversial rationalist of his time, he attacked the dogmas of religion, and rejected the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.

Abu ‘Ali al-Muhassin al-Tanukhi (Tanukhi) was born in Syria and lost his sight at the age of four due to smallpox. He hailed from the city of Ma’arra (المعرة) in Syria from which his name derives. He then went on to study in Aleppo, Antioch, and other Syrian towns pursuing a career as a freethinker, philosopher and poet before returning his native town of Ma’arrat al-Numan, where he lived the rest of his life, practicing asceticism and vegetarianism.

He briefly travelled to the center of Baghdad where he drew a great following of both male and female disciples to listen to his lectures on poetry, grammar and rationalism. One of the recurring themes of his philosophy was the rights of reason against the claims of custom, tradition and authority.

Although an advocate of social justice and action, Al-Ma’arri suggested that women should not bear children in order to save future generations from the pains of life.

Al Ma’arri was exerting a notable influence on Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”. His collection of poems “Unnecessary Necessity” charts the tragic dimension of human experience.

Time

Time

I clasp the stem of time

My head a fiery tower

What, then, is this blood

Ever rooted in the sand?

Flaming instants nullify our words

My soul’s forgotten its passion’s

Purpose, forgotten its heritage

Hidden in house of forms

Forgotten what the rain recounts

What the trees ink inscribes

What cleaves me from myself?

Might I be more than one?

My history, my ruination?

My promised land, my pyre?

Might I be several?

Each interrogating the other?

Who are you and where from?

In this be madness

Then let madness edify

Let madness be my guide

Adonis

Ali Ahmad Said Asbar (Arabic: علي أحمد
سعيد إسبر‎; transliterated: alî ahmadi sa’îdi asbar or Ali Ahmad Sa’id) born January
1930, also known by the pseudonym Adonis or Adunis (Arabic: أدونيس), is a Syrian poet and essayist who has made his career largely in Lebanon and France. He has written more than twenty books in his native Arabic.

Adonis is a pioneer of modern Arabic poetry. He is often seen as a rebel, an iconoclast who follows his own rules. “Arabic poetry is not the monolith this dominant critical view suggests, but is pluralistic, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction.”

Adonis was considered to be a candidate for the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, but the awards went to British playwright Harold Pinter, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, British novelist Doris Lessing and French novelist J.M.G. Le Clezio.

In 2007 he was awarded the Bjørnson Prize.

Dizziness

Dizziness

Let the rock fertilise to protect us from the fever of dizziness

Fix the moment into eternity

Freeze the wave that hurts us

Into the ogre’s belly

If you truly are

the god of all seasons.

A voice then will whisper:

“What use is it to throw a purple veil

over this cursed vision?”

My soul cried with pain

as cold and dead I walked

across the markets of the city

while crowds were consumed by a ring of fire.

How could I protect them from fire, from dizziness?

Dig more deeply, gravedigger

dig the grave, dig!

Khalil Hawi

(1919 – 1982)

One of Lebanon’s best-known twentieth-century poets. Born in Huwaya (Syria), Khalil Hawi grew up in Shwayr (Lebanon). He studied philosophy and Arabic at the American University of Beirut, and he obtained a scholarship to enrol at Cambridge University, in England, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in 1959. He then became a professor of Arabic literature at the American University in Beirut. Within a few years, he established himself as one of the leading avant-garde poets in the Arab world. His poetry relies heavily on symbols and metaphors and images, and it frequently has political and social overtones. An Arab nationalist at heart, he repeatedly expressed his sense of shame and rage at the loss of Palestine in 1948 and at subsequent Arab defeats at the hands of Israel. He lamented what he saw as the Arab world’s political and cultural decay, and he expressed deep pessimism about the possibility of a true Arab cultural and political revival. After 1975, Khalil Hawi experienced the desperation felt by all Lebanese who had to watch their country’s slow descent into chaos, internal disintegration, and manipulation by outside powers. He was outraged by Lebanon’s inability to stand up to the Israeli army when the latter invaded on 3 June 1982, and he deeply resented the other Arab governments’ silence about the Israeli invasion. He committed suicide on 6 June 1982.

WHO AM I?

74

WHO AM I?

A tale from Attar of Neishapur

The lover knocked of his Beloved’s door.

“Who knocks?” said the Beloved from within.

“It is I,” said the lover.

“Go away. This house will not hold you and me.”

The lover withdrew and pondered for years on the words the Beloved had said.

Then he returned and knocked again.

“Who knocks?”

“It is you.”

The door was immediately opened.

THE SONG OF THE BIRD

Anthony de Mello

The danger of Religion

The danger of Religion


The danger of what religion can do is very nicely brought out in a story told by Cardinal Martini, the Archbishop of Milan.

The story has to do with an Italian couple that’s getting married.

They have an arrangement with the parish priest to have a little reception in the parish courtyard outside the church.

But it rained, and they couldn’t have the reception, so they said to the priest,

“Would it be all right if we had the celebration in the church?”

Now Father wasn’t one bit happy about having a reception in the church, but they said,

“We will eat a little cake, sing a little song, drink a little wine, and then go home.”

So Father was persuaded.

