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This is a group in which to post poetry that you have written yourself. It may be long or short, polished or rough, a celebration or an experiment. It is not a competition, more a place where we can share and appreciate and learn from each other and discuss each other's poems.

The poems are grouped into "discussions". Each discussion may be a theme or a poetry form. Each discussion can grow into a little collection. Add individual poems as "Comments" within the appropriate section. You can also add remarks as comments too. If there is no appropriate section, start a new one. If you feel clumsy doing this, don't worry - the site moderator will tidy it up later. Poems added should be broadly connected with the theme title of the discussion, but do not have to relate directly to other poems already posted.

Writing poetry can be everything from a light amusement through to a deep spiritual practice. Enjoy.

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  • Poem by Dharmavidya with Italian translation below
    Namo Amida Bu!

    AFGHANISTAN - DHARMAVIDYA POEM

    The commentator full of passion speaks
    as self-appointed spokesman for them all
    “The Afghan people have been rightly promised
    that precious gift, a Western way of life.
    How vital it is now to not desert them,
    but to honour solemn promises once made!”

    Now the ordinary television viewer
    is talking it all over with his wife:
    “We have to save the good guys from the bad ones;
    it seems a very simple moral tale.
    How can it be the nasty ones have triumphed
    and our heroic boys must fly away?
    Surely every one from every nation
    must want to think and live the way we do!
    I’m trying to not sound like a colonial,
    but I really think that our ways are the best
    and all these funny foreign distant countries
    should change and learn to imitate the West.”

    A jihadist now boldly steps up forward,
    “I have a thing or two to make remark.
    We winners of an asymmetric war
    could never have prevailed without support.
    The ordinary Afghan gave us shelter
    and we were those who promised an ideal.
    Who wants your wasteful, sinful self-indulgence
    when the virtue of Koran is close at hand?
    Who wants his soil corrupted by invaders
    and foreign troops encamped across his land?
    Perhaps we are barbarians to you,
    but our vigour rests upon a deep conviction
    that in the longer run we’ll prove more true
    and you will be the failures of the future.”

    The politician fleeing in his plane
    to an uncertain future in exile
    looks back upon a struggle for survival
    that he thought was guaranteed by greater powers.
    “I took the Western guns and propaganda
    for promises that would not fade away
    and on this seeming very solid basis
    I made a play for power and prestige.
    I must confess my motives were quite mixed
    and I was never sure what to believe:
    was I an instrument of good reform
    or was I just a puppet who’d been bribed?
    Were my masters real and true the Afghan people
    or those who pull the strings from overseas?”

    A peasant from a village has a voice
    that’s seldom heard or heeded during war,
    “I’d sooner trust the people of my tribe
    and the customs of my folk from older times.
    I have no faith in fangled new ideas,
    and warlords are no benefit to me.
    Governments mean taxes and oppression
    whatever flag they fly upon their mast.
    Times are hard and warfare makes it harder
    so my hope is now a period of peace,
    to sow my crops and marry off my daughters
    and go to sleep without the sound of bombs.”

    A woman speaks from under her long gown,
    “It’s difficult to know just what to think.
    I’m attracted to the freedoms of the West.
    I would like education for my daughters,
    consumer goods are tempting as a dream,
    but conservatism rules my inner soul
    and I scorn the way they are so lewdly dressed;
    I’m timid of the brave new world they speak of
    and fear that it’s corruption in disguise.”

    Now there comes to speak a battle hardened soldier,
    a man of discipline and honed resource
    who, having seen the ins and out of each campaign
    must surely have a verdict to proclaim.
    “When you fight you must believe in what you’re doing
    with conviction that you’re on the better side.
    Two decades we have been here and, you know,
    I’ve seen some mates beside me lose their lives
    and I’ve learnt the art of daily staying safe
    yet in your body armour and your caution
    and not knowing how to speak the local tongue
    we’d little chance to know their hearts and minds
    and it’s not easy to be friendly with a gun;
    so if I’m frank when looking back upon it
    I’ll say it been a most appalling waste;
    we’ve fought and almost always won each battle
    but never had a chance to win the war;
    the cost in goods and blood has been prodigious -
    but do we know what it was really for?”

