life’s horse

whitesheet
Click here for image source.

I can’t say that I want to grab life by the horns.
I think I would rather watch it come together
with time like the soft creases of a baby’s smile.

I would rather lay life out like a sheet,
smoothing the wrinkles with my palms
and tugging here and there to make it fit.

I don’t care to iron first.

~

I want to watch a plastic beach ball rise and fall in the waves,
being carried here and there, appearing not to move
until some hours later when only a speck is visible in the distance.

I just want to see what will happen if I let go of the reins.

Do I believe that life’s horse will find its way home?

No artist

beachnight
Click here for image source.

 

Have you ever wanted to feel differently without changing who you are?

~

I am no artist.

I take what is known and repurpose it,
I take what can be deduced and write long sentences explaining how to get there

I justify my existence because I am asked to

because that is the way the world works.

~

When I was caught up in it all, I saw a glimpse of the core of the core of a diamond
Where a single particle of light entered and became a wave, reflecting ever internally without end.

I stopped breathing, then
My eyes were open, but unnecessary

And I heard the music.

~

When I was tired I lay down and slept like there was nothing else
When fed, I lamented having eaten

When I was cold I longed for summer sun
When warm, I threw open my cloak to embrace harsh air

When I was rich I was no different than when I was poor

When I worked out of fear, I came so far
When I overcame fear, I stalled, thinking where to go next

The push from the outside, the crack of a whip has always been stronger than
This inner master

~

I can do anything, if asked
I can make anything, if told to

I can warm your heart talking to you for a few moments, in a place where we can feel,
under the stars with coffee in hand

I can help you but I can’t help me.

 

path

Image source: http://www.forwallpaper.com/wallpaper/nature-nature-landscape-boards-timber-path-path-road-264461.html
Image source: http://www.forwallpaper.com/wallpaper/nature-nature-landscape-boards-timber-path-path-road-264461.html

Thank you for giving me the chance
to be the kind of person that I would like to think I am.

~

For some time we’ve known that our path would be unlike some others.

At times, we would look outwardly un-alive,
while our counterparts pledged to make the most of their precious time,
far away, on other continents.

There is a difference, between patience and complacence;
between passivity, and compassion.
If the difference is not apparent, an explanation will not help you.

We are, here and now, living for a day we cannot see
but we know is there.

We too, have a destiny,
and ours is one we trust was chosen for us, long ago.

If our days are spent moving even a grain of uncertainty off the pile
then over time, surely we will find what is buried underneath.

If our days are spent walking a single step at a time,
then we trust the destination will meet us halfway.

It is inevitable that we will go somewhere from here
and that we will know where we have been, when we leave.

to know ourselves

Starry sky. Image source: http://www.howtogeek.com/114384/desktop-fun-starry-skies-wallpaper-collection-series-2/
Starry sky. Image source: http://www.howtogeek.com/114384/desktop-fun-starry-skies-wallpaper-collection-series-2/

To know ourselves,

we sought out the most difficult paths
that we might gain something from walking them

climbed mountains, not to climb them,
but for a glimpse of the sparkling sky

travelled the world, not to see it,
but to meet the companion within.

~

This is not the world, but the whole of a mirror in front of me;
what a world, that was made simply for me!

In the whole world i have tried to see myself,
yet the whole world seems not enough.

Tell me, where should i seek that mirror,
the most beautiful of all

that mirror, which reflects me with such truth,
that i myself become it?

Tell me, who is that most familiar companion,
the one who can tell me
everything
about myself?

~

This first part of this piece emphasizes worldly obstacles and challenges as opportunities to increase self-knowledge.

The second part can be understood as alluding to Islamic understandings of the relationship between creation and the Creator.

on patience and potential

Monarch butterfly. Image source: http://www.inquisitr.com/388618/southwest-airlines-flies-late-blooming-monarch-butterfly-to-texas/
Monarch butterfly. Image source: http://www.inquisitr.com/388618/southwest-airlines-flies-late-blooming-monarch-butterfly-to-texas/

Said the lover to the beloved, who was consumed by fear of stagnating, of not fulfilling her potential, of wasting her precious time in life:

Look around you!  
 
