Amarna’s Destiny … August 10, 2015

 

“Young god, content with what is Right,
lord of sky, lord of earth, sun-disk, alive, great,
illuminating the two riverbanks, alive, my father,
the living Ra-Horakhty rejoicing in what is Right,
in his name as Shu which is in the sun-disk,
given life for ever and eternity,
sun-disk, alive, great, who is in the sed-festival,
amidst the domain of the sun-disk in Akhetaten;
the living Horus strong bull, beloved of the sun-disk,
he of the Two Goddesses, great in kingship in Akhetaten,
Horus of gold, who raises the name of the sun-disk,
dual king, who lives on what is Right, lord of the two lands,
Neferkheperura sole one of Ra,
son of Ra, who lives on what is Right, lord of sunrisings,
Akhenaten, great in his lifespan,
given life for ever and eternity.”

–From a boundary stela at Akhetaten

a dream and ideal
lost home of Aten-Ra
oh Pharaoh’s vision
Amarna resurrected
but forever abandoned

© G.s.k. ‘15

After the death of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, Amarna was quickly abandoned as the priests of the former religions regained their power under Akhenaten’s son, the boy King Tutankhamen (originally Tutankhaten) who, three years into his reign, probably under the influence of his advisers, restored the old religions.

He moved his capitol back to Thebes and dedicated many public works to the gods in hopes of reunifying and restoring his country to greatness which had suffered greatly during the reign of his father.  Amarna proper fell into disuse and the main part of the city was never inhabited again though in the Roman period a new city was built near the old site, perhaps the people felt the place was cursed by the gods!  Below is a comment from the Wikipedia:

“As part of his restoration, the king initiated building projects, in particular at Karnak in Thebes, where he dedicated a temple to Amun. Many monuments were erected, and an inscription on his tomb door declares the king had “spent his life in fashioning the images of the gods”. The traditional festivals were now celebrated again, including those related to the Apis Bull, Horemakhet, and Opet. His restoration stela says:

The temples of the gods and goddesses … were in ruins. Their shrines were deserted and overgrown. Their sanctuaries were as non-existent and their courts were used as roads … the gods turned their backs upon this land … If anyone made a prayer to a god for advice he would never respond.

The country was economically weak and in turmoil following the reign of Akhenaten. Diplomatic relations with other kingdoms had been neglected, and Tutankhamun sought to restore them, in particular with the Mitanni. Evidence of his success is suggested by the gifts from various countries found in his tomb. Despite his efforts for improved relations, battles with Nubians and Asiatics were recorded in his mortuary temple at Thebes. His tomb contained body armour and folding stools appropriate for military campaigns.”

a ghost
shimmering in the desert
abandoned father
as the sun sank in the sands
Amarna soulless city

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for:

Carpe Diem #793 Amarna (City of Aten)

A tribute to Gary Maxwell – Utabukuro – August 2, 2015

One of my favourite poets is Gary Maxwell known in the blogging world as Ye Olde Foole … he is witty and sharp, and his haiku are delicate and very profound.  But I’ll let you judge for yourself –  this small selection of this work:

now night is over,
ancient anthems sing anew:
sirens and sparrows.
pines and lamp posts standing guard
where daybreak paints his shadows.

© Gary Maxwell
(Tanka (now night is over)18 May 2013)

(And now, here are a few of his haiku, taken from his blog site)

Some Summer mornings,
you can’t grasp a single word –
so sit in wonder.

moon still a sliver.
heart too small to hold these tears.
not enough sake.

(and remembering Basho’s haiku about a bee

a bee
staggers out
of the peony

© Basho

I couldn’t resist putting this one up)

iris
underneath her skirts
a bee

Besides writing haiku, senryu and tanka, Gary also writes classical poetry like ghazal, villanelle and sonnets. You can visit his blog site – Ye Olde Foole – by clicking the link and he can also be read on Books Cover 2 Cover.

And now I will try to write in the same tone and spirit as Gary, inspiring myself from this haiku which is one of my favourites … and very Zen to me :

There are no questions
save the ones you brought, yourself,
into this stillness.

© Gary Maxwell

§§§

in this silence
nothing to meditate on
just life
rolling past infinitely
from wonder to wonder

© G.s.k. ‘15

This post was written for:

Carpe Diem Utabukuro

 where we write about a favourite haiku … in my case I wanted to write about my favourite haiku poet, so I didn’t choose just one of his many poems ….