    What says the wise historian in the future,
    looking back upon this sorry tale of woe?
    “You cannot say that any here were evil,
    though some corruption played a minor role
    and some were vicious in their righteous fervour
    on both side of a horrid, gristly war.
    The parties each had principles and means
    and seldom saw the others’ point of view.
    It all took place against a bigger frame
    with humankind in over-reach and stress
    caught between expansion and retreat
    as underestimated natural forces
    humbled worldly powers great and small.
    The days of empire were, as ever, numbered
    and though some sought conversion of the world
    to a utopian vision handed down
    the means employed belied the goodness claimed
    as if cold steel were master of them all.
    The chess game of world politics is endless
    and while the small folk suffer in the wake
    and individual acts may be heroic
    still the players are just human after all.”

    AFGHANISTAN POEM - Italian translation

    Il commentatore parla pieno di passione

    come autoproclamato portavoce di loro tutti

    “Al popolo afgano è stato giustamente promesso

    quel dono prezioso, uno stile di vita occidentale.

    Quanto è vitale ora non abbandonarlo,

    ma onorare le promesse solenni fatte una volta!”

    Ora, il comune spettatore televisivo

    sta parlando di tutto questo con sua moglie:

    “Dobbiamo salvare i buoni dai cattivi;

    sembra un racconto morale molto semplice.

    Come può essere che i cattivi abbiano trionfato,

    e i nostri ragazzi eroici debbano volare via?

    Certamente ogni persona di ogni nazione

    deve voler pensare e vivere come noi.

    Cerco di non sembrare un colonialista

    ma penso davvero che i nostri sistemi siano i migliori,

    e tutti questi bizzarri paesi stranieri lontani

    dovrebbero cambiare ed imparare ad imitare l’occidente”.

    Uno jihadista si fa coraggiosamente avanti,

    “Ho un paio di osservazioni da fare.

    Noi, vincitori di una guerra impari,

    non avremmo mai potuto prevalere senza sostegno.

    L’afghano comune ci ha dato rifugio,

    E noi eravamo coloro che promettevano un ideale.

    Chi desidera il vostro spreco, autoindulgenza peccaminosa,

    quando la virtù del Corano è a portata di mano?

    Chi desidera il proprio suolo corrotto dagli invasori

    e truppe straniere accampate sulla propria terra?

    Forse siamo dei barbari per voi

    ma il nostro vigore si basa sulla profonda convinzione

    che a lungo andare ci dimostreremo più veritieri

    e voi sarete il fallimento del futuro”.

    Il politico, che fugge con il suo aereo

    verso un futuro incerto in esilio,

    guarda indietro alla lotta per una sopravvivenza

    che sembrava essere garantita dai poteri forti.

    “Ho preso armi e propaganda occidentale

    per promesse che non sarebbero svanite

    e su questa base che sembrava molto solida

    mi sono messo in gioco per potere e prestigio.

    Devo confessare che le mie motivazioni erano contrastanti

    e non ero mai sicuro su cosa credere:

    ero lo strumento per una buona riforma,

    o ero solo un pupazzo che era stato corrotto?

    Il mio vero padrone era il popolo afgano

    o coloro che tiravano i fili oltreoceano?”.

    La voce del contadino dal villaggio

    che raramente in guerra viene ascoltata e considerata,

    “Preferirei fidarmi della gente della mia tribù

    e delle usanze del mio popolo dai tempi antichi.

    Non ho fiducia nelle idee innovative

    e i signori della guerra non mi sono utili.

    I governi significano tasse e oppressione,

    qualunque bandiera sventolino sulla loro asta.

    I tempi sono difficili e la guerra li rende più difficili,

    quindi la mia speranza è ora un periodo di pace,

    per coltivare la mia terra e sposare le mie figlie

    e andare a dormire senza il rumore delle bombe”.

    Una donna parla da sotto il suo lungo abito:

    “ E’ difficile sapere cosa pensare.

    Sono attratta dalle libertà dell'occidente.

    Vorrei un’istruzione per le mie figlie,

    i beni di consumo sono allettanti come un sogno,

    ma il conservatorismo governa la mia anima interiore

    e disdegno il loro modo di vestire così lascivo;

    sono timorosa del valoroso nuovo mondo di cui parlano

    e temo si tratti di una corruzione mascherata”.

    Ora parla un soldato temprato dalla battaglia,

    un uomo di disciplina e dalle risorse affinate

    che, avendo visto i pro e i contro di ogni campagna

    deve avere sicuramente un verdetto da proclamare:

    “Quando combatti devi credere in quello che fai,

    con la convinzione di essere dalla parte migliore.

    Siamo qui da due decenni e, sapete,

    ho visto dei compagni vicino a me perdere le loro vite

    e ho imparato l’arte di stare al sicuro ogni giorno

    eppure, nella tua armatura e con la tua prudenza

    e non sapendo parlare la lingua locale

    abbiamo poche possibilità di conoscere i loro cuori e le loro menti

    e non è facile essere amichevoli con un fucile.

    Quindi, se devo essere sincero, ripensandoci

    dirò che è stato un terribile spreco;

    abbiamo combattuto e vinto quasi sempre ogni battaglia

    ma non abbiamo mai avuto la possibilità di vincere la guerra;

    i costi in termini di beni e di sangue è stato enorme

    ma sappiamo a cosa è servito veramente?”.

    Cosa dice lo storico saggio nel futuro

    guardando indietro a questa triste storia di dolore?

    “Non si può dire che qualcuno fosse malvagio,

    sebbene la corruzione abbia giocato una piccola parte

    ed alcuni fossero feroci nel loro legittimo fervore,

    da entrambe le parti di una guerra orrenda e cruenta.

    Le parti avevano ciascuna princìpi e mezzi

    e raramente vedevano il punto di vista degli altri

    Tutto si svolgeva in una cornice più grande

    con un'umanità in preda allo strafare ed allo stress

    tra l'espansione e la ritirata

    mentre le sottostimate forze naturali

    umiliavano le potenze mondiali piccole e grandi.

    I giorni dell’impero erano, come sempre, contati

    e sebbene alcuni cercassero una conversione del mondo

    verso una visione utopistica tramandata

    i mezzi impiegati contraddicevano la bontà rivendicata

    come se il freddo acciaio fosse stato il padrone di tutto.

    La partita a scacchi della politica è infinita

    e mentre la povera gente ne soffre le conseguenze

    e gli atti individuali possono essere eroici

    i giocatori sono pur sempre soltanto umani”.
  • BUDDHA’S PRINT

    So tell me your original face
    freed from a thousand years of pain.
    May a short staccato sound
    linger a thousand years?
    The presence of an absence
    might not seem to need a token
    yet by the scant syllables of a Japanese poem
    briefly spoken
    I hear enduringly the ring of steel on stone
    resound
    as, a thousand years ago, men of pious sense
    chisel out the print of Buddha’s holy pace.
    A thousand years that sound has echoed down,
    a thousand years and still the love remains.
  • Tao, you old Yin and Yang,
    what have you made for dinner?
    The wind is in the north today,
    the full moon’s a winner,
    but it takes no more
    than a field of clay
    to break the back of a sinner.

  • INSIDE THIS CLAY JUG
    A POEM BY KABIR, TRANSLATION BY ROBERT BLY

    Inside this clay jug
    there are canyons and
    pine mountains,
    and the maker of canyons
    and pine mountains!

    All seven oceans are inside,
    and hundreds of millions of stars.

    The acid that tests gold is here,
    and the one who judges jewels.

    And the music
    that comes from the strings
    that no one touches,
    and the source of all water.

    If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
    Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.

  • Darkness every which way,
    But not because the streetlamps
    Are out in town;
    Heedless feet they stray --
    Despite the path clearly laid,
    The blinds are down;
    Shutters closed to the light
    Cast the world into shadow
    And none can see;
    Amitabha rising,
    Buddha of Pure Land Bliss,
    What fools are we?

    Compassion every which way,
    Though not of our deserving,
    Shines on us;
    Takes those feet that stray,
    And sets them on that path
    Called Joy and Trust;
    Shutters are swung open,
    Light so dazzling bright floods in,
    The shadows flee;
    Amitabha rising,
    Buddha of Pure Land Bliss,
    How blessed are we?

    Namo Amitabha!
  • Masketeer and Aphrodite
    Undercover membership
    Each takes a turn and turns a corner
    Sends the other silly quips

    Send each other lies and secrets
    Secret truths that masks belie
    Undercover sensual boundaries
    Will love live or will it die?

