Saturday, September 29, 2018

Physics with Björn: Gravity and Space-Time curvature

Hello all, today I wanted you to inspire you again with a bit with Physics.

Or maybe scare you… he he.

For those that remember we did cover the theory of special relativity a while ago, and we had some cool poems on its consequences and the concept of space time. Today I want to mention the general theory of relativity.

From his early successes Einstein continued to develop his theory of general relativity where he tried to add the concept of gravity.

The theory up till this point had been proposed by Newton and could actually explain everything we can observe. It can predict satellites, postulate the presence of undiscovered planets, worked well with missiles and ballistics. So, Einstein’s struggles with the very complicated math involved was to start with more a cool exercise of combining all theories into one. So to start with it was more a set of equations with some pretty cool predictions that wasn’t possible to verify until way later.

One of these predictions was that gravity could be seen as curvature of space-time. If this sounds wacky this what I thought at first too. But effects of this curvature has been seen.

Since light has no mass, normally it would be expected that light would be unaffected by gravity, but if gravity affect space and time itself also light would be affected since the straight path that light would normally take would bend.

This has been seen as an effect when light from a faraway start passes close to a massive object such as black hole (yes that is strange too) it will bend from its straightest path.

So today I would like you to think of things like black holes, space-time curvature and gravity, and come up with a new poem that have at least some connection to the theme.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wordy Thursday with Wild Woman ~ Earth Grief

A statue in Berlin, by Isaac Cordal 
entitled "Politicians Discussing Global Warming"

The topic of climate change is on our minds and on the news these days as never before.  Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, a heating planet, melting poles:  Mother Earth is struggling desperately under the heavy load of human and corporate demands. Those of us who are aware may be carrying what I call"earth grief" as a result.

This past summer, the whole world witnessed the grief of the mother orca, Tahlequah, whose calf died soon after birth. The mother orca carried her dead calf on her head for seventeen days, with assistance from her pod, in an unprecedented display of grief felt around the world. 

This pod of orcas, who live in the Salish sea, at the south end of Vancouver Island, is starving for lack of salmon. This was the first live calf born since 2015. She lived half an hour. Over-fishing, contamination from fish farms, toxins, warming seas and boat traffic are imperiling their survival. 

WE are doing this, with our relentless and voracious demands on a struggling planet.

It is our task, as poets who love all life, to put our pain, our fears and our hopes into words. Using as many or as few words as you need, write about earth grief / climate change in general.

Pick one facet of the planet's struggle and give voice to it: wildfires, elephant massacres, extinctions, plastic garbage dumps in the sea, dying coral reefs, grieving mother orcas - whatever you are most moved by in this moment. 


If this is too depressing, write your poem about the beauty of the natural world, all that you hold dear.

Let's sing our pain and our love to our suffering Mother Earth.

I look forward to reading your offerings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Life is so unpredictable. We are here one minute and the next thing you know we are packing our bags and moving to another place. Greetings poets, wayfarers and friends, it's a beautiful day here and I am really excited to be travelling back to my home country. Below are a few pictures which I thought would be fun to share with you all.
Frere Hall, Saddar Karachi
Mohatta Palace Museum, Clifton Karachi

Bagh Ibne Qasim Park, Clifton Karachi

Somiani Beach

And if you think the scenery is good wait until you try the food! Local delicacies such as briyani, chicken korma, haleem, nihari, and kheer are just a few that come to mind.

I must confess there are a million thoughts running through my mind, I am reminded of 2014 when I left home and moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, due to unsafe city conditions, little did I know that in a few months I would be stepping into the world of Poetry and would be writing my first poem.

Fast forward time and two years later I entered into the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, as I recall a dear friend and fellow poet said; "From desert to tropics" smiles. It was here that I continued my poetic journey and it was here that I evolved, and it is from here that I head back and take you guys along with me. I am so happy!

If you have any thoughts to share, ideas you wish to release into the wild or a world view to express then you have come to the right place. Please share a poem of your choice and enjoy the company of your fellow scribes. We look forward to reading you and hope you have a wonderful day! ❤️


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Weekend Mini Challenge: A Rainbow of Sonnets

Welcome to the Weekend Mini Challenge with Kim from Writing in North Norfolk.

