Monday, February 25, 2019

Ode to Tibet: Motherspeak


In my youth I loved the poems of Carl Sandburg especially his robust  poems about the American urban landscape---remember his “Chicago” of Hog butchers? ……For some time I’ve wanted to write a poem of homage to Tibet celebrating the country’s unique qualities in all  its gritty reality rather than our fantasies.

 I wrote this on the occasion of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu’s publication of the first volume of  The Light of Kailash—when  such an occasion arose and this Ode came together in a jumble of extravagance and love drawing on three decades interest in the country from which I benefited so much and in honor of the Master who has been a tireless steward of his country’s history and my inspiration. 


For Choegyal  Namkhai Norbu (1938-2018)

Top peaked mountains
Roof of the world
Land of Drala
Bare elements alive
Blazing naked breasts 
Belly and thighs
In darkness of modern demise
Wrought by imperialism
And petty bureaucrats
Squinting in luminosity
They can not bear.

Tibet O Rugged Haven 
of saints and rogue bandits
hard working herds women and men
home to rebel daughters and sons
derelict monastics, secret yogins
imperial kings and queens alike
not without rival clans and despot warlords
cut throat greed mongers
or masters of intrigue, murdering their rivals,
soft spoken sycophants in robes 
or fresh faced soldiers wielding
batons of torture.

Here in the Land of Dakinis at play
among scant clad yogis and yoginis
who move through rock like clouds 
incubating primordial wisdom
in the heart of your iron fortress
poised at the barren plains of Northernmost plateaus
or remote mountain caves
far from worldly efforts 
eating air for sustenance

O Tibet you are mother to all human greatness and failings

Once empress of vast kingdoms 
Your mantle flung
Wide from Taksang to Yarlung
           in Glory

Now, beaten down 
yet standing tall
Land of Healing
where flowers bloom
redolent with special properties 

I praise your still splendid beauty
your haughty stance
now just a memory

Tibet –How you wound us with your suffering
woo us with your Cantata of  Universal Love
Om Tare Tutare Ture Svaha
Mother of the Universe
You astound us with your learning
where fresh head waters still roar with  torrents of blessing
to quench universal quests for knowledge
filling the coffers of  impoverished seekers 
from the West, thirsty legions
parched by lords of materialism
and so unhappy with too much of everything

Our open mouths a house for your poured out waters
replenished eternally from your flow of Bodhicitta

We bow down to you Tibet
We thank you brave Mother
We praise you
We cry for your rightful offspring
Your warriors inspire us to abandon all grasping
Vain pursuits that evaporate like mist
In azure sky
Vibrating with sacred sounds.

May we prove worthy of your bounty
May you live forever
through your bastard progeny 
your blood coursing through us,
nurtured by the milk from your 
teats of loving kindness
May your river of nourishment never run dry.

Younger daughter of geo history
and elder crone among hominoids
ignited from bone and stone flints
littering uninhabitable plains
          24,000 years ago
your footsteps skipping across time
embedded at the edge of pleistocene glaciers

O Mother Dear, arise—for 
You will be the last one Dancing 
in your bower beyond time
forever Queen where 

Tibet Lives!

In loving memory of Choegyal Namkhai Norbu 
by his humble student ... I taste your mind..........

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Light of the World

In preparation for our March Poetrymind writing group, here's a draft based on Ginsberg's famous early poem "Song" with the haunting refrain The Weight of the World is Love. I'm finding that the greatest writing prompts come from works I love.

The Light of the World
                  is Love
Shinning forth
                            outside Time
With no aim other than
        creative display

The Light of the World is Love
                                     beyond boundaries                                                                                                               
In the grand expanse        of   Space
                    Incomprehensible ..........Presence             
Not a place

The Light of the World is Love
                    Heals all hurts


Jacqueline Gens
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Highland Village

Monday, February 04, 2019

Great Clips

The following poem draft was written for my poetry group based on Gary Snyder's "Bubb 's Creek Haircut," one of my favorite poems

Great Clips Mohawk Trail Plaza 
hair salon in GreenfieldMA next door to Big Y
a uni-sex cut arises out of shorn chemo curls
carpeted in arcs on linoleum floor
I may not spit like a man but I got me
a man's haircut still burning with shame
silent chants of Tare Tare Tare to calm 
my already bad day worse
deemed an ugly visage staring scornfully back at me
earlier check up at Valley Medical
blood glucose higher than usual
blood pressure ok
looking forward to Mississippi trip 
practice with Ingmar and Sergio
moderate meals eaten same time everyday
thinking of snakes awakening seeking reprieve
from winter cold
can they really come into the house 
through plumbing to curl up
under toasty bed covers
sneaking about a common feature 
of Mississippi life
I read on the internet
now, I'm decades back 
at Tara Mandala siting on the banks of San
Juan river naked with the Methodist mom
Rocketeller wife as we watch our friends
across the river squealing in joy playing with Ute mud
said to be healing
then a snake swimming upstream towards 
the embankment with ladies its flat torpedic head
hideous sensing targets
crackling twigs behind us as two men 
with heavy boots stand above us
while we cover ourselves best we can
then evaporate into the bushes
were they real or another snake vision

Pondering all this jumble
snakes real or not
as I tip Jesse at Great Clips Hair Cuts.

February 2, 2019
Revised May 21, 2019
Highland Village
in Shelburne Falls, MA