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Breathing discoveries- Finding your place

21 Dec
Stormy Weather by Beatrice Baumgartner-Cohen, I own no rights.Source: artfinder.com

Stormy Weather by Beatrice Baumgartner-Cohen, I own no rights.
Source: artfinder.com

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”

J.R.R Tolkien – Lord Of The Rings

Where do you think we belong?

Have you found your place in this world?

Have you ever felt in love with too many places all at once,  felt like you are living in between? Squatting on the border of two countries, one leg on each side. Or two cities, or two houses, or two beds. Have you ever felt distance weighing you down wherever you are?

I met a woman in a plane once. She was young and lovely. She was from Rome, had lived four years in Bangkok, was travelling to Finland and was currently living in the UK. Next week, she said, I’m going to Ukraine.

Where would you say she was from? Does it even matter?

Do you think the feeling of belonging is definately bound to a place? Or is it just something abstract floating inside you? Is belonging just a synonym to feeling comfortable, or is it the feeling of total acceptance of everything inside you and around you? Do you think the only map to guide us can be found in our hearts? Is there even a map?

Do you think there is one set path for us to take or just little stepping stones scattered carelessly around, chances that just come our way? Is there a place for everyone?

 

Breathing discoveries

 

Leaving tearing on the seams

On the bark of my solid being

Uprooting my ankles

As I skip from a cherry branch to another

Always parched, always searching

Tugging on bonds, knitting barren lands together

Till they form a smooth rug of rain

Filling all the air, touching all the cheeks

Reminding us of the lively streams

Entwining all under us, swimming under the skin of life

Everywhere we go they follow, unexhausted

Uniting our wondering feet

Till in loneliness too we are together

Till we are breathing discoveries

Miracles shaped out of pulping springs

Till we find ourselves again and in ourselves

A strength to go further

A wisdom to halt home

Two in one: A Promise Whispered and Plea -Romantic Monday post

3 Dec

sakura-romantica-small

 

Okay, because it’s Romantic Monday and all you need is love, I’m going to be extra generous today and give you not one but two romantic poems!

Yesterday I talked about poetry duets being an inspiration dialogue, so today I decided to try something new on those lines. I’m very excited! What you’re getting is the dialogue of two poems, the dialogue of two lives, the dialogue of two lovers.

First, you get to enjoy a poem by one of my favourite poets, Tommy Tabermann, that I stumbled upon today and translated to you.  I then wrote my Romantic Monday- poem as an answer to his. I wanted to have two pieces that might be separate but breath in the same rhythm, a nod towards ‘finding your missing piece’ which is of course THE idiom of romantic love. In doing this I wanted to give you something totally new, something you have not read before, another view on romance. Because what I love most about our Romantic Monday is that it has become a world-wide poetry feast, always surprising, always showing new shades of love.

Plus, Tommy Tabermann should be introduced to you because he is quite adorable and looks a bit like a sheep,  and sheeps too are adorable. (Click the link to see how fluffy he is! He would make a very wise sheep, I’m sure.) And he’s very talented of course and I want to pay my respect to his poetry, in which Cupid lives quite happily without a doubt since it is so full of feeling. Hopefully my translation does his poetry justice.

Peace and love, enjoy and take care of each other!

 

Plea by Tommy Tabermann

 

Come to me as rain

Come as swift, swooshing,

chinkling like the bells 

of an invisible cattle

Come to me as the rain of May.

 

And from the fissures of my rock

the grass and the onion will swoop

out of their cell, they will plead to

be a pillow under your ear,

a gipsy camp on your tongue.

 

Come to me as snow

Come as the freezing, slowly

trudging flakes of November

The raging, draughty rifle

of your last words on your shoulder.

 

Not in me to be a lint,

not  in you to be the wind.

 

Come to me, but

now already I will ask,

now already

I will ask, staring into

the cerulescent of my anticipation,

spare me of sleet.

 

And here’s mine:

 

A Promise Whispered

 

I will move into your heart

The way spring’s fingertips move

On the velvety surface of dawn

In caresses of translucency

In softly rising light first unnoticed

Colouring the air into life with hasty streaks

With petals of purple lilac

 

I will move into your heart, I will come

and shower myself in your love

Be it fleeting, arctic storms

Ice ages outliving the swaying summer wind

Be it a stream of  pearly water reviving

Or the somber, grey stubble

Of the Autumn fields, tast all harvest,

Bending their bare heads in humble greeting

 

I will,

if you only let me surrender

If you only let you to unravel undone,

If you only let us to become

The meandering trail of frosty mornings

And the surprising crumbs of time

To be found asleep, waiting peacefully

Inside the buds of sunflowers

 

I will come

If you only let us become

Anything at all, even just a distant ring

A sudden burst that once strikes through the air

Simply to startle a single butterfly

Into flight, into a promise whispered

In a spinning moment, in a wink of an eye.

 

Find the official hub of Romantic Monday here.