We haven’t had a sonnet prompt for a while and I recently discovered a beautiful one by Sylvia Townsend Warner, who was born in 1893 and died in 1978. Although she's best known for her historical novels, Warner was also a poet. 
Image result for sylvia townsend warner
Image from Wikipedia
This particular sonnet struck me because of its exploration of the colour blue in the first stanza and the emotions expressed in the shorter second stanza.

‘To no believable blue I turn my eyes’

To no believable blue I turn my eyes
Blinded with sapphire, watchet, gentian,
Shadow on snow, Mediterranean,
Midsummer or midwinter-moonlight skies.
Unstained by sight, unravished by surmise,
And uttering into the void her ban,
Her boast, her being – I know not a man!
Out of all thought the virgin colour flies.

After her, soul! Have in unhaving, peace,
Let thy lacklight lighten upon thee, read
So well thy sentence that it spells release,
Explore thy chain, importune suns to cede
News of thy dark – joyed with thy doom’s increase,
And only by distinction of fetters freed.

Sylvia Townsend Warner

This weekend I would like you to write a NEW sonnet based on a colour of your choice. It could be your favourite colour, a colour that has a special meaning, a seasonal colour – it’s up to you. The challenge is to write it in two stanzas: in the first, explore the colour and in the second, express emotion(s) awakened by the colour. It can be a classic sonnet or a modern sonnet.

Join our rainbow of sonnets by clicking on Mister Linky and filling in your name and url – not forgetting to click the small ‘data’ box. And please remember to read and comment on other toads’ poems – otherwise they’ll be blue.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fireblossom Friday : Say The Word

English is a funny language. A lot of it came from other languages, and some of those words retain their foreign sound. Some remain foreign and not strictly English at all, but are used much in the manner of "Voila!" Moreover, some of them roll off the tongue very poetically, it seems to me. Even without knowing what they mean, they just sound cool. Add the meaning, and it's pretty much nerd heaven. 

What I want you to do is to take one of the following words and build a poem around it. Don't just jam it in some place where it sticks out like a sore thumb. Make the word you choose central to your poem. I think we may get some interesting results. Write, link, enjoy!

The words:

1. Schadenfreude. (German) The experience of joy, pleasure, or self-satisfaction that comes from the learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures or humiliation of another.

2. Bete Noire. (French) A person or thing that one particularly dislikes. 

3. Sturm Und Drang. (German) Storm and stress.

4, Saudade. (Portuguese) A deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.

5. Mox Nix. (German) Bastardization of "Es macht nichts", used by American GI's in WWII Europe to mean "It doesn't matter" or "It makes no difference."  Some of them brought the phrase home with them.

6. Fahrvergnugen (German) Driving pleasure. Used in 1990 ads for Volkswagen automobiles. "Say the word!" I got the whole idea for this post from listening to a tape I made of songs off the radio from around 1990. Amid the Howard Jones and Toto songs were ads featuring "Fahrvergnugen" (for VW) and Joe Isuzu, not to mention Tubby's Submarines "No Place For Wimps." So I ran with it.

Form, length, subject? Mox nix, baby. Just get writing. :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

Charles Bukowski
the flesh covers the bone 
and they put a mind in there 
and sometimes a soul, 
and the women break vases 
against the walls 
and the men drink too much 
and nobody finds the one 
but keep looking crawling in and out of beds. 
flesh covers the bone 
and the flesh searches for more than flesh.
there's no chance at all: 
we are all trapped by a singular fate.
nobody ever finds the one.
the city dumps fill 
the junkyards fill 
the madhouses fill 
the hospitals fill 
the graveyards fill

nothing else fills

By Charles Bukowski

Greetings to all poets and friends and visitors….from a ‘still-clutching-to-summer'-London, UK!
As one of my favourite Tv shows  proclaims, “Winter is coming!”… and yes, there’s a definite crisp chill in the night air - so all the more reason to warm up with lots and lots of poetry.
This is we where we eagerly wait to discern your dreams, visions and pearls …as you cast them forward. Feel free to share your poem and please, don’t forget to read what your fellow poets have been up to.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Weekend Challenge: Resistance

Tina Modotti, "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in the May Day Parade, Mexico City, 1st May 1929"

Years ago I read a couple of lines of poetry by L.S. Asekoff which has lingered in my working mind, like tones of a darkly resonant bell:  "Avoid what tempts,/ move toward what threatens." 