But being good life-loving Italians they drank a little wine, sang a little song,

then drank a little more wine, and sang some more songs,

and within a half hour there was a great celebration going on in the church.

And everybody was having a great time, lots of fun and frolic.

But Father was all tense, pacing up and down in the sacristy, all upset about the noise they were making.

The assistant pastor comes in and says, “I see you are quite tense.”

“Of course, I’m tense.

Listen to all the noise they are making, and in the House of God! for heaven’s sake!”

“Well, Father, they really had no place to go.”

“I know that! But do they have to make all that racket?”

“Well, we mustn’t forget, must we, Father, that Jesus himself was once present at a wedding!”

Father says, “I know Jesus Christ was present at a wedding banquet,

YOU don’t have to tell me Jesus Christ was present at a wedding banquet!

But they didn’t have the Blessed Sacrament there!!!”

You know there are times like that when the Blessed Sacrament becomes more important than Jesus Christ.

When worship becomes more important than love, when the Church becomes more important than life.

When God becomes more important than the neighbor.

And so it goes on.

That’s the danger.

Awareness

Anthony de Mello

The Little Prince Quotations

The Little Prince

Quotations

 

 

1

The grown-ups’ response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside,

and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar.

That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter.

I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two.

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves,

and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot airplanes.

I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been very useful to me.

At a glance, I can distinguish China from Arizona.

If one gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence.

I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand.

And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

2

Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted,

I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept.

I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding.

But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say: “That is a hat.”

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars.

I would bring myself down to his level.

I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties.

And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

3

I have serious reason to believe that the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612.

This asteroid has only once been seen through the telescope.

That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909.

On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration.

But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said.

Grown-ups are like that…

Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612,

a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume.

So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance.

And this time everybody accepted his report.

4

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways.

When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters.

They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?”

Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”

Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

If you were to say to the grown-ups:

“I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,”

they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all.

You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.”

Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Just so, you might say to them:

“The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep.

If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.”

And what good would it do to tell them that?

They would shrug their shoulders, and treat you like a child.

But if you said to them:

“The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions.

They are like that. One must not hold it against them.

Children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people.

5

To forget a friend is sad.

Not everyone has had a friend.

6

Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve.

They reassure themselves as best they can.

They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons…

The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years.

For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same.

And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them?

Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important?

Is this not of more consequence than a fat red-faced gentleman’s sums?

And if I know-I, myself- one flower which is unique in the world,

which grows nowhere but on my planet,

but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning,

without even noticing what he is doing,

Oh! You think that is not important!

7

If someone loves a flower,

of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars,

it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars.

He can say to himself: “Somewhere, my flower is there…”

8

I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman.

He has never smelled a flower.

He has never looked at a star.

He has never loved any one.

He has never done anything in his life but add up figures.

And all day he says over and over, just like you:

“I am busy with matters of consequence!”

And that makes him swell up with pride.

But he is not a man-he is a mushroom!”

9

I wonder, he said;

whether the stars are set alight in heaven

so that one day each one of us may find his own again.

10

Men?

I think there are six or seven of them in existence.

I saw them, several years ago.

But one never knows where to find them.

The wind blows them away.

They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.

11

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye.

12

No one is ever satisfied where he is.

13

Men, said the little prince, set out on their way in express trains,

but they do not know what they are looking for.

Then they rush about, and get excited, and turn round and round…

14

Water may also be good for the heart…

15

The men where you live, said the little prince, raise five thousand roses in the same garden…

and they do not find in it what they are looking for…

They do not find it, I replied…

And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water…

And the little prince added:

But the eyes are blind.

One must look with the heart…

16

But the eyes are blind.

One must look with the heart…

17

It is just as it is with the flower.

If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night.

All the stars are a-bloom with flowers.

18

And at night you will look up at the stars.

Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found.

It is better, like that.

My star will just be one of the stars, for you.

And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens…

They will all be your friends.

And, besides, I am going to make you a present…

19

All men have the stars, he answered, but they are not the same things for different people.

For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides.

For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.

For others, who are scholars, they are problems.

For my businessman they were wealth.

But all these stars are silent.

You – you alone – will have the stars as no one else has them…

– What are you trying to say?

– In one of the stars I shall be living.

In one of them I shall be laughing.

And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…

You – only you – will have stars that can laugh!

And he laughed again.

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me.

You will always be my friend.

You will want to laugh with me.

And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure…

And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky!

Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh’!

20

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry

The Little Prince

Being

Being


 

I am God, I am Creature

I am Lord and Servant.

I am Throne and Trodden Path

Both Hell and Paradise

I am Water, I am Fire

Air and naked Earth

I am quantity and Quality

What is lost, what is found

I am Essence, I am Appearance

Both the Near and the Far

All dualities are mine

I am Human, I am individual.

Abdelkader Al Djazairi

(6 September 1808 – 26 May 1883)

 

`Abd El-Kader Een Muhieddine (in Arabic
عبد القادر ابن محي الدين) known as Emir “Prince” Abd al-Qādir or Abd al-Qādir al-Jazā’irī, was an Algerian
Islamic scholar, Sufi, political and military leader who led a struggle against the French invasion in the mid-nineteenth century, for which he is seen by some Algerians as their national hero.