Tag Archives: childhood

Autsch

Autsch

Finding this photo reminded me of how I kept bloodying my knees on the sharp stones of circumstances, and still do. My hope for a warmer communication with my father was dashed. He revived, and with it a fierce need for control. Lines by Dylan Thomas come to mind:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light …

Humans are mortal, but maybe humanity as a whole is immortal, and particularly its desire to find a meaningful answer to the circus of life.

‘Mein Freund, die Zeiten der Vergangenheit // Sind nur ein Buch mit sieben Siegeln. // Was ihr den Geist der Zeiten heißt, // Das ist im Grund der Herren eigner Geist, // In dem die Zeiten sich bespiegeln.’  –                                                                 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (I)

Just like the human brain receives and conducts thoughts and ideas (like a radio,) so genes may receive and conduct what a psychic seedpod brings along at conception, that is – familiar patterns drawn to new constellations as through a mathematical time-grid (astrology may not be far off) – so that our realities are really mirrored from other spheres.

Via this psychic seedpod our story seem to arrive with template personality types, whose potentials and constraints determine our genes, not the other way around, at least not until the body’s biochemical traffic assumes a habitual force. With the psychic seedpod comes a pack of shadows – talents, passions, traumas, hurts or humiliation engendered by generations before us. With this pack also come tasks: to tie up loose ends, and to redeem faults not of our making.

From the start out endowment attracts projections, like a magnet, coercing us to oblige the projectors. Forget about being right, about justice. The secret of transforming energy and doing better than those before us lies in responding to situations, even when our habituated cell-traffic unconsciously demands a knee-jerk reaction. Awareness slips easily. Faith by itself does not help the evolution of human qualities. Insight, humility and patience are also needed, but often lost when buried emotions pop up.

My father’s constitutional short fuse with the world at large had over time found creative outlets, but his recent outburst hooked me into early experiences of feeling manipulated and made small by anger that belonged elsewhere. I became his nearest Blitzableiter (lightning conductor.) A personal scar opened. Autsch.

Recovering in Munich last week, the fragment of a poem prodded to be recalled. Back home, I reached for my Richard Wilhelm edition of the I Ging – Das Buch der Wandlungen. Opening a page at random, the fragment I was trying to recall showed up as a footnote. Romantic poets may have lacked irony, but they often touched on a pulse of wisdom … these lines from the last stanza of ‘Die Ideale’ by Friedrich Schiller:

… Beschäftigung, die nie ermattet,
Die langsam schafft, doch nie zerstört,
Die zu dem Bau der Ewigkeiten
Zwar Sandkorn nur für Sandkorn reicht,
Doch von der großen Schuld der Zeiten
Minuten, Tage, Jahre streicht.

The quirky translation is mine …

… Activity that never tires                                                                                                                                       Slowly creates but never wrecks                                                                                                                                      That to the houses of eternity                                                                                                                                  Only sand grain by sand grain gives                                                                                                                             Yet wipes from the great guilt of times                                                                                                                   Minutes, days, years –

P1080230 - smaller

I wish I had the patience and good humour of my little Garden Buddha …

*    *    *

Even ‘Brexit’ and the realisation that the good old UK is really a Divided Kingdom leaves my Buddha smiling.

The deeper problem – a runaway capitalism all over the world, makes people angry. The solution is pretty clear to me – give every citizen a basic wage, so they won’t have to go begging from the state every time they experience hardship or are out of a job.

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Blog

… answers to questions we dare not ask …

Could it be that we frequently get answers to questions we dare not ask, allowing us to ignore certain messages? When do we challenge an issue and when do we keep silent and move on? Maybe I’m naive, but given my peculiar tolerance for uncertainty, I tend to trust in the random timing of guardian angels.

In der Eng 1954Last night, in a dream, I jumped from the ground onto a flat roof by sheer determination. Then someone asked me to repeat the feat, in the manner of a scientific trial. A ridiculous request – nothing is ever repeated under the same circumstances, try as you might. It’s as far as I got with this dream. I’ve no idea what the flat roof represents, apart from maybe having my first novel aired, which has been waiting to be launched with my small publisher since 2013.

Yes, I’m frustrated, and tempted to self-publish, instead, it looks as if I need to secure money for my father’s care and funeral. He decided not to die and plans to reach a hundred. While he requires support with basic daily tasks, he is comfortably secure in the care department of the place where he had rented a flat, which I must dissolve within the next few weeks. I arranged for him to keep items he holds important, his paintings, books, art materials, easel … in his present care-abode.

The process of letting go of things and projections was distressing but worthwhile on both sides. After endless paperwork, bureaucratic complexities, sorting stuff, and living with ancient dust and revelations, I felt totally exhausted, and decided to recover for a few days with friends, and then take a break, once more, back in the UK, choosing a 12 hour train journey because of possible strike actions at Munich airport.

I was not cheered by a financial cover-up that, in retrospect, may (or not) have saved my marriage at a time when I felt trapped with my creative longing sans resources, all based on sad misapprehensions my father had of me over time, including blaming me for my mother’s early death. Nor was I cheered sorting through over 30 photo albums covering 16 years of Luxury Ocean cruises my father undertook with his second partner, touristy snapshots that did no credit to his past photographic excellence, earlier works of which I’ll post more in time, and which, I hope, my son will archive.

In der Eng 1953 - crossing the stream - smallerIn der Eng 1954 - crossing the stream - smallerStill, there were tender moments and highlights during this recent testing odyssey … my dad’s new appreciation of my existence, which warms the heart, and the finding of precious images from my childhood, like where I brave icy mountain streams, or cross them with my mother – memories of intensely happy times that restored my spirit.

 

 

 

Worth reflecting on, BBC4 broadcasted a prospect of old age that seems kind of scary in its social implications …

Should we retire the concept of aging?

16 Comments

Filed under Blog

… Wilhelm Busch – carefully studied apprehension …

After my last post  I was reminded of another beetle from the scarab family – Maikäfer – in German. In my village we had a beech alley towering above a grove with a stream at the bottom, where Maikäfer swarmed in May. As kids we collected these hard-shelled creatures in match boxers and engaged them in races by fencing flat parallel rows with stones or twigs. That many beetles did not obey the boundary rules and had to be disqualified was a huge frustration.

img123A further memory popped up – a prank featured in Wilhelm Busch’s Max and Moritz– click on the link and check out the fifth trick (prank) with the poetry shown in German and English. img124 smaller

Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Busch (15 April 1832 – 9 January 1908) was a German humourist, poet, illustrator and painter. Some of his illustrated cautionary tales were banned by authorities. The seven pranks of Max und Moritz were called a frivolous and undesirable influence on the moral development of young people,

Busch described himself in autobiographical sketches and letters as sensitive and timid, as someone who “carefully studied apprehension” and who reacted with fascination, compassion and distress when animals were killed.

img127 - smallerI have a 1923 booklet of the Max and Moritz pranks. They may have put me on the path of my own ‘carefully studied apprehension.’

Later I was gifted ‘Das Grosse Wilhelm Busch Hausbuch’ by Ulla, a German friend, a huge book with over six hundred pages of wonderful illustrations of unforgettable characters and comic poetry by the master.

Busch drew on contemproray parochichal and and city life, satirizing Catholicism, Philistinism, strict religious morality and bigotry. His comic texts were colourful and entertaining, using onomatopoeia, neaogolism and other figures of speech, check out his life.  See  here   

His quote,’ Kein Ding sieht so aus wie es ist.’– roughly – nothing is as it seems … rings ever true.

16 Comments

Filed under Blog

… beautifully lost – revision of a poem …

Many of my poems linger in files, unfinished. I’m never sure of anything for long. Quite often the poet and the philosopher existing in my solitude are at odds with each other, or the pair gangs up against the certainty of experts our western culture values. I favour dynamic approaches to life, where faith and doubt are equally valued in the process of becoming human. The words of Hazrat Inayat Khan would apply:

‘The ideal is the means; its breaking is the goal.’

When making something audible and visible from the inside out, a topic I touched upon in my last post, only time may tell its worth. Once we shared our art, there is the waiting … the vulnerable span after exposure. Does our wave of inspiration chime in other minds, offer fresh perspectives,  frustrate with surprise?

I hope you, my readers, can offer a reflection on the little poem I obsessed with revising over the last week, and maybe even share thoughts on your own revisions.

