Four hundred and seventy-eight

An ode to the country, my family, and who I am now…

The sky is so incredibly clear.  The stars are a million dots in the sky that capture my imagination and send me to a world full of possibility.

The air is fresh.  Every breath I take fills my lungs with hope and clarity.

The love is tangible.  I sit here on the patio of my parents’ house, taking in the fresh air and the clear night sky and can’t possibly think of anything I’d rather be doing.

The feeling is divine.  I am so happy right now.  Exactly in this place.  Who I am and what I’m doing.

And therefore I don’t know what to write that I haven’t written.  How I can explain how I feel and who I’ve become because of the journey I’ve been on and the place I’ve gotten to.   What I share every week when I write to you.  I don’t know how more to explain to you how happy I am that I am here now in my life.  Finally.  After all the ups and downs, goods and bads, lessons learned.

I guess that’s what it means to grow.  To grow up.  To be closer to “wise”.

But not yet “wise”.  To love to learn and to continue to grow.  To hope to continue to grow as a person, in knowledge and in being.

And so I sit in the stars and the air and the trees, with the coyotes singing their beckoning calls from afar and the feral raccoons banging their garbage bins from the side of the house, and I just am.  I am who I am.  And I’m happy just being that. At least for right now.  At least for the moment.

I am who I am.  The sky is clear. The air is fresh.  The love is tangible.  And I am who I am.

(P.S. I tried to put up a very lovely photo I took of the countryside with my phone, but alas it doesn’t seem to be working.  So use your imagination of how beautiful it is out here to go along with my poetry…)

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Two hundred and fifty-five

Forget Me Not Day

According to legend, the forget me not flower got its name from a medieval knight who, while walking along the side of the river with his beloved, slipped and fell into the water.  As the weight of his armour pulled him into the water, his handed his love a bouquet of small blue flowers and whispered “forget me not”.  Forget me nots have been said to be a good luck charm, protect against witches, used in teas, and given as gifts in remembrance.

Although I cannot find the origin of Forget Me Not Day, it’s a great excuse to call up people I haven’t seen in awhile and remind them how important they are to me.

Iqbal Day recap

I spent the afternoon reading Allama Iqbal’s poetry.  Here are a couple of my favourite excerpts:

The word springing from the heart surely carries weight,
Though notendowed with wings, it yet can fly in space.

Pureand spiritual in its essence, it pegs its gaze on high,
Rising from the lowly dust, grazes past the skies.

Keen, defiant, and querulous was my passion crazed,
It pierced through the skies, my audacious wail.

– From Jawab-e-Shikwa

After his mother’s death in 1914, Iqbal wrote an elegy for her:

Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?
Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive
I will visit thy grave with this complaint:
Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?
All thy life thy love served me with devotion—
When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed.

– Source: Wikipedia

Two hundred and fifty-four

“Since love first made the breast an instrument
Of fierce lamenting, by its flame my heart
Was molten to a mirror, like a rose
I pluck my breast apart, that I may hang
This mirror in your sight
Gaze you therein.” – Iqbal

When I tell people what I’m doing this month, they are surprised that there is a holiday every day of the month of November.  When you think about it, though, there are a lot of silly holidays (like Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day – seriously?!), some made up by companies in order to promote their product, religious festivals, and every country has its own celebrations to honour important figures in their history.

Allama Iqbal

Today is one of those latter days.  Happy Iqbal Day in Pakistan.  Today Pakistan honours the 134th birth anniversary of poet and philosopher Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal.  A great influence on Pakistan’s culture and education system, Iqbal had a vision for a separate country for Muslims of the sub-continent, in which he inspired many through his revolutionary poetry and writings.

From defense.pk:

Hamayun Iqbal Shami, a bureaucrat and philanthropist said on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the great poet that this is an apt opportunity for the World’s Muslims to realize the poet’s ideals and thoughts which are the glory and grandeur of the Islamic world.