The apple could not have been picked sooner. The cocoon could not have opened earlier. But neither is sitting still, doing nothing. Both need time to grow.
 
You are the apple of my eye
and the butterfly of my heart. 
I cannot wait until you feel for yourself the wings you are going to grow, 
and see how beautiful you are.
~
At times, we may come to feel trapped within the paths we once chose, or that were chosen for us. We may come to feel that we are idly allowing the mystery, beauty and potential life offers, to pass us by.
This piece takes some words of wisdom that we have all been fortunate to receive at some point in our lives, and adapts them into a brief story.

presence / presentation

Image source: http://www.polyvore.com/ballet_dancer_silhouette_17_24h/thing?id=66665898
Image source: http://www.polyvore.com/ballet_dancer_silhouette_17_24h/thing?id=66665898

At times it becomes apparent to me,
that I occupy quite a lot of space.

I may start out of medium size,
with longish limbs and a short torso,
and a tendency to keep these wrapped up around each other.

But if you ask me to speak, to say, to perform,
then slowly, I begin to unfold,
one gesture at a time, into a circling kind of dance;
my range of movement evolving into one higher.

Slowly, I start to take up more space,
my limbs, stretching,
my hands, talking,
my posture, lengthening,
my eyes, brightening,
my voice, burgeoning.

I start to feel what I am saying,
I start to become those words.
I start to live these concepts I describe;
I see myself unfolding as a story told.

Tell me, when I unfold this way,
do you see me; do you feel my enhanced frame?

Does my size make you want to unfold too, to join me,
or do I make you want to shrink back into your space?

~

What kind of presence do you have, and how does that presence become enhanced when you are doing things you enjoy?

Do you ever feel that someone is “in your space”, or that you need more space in order to really be you?

Do you worry that your presence could unintentionally encroach on that of others, preventing them from fully expressing themselves?

eulogy

when i think of her, i remember that:

my happiness, was her happiness

that she never wanted to stagnate,
but she tried not to control things too much

when inspiration came, she flowed with it,
and allowed it to flow into her

and when it didn’t appear,
she didn’t worry about chasing it

she tried her best to have faith in the little things,
and the big,

and to remember that her life,
was not the end.

~

How often do we think about how we want to be remembered once we are gone? What kind of people do we aspire to be, and who are we, when all is said and done? This is an unedited response to a “create your eulogy” exercise that I was fortunate enough to participate in, presented by a colleague and friend.

taking in small sips all the time

Oil lamps. Image source: http://www.ishafoundation.org/blog/lifestyle/this-holiday-season-bring-an-oil-lamp-into-your-home/
Oil lamps. Image source: http://www.ishafoundation.org/blog/lifestyle/this-holiday-season-bring-an-oil-lamp-into-your-home/

~

This piece was inspired after attending a musical performance.

~

taking in small sips all the time

most days we trudge along, faces sunken,
the light behind our eyes, unlit

and then what comes along on the wings of a sweet melody
but the calling of something with which to cure our extinguishment

we strap ourselves in for the ride

what a thing it is to simply sit and be taken
to a place that exists only once in a while

~

fully saturated however,
we take up where we left off,
heavy and hardened, in pain

we were so close to becoming beautiful
but we surpassed ourselves in our glut

~

there can be a such thing as too much
heaven, too much light;
the flame rapidly fuelled is quick to die away

to stay free we must bend and turn,
dust off our delicate soul-wings,
and sleep;
eat only a little of the light,
and drink what has been given,
taking in small sips all the time.

 

out of all of the unseen

Imaged sourced from http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141026.html.
Imaged sourced from http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141026.html.

The process by which we have
come to resolve ourselves,
is truth. There was nothing quite
so peculiar about the manner
in which we came to be.

It would seem only natural
that where one horizon ends,
another should appear.

Now, whether our realities
are stitched together with
seams, or whether they
are made of the same fabric,
we cannot say.

What matters, is what
we have chosen to give effect to,
out of all of the unseen.
What we have believed in,
has come back to seek us out.

What we want to be true,
never had two ways about it.

If we can influence the
making of the world with
our choices, then our choices
are the stuff of the world,
and ourselves, something
apart from it.

~

This piece was written shortly after watching Interstellar, a 2014 film directed by Christopher Nolan.