A Thin Red Line — June 26, 2015

shooting blind
who will die who will kill
no one knows – they shoot

where is the sense
what makes them better than me
or me better than them

is there an answer
maybe hidden in a bunker
where no grenade explodes

where are we going
where ever have we been
did we ever really live

look around
leaves growing green in spring
life blossoms

the sun warms the earth
filtering through the trees
the wet earth – a sweet perfume

they tell you to shoot
kill your enemy – then weep
when you shoot up a school

fear, envy, blindness
we walk in the shadow of evil
and close our eyes

blinded by blood-red light
we no longer see that we’re one
part of a whole

We are
lost … lost

© G.s.k. ‘15

WITT.
We were a family. How’d it break up and come apart so that now we’re turned against each other, each standing in the other’s light? How’d we lose the good that was given us, let it slip away, scattered, careless? What’s keeping us from reaching out, touching the glory?

The Thin Red Line

 

Some Folk Music from Italy – June 17, 2015

Le mondine were itinerant working women who left their homes in summer to work in  the rice paddies in Northern Italy (work began in the month of June until harvest time) during the 19th and part of the 20th century.

Work conditions were terrible and the pay just enough to barely make the sacrifices worth while.  The women spent long hours during the early season bare-footed and  knee-deep in water transplanting the new rice and endless hours under the sun weeding the plants as they grew.

A famous film all about their life and work starring  entitled “Bitter Rice” came out in 1949 starring Vittorio Gassman and Silvana Mangano.

Movies-Riso Amaro.jpg

le mondine
singing under the hot sun
dreaming of autumn

© G.s.k. ‘15

A voyage … into myself – May 18, 2015

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s been about two and a half years now that I’m blogging at Bastet and Sekhmet and what was to be an occasional post about my thoughts and maybe a bit of prose about my memories has turned into an adventure into poetry with bits and pieces of the odd story from time to time.  Bastet and Sekhmet evolved into Through the Eyes of Bastet for my photography, Bastet’s Waka Library for Japanese poetry on Blogger along with Along an Empty Road .. which is still pretty empty and finally Walking with Sekhmet.

During these years I also learned to write prompt posts for We Drink Because We’re Poets, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and recently Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.  I’ve also written the occasional post for various internet magazines and I’ve got a place to write on the Poet’s Corner and of course over the past year I’ve done a lot of Blog hopping.

That’s a lot of stuff going on and whereas I love to write … there are the difficult moments .. especially when one can’t read or comment all the work that’s going on around oneself.  I have seen writers who never ever comment their fellow writers and sometimes I think that I’d love to be like that, it would most certainly make things a bit easier.

I’m contemplating on temporarily closing down Bastet and Sekhmet.  Basically the blog is completely disorganized and I’d like to do a little work on it.  I’d also like to edit some of the poems and waka.  I’ve been talking about publishing an indie book of poetry and/or book of haiku but with the every day obligations of blogging, that goal just seems to get pushed further and further back.

After two and a half years I wonder where I’m going .. or where I should go from here.

Over these years I’ve met some fantastic people and many of them like meteors flashed beautifully along my horizon and disappeared .. leaving nary a trace, except in my heart.  What enthusiasm, what verve were these fantastic talents that have written here at WordPress and Blogger … but then poof they were no more.  Their Blogs closed down, empty places where once one would go anticipating a new wonder and a little chat, suddenly just didn’t exist anymore.

The word used is ‘burn out’ and it’s something every blogger should take into consideration.  It’s something I myself am coming very close to experiencing.  To burn out doesn’t mean you can’t write any more … at least I don’t think so.  What it is, is, having too much to do and a feeling of just not being able to cope with the every day stress … it’s also losing that energy of the new blogger, an energy where it seems everything is possible!

Well … now I’ve said this and probably their only words thrown to the wind … I don’t really know.  But, I’ve a couple of haiku I want to write and today’s Monday with a new Wordle.  But I wonder, does it really matter?  If Bastet, like Sahm King, Cubby, Grandma Says and so many others disappeared, would anyone notice?

 

Sir Terry Pratchett – March 13, 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett

I had just finished an English conversation lesson last night about humour and had decided to go have a cup of tea with one of my students.  We were talking about … of all things … some blood work I’ve had recently.  Nothing earth-shaking of course … low Vitamin D count … a bit high on the bad cholesterol etc.

