A wandering poet

 

The Korean poet Ko Un writes, everything outside my door/ is my teacher.

The force of poetry is a mystery; allowing words to dance lightly, acting as a poultice drawing out the depth and collision of my life. Everyday I need to make sense of the multitude of experiences and story.  I have been writing poems for years, under-estimating their power and healing quality. Poems come from the deep. Poems always surprise. Poetry breaks up and puts my life back together.

Poetry plays a special role in my writing life. My narrative skims across the surface; my poetry dives deep. It pulls me up and takes me away from the shore. Poetry taught me ontology before I knew it had a name. Poetry, you are my oars, my bark canoe as I lose sight of the shore.

What the poem translates, wrote Philippe Lacou-Labarthe, I propose we call experience, on condition that this word be taken literally … from Latin, experiri: the risky crossing … and this is why one can refer, strictly speaking, to a poetic existence.

 

 

The road is made by walking

 

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Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more;

wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.

By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees

the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road

Only wakes upon the sea.

By Antonio Machado and with a warm nod to Paulo Freire.

The Writer as Migrant

I love Ha Jin’s Waiting. Poignant realism tugging at every heart string of my challenged existence. I am still musing on travel, writing and reflection and turn to The Writer as Migrant by Ha Jin.

In The Writer as Migrant, he wonders about the Ithaka’s we search for .. real and metaphysical .. “some Ithakas turn out to be different from what we expected, but we have wonderful journeys that enrich and enlighten us .. As we travel along, we should imagine how to rearrange the landscapes of our envisioned homelands.”

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Today’s pictures are brought to you by my companions and me on a track north of Broome, at a view in Petra, on a path on the SW English coastline, and in an alley in Damascus.

It’s cold … need hat!

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Where to go for a hat? The first place I think of is a market stall run by local women, high on a beautiful winding road between Cusco and Ollantaytambo, Peru. This road to Macchu Picchu has wonderful memories.

Do I need a room with a view? This place, this view reminds my heart that I need no walls, no boundaries, no windows, no borders.

My hat? Maybe, you’d like to go for me? We all need the wider view.

LOL Michel Foucalt or/ how knowledge can often get in the way

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The following is Foucault’s explanation of the impetus behind his The Order of Things. I offer it as a reminder that categorisation, like the search for definitions, theories or explanations, is a nuanced art.

“The book first rose out of a passage in Bores, out of the laughter, that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought – our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography – breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other.

This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine candle hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like ‘flies’.

In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated in the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own …”

We assume taxonomies and typologies create spaces for everything once and once only. Dewey and Linneaus take note. Foucault understands the quandary and John Shotter writes that “as adults n the western world, what we ignore, even in the study of ourselves, is the coming into being of things. We tend to think in terms of finished things, like solid objects. we are not well versed in methods of thinking about unfinished things, things still open to yet further development, fluid things.”  

My ontological interests lie here, because the map, as they say, is not the territory. Being, becoming, emergence are the edges of knowing and unknowing. The world of en=mergence loves the present participle.

Today’s ‘animal’ photos offer giraffe spotting in Nairobi, Kenya (and yes, some so far off they looked like flies); the craze for cute animal onesies; our dear departed Golden Retriever, Angel; puppy taking a break from antique selling, Le Marais, Paris; geese conversing, NSW paddock;  superb art inMusee du Louvre and up close and personal in Petra, Jordan.

Campfire flackering

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A shout out (or gentle nod) to Nikki Gemmell, journalist, author, creator of wise, engaging musings. Recently she wrote about lingering lingo, words and phrases about nature, and our relationship within it, ‘a catalogue of lost or singular words for the Australian bush.’

I loved flackering: staring, wordless, at a campfire at night and fires in grates do just as nicely on my own, with friends, making friends. The easy silences, occasional smile, the jaunty poke with a stick at falling ashes and tumbling logs.

I have happily flackered in many places across the globe. These photos were taken in Dorset many moons ago, and I can still experience the warmth on my face, the joy in my heart and the cool at my back.

NB. Flackering is not to be confused with ‘fracking’, a far more dangerous pursuit, or rather assault upon our nature.