For those who know the language, Tere Ishq Mein, recorded on Season II of Nescafe Basement, is to my mind another way, of many ways, of accessing similar ideas.

dissolving further all the time (2014)

Somewhere along Balmy Beach, Toronto, ON.  © Saara Punjani 2013.
Somewhere along Balmy Beach, Toronto, ON.
© Saara Punjani 2013.

each time we turned
to rise above this illusion of the finite,
we were met with a ceiling – not yet, not yet

we made steady ablutions
and we kept a hopeful heart
and still, we were not crowned to go on

~

a kite without a string
would be blown every which way on the ground;

a kite with a string
rises high in finite direction

yet, without the string
we could not have come
as far as we already have

how far must we rise before the string can be cut;
before we are unbound from the direction of our path?

how far must we rise before we are taken into the skies,
mere specks, dissolving further all the time?

~

on this day, listen, to the quiet,
as clearly, some things are being said

whether we move,
upward,
inward,
outward or forward,
we cannot begin to say

the tides pull us away,
that we forget you;

the tides push us so far
that we fall right in

here we have always been, unmoving in the movement,
immersed in the truth of your most impressive signs

let us dig deeper, look farther, stay awake longer;
let us continue searching for you

let us be so obviously engrossed,
mere specks, dissolving further all the time

the crispness of this season (2014)

Autumn, somewhere near Mont-Tremblant, QC.  © Asif Virani, 2014.
Autumn, somewhere near Mont-Tremblant, QC.
© Asif Virani, 2014.

the crispness of this season
asks to know both who we were
and who we are

~

the maple, the oak, watch over themselves with silent grace
as the leaves they laboured to produce,
and that kept them alive,
dry out and fall steadily away

 

what remains of our victories and defeats,
of our convictions and our epiphanies?

we have been able to keep nothing
material from our endeavours

 

who can say whether we leave the past
or if it leaves us;

whether we ourselves walked paths
or if they grew up beneath our feet?

 

we have had nothing
and nothing has been ours

and yet, we are not who we remember.

what we know about ourselves (2014)

Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.

we love only that which is our own

a man, with his wife and son:
who do you think he truly loves?

~

it rains and rains

you approach, drenched and desolate,
a shelter for me, if only i would accept you

~

i wish we could say,
we are always happy with what we know about ourselves

i wish we could say,
we come with noble intention,
that we have been saving our last loaf
for the hunger of another

i wish we could say
we fall to our knees and kiss the ground,
thankful each day
for the fact that we can feel

~

sometimes when it rains
a gray runs down our face too

and sometimes,
we wish we could deny that we enjoy it

else, why would we drink the drink of self,
that warming wine of separation?

why would we continue being what we are?

~

we are, men in all of our abasement;
men, in all of our greatness

we bend lower
so that others might be jealous of our righteousness

we paint peace on our face
that they might admire our beauty as we pray

~

when everything is gray
go ask for it to be better
for someone else;

what you would have happen to you,
have it happen to someone else

oh dearest, you’ve never really been
hungry; never really been sad

you’ve never really needed anything you didn’t already have

come, smooth over the wrinkles on someone else’s face

make them yours,

and love them too.

the colours of our progression (2014)

The colours of our progression, somewhere outside Montreal. © Saara Punjani 2014.
The colours of our progression, somewhere outside Montreal, QC. © Saara Punjani 2014.

they say time waits for no one

~

never has there been enough time
to cultivate a sense of fearlessness;

always too much time
to make idols of inspiration

we have remained too young
to say that we live our lives with any grace;
too old to say, this is the end of our allotment

~

after all the hands have been shaken,
all the pages turned, the bellies filled

after all the smiles are spent
and all the comforts acquired,

we sit by the window to watch the colours of our progression

~

some things live out their course
and pass on and away in the height of their glory

but some of us are always green

we wait our turn;
we wait, to turn,
to mature into our very own shade of sienna

~

they say, time waits for no one

but for some, it never comes at all

the fire that consumes us (2014)

 

Fire in grate. Copyright Saara Punjani 2014.
Fire in grate. © Saara Punjani 2014.

