Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ A Grain Of Sand

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” — Robert W. Service


“Faith as tiny as a grain of sand allows us to move mountains”— Paulo Coelho

“In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles in every grain of sand”— Bob Dylan

“Individually, every grain of sand brushing against my hands represents a story, an experience, and a block for me to build upon for the next generation.”— Raquel Cepeda, Bird of Paradise: How I became Latina

Midweek Motif ~ A Grain of Sand 

 I read somewhere, “Sand is serious and entertaining”.

In fact sands could be fascinating story tellers of the distant past.

In 1922, a famous necklace with a scarab beetle carved from a glowing, yellow-green, gem-like material which could not be recognized at the time discovered from Tutankhamun’s tomb, came to be known as a unique silica glass (28 million years old and 98% pure, from a particular part of the Libyan desert) in the 1990’s.

There’s a realm of fantasy under our feet when we walk on a beach. We are unaware how the meiofauna there, are striving hard to stop the beach going anoxic [starved of oxygen], in their home of a grain of sand. For them only the sparkling shores have not yet turned into a sticky, stinking mudflat.

A single grain of sand matters in this grand scheme of our universe.

Let A Grain of Sand find its way into your lines today J

Auguries of Innocence
by William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage 
Puts all Heaven in a Rage 
A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons 
Shudders Hell thr' all its regions 
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate 
Predicts the ruin of the State 
A Horse misusd upon the Road 
Calls to Heaven for Human blood 
Each outcry of the hunted Hare 
A fibre from the Brain does tear 
A Skylark wounded in the wing 
A Cherubim does cease to sing  

The rest of the poem is here 


 View With A Grain Of Sand
by Wislawa Szymborska

We call it a grain of sand,

but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.

It does just fine, without a name,

whether general, particular,

permanent, passing,

incorrect, or apt.

Our glance, our touch means nothing to it.

It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.

And that it fell on the windowsill

is only our experience, not its.

For it, it is not different from falling on anything else

with no assurance that it has finished falling

or that it is falling still.

The window has a wonderful view of a lake,

but the view doesn’t view itself.

It exists in this world

colorless, shapeless,

soundless, odorless, and painless.

The lake’s floor exists floorlessly,

and its shore exists shorelessly.

The water feels itself neither wet nor dry

and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural.

They splash deaf to their own noise

on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beheath a sky by nature skyless

in which the sun sets without setting at all

and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.

The wind ruffles it, its only reason being

that it blows.

A second passes.

A second second.

A third.

But they’re three seconds only for us.

Time has passed like courier with urgent news.

But that’s just our simile.

The character is inverted, his hasts is make believe,

his news inhuman.    

A Grain of Sand
by Robert William Service

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.
'Mid countless constellations cast
A million worlds may be,
With each a God to bless or blast
And steer to destiny.

Just think! A million gods or so

To guide each vital stream,

With over all to boss the show

A Deity supreme.

Such magnitudes oppress my mind;

From cosmic space it swings;

So ultimately glad to find

Relief in little things.

For look! Within my hollow hand,

While round the earth careens,

I hold a single grain of sand

And wonder what it means.

Ah! If I had the eyes to see,

And brain to understand,

I think Life's mystery might be

Solved in this grain of sand.  

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

                (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~ News Media)

. . . . 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Blog of the Week ~ Bjorn Rudberg and the Aged Librarian

I am sure you have all come across Bjorn Rudberg's series of poems about the Aged Librarian, which he has been writing all winter at Bjorn Rudberg's Writings. This is a series that has interested me very much, and I thought you might like to hear more about it as well. Pour yourself a nice cup of afternoon tea and draw your chairs in close. Let's find out about this intriguing character, and the poet who created him!

Sherry: Bjorn, I have been so intrigued by the series you have been writing about the aged librarian.  How and why did he appear, the first time? Tell us about him.

Bjorn: My very first idea of the aged librarian came from a prompt about Jorge Louis Borges. One of his more famous short stories called “The Library of Babel” has always been close to my heart. I don’t think it was so much the library itself but the sense of a librarian that fascinated me. The idea or a concept of an ancient scholar is a great attraction to me. I think many people reading about him recognize themselves in him. 


