Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Light and Dark



Shopping is not at the top of my list of pleasures. Nowhere close. The other day Amy and I came out of a department store at sunset and the sky was ablaze with fiery light in a spectacular way I seldom see. I was elated for the sight yet remorseful I had been inside. A miracle sky and my camera was not at hand. The mall parking lot view was not great but I took a picture with my phone. 
On the way home, I ruminated as if I had gone fishing and the “big one” got away. 
Buying pants and a shirt with Amy was fun and then getting her leggings that fit. But that could be done anytime. A striking sunset is rare.

The drama between earth and sky is always greatest at sunrise or sunset. Clouds are necessary to make the best poetry. They dance on fire, proclaiming the dawning day or the approaching night. I am not an early riser. Sunsets are what I watch. Santa Fe, New Mexico has great unobstructed skies with clear light and just the right conditions for plenty of dramatic sunsets and sunrises. I have studied them for decades and made many paintings and shot myriad photos.



When my daughter Naomi died at age nineteen, the drama of light and dark became more poignant for me. 





When we want to hold this beauty we realize it is fleeting and ephemeral.



It is true for all of life. 








Another blog about sunsets: Drama

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Metamorphosis

A wounded man lies on a dark battlefield littered with corpses and not a living soul near. His blood drains away, seeping into the silent earth and he thinks, “it will all be over soon and then I will fly to heaven.”

Another person is in a garden of splendor. Roses open themselves to the warm life-giving rays of the sun. He delights in their varied form, color and fragrance and wanders among them, with soft grass underfoot. Birds sing from branches of trees and their songs are sweet. Bees buzz from blossom to blossom busy with the work of collecting pollen to make their honey. The gentle play of air currents across his skin is like a sublime caress from an unseen hand.

One heart is elated, open, enchanted and confirmed. Another is stabbed to the quick.

A caterpillar will someday emerge as something almost entirely different—a butterfly.  First it must die to its old form and be born again. In its cocoon, the caterpillar form disintegrates and from the primal ingredients another, very different creature is born. What a wonder to open its marvelous wings and stretch them out . . . to fly. To go from one that crawls and eats leaves to one that moves freely through the air and feeds on nectar. The butterfly might fly across a dark abyss. But it will not land there. It will find flowers.




Some poems from my past:

Perfumed Dawn

Someone said that
you are easily distracted by
butterfly wings and
the sound of trees.
They said you only speak
in the language of dreams.

I know the picture.
You are intoxicated from the
fragrance of a perfumed dawn.
That morning, the scent of a thousand roses
arose from the mist of your memory.
A sublime light filled
the corners of your mind.
You fell weeping on the floor.

Since then you have not been the same.
You wander streets, staring
into the faces of strangers as
if looking for a long-lost friend.
When a glimmer of recognition
is seen in someones eyes
you cry, and where
your tears fall, birds arise.

It seems there is nothing to do
to solve this madness. Sirens
are calling for you to drown
in a surreal sea.


 Drowning

What world is this,
where I must learn to drown
or else be set on fire.
Those who do not discover the secret
risk going up in smoke.

Throw yourself in—
go to the bottom.
It is better not to resist.
Let water take you;
                   be like a fish

Soon you will feel at home.


Footprints in the Sand 

Beautiful the dawn when you
danced along the shore
wearing pain
like a bracelet of bells.

Birds circled above—made a halo
around your head while waves
caressed your feet.

How many lovers
has the ocean drowned?

Wind and tides quickly
swept away your footprints,

Your hymn is in the hills.





All writing © 2004 -2018 Steven Boone

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Footprints


Two women came into my gallery recently, went straight to a new work and then stood in front of it talking. It was as if a conversation was occurring that included the artwork. In the picture, a loosely defined person is seen walking toward us in relaxed manner. He is dressed in a robe that could have been worn a thousand years ago. We cannot tell where he is for the details are blurred. He seems surrounded by light that illumines an otherwise dark scene. Golden rays seem to fall upon him from on high. Illumination surrounds his head.
“What does that remind you of?” asked one woman to her friend. “Yes, I know, “ answered the other. “Footsteps.”

 Just then another woman walked in, and was asked, “What does it remind you of?” “Footsteps,” she answered.

