Tag Archives: Reading

Analysis

Little did you know that I watched,
enchanted by soft movements,
gentle as the summer rain.

Time stood still while this moment
roared with pregnant serenity,
your fingers curled around
the page edges.

As you read, I read too,
your quizzical look, the sudden
bursts of joyful laughter,
stunned beyond borders.

But the greatest story does not end,
tended as it is by love and the
unending rush linking desolate hands.

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Filed under Love, Philosophy, Poetry, Reading

Nestled

Reading over and over

Letters jump

Before my eyes.

Seduced by a sea

Of metaphors

Sleep’s soft tide

Beckons.

I dive without fear

Happy to be nestled

In a realm of

Redolent wonder.

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Filed under Philosophy, Poetry, Thoughts

Reading in Bed

Reading in bed

Is comforting

Like a thick duvet

Soft and soothing

Spreading warmth.

Before long

Words slip and slide

Dip and dive

Straining the eyes

A splendid soporific

Surprise.

The plot loosens

Drifting off

Sinking deep

Into the

Gladdening glow

Of sleep.

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Poetry for the Soul: Verses of Freedom

A Review of Wild by Ben Okri

This is a collection to stir the mind, fire the heart and energise the jaded soul. Ben Okri writes from the heart, exploring subjects most people can relate to – love, identity, war, conflict, terror, humanity, the universe – that it is impossible not to fall under the spell of his writing. In many ways this book of 47 beautifully resonant poems is a paean to the natural world as indicated by the title, “Wild” – but it is also a song of praise to the natural aspect of mankind – the pure beauty that lies within – which sometimes gets lost in the strife of life and maelstrom of living. There is music to be heard, if we but listen, “a richer music revealing the whole” (The Soul of the Nation) and if we but open our minds and hearts, “the world is rich/with great love unfound” (The World is Rich).

Okri is a writer who not only revels in the musicality of language but in the symbolism that the word can evoke. In many ways, poetry is the most appropriate medium in which the plea for tolerance, beauty and acceptance of the earth’s incredible riches can best be expressed. Like his other poetry collections “An African Elegy” and “Mental Fight”, Okri’s unfettered spirit shines through. Whether describing the vibrancy of Africa or the diversity that surrounds us, these are poems that have been forged with intense wonder, yet acutely aware of the elements that underpin our very existence.

Dylan Thomas once quipped that “poetry is what makes my toenails twinkle”. Well, if that’s the case, then this is poetry that will make your hair flare. Reading these poems encourages the reader to embrace the boundless capacity of the human imagination and the indomitability of the human spirit. Life, at times, can be bewildering, chaotic and incomprehensible but resilience and the possibility of hope is always present, if we see, feel and listen with our heart and senses. This from “Dreams”:

                                                        “Today is a new chaos

                                                         A new journey. A new city:

                                                         Needing new paths. And new standards”

 A constant echo that struck me as I read this collection was John Donne’s message that “No Man is an Island”. Nowhere is this made more explicit than in the titular poem, “Wild”, “everything should connect with everything”. It is often stated that poetry can act as a lifeboat for the weary soul; give this book to anyone you know who might have fallen out of love with life, living and giving and their joy may be rekindled. Hope springs eternal, as long as there is life. In the midst of despair – in the dark night of being – there is always some magic to be found, “a melody of light that transforms the night.”

The overriding philosophy that shapes this book is best encapsulated in “I sing a New Freedom”:

                                                   “Only those who remain free in spirit

                                                     Will find their way out of the maze.

                                                     But we are children of the stars,

                                                     And we ought to amaze.”

 Okri’s ability to impress upon readers is most clearly demonstrated in the powerful and luminous phraseology he deploys. Freedom of self is a constant theme (if one was going to choose a song to accompany the verse, “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley would be the most appropriate), “In our minds we swim or sink” (from “As Clouds Do Drift”).

“Wild” is bookended by poems to his mother and father, which seems entirely in keeping with the message of the poetry – that the cycle of humanity and life lives on, “my turn has come round at last”, the wisdom that is handed on from generation to generation, and which is refashioned in turn, helps give sustenance to this beautiful gift that we have been given:

                                                “Plant the secrets of the way

                                                  That I may live

                                                  More wisely every day.”

 Read this collection, let the words wash over you, absorb the optimistic refrain that permeates the poetry and you – the reader – will feel refreshed, eager to embrace a world, that whilst occasionally baffling, is, most of the time, still beautiful.

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Filed under Books, Culture, Nature, Reading, Reviews

Recordings

In case you might be curious, I have added audio recordings of the following poems, Pillow Talk,  Fulfilment  and Villanelle by Water  on soundcloud. If you would like to delve further, you can access other poems that I have added to the site. I hope you enjoy.

 

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Celebrating World Book Night

World Book Night is happening this year on April the 23rd, designated by UNESCO as the international day of the book. This day is most befitting as not only is it the death dates of two of the world’s most celebrated writers – William Shakespeare (whose birthday it also happens to be) and Miguel Cervantes – but it is also known in Spain (specifically Catalonia) as “The Day of the Book” where traditionally men give women roses and women give men books. I know who gets the better deal here. For is there a greater gift that one can give to a beloved, family member, close friend, colleague than a book? Books divert, surprise, charm, amaze, astound, instruct, perplex ,enthuse, engage in equal measure. Books can reflect as much as they can inspire. I have always thought that our bookshelves reveal a lot about us as individuals – our likes and dislikes, interests and passions, what it is that makes us human. We are as much as what we read as what we eat. Or think for that matter.

The book itself as an object is a supreme feat of craftsmanship. Perhaps it is becoming even more cherished in the electronic age? (but that’s for another debate) World Book Night is all about celebrating the written word, spreading a love of reading per se, which is why I am delighted to have been chosen as one of several thousand booklovers who will be gifting books in their communities to mark this year’s book-giving jamboree. I have always thought that “a pint and a book” go hand-in-hand. Therefore, on the evening of Monday April 23rd I shall be frequenting a local pub in Brecon, giving away 24 copies of a collection of short stories by that most supreme of storytellers – Roald Dahl – to strangers and drinkers, locals and visitors – perhaps even acquaintances. (Am sure the great Dylan Thomas would approve).

Why not mark this fiesta of book-giving by giving a loved one a book? Am sure that he/she will be delighted. Or, give a stranger a book. You might just change someone’s life. The power of books is endless; I suppose this is their intrinsic beauty. They can stir up imaginative possibilities, console the sorrows of existence and open up the pathways of our hearts. So, go forth and spread the wonder of words. Happy World Book Night.

“We read to know we are not alone” (C.S.Lewis)

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