The aged librarian collects ideals:
he’s saving fragments, bulbs and seeds
of scribbled shorthand, notes and antidotes.
He shuffles words and stanzas
tries to set them juxtaposed against his memory of youth:
the boisterous marketplace before he closed the doors;
the recollections of the lips he never dared to kiss,
her breasts, her hair and music that he failed to play.

He’s lacking soil and sun of conversations,
Stiff from loneliness and books his life is hushed,
it’s slow and collected possibilities have withered in a corner.
Ideas gather dust and resolutions rust
as the aged librarian is waiting for a crust of metaphors
to grow, connect his dreams.
The aged librarian closes his eyes, sighs.
December 22, 2016

Sherry: I can see him, and he looks a bit like my dream man. Smiles.

Bjorn: Thank you. I think he lacks some social skills in dealing with women. An influence for me is Stoner from the great book with the same name by John Williams about a man who is lost to the world, but still survives with his words. There is something tender and vulnerable with him, yet something very strong. I often draw inspiration from opposites in my poetry, and I think I have poured a little bit of that into the character.


His finger traces spines; blind
he reads the gilded letters
embossed as braille
he’s forming stanzas in his mind.
Heart of darkness, beating.
Craving fleur de mal.
But the aged librarian can only dream in sepia
of nyloned legs
her heels, mischievous curls she’d kept hidden;
the way she used to eyelash him;
loins were longing.

his lips are parchment (dry from poetry)
forever reaching
back in time to the moment she moved out and left him pressed
between the pages
as a bookmark (one of many) in her books unread
January 5, 2017

Sherry: A lonely librarian, pressed between the pages of a book. How poignant!

Bjorn: I always think of the librarian becoming indistinguishable from the books. I think he represents our collective memories, so I also wanted to use him as a character talking about the end of times. Some of the scenes are apocalyptic, and I think the library can be the last refuge of humanity. That's why I refer to Plato and Atlantis in a few of my poems. He only sees the shadows on the wall through his books, but yet I think he sees much more than most of us. I want to capture him as a metaphor about everything we are about to lose.

Sherry: I love that description, and insight. It is hard to see the writing on the wall of these times we live in. I love the idea of the library (books) as the last refuge. Certainly, books have always been mine.

The Stockholm Library


He always thought that
could be built as essays (unabridged).
That if he listened — after-
wards he’d be allowed to speak his mind.
“It’s like crossing ridges —
once you reach the highest point it’s downhill
to the valley below”
But timeslots slips; the aged librarian
and builds his thesis,
breath by breath,
strong with reason — walled with words
and punctuated,
it’s perfected
juxtaposed to synthesis;
“My mouth is filled with pebbles”.
He believes that chasms of treason
can be closed
if just once
he’d be allowed to speak his mind.

He lights a candle. Sighs.
Cause bridges crumble and his pens run dry.
That’s why
the aged librarian just makes sense in
January 10, 2017

Sherry: This has been a wonderful unfolding, with great development of character. Once he was here, what kept him coming back?

Bjorn: Already from my first poem I felt that he can be my spokesperson. Not an alter ego, but maybe a persona that is only part of me. He has begun to appear in my thoughts, and whenever I feel lost for inspiration I think… what my aged librarian wants to say. He has become a voice that whispers words of sorrow, and a bit of hope.

Sherry: That’s pretty cool, Bjorn, "a voice that whispers words of sorrow, and a bit of hope”. We can all use an inner voice like that. Or maybe we all have aged librarians inside us. What are you seeking to express in this series of poems?

Bjorn: I think I want to say many things, but to a large extent he is a metaphor for everything that we are losing. He stands up against stupidity (though he has his own stupidity). I feel that libraries are changing, that the written word has lost its ground. This is why he is often alone, by himself in his large library. I think he has lost a lot of things in his life, but he has gained some things as well.

Library in the Rijks Museum of Amsterdam


On new year’s eve he lets the ancient sunshine in
to dust beloved shelves.
He sits beside the window drinking tea
and watches specks of dust transform from books to stars.
He notices their subtle scintillation
before they fall to rest.
Seemingly so random
dust becomes
(in Brownian movements)
the harbinger of matter,
a silent voice of molecules, an echo of what’s real.
The aged librarian (used to reading shadows)
finds how close to Plato’s cave this daylight really is.
‘It’s like my youth’, he mumbles,
‘I harvest now in aftermath of thoughts,
the random movement
that I once attributed to hormones’.