I talked with the ladies a while and explained that the piece is a photo I took in the Himalaya Mountain region of Kashmir. I was coming down from a trek late in the afternoon and as my car with driver passed this fellow, I turned around, leaned out the window and snapped his picture. It had been a remarkable day and this moment was part of it.
I sold a print of the original to one of the ladies and learned that “Footsteps” is a poem, formally called Footsteps In The Sand, without a known author. I read it years ago but had forgot. Here is this poignant verse:

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Hands



 Hands are essential to human life. How many poems have been written about them? Hardly any. Yet, think about it; we use our hands to make the world we live in. We grasp tools, drive vehicles and go places, feed ourselves, express ourselves, make music and art, write, climb, lift, caress and make love, hold babies . . . hands give us mobility, life and progress.


In art, hands are among the most difficult part of human form to convey. They are complicated appendages.


Appreciate your hands!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Circle


Street photo, Madrid, spain
The longer I live, the more often experiences come that make a circle in my life. For instance, I happened to be on YouTube the other day, and arrived at a video of Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) and The Doors. Somebody had commented that Morrison had taken inspiration from the poet Arthur Rimbaud (French, 20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891). I have always liked Rimbaud, who remarkably made his work before the age of 21 and then quit writing. I did a Google search and found a movie about him called “Total Eclipse” a 1995 film directed by Agnieszka Holland and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I watched the whole film, and this brought me to my memories from twenty years ago, when I read a biography of Rimbaud. So, a circle was created from my interest in The Doors, the influence upon Jim Morrison of the French poet, back to my original reading of poems by Rimbaud and his biography, and then the closure of watching the movie depicting Rimbaud's meteoric rise and tragic end.

In the film, Rimbaud says to his fellow poet Paul Verlaine, “I understood that I was to experience everything in my body—it was no longer enough for me to be one person. I decided to be everyone . . . I decided to be a genius . . . I decided to originate the future.”

Street photo, Florence, Italy

I relate to the notion of finding oneself by losing oneself and becoming “everyone”. This is something that happens when I go into the “zone” and lose my self in the streets of the world photographing people. The photos become my poems.

SENSATION
In the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths,
And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat:
Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet.
I will let the wind bathe my bare head.
I will not speak, I will have no thoughts:
But infinite love will mount in my soul;
And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy,
Through the country side-joyous as if I were with a woman.
-A. Rimbaud

Street photo, Barcelona, Spain
To see more photos: Artistic Photography by Steven Boone

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Crashed


And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness.
T.S. Eliot (American, September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965)
 

It took me by surprise when I crashed yesterday evening and a feeling of total inertia struck. All my inspiration vanished, and as I sat on the couch with my wife nearby I could not clearly remember a time when I had felt this way. I thought of things to do but lacked motivation. It all felt empty. 
 
I told Lori how I felt and then got up and turned all the lights off so that we just sat in darkness, not touching. I stretched out and sank into nothingness. Then I began feeling like I was gently being carried on a river and it was peaceful. At some point my wife started a conversation, but all I craved was silence and nothingness.

Today, I am back to my old self, with my normal cares, tasks and ever present agenda. And now I know why people die without sleep.


We cannot let another person into our hearts or minds unless we empty ourselves. We can truly listen to him or truly hear her only out of emptiness.
M.Scott Peck (American, May 23, 1936 – September 25, 2005)
 
I think about that 'empty' space a lot. That emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I've had to learn that over the years - because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce.
Meredith Monk (American, born November 20, 1942)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pictures Contain Stories

Poets sometimes shuffle evocative photographs in front of their eyes to stimulate associations and gain new ideas for poems. Pictures contain stories, but it is up to the viewer to supply the text.
I have over thirty thousand photos in my files, so imagine how many poems could be written. Here are a few to talk about:

This photo was taken while I sat in a car on a street in Agra, India, home to the famous Taj Majal. I was waiting for someone and my window was down. A woman spied me and approached, pushing a young girl ahead. They could see I was “western” and supposed that I had money to give them. The child stood in front like a soldier, just as the mother expected her to be, and wore a pitiful expression of fear, despair and blight. The woman reached out her hand and on her face was a mixture of pain and hardness, with a wild look in her eyes, ready to devour—even as she devoured the life of the child.

I have spent endless hours roaming streets with my camera, not knowing what I am looking for, keeping my eyes wide open for an unexpected moment to surprise me. While in Florence, Italy one afternoon, I happened by this black woman leaning on a railing. Behind her was a huge poster of a white woman, some kind of artist. I looked into the woman’s face and saw she had scarification typical of parts of Africa. I enjoy those beauty emblems, and we gazed at each other before I snapped her picture. She is obviously content with herself, and bemused that I would stop to photograph her—and in that moment, she is the real star of the show.


