“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” Eckhart Tolle
Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZineand its associated activities and The Poet by Dayjamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for permissions, commissions, or assignments.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare? —
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
I recently encountered an article that listed over thirty activities – hobbies – with which one might fill leisure time. All well and good, but I find my real leisure joys, the joys that heal me and feed my creativity, are quiet and of the more or less passive variety that involve connecting to Sacred Space:
creative visualization (as in Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization), a cognitive process involving mental imagery; and
channeling poetry and art, in other words letting poems and drawings come through from the Ineffable without my frail linear interventions.
Hobbist activities are good. They certainly have their place and can certainly be exercised mindfully and often as a kind of meditation, but they are largely about doing and we humans are essentially creative creatures. We need time to simply be. Perhaps it’s good to remember the root of the word leisure: from Old French leisir, based on Latin licere ‘be allowed.’ We might spin that – “TO allow” … to allow the Sacred a voice in our lives, in our poetry, art and music, through tranquil leisure-time BEing.
“ . . . creativity keeps the world alive, yet, everyday we are asked to be ashamed of honoring it, wanting to live our lives as artists. i’ve carried the shame of being a ‘creative’ since i came to the planet; have been asked to be something different, more, less my whole life. thank spirit, my wisdom is deeper than my shame, and i listened to who i was. i want to say to all the creatives who have been taught to believe who you are is not enough for this world, taught that a life of art will amount to nothing, know that who we are, and what we do is life. when we create, we are creating the world. remember this, and commit.”
― Nayyirah Waheed
Nayyirah Waheed is the author of a two popular and oft-quoted self-published collections, Salt. and Nejma. (Recommended.) Her poetry is wise and atmospheric in style. She cuts to the heart of things and appears to me to be quietly and confidently persistent in her work. I like it very much.
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I’ve been sitting on three reviews, not for any other reason than the want of time and breath to finalize them.
One review (coming soon) is of the latest issue of ARTEMISpoetry, a publication of Second Light Network. As always I am struck by the many gifts bequeathed to us by that association and publication, not the least being introductions to poets who may be new to us. In the latest issue, I know that one featured poet whose collections I must read is Pascale Petit.
Petit, a poet, artist and one-time sculptor, was interviewed in this issue of ArtemisPoetry by Adele Ward, the co-owner of Ward Wood Publishing and a poet and writer herself.
Petit has five published collections of poetry, the latest is What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, which was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year. There are a number of things that are drawing me to Pascale Petit’s work, not the least is this creation of a collection of poems after Frida Kahlo’s art. The very idea is attractive.
I am also drawn to The Zoo Father in which she developes the very private theme of child abuse. I believe such efforts require extraordinary grace and I want to see how Petit handles the matter.
Another attraction is related to my own arts community.There are some who argue against revealing too much that is personal and Adele Ward asks Petit about this very issue. Petit’s response is:
” . . . I don’t have a choice about my subject matter . . . It is important to me to be true to myself and write intensely because what I’m really interested in is writing about the awe and power of nature ~ human nature as well as animals and landscape. My personal themes allow me a way in to write intensely about awe and shock. Life is pretty shocking, the earth is awe-inspiring, and we perceive it as personal beings, however ‘other’ it is, and its otherness is compelling.” [Emphasis mine.]
I so agree … and honoring our personal themes is a ticket to ride, an antidote to stilted works and artistic blocks.
Further, I think one goal of art – both its creation and its consumption – is to introduce us to our own humanity. I don’t see how we can do that if the works we create and consume lack intimacy.
Petit’s sixth collection, Fauverie, will launch in September this year. You can sample her poems and her art by visiting her website HERE.
A review of What Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo is HERE.