❤ Language love ❤

21 Nov

If you’re at all fascinated by languages and words, you might enjoy listening to this. Even if you aren’t, it might still make you chuckle because I’ve heard Finnish sounds like gibberish. And as a bonus, it’s a really special song!

 

I love the English language! It is not just the fact that I’m fluent enough to do the practical stuff, like express myself at the doctors, either. I just feel so connected to the language. I have christened that feeling ‘the soul fluency’. It is when your mind, your dreams, even your feelings function in a certain language. It is the feeling the language gives you when you open your mouth, the feeling of coming home. Like that language forms a part of your soul. That really is English to me.

But then again, Finnish is my mother tongue.  It is the language I uttered my first word in.  So it is, too, a part of my soul and that is a side you don’t get to see here often. That’s why I thought it would be nice to introduce it with this song. Finnish is weird, peculiar, complex language. It is beautiful too, like the man above. Or what do you think?

Anyway, I admire the artist Samuli Putro endlessly. He is a lyrical genius. I think he really has a unique, gentle way of portraying our ordinary lives. I hope the feeling comes across! But just so you don’t have to trust Google Translate I have translated the lyrics for you. Listen, read, fall in love!

But before you do, just out of curiousity, what is the language that speaks to your soul? Or the word, for that matter, if you’re more of a word-geek?

Lyrics:

Ash in the Jewellery Chest – Tuhkaa korulippaassa

 

In the morning, I see migrant birds

In formation, on the sky

I’m moved and I greet them

See you in the spring, or later

 

I stood there, in the shade of the moment

Musing on the frailty of human life

And I could not question

Some kind of God

 

Our life has a purpose

And beauty in its every moment

We’re not automatons

Typing errors on the screen

 

Our life has a purpose

Everyone’s story is precious

We are not meaningless

Ash in the jewellery chest

 

I celebrate my birthday today

My present was a digital camera

I took two photos of a woman

Other one of them looked pretty

 

I decided to propose tonight

To the lady on the photo, knees on the carpet

I pondered over the words carefully

I closed my eyes and I smiled

 

Our life has a purpose

And beauty in its every moment

We’re not automatons

Typing errors on the screen

 

Our life has a purpose

Everyone’s story is precious

We are not meaningless

Ash in the jewellery chest

Ash in the jewellery chest

 

People’s expressions and

In the old songs

Flowering fields and

In the winter snow drifts

Spouse’s haircut I’ll notice or maybe not

Yellow September and stains on the linen

 

Our life has a purpose

And beauty in its every moment

 

Our life has a purpose

And beauty in its every moment

We’re not automatons

Typing errors on the screen

 

Our life has a purpose

Everyone’s story is precious

We’re not meaningless

Ash in the jewellery chest

Ash in the jewellery chest

Happy Birthday Dracula!

8 Nov

Okay, I know that technically it is not Dracula’s birhday, but his creator’s. Actually do vampires even celebrate birthdays, they’re living dead after all right? (Does that mean they never get birthday cake? How sad, no wonder they want a bit of your warm blood. Or maybe all the vampire kiddos have black pudding for pudding on their birhday, who knows.)

But since I missed out on all the Halloween haunting in the blogworld, passing Bram Stoker’s birthday without a nod would have been a disgrace. I mean, this is the man who began the vampire craze, who gave inspiration to such things as Twilight… thank him for that or slap him, matters of taste are debatable.

Anyway, let’s get some guests to this birthday party. H.P Lovecraft should certainly be invited, his stuff is so scary even Stoker might turn in his grave in an attempt to escape. Shall we hear some of it?

 

If this didn’t get you scared enough, for extra chill factor someone can be positioned behind you and then attack you during the ending climax. (Thanks brother!)

There is a few reasons I have come to love Lovecraft. Firstly, his stories are different from the horror conventions of today that seem to penetrate especially some of the blockbusters; they are not gory, they’re not full of blood and guts and flying heads, they’re not spiced up with serial killing rampage. Instead, they can appear very pedantic at times, like the beginning of  The Rats In The Walls when you get the family history of the main character and all the dates. And yet, even if they’re full of detail, they still possess that ambiguity, that abstract feeling, that primal feeling of fear. And not only a fear towards what’s going on in the story, but a more vague fear, the fear of unknown dogging us. It is deliciously psychological, the details making his work scarily believable and realistic while the lack of rationality, the lack of any justification as why such monstrosities leap forward, stays with us long after we finish reading. It is this combination that makes the fear feel so real, that pulls you into the story, strangles you, as you feel it closing in on you claustrophobically.

Another reason I love Lovecraft is the love he has for his craft.

Sorry I just had to, the guy has a funny name. But it is true;  I admire how he manages to capture emotions with his writing. When I read and write, I’m always interested in the lexical choices because I would like to find a way to not only describe emotions, but to relate them, in all their essence and abstract qualities. Anyone who has felt something big, something all-encompassing and overwhelming inside them knows that it can be really hard to find words for that something. How do we convey all the tiny nuances we feel? How do make sure that when we’re writing them down, we are not doing just that: writing them down, reducing them, shrinking them? How do you find fitting words?

We have all struggled with these questions, whether it is because we love to write or because we’ve been in a perplexing social situation. Or because we have experienced something massive, something so very unexplainable, like the loss of a loved one or the finding of one. Something that makes us wonder the hows and whys of this world. So, if emotions are individuals, how do we find a way to convey them to a greater audience?

Lovecraft seemed to know how.  When I read his work I find myself asking: How, how does he make these emotions, these scary visions so real to us? So tangible, so breathing?

Perhaps because they were so very real to him. He had first hand experience from his night terrors.  And who is to say that the things he witnessed are not as real as the sun on the sky and the ground under our feet? Isn’t perception as debatable as taste?  There is more… Is there more?

Listen to ( or read if you prefer) From Beyond and decide.

“What do we know,” he had said, “of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the
boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break dawn the barriers.”

 

 

And now, your turn, who else should be invited to this birthday party and why? Whose writing do you admire?

What makes a good book?

20 Oct

I think there are as many definitions for this as there are readers… and writers:

I agree with Oscar Wilde above. I think a good book is one that changes with you, not one that you grow out of. One of these for me has definately been the Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupéry. As a child I enjoyed the mystery of the Prince, the boas and wild planets and Bonsai trees and definately chuckled at the mockery of adults, and now that I’m older I notice: I still enjoy all of the above, and can never get enough of the wisdom behind them.

Maybe a good book, then, isn’t one that just changes with you but also one that changes within you. One that gives you lines which you can twist into new thoughts in your head, endlessly, and into new stories. Maybe the best stories are the ones that don’t finish when we finish the book but live on, to be finished by us in our own time.

But I also think that, while there are those books that we return to over and over again, sometimes what defines a good book is simply giving it a second chance. I know there are many who would beg to disagree with this, arguing that good writing makes the book good straight away, on the first read. But I think that, above all, what makes a good book is that the good writing doesn’t just sit there, between the covers, but that it is experienced. That it reaches the reader. Or more crucially, that the reader reaches for the writing themselves.

I realised this recently while I was waiting on some books I had asked to be ordered in to our library. Impatient, I grabbed few books from my shelf that I had already read but weirdly, not properly formed an opinion about. They were The Great Gatsby and The Bell Jar.  Both of them had remained totally ambiguous in my head the first time round, but now that I picked them up the second time they transformed from sort of good into amazing. But the books hadn’t changed, the dots hadn’t danced around and the words hadn’t been swopped while they rested on my bookshelf. I had changed, as a reader.

So I think, what is needed to make a good book is both a devoted writer and an open-minded reader.

And an advice I have found helpful, when I’m struggling to write because my heavy expectations on myself weigh me down, is this: To write something good, you first have to write something.

What do you think makes a good book? What books do you think are good or even, the best?

Kafka and observations on observation

18 Oct

What is the last time you observed yourself as passionately and sharply as the narrator observes the girl in the above piece? What is the last time you focused on yourself with the same vigour that we often focus on others, comparing ourselves to people around us, pondering over someone’s thoughts or appearance.

Why does the narrator above become so transfixed upon this girl, this fellow passenger?

Is it because she simply is so mesmerising, in which case, the moment should be cherished. To fall in love fast and several times a day is not a weakness but a sign that you are alive and feeling.

Or is it because, by focusing on someone else, it becomes easier to push aside the confusion the narrator feels in himself? Is it escapism? Does the narrator forget for one blissful moment the feeling of being lost in life by getting lost in this girl’s chestnut hair and dark complexion?

I believe that looking at someone, observing someone, is a bit like checking our appearance in the mirror. Often we praise in others qualities we would long to have ouselves, or we walk around disliking someone and picking on their shabby clothes and funny intonation because we are, ourselves, scared to open our mouth or put on our itchy, old jumpers.

We can find in others the traits we value in ourselves or the dark pits of our mind that we run from.

And it is easy to construct grand lists of various reasons in our heads, contemplating why someone is worse or better off than we are. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: Are those lists actually productive? Do they help us to make a change or should we seek this change by turning our focus to ourselves?

I dare you to do it, right now, to sacrifice a moment just for yourself, no matter how busy you are. To observe the little hills of muscles on your skin and your beautiful, powdery blue blood vessels shining under your skin, your feet and twitching toes carrying you through the day. The shades of light hitting your hair and bouncing off, the changing expressions on your face, the smoothness or raspiness of your skin, the curve of your lip.

Observe yourself with the same wonderment present in The Passenger, look at yourself and say:

I am an amazing living thing.

Give yourself as much praise as you give others, and as much honesty. Hand out smiles to your mirror image as generously as you do to your best friends upon long-waited reunion.  Look at yourself and say:

Thanks for being there every night I go to bed. You’re the one who I always come back to.

Because you might feel envious or in awe when you look at others. You might beat yourself down with your comparisons.  But is your dwelling on them going to change things for you?

Focus on yourself. Work on happiness from inwards. Because at the end of the day, you are the only person you have to have a relationship with for the rest of your life. So make it a good one.