Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Light Upon the Bench-Pictures

The Light Upon the Bench—Pictures   

Light on two benches, Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn,
.  © A. Janah
Light on two benches, wider view, Bensonhurst Park,
Brooklyn, 2016-08-29.
 © A. Janah
Light on a bench, at an exit from Bensonhurst Park,
Brooklyn, 2016-08-29.
 © A. Janah
Moon and sea

Full moon, hills and sea

Back to the post of the poem:   The Light upon the Bench
Note:  I wanted to show the light on the benches in the park, using a handheld cellphone camera.  I am sorry for the amateurish photographs with the over-exposures and flares at the lamps. 

To view the images in this post in a somewhat larger and clearer format, please single-click on any one image.  Allow the pictures to load.  Then use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to see the other images.  You can also click on the thumbnails at the bottom to do this.  Captions will not be visible.
You may wish to return to this post, to read this note again, to read the captions or to follow the link back to the text of the poem. 
To return to this post, click on the white X near the top right of the dark background.  On PC's, tapping the esc (escape) key should also return you to this post.

For an even better view, go to full-screen view.  For most PC browsers, the f11 key toggles between full-screen and normal views.

Back to the post of the poem:   The Light upon the Bench

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Light upon the Bench

The Light upon the Bench 
While walking ‘round the circle in the park,
with midnight passed, and walking all alone,
the lamps that lined the path had blinded me.

I could not see the stars and clouds above.

But walking on, with emptiness of mind,
I saw the light reflected from a bench.

And though the slats were wood,
they seemed to shine
like metal—and the sight reminded me
of walks before, beside the moonlit sea.

2016 August 29th Mon, 1:28 am
Brooklyn, New York 
The Light upon the Bench—Pictures (5)

Saturday, August 27, 2016



I asked the one from Syria,
from al Sham, as he had said,
the reason why he’d left there,
and traveled here instead.

I had heard that he was drowning
but by luck had still survived.
From the cold Aegean waters,
he’d been pulled and then revived.

He looked at me in silence—
he didn’t speak a word,
for he didn’t know my language,
and my question was absurd.

So I left him where I’d found him,
and walking then I saw
the eyes that I had looked at
and that is when I saw.

So I stood there as if rooted
and I saw the world anew,
and it wasn’t as I’d known it
and I didn’t like the view.

So let me try to tell you,
if you’ll bear with me a bit,
as I sketch for you that vision,
if I even have the wit.


There is emptiness and dullness.
There’s the reason that is gone.
There’s the lack of any meaning.
There’s the numbness and the ache.

There’s the past that isn’t leaving,
there’s the present hell to bear.
There’s the hope that has departed
and the future of despair.

There’s bewilderment, confusion.
There’s the sleep that lasts awhile.
There’s the madness then that rises
and the fear that will not die.

There is shock and there is trauma
of the body, mind and heart.
There’s helplessness and trembling
and the orphan’s silent cry.

There’s the parent or the sibling
or the spouse who didn’t die.

And for all this, there are reasons—
for there must be reasons why.

So the arms are flowing freely
from the nations of the west,
through the sheikhdoms and through Turkey,
and the wars are raging still.

So the Russian jets are bombing
and the shells from all are bursting
and the cities lie in rubble
and the drones come in to kill.
So the Sunni and the Shia
and the Christian each would flee,
but there’s nowhere left to go to,
and the snipers shoot at will.

So the cannons still are booming
and the shells are coming near
and the planes again are diving
and the eyes are full of fear.

For there’s Assad and the rebels,
There’s al Nusra, ISIS, more.
There’s the U.S., France and Britain,
And they each have bombs galore.

Iraq was torn to pieces
and Libya was destroyed,
and Syria’s been on fire,
like Afghanistan before.

But who can dare to question—
to ask the reason why?

There’s hunger, thirst and hurting
and the itching and the fly,
and the games are on in Rio
and there’s more who’ve yet to die.

This is what I saw then
and I thought on it a while,
but then I looked and saw you
and so I had to smile.

So now that I have told you,
you can bear it till we go
to the shop there. There’s a salesman
you should really get to know.

2016 August 27th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York
Related (from 2013 August, three years ago):  Syria


A Love That’s Unrequited

A Love That’s Unrequited
A love that’s unrequited
is dismissed as just an ache
by those who’re unaffected,
yet the one whose love is spurned
can either then be lessened
or be deepened by the burn.

And though it’s unproductive
in the realm of matter, yet
it still can have its children
in the hearts and minds of men
and women who are hurting
but can then express that pain.
And one may write her verses,
while another quietly works,
but yet another, pining,
may be driven to despair
or even to a madness
that could lead her to her death.
Yet most survive rejection,
and can still find love again.