As poetics go, it's a word to the wise: You are often fooled by what you think you know best. Resist such certainties in order to go deeper, to get to the heart of the truth.

Implicit in the notion of resistance is that the best—the pièce de résistance, so to speak—is yet to come. We must avoid the temptation of completion; our poems are ever only in their latest draft. There is always another room in that dream.

Temptation is an idea old as the hills, or at least the Garden of Eden with its serpent-woman conundrum. Humankind was perfect until tempted with that shiny sweet-looking apple in Eve's Venusian palm. Succumbing to the desire for immediate reward, we did the one thing we weren't supposed to do—taste of the tree of knowledge—and got ourselves evicted from Paradise. Original sin is the failure to resist. (And the temptation, patriarchs, comes from within.)

But what of poetic resistance? What aesthetic temptations do we indulge at our peril? I am at my creative worst when indulging in short cuts, old tropes and redundancies—easy solutions which usually wreck me offshore of the sublime. There's a rote voice in my ear, ticking off in iambic pentameter, dictating the old soundtrack by which I write the same poem every time—damn! How did I get back on that same old singsong bangagong Muzak track? I've become Swinburne, swimming naked in tidy couplets; Keats without the urning, pocket Ginsburg howls without untidy burning.

Mailer once said you should never fall in love with your own writing, because when that happens it means you're writing crap.  But how are we to resist the very lamp leading us through the labyrinth? That's quite a rub. In his poem "Man Carrying Thing," Wallace Stevens tells us that the poem must resist the intelligence / almost successfully."  That "almost" is the qualifier: we are writing, right? We are chained to medium and imuse. Resist too much and you're blocked, silent, dead, turning to the TV or the daily Sudoku.  And however much you try, resist, revise, remake, remodel, you never know if your work is any good. Ever.

Resistance is a way of not going too easily or heedlessly into one's Voice. There's a sequence: first the apple of temptation with its immediate satisfying result, and then there's the greater thing which comes of refusal, patience, waiting, and cultivation. Then finding what's behind the found and the known. The secret country, the hidden paradise we can't see, can't sing, because our next sentences are too chained to their first.

Jack Gilbert lived and wrote this way, refusing the easy career for one largely of isolation and near-poverty, getting close and closer to the insides of his words. He published a book a decade in his 40 year career, taking all the time in the world to get to the truth.  This, from Gilbert's poem "Tear It Down":

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars...

Can resistance become a habit, a way of chasing words almost successfully?  Rilke wrote in one of his Letters to a Young Poet: "...If only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience."  To Rilke, the very face of beauty can only be revealed in the shadow of its alternate, the one turned toward death. How else are we to fully appreciate the rose window, the blushed secretive smile, the angel singing above the grave?  In his late masterwork series "Sonnets to Orpheus" and "Duino Elegies," affirmation and triumph are found down a long road of resistance.

But here's the rub: Such an astringent is not readily or headily applied. Ever. I am constantly fooled by softer, easier ways of resistance—suburban approximations of Eden at best. The result is neither hallowed or harrowing.  You can liken it to the dialogue about resistance we've been hearing in American politics these past few years. Midterm elections are approaching, primary election results indicate that the #MeToo movement is mounting an effective resistance to the hard-right politics of Donald Trump. There has been a surge of women for office, and more than half of them running have won their primaries. If your sympathies go that way, your Facebook feed is garnished with Resistance memes.

Last week, an anonymous senior White House official penned a op-ed for the New York Times about a quiet internal resistance against an elected President of no moral and scant mental capacity. She or he wrote that the real business of the Republic was being carried on behind his back, keeping the country out of war and criminal debacle by diverting the nation's business from him. An immense flood of comment and critique has arisen from all sides. Is such resistance traitorous? False? The secret oath of every Republican in love with present policies despite the man? Cowardice? Pragmatics of the Fall? Et cetera.

