Toward Healing and Understanding

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INTO THE BARDO, A Blogazine is an informal collection of works from diverse and visionary creatives. Our goal is to make – however modestly – a contribution toward healing and understanding. We are a collaboration of writers, poets, story-tellers, artists, musicians, and teachers from around the world.

Our focus is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our posts cover a range of topics: religions and spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, politics and current events, history, art and photography. We cover these topics in the form of essay, poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, music, art, and photography. Generally we offer a new post each day.

We consider that all art is meditation and comes from sacred space. Through their artistic inclinations, the contributors featured express the sacred. Our contributors hail from many places including: England and U.S., the Netherlands and Greece, China and India, Malaysia, Canada and South Africa.

Many different religions are represented on the site as are atheists and agnostics. What we learn in the end is that we hold pretty much the same ideals – though we may express them in different terms – and that we all have the same desire to travel our chosen paths peacefully, to live quietly, and to know that our children will grow up and grow old in a world that is not in conflict.

We’ve learned in our years of blogging that these efforts do evolve. When I started Bardo  more than two years ago, the audience was nil and the focus was narrow: one path, three people, and a wee corner of planet earth. Today  Into the Bardo has a loyal readership, steadily growing and world-wide. The works featured are the gifts of nearly forty poets and writers, photographers and artists . We hope you’ll share our adventures in sacred space and stay with us as we continue to evolve …

We’ve just redesigned the site and expanded our core team of creatives, which is complementary to a group of fine contributors, some known and loved by many of you. Announcements of more additions to the core team will be forthcoming over the next weeks.

HOW DID WE GET OUR NAME AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN? “Bardo” is a Tibetan Buddhist term referring to that place after physical death when our soul is between material manifestations. It might be likened by some (Brother David Steindle-Rast, for one) to the Christian purgatory. Chögyam Trungpa Rinchoche has written of it as the “in between, like a flowing river which belongs neither to this shore nor the other. In other words: it is the present experience, the immediate experience of now.” The expression “into the bardo,” was the name originally selected because the three people initially involved were living with life-threatening illness. Our dear friend, the poet Ann Emerson, died earlier this year. Her work is on “private” until we know the status of her copyright.

Link to Into the Bardo HERE.

Photo credit ~ Our Gravitar – a “golden” Buddha against lovely red damask is the work of our own Wendy Alger. a fine arts photographer.

There is a saying …

IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF BOSTON

AND

PEOPLE EVERYWHERE WHO ARE SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF VIOLENCE

There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be used as source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that is our real disaster.” Dalai Lama XIV

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Easier said than done, I know.

Photo credit ~ Bobby Makul, Public Domain Pictures.net

Monty Wheeler’s Debut Collection Has Arrived from Winter Goose Publishing

coffee-1Monty Wheeler’s collection of poems, The Many Shades of Dark,  was midwifed into the world by Winter Goose Publishing. An Arkansas poet, Monty has been blogging at Babbles since December 7, 2010.

Another one of our own (a poet-blogger, that is), Monty says he’s “naught but a little old feller living out his days in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.” He says he likes,” traditional poetic forms, writing in meter and rhyme, and I strive to keep the art of formal verse alive.” In addition to poetry and writing, he enjoys fishing, hunting, and gardening … the later apparently being a new interest.

Of his blog, he tells us in the subtitle that we’ll find a “sampling of colloquial diction, informal verse in which lacks the convoluted similes and metaphors that too often fill the lines of verse . . . and who says that poetry can’t be just plain fun.”

TheManyShadesofDark_3D-881x1000In reading his book and going backward on his blog to sample a few of the poems he wrote when he started out, I was struck by three consistent characteristics: humanity, growth and honesty. Monty’s writing is genuine. A love of and knowledge of the Bible and his religion is clear in  many of the themes explored and often in the way he uses language and imagery. A man of the South, one also senses that his idioms, diction, and cadence have their roots as much in geography as they do in the Bible, “colloquial” as he says.

Some of his poems have the feel of horror literature, but essentially they deal with the traditional Christian realms of sin, retribution, redemption and salvation. The collection ends with a simple, upbeat beauty. If these themes and styles appeal to you, you will absolutely love The Many Shades of Dark. Clearly, Monty gave much thought to the poems selected for inclusion and the order in which they are delivered.

I was particularly moved by the first poem where Monty remembers his mother’s death and contemplates the pending death of his father. He writes in relatable heart-speak:

I sense the coming loss somehow;
And with his death will come the tears
Of which I’ve fought to hold for years.

Real men don’t cry . . . or so they lied;
And even when my mother died,
I raised the River Tears’ floodgate
And brought that lie a worthy mate.
And ere before Dad’s time has come,
The knowledge that I will succumb
Runs deep and icy cold in me
Like shards of ice that none should see.

Monty’s poems speak of illness and death, of struggling with issues of faith and hope, of tragedy and triumph, of environmental abuse, and of the …

Poet’s Sword

I’ve unkempt hair and wild-eyed stare;
On paper’s white and callused glare,
My pencil flies like winded kite,
And long into the night, I write!

I brave those murky catacombs,
Where long I’ve locked my tears in tombs,
Releasing each dark fear and fright.
And long into the night, I write.

It’s only through my words, you see
The monsters of my mind set free;
I thank my God the night’s finite!
And long into the night, I write.

The demons of my private Hell
And Satan’s imps I can’t dispel,
Will flee my pencil’s sword-like fight.
How long into the night, I write!

Monty closes the book as gracefully as we all hope to close our lives:

Love’s Day’s End

When sunset settles in your eyes at last,
And when your day is dark as Night’s black skies,
When naught is left ahead and Life has cast
You aside like yesterday’s old lies,
Remember me, remember our long past;

Leave not this world with heavy heart that cries.
And come the day of Death’s assured demand,
We’ll know we lived and loved as God had planned.

Bravo, Monty, and congratulations. Both my thumbs up on this one …

© 2013, cover art, Winter Goose Publishing, poems and portraits, Monty Wheeler, All rights reserved
© 2013, review, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved