(parallel to NaPoWriMo)
Recently I received the following unexpected, unsolicited, probably multiply sent-out, impersonal message from a sender who shall remain nameless:
“In Boston Chopra was one of the coowners in my condo building and was the only one totally irresponsible in his responsibilities. We thought of him as a scum bag and total phony from our direct experience with him. He may spout worth thoughts but anything coming from him I would discount.”
I replied as follows:
Thank you for your message.
I don’t doubt your personal memories regarding Chopra’s comportment in his youth.
It does, however, lead me to the opposite conclusion: it validates Chopra’s present-day powerful positive role in the world.
For two reasons:
One, modern psychology recognizes that unless a person has experienced negativity in himself, and worked through and beyond it, he will lack the personal, embodied understanding of its effects and of forgiveness and compassion. That experiential knowledge is a sine qua non condition for offering teaching in this domain.
Two, a well-known biblical parable offers another explanation: that of the prodigal son. He amassed sufficient experiential substance to warrant a celestial banquet. The key to the banquet: conversion. Alchemization is required: the transformation of lead into gold. The question: is there sufficient lead that can be alchemized? Enough substance to transubstantiate?
What life was lived? No lead melts into no gold.
I found a lot of gold in Chopra’s work, in his writings and his workshops.
His teachings uniquely embrace body and mind/spirit, ancient wisdom and cutting-edge modern science, span the
Vedas and Quantum Physics. This all-encompassing perspective enables Chopra to help modern-day humans to fulfill their mission (here a a definition according to Shinto philosophy:) to link heaven and earth.
Anyone in search of greater fulfillment, is free to test Chopra’s recipes.
Reading his book “Synchrodestiny” may easily turn life into a serendipitous adventure.
Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. (For details, see below.)
“The damselflies pass as they would over water” from Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Damselfly, graceful, dainty,
iridescent, silvery green,
ephemeral dream, yet
you’re ancient, damselfly,
roamed the skies in the Permian age,
a predator, boasted an eagle’s
size, taunted dinosaurs.
You’ve survived, reinvented yourself,
a slimmed-down elf, you rise
above brook, pond, morning dew,
morphed from a nymph, you grew
savor life with humongous eyes,
surf on transparent wings.
Why of all things did you pass thru
the open window, mistaking glass
for watery sheen,
lured by a curious, fateful gleam,
fancy, neither sun nor moon,
till entranced beyond reprieve,
trapped in a luminous orb,
you lay dead among house flies,
intrepid wings no more to unfold.
I grieve, yet wanted the ending bold,
believing it’s ours to choose
invincible when we lose.
* * *
Now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.