The aged librarian sighs:
‘I think that Plato knew that only
when you’ve aged with books,
you know how little you have seen
and tomorrow yet another year has passed.’
And in the setting sun the aged librarian
waits; his tea is growing cold.
December 31, 2016

Sherry: You identify with him in some ways, it is clear.

Bjorn: As I said, I think there are things I identify with, but many other things are just the opposite of me. While he is shy and silent, I am loud and boisterous. He would probably like me way less that I would like him. Part of him is an ideal, part of him is a fear of what I once could be.

The tea set by Claude Monet


“Is the library like woods or sea?
Do books resemble trees or waves?”
Maybe they are both, the aged librarian ponders
as he stirs his Oolong tea
while sifting through his childhood memories.
He recalls his mother’s hand in his,
still warm with spring
she taught him trees,
how boughs had voice,
how leaves were syllables
each tree a changing poesy,
each path a syllabus to follow.
The library is woods.
He feels his father’s hand in his,
callous, salt with brine
he taught him of the sails and waves,
how sea is meter, wind the strings
of songs; each wave another iamb.
He taught him
how the stanzas can be storms or doldrums,
how a lighthouse is another path to shore;
another syllabus.
Hence library is sea.

He sips his Oolong tea; he smiles;
his world is woods and sea;
his words are waves and trees;
his home the library, as he was taught.

Sherry: Sigh. I love this poem the best of all. You have developed this character so well, I feel I know him. To wrap up,  I would love to include "Books and Gardens" here, just because it is beautiful and fits so well with the librarian. Let's read:

Books and Gardens

My garden is a library, my books are flowerbeds.
When leafing through my books I find how flowers
in my garden are like poems. A few are buds,
in splash of color, shy, still sparked from hope;
they need my care and warmth of voice before
they bloom. But books are also thistles, thorned
unwanted, proud and wonderful in purpleness.
My garden bulbs are words, my garden is a place
for poesy and posies, for sense and sentences
and even in the winter I can hear a voice of violas.
Words can be like fir-trees, stern but comfort givers,
my shelter when the winds have teeth and claws,
My garden has a hermit’s cave with walls of books
and there I am alone librarian: I am gardener of
willows; I am the caretaker of growth and spelling.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
November 15, 2016

Sherry: This is lovely, Bjorn. I completely agree with Cicero: with a garden and a library, we have all we need. I have been rich in both this lifetime.

In closing, would you like to tell us your plans for this series? Do you foresee a book?

Bjorn: One of the reasons I keep writing about my aged librarian is that I had a vague idea of making him a character in a poetry book. I would really love to do a book that is not a chap book, but a poetry book that you can read from start to finish.  I would probably add information between the poems, and poems yet unwritten. At some point I will write about the library itself as well. But I am open to any ideas on how such a book would be.

Sherry: Your outline sounds absolutely wonderful to me. I am a big proponent of self-publishing our own books, as it is easy and affordable. But your series sounds so original and intriguing, I think a publisher would be very interested. We'll watch with interest for the book to appear. We can launch it here!

Thank you, Bjorn, for telling us more about your aged librarian. Since we have been enjoying this series so much, it is nice to get a more in-depth look at him. I have developed a little crush on him. LOL.

Wasn't this interesting, my friends? I look forward to reading more about this appealing character. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Poetry Pantry #350

A Giraffe Sculpture in Front of an Art Gallery
(just for fun!)
Greetings, friends!   I hope you have had a chance to write a poem to share with us in the Pantry today.

If you haven't read Rosemary's Moonlight Musings, do scroll back.   There is a very interesting discussion going on about whether we should separate a writer from his/her art-- whether or not an artist's personal life (for better or worse) matters.  Do take a look.

We really had an enjoyable Midweek Motif this week, where Susan presented us with the timely topic "Holiness / Holy Day."  It really got many of us thinking.  Sumana's prompt on Wednesday will be "A Grain of Sand."  Think about it ahead of time, and see what you can come up with.

On Monday Sherry is featuring one of our very prolific poets -- Bjorn Rudberg. I know you will enjoy this blog of the week!

Now, with no delay, let's share poetry.  Link your poem below.  Say hello in the comments.   And visit others who share their work.  See you on the trail. Enjoy!