Giovanni Tiso Writes ... and David Whyte too.

Giovanni Tiso wrote a beautiful piece about childhood homes and memories ... To visit now, if only electronically, to see that light again and the shallow sky, is to relieve the migrant’s grief for places and a life left behind.

I know these feelings he writes of, so well ...I cannot say that I miss this place, in the sense that there is no place for me there. Not in my grandparents’ house, that was sold over twenty years ago; not in the village, where I couldn’t build a life if I wanted to. I have a fondness for it that is reserved to distant things and for the past. I miss the people in it, but especially those who are no longer there. I miss my childhood, or maybe more precisely the idea of it: those interminable summer days and weeks, all identical to one another yet always charged with the remote possibility of adventure. I do not subscribe to the current fashion for romanticising boredom, but I wouldn’t trade that sameness, my few friends, our games for excitement and travel.

And David Whyte wrote this beautiful poem:

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that
thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,
it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,
it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,
this is the gray day
someone close
to you could die.
This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next
and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,
the tawny close
grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels
of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun had made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.


'The House of Belonging'
From The House of Belonging
Poems by David Whyte
©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

Rain ...

 

Waitakere Rain

Ernest Hemingway found rain to be
made of knowledge, experience
wine oil salt vinegar quince
bed early mornings nights days the sea
men women dogs hill and rich valley
the appearance and disappearance of sense
or trains on curved and straight tracks, hence
love honour and dishonour, a scent of infinity.
In my city the rain you get
is made of massive kauri trees, the call of forest birds
howling dark oceans and mangroved creeks.
I taste constancy, memory and yet
there’s the watery departure of words
from the thunder-black sand at Te Henga Beach.

Paula Green.

 

A True Story, Naomi Shihab Nye

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

By Naomi Shihab Nye, a wandering poet.

The rest of the story is here

Poetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf

a country girl again, by Kay McKenzie Cooke

The black-and-white photo goes back

to '67.  Taken around Christmas.  Perhaps a Sunday

drive out from Gore.  A bit of a breeze parts Nana's perm,

her own steady caution holding down hands

that shine below the folded-back cuffs

of her bri-nylon cardigan.


Grandad's road-worker's hands lie relaxed

over the roof of the car, taking ownership

of its dim-blue.  Both of them

caught by me at fourteen, when I press

the slow shutter of my Brownie box camera

with a pronounced click.  Just a moment ago.

Kay McKenzie Cooke, a country girl again.

I love this poem, so much.  It captures familiar scenes, people I almost know ... from my childhood.  And Kay's descriptions seem better than a photograph because I know the way her Grandfather's road-worker hands would have looked on the roof of his car.  I saw my Grandfather make that same gesture, so many times, back when I didn't know I was even looking ... or remembering.

3 sets of Kay McKenzie Cooke's beautiful poetry books have arrived in time for my 'Home & Away' Photography exhibition, soon to be mounted here in the New Zealand Shop, Antwerp. 

Kay has signed and written a small message in 6 of her books, the other 10 came straight from the publisher ... hot off the press and her new poems are just delighting this New Zealand girl so far from home.  

The new collection is titled, Born to a Red-Headed Woman, and the Otago University Press tells the story of it more fluently than I can: Using the extraordinary capacity of music to revive the places and people from our pasts, this poetic memoir springs from over 50 song titles or song lines and spans more than four decades.
Laconic, wry, subtly philosophical, Kay McKenzie Cooke’s new collection carries us from her rural Southland girlhood in the 1950s and 60s to the bitter pressures of adopting out her baby as a teenager in the 1970s, and to her present as grandmother, mother, wife and author. A plain-spoken honesty, a sensitivity to the natural world, a gentle humour, a deep sense of how the richness of our relationships lodges in ordinary rituals and routines: all combine in a quietly moving autobiography.
Born to a Red-Headed Woman is documentary, vivid, ever grounded in the workaday detail of farming, the changing decades, family, city life and job. Yet at times the language peels right back to the tender nerve of major, formative losses.
If Cooke’s observations of the daily are the simple melodic lines that seem to coast on the surface, beneath that runs a rich bass line of meditation on time, on meaning, how to live a life true to oneself, and to familial love
.

I love Kay's poems.  Not the least because they take me home.