We take that love too lightly
that we fail to recognize,
but learn to love more deeply
when rejected in our love.
2016 August 23rd, Tue.
(last 4 lines of 3rd stanza
and the 2 lines of the 4th stanza
added August 27, Sat.)

Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Space Exists

A Space Exists
Between the push and pull of fear, desire,
A space exists for wisdom, peace and love.
And in this space the waves of grief and joy
And all emotions, thoughts can come and go.

And yet, beneath those surface waves, there still
Remains a zone that's calm and unperturbed—
For currents strong may roil below the waves,
But there are depths in which we still are free.

But when we try to hold, preserve, maintain
The transient joys, entrapped by fear, desire,
We bring then woes upon our heads and those
Of others, losing sense and sanity.

And see—we’ve built ourselves a monstrous world
That runs on fear and greed, and so is fraught
With all the evils that the two, conjoined,
Engender, wreaking madness, mayhem, woe.

The vices that have long been recognized
Are seen as virtues, virtue viewed as vice.
Until such views reverse, we won’t regain
That space in which to breathe and see again.

We cannot know what happens far away,
Or even in our city or next door,
Except from what we’re fed—that filtered feed
That’s then polluted by the feeders’ views.

And so we each are more and more entrapped.
We’re caught, conditioned; then, as zombied slaves,
We race upon the tracks that power the mills
Of Mammon that are grinding all to dust.
And though the tools exist, for some at least,
To see beyond the bounds of space and time,
So many still are blinkered in their views,
As goads, incitements work to steer the herds.
What hope exists, except that each can still
Attempt to shed these strong constraints of view?
No liberator comes; no hope exists
Except from what we each can try to do.

No revolution can succeed until
We see the wheel that each is turning too.
No evolution towards a saner world
Can be, without that pivot each must do.
A space exists between the push and pull
Of fear, desire, in which our vision clears.
To clear that space of snares and clutter, we
Can labor, with our grants of strengths and years.

We each can try, in small and humble ways,
To change the world that all of us have built.
It isn’t god or nature that dictates
What humans do. Our minds are snared and trained.
Without the promise that we will succeed,
Without the premise that the work is light,
We each can labor, breathing deeply, while
We work from darkness towards the hope of light.

There is the outer world and that within,
And each affects the other in its turn.
There is a little sphere that pens us each—
But in ourselves the bounds are ours to reach.

We can’t control what happens in this world,
We can’t foresee the future, yet we each
Can still enjoy, within ourselves, that peace
Residing in that space that each can clear.

No matter what tomorrow takes or gives,
No matter what the past has done or been,
There’s still the moment that we’re granted now
In which to turn towards dark or towards the light.

2016 August 25th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


When we’re young, the years go slowly,
So it seems, but when we age,
They seem to go by faster,
Till they’re flying by at speed.
We find we cannot slow them,
Though we mutter, wail and rage.
We fear they will not slacken—
Till we’re dead and gone indeed.

But then, as death approaches,
The days appear to slow,
As we wish that they would hasten,
As we’re eager then to go.

So it seems that time’s a torture
That’s devised, like all the rest,
To be, with us, impatient—
Yet all our patience test.
2016 August 23rd, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

Note: Below are links to two distant relatives of Relativity-III:
1) Relativity-II (Jo`e Bangla)
2) Relativity



A congress that is sexual can be wonderful indeed.
So those who represent us might consider “having sex”,
as the newer generation so dismally now says it,
to receive that inspiration that no lobbyist can give.
And if by chance caresses lead to feelings, surely then
our Congress will be better, though it’s mostly made of men.

And if there is an afterglow, in which unreason flees
as mind and head connect again, there might perhaps be hope
that all of the conventions and the pressures fall away,
and the Capitol, deserted as the Congress is at play,
might function as intended by the best in slavers yet,
when the Congressmen, returning, find they’re reading every line
and voting with a conscience—and a vision cleared by sex.

2016 August 23rd, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Green Balloon

The Green Balloon
A green balloon had fallen to the ground.
Its color glowed as the daylight changed and ebbed.
Its string was sticking to the rain-wet road.

With every little breeze, it seemed to fight
to free itself—to fly beneath the vault  
of rain clouds racing in the somber sky.
On looking at that green balloon, I felt—
There lies a one that’s much like you and I.
2016 August 21, Sun
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Gibbous Moon

an image posted by A.K. Entingh

Dear reader,

I have fallen increasingly into the habit of adding images, captions and notes to my posts of poems.  I realize that these things might be distracting or burdensome, and I apologize for this.