Sunflower 6I first wrote ‘beautifully lost’ in 2005 and put it to sleep. Other versions exist. The latest attempt turned into a Haiku sequence. I’m not at all sure it’s an improvement compared to my first attempt.

The theme is cycles of experience, when after a period of loss and unknowing; a renewal of meaning happens that keeps me young at heart, connecting me back to the middle of each moment.

 

Beautifully Lost – 2005 version

At times no deed rhymes,

nothing I say is heard,

each word drops to silence,

and my best yarns slip

from the loom, waltzing

in endless loops,

suspended.

On solid earth swords cut,

and chalices swallow us,

but once every full moon

King and Queen align their myths,

And I– beautifully lost –

dreams undone – whirl

at the gateway to an inner sun.

 –  Ashen, 9th Nov 2005

 

beautifully lost –  2015 version

when deeds miss their rhyme

and words fall flat on their face

I chase your fragments

in the wayward yarns

that fall off the loom and loop

on my breath – dazed

drifting without aim

they will chance the blade that cuts

or a gulping maw

until a full moon

weds the light of King and Queen

and my best yarns yearn

beautifully lost

heart-whirling at the gateway

to an inner sun

  Ashen, Jan 2015

 

And here a song …

http://www.eyeneer.com/video/countryfolk/pete-seeger-judy-collins/turn-turn-turn

30 Comments

Filed under Blog

… not now – later …

my little hero

my little hero

Each new generation tends to be smarter. While living in rural Somerset, I observed our four-year old son’s play-acting in the garden from the kitchen window while washing pots. He explored his sharp-shooting skills with wooden blocks, building, destroying, building, destroying, building; and so on … it was his new idea of fun. His aiming was good.

Pots done, I attended to the next task, fetching the milk from the street-hatch, left there by Hope, our farming neighbour. She had poured three pints of milk into a bowl and covered it with a cloth. The cream had risen to the top, ready to be skimmed off, which led on to the next task, preparing the dessert for a birthday meal. At this point my son came rushing into the kitchen, wanting me to witness and applause his new sharp-shooting skill. My brain cells were committed to preparing walnut ice-cream.

I said, ‘Not now, later!’

This trick normally worked for a while, but that day he stood his place, watching me with a quizzing look.

‘When does now end?’ he asked.

Casting my eyes to the ceiling for help, I said, ‘Actually, now never ends,’ realising instantly I was in trouble. The child’s superior grasp of logic would demand, at least, a meaningful explanation, and I could loop myself into philosophical twists. My son had no need to query my shrewd answer, he went one better.

‘So when does later start?’

Time to admit defeat. Drying my hands, I said, ‘Now.’

*    *    *

The memory of the incident inspired me to draft a poem … NOW

by Daphne Joe Grant

Illustration by Daphne Joe Grant

Now is the in-breath

Now is the elusive arc

Now is the outbreath

 

Over and over

Out of nowhere pops the now

Or so we presume

 

When will we find you?

Why not tell us your purpose?

Where are you hiding?

 

Now is a trickster

Not taken in by mind-games

Now laughs inside us

 

Our time must be round

Or turn through a dark tunnel

Orbiting the now

 

Waste now and lose her

Weft now to now and she’ll dance

Wed now and be her

 

Now has no answer

Now is what is truly known

Now breathe her and bow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjwBWE64fG0 Interesting talk by Rupert Spira on perception.

A focussed mind helps us to achieve stuff, but is also easily hijacked by the rat-race, the relentless rush towards meeting deadlines in competitive environments, where no children interrupt and make us pause.

Apparently 10.4 million days are lost annually to work-related stress in the UK alone. And it costs businesses in the US $300bn (£187bn; €237bn) a year. No wonder the ‘Here and Now’ theme is in vogue again, even with hi-tech status. Take a biosensor device, called Pip 🙂 … http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29742908

There is another kind of stress, less talked about, affecting those who work hard for a living, as well as those who lost jobs, or get by on little, or anyone reflecting on human qualities, while witnessing a growing social polarity … as poignantly shown in this image …

http://gerryco23.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/the-fence-between-a-world-of-need-and-a-world-of-excess/

16 Comments

Filed under Blog