“He neither promoted the Western image of Islam nor was in favour of Talibanization, rather he had painted the real picture of Islam through the concepts taken from the Holy Quran”, he said.

A changing of the guard at Iqbal’s tomb, special programs broadcasted on the television and radio, and a public holiday are some of the events happening in Pakistan to celebrate Iqbal’s life and poetry.

I am not Muslim, nor Pakistani, so I cannot understand completely the history and meaning of this holiday without a lot of further study.  I am, however, touched by his poems.  Written in Persian and Urdu, Iqbal wrote over 12,000 verses of poetry which has been translated to many languages around the world.

The territory of heart is vacuous for a long time.
Come, let’s make a new shrine in this land.
Our shrine should be taller than all the shrines of the world!
We should make its spire touch the edge of the sky.
We should sing, each morning, the amiable hymns
[and] make all the worshippers drink the wine of love!
[Both] power and peace are implied in the songs of the disciples.
The salvation of the people of the world lies in love!
-Except from Naya Shivala (english translation) by Iqbal 

More info on Iqbal Day:

“Iqbal Day celebrated across Pakistan” – defence.pk

“Nation observes 134th birth anniversary of Allama Iqbal” – brecorder.com

“Iqbal Day: Lahore celebrates national poet’s 134th birth anniversary” – tribune.com.pk

“Iqbal Day Special: An existential quest” – dawn.com

“Pakistan Remembers Allama Iqbal” – aglobalworld.com

Recap of Journalist’s Day and Dunce Day

I sure felt like a dunce yesterday!  One of those slightly off days where everything is more difficult than it needs to be.  My journalistic skills were lacking, so I can appreciate those people on the front lines of journalism who don’t have the luxury of having an off day.  I tried wearing a dunce cap to help the flow of knowledge funnel into my brain.  Alas, I am proof that it does not work.  Just ask my co-workers who had the pleasure of working with me last night…

Day thirty-eight

I was supposed to be learning about stop motion animation tonight – which I was really excited about.  Unfortunately, this cold has kicked me on my butt and I am stuck at home feeling sorry for myself.  And what better thing to do when you feel sorry for yourself?  Write poetry.  As I’ve used up my last bit of energy and brain power writing these poems, I’m just going to let you read them and not say anything more:

Catharsis
My feeling-sorry-for-myself poem

I swim inside the mucus of my plight
It overtakes all my senses until I am only sick
It consumes my thoughts, it seeps into every inch of my body
Until all I am is the cold
All I am is a shell harbouring an unwanted fugitive
An unwanted, unloved virus that thrives on my misery
It scratches at the inside of my throat
Showing its power over and over again
I fight, but it fights back
If I give in, it celebrates its victory by growing stronger
I will gain the upper hand and slowly it will leave
But in the end the cold is always the  winner
Because there’s always another victim for it to attack

My Ode to Art
A very simple rhyming poem in honour of 30 Days of Art

Dancing makes my heart beat faster
Because of the movement and my laughter
Oh the theatre – it’s part of my soul
I’ve been loving it since five years old
Films can make me hold back tears
In hilarity, sadness, happiness and fear
I’m moved in ways I can’t define
By visual art – all those shapes and lines
All music is the beauty for the ears
But it’s how it touches your emotions, more than what you hear
Then there’s writing that comes from practice
It can make the words come alive like magic
Crafting is an art everyone should try
It calms and centres and sharpens the eye
Designers are a talented kind of folk
Taking obscure ideas and making them art
Photography captures the moment true
In the way the photographer wants it to
Finally architecture, we see it all around
Take the time to really look up and down
I hope I haven’t forgotten any
The best thing about art is there are so many
Different ways to define what is beauty
And everyone sees it very differently

BUT
A little more abstract poem (don’t read too much into this)

Why am I expected to cry?
I don’t feel
I don’t feel the way you do
I want to
I wish
BUT
There’s always a but
I don’t know why
I wish I did
I wish I could
BUT
I don’t