In my limited experience, the words and lines of a poem only convey their full meaning on being read with full attention.  For all but the best of poems, this does not occur spontaneously.  Some sustained effort is needed.
One has to clear one's mental clutter and also not hurry through. The entire poem usually needs to be read through at least twice, in a somewhat meditative mode of mind.

Nowadays, for most of us, this is contrary to our usual mode of reading, especially when looking at a screen. Given the times we live in, this is understandable.

Some of us are also struggling to survive. We each have to try to cope with not only our routine duties and responsibilities but also the vagaries and blows of fortune. This can be overwhelming.

So an e-mailed link to a post on a poetry blog might not be the best of pairings.  Adding yet more distractions could be very unwise.

Images might at times enhance the experience of reading a poem, but extraneous textual material, acting like noise, often detracts from it.  Much more than in prose, the mood or flow is interrupted.

Of course, there is occasionally a need for a preface or for footnotes, but these need to be separated from the experience of reading the poem.

For those who have the patience for a second reading, that could be done while ignoring the notes at the end.  Alternatively, one might skip the notes at the first reading, or simply never read them—as I am sure many might do, even without my prompting.

I am finding it difficult to break free of this habit of adding images, captions and notes.

Meanwhile, if this extra clutter (added to the clutter of the verses and that of my e-mails in your inbox) perturbs you, I am sorry.

All of that being said, notes 1 and 2 should be read by those wanting a better view of the images, while notes 3 and 4 should be read by those interested in basic astronomy—who might also wish to correct any errors I might have made in note 3.

-- Arjun

The Gibbous Moon

Waxing gibbous moon with clouds.  A.K. Entingh http://photo.accuweather.com/photogallery/details/photo/134438/

I saw, tonight, the clouds on high
were drifting past the moon,
whose light they shaded with their streams
of hazy white and dark.

But as I looked, the sky grew clear.
The moon now floated free.
And I stood there, transfixed by light
reflected down to me.

I figured, from the gibbous shape
that pointed to the west,
where it might lie—that sun that lit
this moon that lovers seek.

How sweet that light, reflected in
the eyes of one you love.
How lonely then that moon appears,
when those you love are gone.

Moon and storm clouds, Bensonhurst Park, Brooklyn, 2016-08-15.  © A. Janah

We're born to live awhile and die,
as others have before.
The moon sails in and out of clouds
and sees us come and go.
How long this moon has circled Earth—
how many eons through—
we do not know.  But it has seen
more things than I and you.

And some might say, "It cannot see."
And they may well be right.
No witness to our follies then—
as wolves look up and howl.

I saw tonight a gibbous moon
that still will wax a while.
And when that moon is full I'll look
at it with shining eyes.

Full moon above clouds and hills.  author unknown

2016 August 16th, Tue
Brooklyn, New York


Bensonhurst Park after midnight, 2016-08-15.  © A. Janah

Bensonhurst Park after midnight, 2016-08-15—wide view.  © A. Janah
The path on the right leads towards the Bay Parkway and Belt Parkway exit.

Gables, windows, clouds and moon. 19th Ave, Bensonhurst, 2016-08-15.   © A. Janah

1. To see the images in this post in a somewhat larger and clearer format, single-click on any one image.  Then use your keyboard's right and left arrow keys, or click on the thumbnails, to see each image in turn. To return to this post, click on the large white X near the top right of the dark background.  Pressing the escape (esc) key might also return you to this post.
2.  For an even better view of the images, go also to full-screen view. In most web-browsers on a PC, the F11 key can be used to toggle in and out of full-screen view.

The photographs taken by me are not the best. I am still struggling with the smartphone, including even with 'phone calls.

But I have included a black and white photograph (the third image: 
Full moon above clouds and hills) that is beautiful. I could not trace the photographer.

There is also a nice color photograph of the moon, with clouds in the foreground. This is the first image, which is repeated, with the second occurrence captioned: Waxing gibbous moon with clouds. 

This shows the moon in one if its two gibbous phases.  I found it, posted by A.T. Entingh, at a site on accuweather.com.  A.T. Entingh has a photography site (which I found once, but then could not find again), which says she is interested in weather photography. So the photograph was probably taken by her—although this image was not on that site.
3. The term "gibbous", as applied to the moon, refers to the shape of its lit surface, as observed by us, when more than half of the circle is lit, but not the full circle. The common names for the phases of the moon are "new" (completely dark and so invisible), "crescent", "quarter" (half the circle lit), "gibbous" and "full".