    Will love live and serve its purpose?
    Skin to skin the promise lurks
    Nose to nose and lips to eyelids
    Teasing secrets, fireworks?

    Teasing secrets, fireworks
    Can Masketeer catch Aphrodite?
    Or will she hide while he pursues her
    A fantasy that burns out brightly?

    Can Masketeer catch Aphrodite
    Will she wear her golden crown?
    Will she run when he pursues her
    Like the tarot, upside down?

    Like the hanged man, upside down
    Oh, will he fall, then, when her sees her
    In robes of yellow, green and crimson
    Is he fool or can he please her?

    Is he fool or can he please her?—
    For she’ll be more than conjured sylph
    No thing of wings and gauze and satin
    But instead her real self

    Each thing of flesh and blood is mixed with
    dreams and depths and coloured birds
    Potters of each life are forming
    The e’s of all ‘lectronic words.

    The potters of each life are forming
    Dreams from fields of soil unplowed
    Those odd primordial exophagic
    stanzas, coloured, burst from cloud

  • Strangers passing in the dark fleeting glances.
    Not knowing or caring about the others path
    Where will it take them who pass without a word
    Not a kind thought or care for the other as they glance
    Not this for me I who must acknowledge who must care
  • Flying South

    Time flying by me
    thoughts nosily flocking south
    headed to new worlds.

  • Gardens


    A garden is not a plan on paper,

    It is not moving rocks, water and earth around;

    It is gardening,

    And everything gardens.

  • This is a poem I write about my stay at La Ville au Roi, It doesn't fit with anything in current discussion so hope it is OK, for me it feels like a a good place to start making contributions.

    NIGHT IN THE SHEEP HOUSE

     

    First night in the sheep house

    candle blown out,

    I lie awake listening

    to the walls

    making no sound.

     

    Animal antecedents are

    embedded in this stone.

    I feel them breathe, bellow,

    stamp and scrape

    the rock floor.

     

    Birth, death and living

    surround me here,

     holding me wakeful;

    alert in the power 

    of total blackness.

     

    Beyond its walls

    woodlands spread away

    generating ever deeper

    darkness of canopy,

    field and thicket.

     

    Creeping out, only my steps 

    break the silence.

    Above is brightness;

    a black bowl of stars are

    threaded on imaginary chains.

     

    Loops of light years apart;

    planets far more ancient

    than sheep house walls,

    are patterns to my eye,

    symbols in my mind,

    lanterns for my soul.

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IN A DREAM

  In a dream I saw four mountains with a valley in between. In the valley lay a lake of crystal water, deep and clean.   Somewhere hidden on this fell there lived a hermit rarely seen who mingling with the mist and cloud left no trace where he had been.   Nonetheless , one felt the spell cast on rocks and ancient trees 10 amidst the perfume of sweet flowers carried on the gentle breeze.   We entered, I and my companions, this entrancèd pleasuance all dressed in coat of many colours prepared to…

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PROFOUNDLY LONELY

When I feel profoundly lonely, even among those who love me, And I fly over a deep abyss with wings painfully expanded – Quan Shi Yin quickly rises into the air, Because her thousand eyes have spotted me up in the sky. Tactfully she invites me into her eyrie. How wonderful to hide under her warm feathers – Just for a moment, until I’ve forgotten why I came.   

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WEEDS

My garden is full of weeds,yet some of them are attractiveif you have the eyeto appreciate their special qualities. My mind is full of stray thoughts,yet some of themare not so crazywhen you take a second glance. My life is a patchwork of many agendas,yet there are linksif one has the perspectiveto see the bigger picture. Many relationships have come and gonethough some still linger.Yet seen with the eyes of love,every one was a treasure. Yes, my garden is full of weedsand now I cultivate…

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Ode to the trees

Laying down on startled grass. I imagine the trees talking in spurts. They say this is my home undaunted, Survival depends on the rains. Yet, you'll not lay down near me when my soil(soul) is wet. Yet, I say I do not abandon you. I simply get too flooded with a noisy mind. Thoughts disperse in circles. Dearest tree, be with me. Forgive me, if I calculated my own discomfort in the rains that feed you. Won't you speak to me, Even when your leaves are dry.

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