The last picture was taken in the mountains outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I stopped in a village along the way to a sojourn in the jungle to ride an elephant. As I was walking on a narrow trail, I passed a little girl, holding her puppy. The sight was beautiful, and immediately I sought the best view for a picture that had to be taken fast. I dropped to my knees so as to be at eye level with the child. She obliged by standing still and gazing at me with her arms wrapped around the dangling puppy.



Go to my website, Graphixshoot, see more artistic photography.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Words

I use paint and brush to convey my artistic inspiration, but have also written a book and magazine articles and know the power and creativity of words. The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Imagine! One word was the beginning of everything that is. That word might have been Be. With the word Be! everything was created in an instant. 

Words convey meaning. And this is why dictionaries are useful, since the dictionary contains the generally accepted meaning of words, so misunderstandings can be settled. Philosophers always establish definitions for the words they use before continuing with their thoughts. In the English language, there may be a quarter of a million words, but some words have multiple meanings. For instance the word can, means to be able to do something, but also signifies a sealed metal container, as when we say, a “can of beans.”

Poets use words to paint poetry. Politicians use words to convince. Enlightened beings use words to inspire and ennoble. A good string of words can become as iconic as the Mona Lisa.  Here are some famous quotes:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)

The Lord is My Shepherd. Bible, Psalm 23

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
 The Bible, Matthew 7:12

This above all: to thine own self be true. Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act I, Scene III)

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. M.K. Gandhi, (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948)

Sometimes in my writing I have used phrases that are highly personal. I realize they might be hard for others to understand, for instance my expression, disappearing into the matrix of the earth. The word matrix I use in the sense of the womb of the earth; a place where life arises, but more, it is also where substance returns after death, to be renewed and reborn. So what I have sought is to be close to transformation, find the primitive beginning, and lose the normal boundaries that separate life forms. It is a mental exercise and emotional longing that has allowed me a greater feeling of oneness and unity with the universe and led to revelatory experience. The other phrase I have used frequently is THE DREAM. Everyone experiences moments when they do not know what is real and what is not. It may happen between sleep and waking, or during a slip of consciousness, or a moment of confusion, or during a disaster when the thought arises, “this cannot be real.”  I have taken these odd moments a step further and arrived at the determination that this world is really a dream and that at the moment of my death so much knowledge and truth will be revealed to me that only then will I see my life in the physical body as if I had been sleeping—but have now awakened. Also, THE DREAM allows my consciousness to flow, since it has a life of its own and I see I am watching my life unfold until that anticipated moment of my own death.


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...  William Shakespeare, ( 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)As You Like It

Finally, here is another beautiful string of words which is like a painted masterpiece:

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the entire earth.” Baha’u’llah, (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Madness Of Muses

"Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night"- Edgar Allen Poe (1809 - 1849)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" 
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

For many years, I struggled with my eccentricity and regarded myself with suspicion, fearing that perhaps I was not “normal”, and would not fit in society. This suspicion against myself killed my creativity, diminished life and even forced me into a mental institution for brief time when I was twenty-three.
Now, I do not even try to “fit in.” I thrive on surprise and √©lan. The more I have been able to embrace the fullness of my being—including the fact that I am off-center, whacky, exuberant, and mysterious—the more I have been able to embrace life and bring my artistic gifts to the stage.

Now that I am an adult with years of experience and wisdom gained, I often think of the words of Jesus, “Unless ye become as little children, ye shall not know the kingdom of heaven.” This saying brings back my earliest memories of life. My family was poor and lived on the south side of Chicago, in a brownstone tenement building on a crowded street. In the winter, coal was shoveled into a furnace in the basement and heated the apartments. Outwardly, our life was one of poverty; my mother stayed home to rear the growing brood of children and my father worked three jobs to support the family. But for me, in the earliest stages of my life, I could not compare my existence to any other, and only loved being alive without prejudice. I remember my first school experience was a neighborhood day school that equally served all the local children and their families. In the concrete playground was a stagecoach, and every day, during recess the children ran about, playing with gleeful shouts and full hearts. My very first friend that I loved was a boy named Darnell. We laughed and played together with all our might, running everywhere within the boundaries of the schoolyard. I noticed that Darnell was black, and it made no difference to me because I had no judgment about color. I only knew that I loved to play with him and he loved me too—we were attracted in Spirit. I think that this was what Jesus meant when he spoke of knowing heaven. Because in heaven, only Spirit and the truth of Spirit matters.

"If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman". Socrates 469 BC - 399 BC