If, for a crescent, quarter or gibbous moon, the western side of the moon is lit, then the moon is waxing: the lit area will be growing larger each night, until full moon.  If the eastern side of the moon is lit, then it is waning: the lit area will be growing smaller each night, until it disappears at new moon.

That, at least, is how I figure it, noting that the moon revolves "monthly" around the Earth, in the same direction as the Earth rotates daily about its north-south axis—from west to east.

Do correct me if I am wrong.

The moon's orbital plane is tilted with respect to the Earth's equatorial plane. The angle of this tilt varies cyclically, over the years, from about 18 degrees to about 29 degrees. 

If you live north of the 30th parallel of latitude, then you should be able to see the moon (between moon-rise and moon-set) when facing south. The western side of the moon will then be on your right.

4. The first image is repeated in two sizes. That will only be apparent on viewing the images as explained in notes 1 and 2 above.

The photograph for the second image (Moon and storm clouds, Bensonhurst Park) was taken, shortly after midnight, at the start of Monday, 15th August. 

The moon's phase was then waxing gibbous. But the bright flare in the photograph hid the gibbous shape.  The three lights in a horizontal line in the clouds were not from 'planes or UFO's.  They are artifacts of the cellphone's camera.

The final image (Gables, windows, clouds and moon) was taken the next night, around 10 pm on Monday, 15th August. 


The phase of the moon was then still waxing gibbous—with the full moon being due on Thursday, 18th August. At the time of the photograph, only a bit of the moon was not obscured by dark clouds. Again, in the photograph, the light flare around that bright bit rounded out its shape..
5. Chronological details:
-a) composed stanzas 1 to 4 and 6:
2016 August 15th, Mon, late at night, while walking, with the moon as companion, from the crossing at 19th & Cropsey Avenues to Bensonhurst Park (near Bay Parkway and Cropsey Avenue) and then around the circular path there
-b) wrote those stanzas:
sitting on a bench in the park
-c) added stanzas 5, 7 and 8:
August 16th, Tue, at our apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Morning in Berea

Note: To see the images in this post in a somewhat larger and clearer format, please single-click on any one image. Then use either your keyboard's right and left arrow keys or click on the thumbnails to view the other images in turn. Captions will not be visible.

To return to this post and read the captions and text, please  click on the white X near the top right of the dark background.  Pressing the Esc (escape) key might also return you to this post.


P.S.  I will search for the credits and links to the images that are currently missing those, and add them later.

Note that the images after the end of the verses and in the notes that follow are not directly related to Berea or Kentucky. They are related, instead, to a phrase (Crees and Cajuns) and a word (Appalachians) used in the verses.

Morning in Berea

Morning in Berea, Kentucky

Ah mountains, I have dreamed of ye,
that rose like isles from a feathered sea.
The distance clad your waves in blue,
and nearer ye were green in hue.

And when the mists rose up at morn,
that soul that now is mine was born
that keeps that treasure, in its heart,
revealed by sun and nature's art.
Those mountains, in my dreams, I see,
that rose like isles from a cloudy sea.
The distance draped their waves in blue,
and  nearer they were green in hue.


To Cecil, Deborah and Sharla I say,
"My thanks for the 'likes' that you gave me today,
  but Cecil had posted those mountains of blue—
and writing my verses was all I could do."

Early winter sky, Newfound Gap Road, by Kristina Plaas
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sing to Me        ভোরের আশার গান

Morning Glory, Haywood County North Carolina

Noah (Bud) Ogle Homeplace, built late 1880's, Roaring Fork Motor Trail,
Great Smoky Mountains, 
by L.D. Coffey
LD Coffey Pics     https://www.facebook.com/ldcoffeypics

View from Blue Ridge Parkway, autumn

So I thank you all kindly for the “likes” for the verse,
though my use of the "ye" made it worse. 
I have tried to rewrite it, so the gods will not smite it,
as I'm stuck with the scrivener's curse.

For the lines that I scribble--they often are drivel,
but at times they have sound and have sense.
So I'll scribble my drivel, but then I will quibble,
and erase and rewrite what I'd scribbled.

The lines that I write are written despite
what my reason might tell me is right,
for Ms. Muse is dictating, and I merely am writing,
and often not hearing her right.

But then she will tap me and gently correct me
or give me a slap and a scold.
And then I will grumble—but slowly or swiftly
I'll do as Ms. Muse might direct me.