The best thing I've read on the topic (and very germane to this challenge) came from Teju Cole, photography critic for the New York Times Magazine and Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard. He compared our current cadres of Resistance on both the American left and right as carrying on too much in the disembodied squawkbox of social media. He compares that the legacy of the French Resistance during the Second World War, where the stakes were bloody, merciless and real:

... A dangerous commitment to resistance made by hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands of whom died in France alone. For a spell in the early ’40s, whenever the members of the Resistance killed a Nazi, the Nazis would execute 50 innocent French; an unspeakable calculus, but it did not stop the Resistance (its Communist wing in particular) from killing Nazis. It was a terrible time. The Resistance recognized that what was as stake was not just political power but also human dignity, which, all question of tactical efficacy aside, the resisters saw as nonnegotiable.

This history looms each time the word “resistance” is evoked in the current American political crisis. It judges the triviality of our responses. The sacred word has been made banal, its intensity dulled. The triviality is not in the predicament — so many have died here already, and many more will die — nor is it in the serious work being undertaken by so many people far from the spotlight, but in the voices of those who set the public tone. How I long now, on behalf of America, for Beckett’s aridity, for Melville’s gloom, for Stéphane’s desire to bear witness, for a sobriety of affect that matches the enormity of the crime. How are we to live in this? How are we to inhabit the principle behind the word “resistance” when the meaning of the word itself has changed so much?

Refuse a resistance excised of courage? Refuse the conventional arena and take the fight elsewhere? Refuse to eat with the enemy, refuse to feed the enemy? Refuse to participate in the logic of the crisis, refuse to be reactive to its provocations? Refuse to forget last year’s offenses and last month’s and last week’s? Refuse the news cycle, refuse commentary? Refuse to place newsworthiness above human solidarity? Refuse to be intimidated by pragmatism? Refuse to be judged by cynics? Refuse to be too easily consoled? Refuse to admire mere political survival? Refuse to accept the calculation of the lesser evil? Refuse nostalgia? Refuse the binary of the terrible past and the atrocious present? Refuse to ignore the plight of the imprisoned, the tortured and the deported? Refuse to be mesmerized by shows of power? Refuse the mob? Refuse to play, refuse decorum, refuse accusation, refuse distraction, which is a tolerance of death-dealing by another name? And when told you can’t refuse, refuse that, too? (Teju Cole, "Resist, Refuse." New York Times Magazine, Sept. 8, 2018)

Sorry to belabor the quote, but Cole I think gets to the deepest sense of resistance. How much are we willing—no, adamant—to refuse in the name of living and loving more genuinely, more truthfully? Are we citizens not only of nations, but of a world with an ecology with vastly different purposes than suburban blight, than cities of night? And beyond politics, how does resistance inform our poetics? Resistance nails the crucial difference between a hobby and an art. It's the difference between today's revision and tomorrow's, between a hollow trope and a newly arrived truth. Do you write because you like to, or because your existence as a soul on earth depends upon it? What temptations bar the way, and how many of them are you willing to sacrifice?

In French tradition, the chief dish in a meal is the called the pièce de résistance—
"the best or most exciting thing," usually the last in a series. We have to work through the quotidian and stereotypical, the bland and the wrong to arrive at the heart inside the heart of the matter.

For this challenge, write about resistance. Resist the theme, struggle with it, go down with it, come back with what saves you. Resist your poetic, your politics, your body's politic in love, your failure and death. What temps you to say nothing, or worse, too little? Conversely, why does poetry matter? What can it alone say to the world? 

What is your pièce de résistance—the poem you can't live without? I mean for today ...

Viva la Resistance!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Made For Now

So inspiring! Ladies and gentlemen, Janet Jackson!


* ROCK ON! *

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Tuesday Platform

I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.
~ Theodore Roethke, The Far Field 

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, your unprompted free-range day for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please look up from your phone and link up a poem. Then be sure to visit the offerings of our fellow writers.