But I did let it slip … “darn, I rarely had health problems before I hit 58.”

And she replied: “Terry Pratchett started having his problems when he was 58 too!”

“WELL … I was so sorry when I heard of his problems, such a terrible thing to happen to such a brilliant man … but, really not quite the same thing!”

Thus we began to speak about Terry Pratchett and his wonderful verve and fantastic imagination.  I remembered with a lesson we’d done a while back on him .. and his pride at being the “most pirated writer in the world.” Somehow, it hadn’t clicked that he’d passed on, until she said: “I’m so sorry he’s gone.”

“What???” was all I could say and she replied “I’m so sorry I thought you understood!  He passed away today!”

There will doubtless be thousands of testimonials for this fantastic human being today … I’m sure there are already quite a few at the time of this writing.

I remembered when he first announced his being stricken by his ’embuggerance’ … a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.  Both my Grandmother’s and my Aunt have had Alzheimer’s disease and it was like hearing that another dear relative had been stricken down by this terrible malady. I followed his brave campaign for dementia awareness and was struck with admiration as he kept on with his writing career all throughout the years.

It seems a terrible thing to say, but I’m happy for Terry that he never reached that stage of Alzheimer’s disease where he would have just been the living husk of himself .. and I’m also sure he was happier to have gone like this: “The author died at home, surrounded by his family, “with his cat sleeping on his bed”.

Here are his last words:

 

Terry Pratchett tweets

 

Don’t take too long in the black desert dear friend …

(Photo and tweets came from BBC News – Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66)

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Guest Writer: Seshat – December 27, 2014

In the Middle Ages, that is not so long ago and it’s better that you remember how easily men fell into those darkened times, the Christian faith  more or less united Europe under the guidance of the Catholic (which means Universal) Bishop of Rome.

Charlemagne became the Father of Europe, having united most of Europe under his reign and he was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in on Christmas Day that is the 25th of December, 800 … quite an auspicious day and already celebrated as the day Jesus was born.

But you might say, and quite rightly too, no one knew when Jesus was born, so why then?

That day was probably chosen because many of the former pagan beliefs were still very much felt and celebrated during the winter. The coldest darkest part of the year, was the time when men sought reassurance that life would be renewed and that spring would return (feasting overcame winter depression as well).  So, Saturnalia, Yule and other winter festivities were still being celebrated despite the “Christianizing” of Europe.

Christmas is officially designated as December 25th in the Western Christian communities some time in the fourth century being adopted by the Easter Christian communities only later.  In the early Church the first three days of Christmas were to be days of fast and prayer, to distinguish them from the pagan holidays which were orgies of frolicking and folly, later in the Middle Ages, Christmas day remained a day of prayer and in some cases fast.  It was not a time of gift giving or frolicking but a time to remember that the man who would become the Savior and be sacrificed for the world, was born.

Officializing  December 25th became necessary also because some of the earlier churches had decided that January 6th was  Christmas … and other early father’s of the Church were definitely against any sort of feasting the Birth of Christ as it was too close to some of the other ancient rites celebrating some other god’s birthday (Mithra for example or indeed like certain Egyptian gods).  It was finally decided that Christmas was not to be the celebration of the birth of God, but the birth of Jesus, the man.  Subtle though the difference might seem to us, we should try to remember that in the end Jesus is/was believed to be the manifestation of God in human form.

So, Christmas day was born and it often marked the beginning of the Christmas feasting period or the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Christmas Day being a day of prayer, fasting and atoning the first feasting, the actual partying began the next day on the 26th that is with the Feast of Saint Stephen (Boxing Day for the British) if you’d like to, you can re-listen to the first song which tells the tale of one such feast day. (King Wenceslaus The Story Behind the Carol)

This was a fast free period culminating on the 6th of January (Epiphany) which for some was the day the Magi came to worship the Lord and which others considered Jesus’ naming day.

The 28th was Childermas Day or the Day of the Innocents (when people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.)

The 31st was San Sylvester, for us New Year’s Eve and the 1st of January was considered Mary, Mother of Jesus Day and as I said above the 6th is Epiphany, the evening of the 5th is when Italian children put up their stocking so that the Befana, an old lady who flies around on a broom during that night, will bring gifts to good children and coal to the bad ones, she also sweeps away all the Christmas festivities.

