Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I strode along my beaches like a sea, Wallace Stevens.


I strode along my beaches like a sea,
The sand before me stretching firm and fair;
No inland darkness cast its shadow there
And my long step was gloriously free.
The careless wind was happy company
That hurried past and did not question where;
Yet as I moved I felt a deep despair
And wonder of the thoughts that came to me.

For to my face the deep wind brought the scent
Of flowers I could not see upon the strand;
And in the sky a silent cloud was blent
With dreams of my soul's stillness; and the sand,
That had been naught to me, now trembled far
In mystery beneath the evening star.


Come, said the world, thy youth is not all play,
Upon these hills vast palaces must rise,
And over this green plain that calmly lies
In peace, a mighty city must have sway........

Reefs by the Seashore 1824 by Casper Friedrich

Socrates said:
"Well then, Phaedrus, this is how it was . I was walking on the very edge of the sea. I was following an endless shore...I was going I know not whither, overflowing with life, half intoxicated by my youth. The air deliciously rude and pure, pressing against my face and limbs, confronted me  - an impalpable hero that I must vanquish in order to advance. And this resistance, ever overcome, made of me, too, at every step an imaginary hero, victorious over the wind, and rich in energies that were ever reborn.... That is just what youth is. All things around were simple and pure: the sky, the sand, the water."

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Way of Love

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there 
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they're given wings.

by Rumi in a translation of Coleman Barks

Messier 101 galaxy by Nassa

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Persian Calligraphy and Rumi (Mevlana)

Persian calligraphy of a Rumi poem:
‘Do not say ‘Who will guide me on the path of love?’ Just get on the road and God gives success’.

I'd been thinking about typefaces and was drawn to Islamic Calligraphy which didn't have type set characters. It took me a while to remember where I'd first seen them. Yes, 40 years ago in Rumi's tomb in Konya, Turkey. It came back to me when I found Amber's blog about her exchange visit from America.

 "Later, we went to the Tomb/Mosque of Rumi-Mevlana. Usually mosques seem to be done with tiles in intricate patterns, but this one was different. Prayers from the Qu'ran looked to be carved out of wood, then hand painted to create incredible beauty. It was worn, the history and stories that passed that place obvious, but still glorious, covering the ceiling and walls around us. It was the most beautiful mosque I have seen yet on my exchange. On display in glass cases, were his instruments, The Original Versions of the Qu’ran, his rugs and clothes from his home as well as Muhammad The Prophet’s beard. The feeling in that place was so intense. I have never been in a place is with such a forceful spirituality prior to this. Women cried and wailed as they raised their hands up to Allah in dua, fell to their knees as they pressed their noses to the box with Muhammad's beard to catch a whiff, people sat all over on the floors deeply engrossed in the Qu'rans words, others sat in circles professing their love for Rumi and their religious beliefs. Absolutely unforgettable."

Since reading about Rumi in the superb, "The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak I was delighted that so much was coming together and then after much searching I found a  comprehensive and inspirational Rumi site with calligraphy, poems, readings and more:

Turkish Grafitii artist Mohammed Ali's work continues the tradition.