When Cecil posts pictures of the blue Appalachians,
or those of ancestors of Crees or of Cajuns,
I feel in my heart then a singing and so
I type then that song as my drivel and go.
2016 August 6th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

Cree encampment

Cree boatwomen

Cree couple in front of tepee (tipi)

Souwangesheick and his squaws, Cree Indians

Cree man

Cree woman

Cree man

Cajun house and a tree, by Floyd Sonnier

Cajun cafe and a tree, by Floyd Sonnier

Back porch waltz, by Floyd Sonnier
La Boucherie Des Cajuns (the Cajuns' butcher shop/meat cooking?), by Floyd Sonnier

Cajun boy and girl in Mobile County, Alabama

James Carville, canny and vocal political consultant,
known as "the Ragin' Cajun".  He is from Louisiana, as
is quite evident from his speech, but  he may not be of
Cajun descent.

Acadian to Cajun



Notes on "Morning in Berea"
A) Connection to Berea, Kentucky
Mu Facebook friend Cecil has been living in Kentucky for a very long time.  I had first "met" him on Facebook via a cousin of mine, who had also been in Kentucky for a while, during and after her college years. She had followed another cousin to college in Berea, in eastern Kentucky (part of Appalachia).  She had subsequently lived for some years, deep in the wooded hills of Kentucky, in an isolated cottage not reachable then by road.  She had bravely lived there--without modern utilities and conveniences, while still enjoying the wilds.

Of course, other than the pictures of the mountains and some references to them in the verses, those who have actually lived in Berea or other parts of Kentucky might find little in this post that relates to their lives and experiences there.

Do feel free to add these and other things and thoughts in the comments, at the end of the post.
-- Arjun


B) Context for the verses

I was a latecomer to Facebook, but I have been spending a bit too much time on it lately--mostly "sharing" posts that I think merit this for various reasons, and also commenting on some posts, occasionally lapsing into verse in my comments.

Cecil had recently posted a picture of blue-green mountains, rising from the mist, taken in Berea, Kentucky.  Seeing it, I wrote the first two stanzas above--as a comment to his Facebook post. Subsequently, I added a third stanza, which was a repeat of the first, but with the archaic "ye" replaced.

Soon after, I wrote, in a follow-up comment,  some rhymed notes of thanks to Cecil and to some others who had read the verses and "liked" them on Facebook.  I also apologized for my acquired habit of fussing over my verses--by revisiting them and trying to "fix" them.

I have now combined those two versified Facebook comments and and have posted them together, here (above) at the Daily Poet blog, as "Morning in Berea". 
I  have included, at the start of the verses, that photograph of the mountains, taken from Berea, that Cecil had posted on Facebook. I have also added, after that, some more images from the Appalachians as well as some images pertaining to Amerindians. Both of these are often the subject of Cecil's Facebook posts.
C) Crees and Cajuns

I should note, however, that neither the Crees nor the Cajuns, whose faces, figures and dwellings are pictured here, were residents of the Applachians at the times of the photographs and sketches.  The Cree happen to be one of the largest surviving Amerindian tribes. They were found, in historical times, to be mainly living in the region from Lake Superior westwards. But most of the survivors are now stretched over Canada, with some Crees still left in Montana.

The Cajuns are mainly of "mixed blood"--as are we all, come to think of it. So it might not be correct to refer to them as "Amerindians." Indeed, they are mostly descended from French and other European settlers in Acadia, a French colony in northeastern North America, which later became part of eastern Canada and northern Maine (the most northeastern U.S. state).

The Acadians, who were mainly Catholics, faced persecution, imprisonment and deportation after British victories in the northeast.  Many fled south to Louisiana--at that time a Spanish colony.  Both while in Acadia and after resettling in Louisiana,  they intermarried with local Amerindians and others. Their common speech used to be, until quite recently, a distinct form of French.

But anyone who has tasted Cajun cuisine will note the influence of Amerindians and also perhaps of Africans.

D) Appalachians and Appalachia

I have used the term "Appalachians" here as shorthand for the "Appalachian Mountains".  The main spine of these mountains begins in eastern Canada.  It then runs roughly southwest along much of the eastern U.S., mostly parallel to the Atlantic coastline, and ends in the southeastern U.S. state of Alabama.

Long ago, when these mountains were younger, they were as high as the Rockies are now.  Over the eons, they have been weathered down to their current much lower heights.

The main spine of the Appalachian Mountains

Great Appalachian Valley

The term "Appalachian" may also be used to refer to a resident of Appalachia--a hilly region, with some distinct cultures, that spans part of the Appalachian mountain chain and runs from New York State through western parts of most of the mid-Atlantic states to areas in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  All of West Virginia is in Appalachia. The eastern parts of  Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee lie in the western section of this region.
Appalachian region of the United States