The Twelve Days of Christmas … that is the song was written as a cryptic catechism song during the persecution of Catholics in England (click the link to see the meaning of the song).

Thanks for reading … Seshat.

I’d like to thank our guest writer Seshat the Wise for dropping in from the Akashic Library today to tell us a little of what’s behind the holidays and carols we are celebrating and singing during this period in the so-called Western World.  Hope you’re having fun!

dusty tomes teach
humanity’s frolicking
winter feasts
kept at bay deadly cold
and hope’s light in men’s hearts

(c) G.s.k. ’14

 

 

Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – September 20, 2014

Hello World!

This morning I wrote and published my Saturday Shadorma prompt on Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie.  The thumbnail there is from today’s post … I don’t know how many of you have been round to try the Mindlovemisery’s prompts, so I thought I’d do a short intro.

So, you haven’t been to Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie yet … you don’t know what it is?

It’s a great prompt blog … at the service of all you writers of poems and prose! We’re very easy-going .. you aren’t required to write prose for a prose prompt for example … an epic poem or a limerick is fine if that’s what tickles your muse.  You might say we’re muse friendly  😉  If you prefer to use your own photography for a fairy tale .. no problem.  We’re there to inspire and we know that inspiration cannot be chained!

Each day there is a new prompt … Monday‘s posts are one of my favorites … that’s Wordle day and alas, I’m a Wordle addict!  Then there are Yve’s photo challenges on Tuesday … they just draw you in … hard to resist.  Anmol  writes the weekly Heeding Haiku with HA on Wednesday – Oloriel does the Tale Weaver’s Prompt on Thursday and  Anja on Friday does the Fairy Tale Prompt.  As I said on Saturday I do the Shadorma (and other poetical forms) posts and then on Sunday,  Yves wraps up the week with another photo prompt … and what a great end to a week of prompts it is!

Here’s the Link to Mindlovemisery’s Home page … have fun visiting!

For those who know the site … what do you think of our new dress?  Lovely isn’t it!

Ciao, Bastet.

Senryu or Haiku: That Is the Question – July 16, 2014

queen bee picks her drone
guided missiles are drones too
but them’s money bees

Now I don’t think anyone could mistake the above for a haiku … it’s pure satire and not what I’d usually write.  Senryu (川柳?, literally ‘river willow’) has been around a long time … even before haiku, which before Shiki was considered a fragment of a renga, which is a communal poem, that fragment was often called a hokku or haikai.

Senryu on the other hand, has often been disparaged as not being proper poetry at all, by the more “serious” haiku poets.  It was often written spontaneously or for money as a comedy relief at parties.  Now days senryu has also taken up social protest and other more dark aspects of mundane life and has become very serious stuff.

 bees hum softly
orange blossoms perfume the air
children play tag

That was obviously a haiku.  It has the seasonal words (kigo) the pivot which then takes us to the kireji, the cutting word or phrase which changes our direction and is a sort of punctuation, and which I’m not very good at by the way 😉 , on the other the Japanese have whole dictionaries of kigo and kireji of which the later are nearly without translation, being sounds like “No” or “Ya”.  In fact much could be said about trying to write faithfully following rules which were created for a language so completely different from our latin based languages. (By the way, the first and last line should be interchageable according to some schools.)

After the Shiki revform, haiku left the realms of mysticism for many haiku poets writing about nature in the place of religion, Shiki being an atheist and not partial to writing about religious thought.  He felt that haiku should be about the everyday aspects of nature in our lives:

He favored the painterly style of Buson and particularly the European concept of plein-airpainting, which he adapted to create a style of haiku as a kind of nature sketch in words, an approach called shasei (写生), literally ‘sketching from life’. Wikipedia

Haiku should be a splash of life … like a pebble in a pond, a concentrated image, without comment by the poet and in the present tense and without rhyme.

The English speaking community who’ve introduced haiku and senryu to the West, have often been very polemical among themselves as to just how many syllables should be in a haiku …  some will also get upset, for example,  if one uses the “I” or “ego” in a haiku.  I’ve read extensively and found for the most part one can become very confused very easily.

From my point of view, the day I can speak and write Japanese, I will enter the controversy … in the meantime, I look to those who write better than I do and try to glean just what makes that little gem they’v written so beautiful, and try to write something equally beautiful.

Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with Ha