 

some things hurt us more than all the others

~

sometimes, time dredges up the pain of our old selves;
memories of poisons we’ve drunk and those we’ve made

the beauty of our face is made unpleasant by our re-livings;
the heart burns and sobs, a prisoner to the scorching coals inside

we must remain perfectly still
lest we further fuel the fire that consumes us

everything we see, we have seen before,
and before that,

and now it flickers in our eye once again.

what you have always been (2014)

today, i am not writing;
i am hearing a language
that i do not quite understand

the vocabulary, given in flashes,
where veils, so to speak,
part to reveal a grander intention

than the one displayed
by you, or you,
or you

there is something else,
out there,
in there

~

one sense blends into another
and my heart becomes the crown of them all

i give myself over, one kernel at a time;

i deconstruct myself, one brick at a time
to see what is in the spaces between

there is something else out there,
in there

~

there is no reason
why i shouldn’t be able
to taste the freshness
of a moment

why
i shouldn’t be able
to  hear everything
that was ever said as truth

why i shouldn’t be able
to see through
to what remains
after the last of the bricks is removed

~

i don’t write these words
because i know any more than you know

i write them because
like you, i knew something once,
but i’ve forgotten

~

ask, to speak to you,
every moment, every breath,
every embrace

 

you are,
you are,
you are

what you have always been

and what you will always be

the places we’ve been (2014)

The places we've been. © Saara Punjani 2014.
The places we’ve been.
© Saara Punjani 2014.

what can we bring back
home from the places we’ve been?

~

when we travel, we leave behind
all of those things that have come to define us

the mirrors are different

the air is different

the light is different
and it bends around to show us more,

and less of what we thought we were

~

we come to the seaside
and make ourselves into a fine netting
so that the soul of the place will blow through

the sand grains wander
and still they make up miles of beach

we can’t hold on to anything for long
but we feel it ever so much:
what of any of this can we take home?

~

perhaps, i will bring only myself back to the beloved

perhaps, i, will be enough

a little more weathered,
a little less here, but,

with waves coming to rest on the sands of my heart,
and in my breathing, the winds over the sea

retreat (2014)

tonight, we are so quiet
that the heavens themselves reach
down to take us up, to take us in

for days we have retreated
into and away from ourselves,
at times ebbing, at times flowing

~

nothing and no one can give us what we already have

my heart’s tapestry is woven with your thread
but i was the patient weaver

i’ve known your melody for a time
but i’ve made my music longer

the gifts you gave were empty boxes
until the moment i opened them

~

tonight, i am the night
and the stars, and the breeze

i deepen

and then i fade
into the morning light

to the beloved (2014)

A colour we cannot name.  © Saara Punjani 2014.
A colour we cannot name.
© Saara Punjani 2014.

the water of the stream flows to its end
and i, flow in all planes to the beloved

the beloved calls, and i dissolve into the wind;
the beloved exists, so i go

~

these waters gleam now and again silver,
now and again a colour we cannot name

once,

we think,

we think we glimpsed the beloved’s face reflected there

now we undertake this pilgrimage every day

~

the beloved is, so i am too,

for the moment

the water of the stream flows to its end

and i, on my way to the beloved

to speak of this, is to be silent (2014)

to speak of this, is to be silent

~

this night bears witness of the re-emergence of i
who extracts the self from the folds of us all
to take up seat in the presence of the beloved

 

who can stay locked up when the beloved comes to call;
who can refuse the sweet companionship?

every surface on which the beloved’s gaze falls,
loves, breathes, swings and sways in rapture

~

no one taught me how to find you
but you taught me
by the pen

no one told me i already knew you
but you tell me
over again

inside me, whole seas part
to reveal the way
to your shore

i have come upon myself
in a way
like never before

~

the time of our rose (2014)

Pink roses. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Pink roses. © Saara Punjani 2014.

the time of our rose has passed us,
and we become more bitter by the day

reach out your hand and pluck us, love;
remove us from the misery of these days

~

this is not our season;
this place is not our stage

linger though we might,
we are so much less dazzling
though we recall how beautiful
we’ve once been

the blossom that grew us
from the seed of our names
robed us in a quality,
innate

have we been asleep,
or have we been afraid
to let go, to move on,
come what may?

there is no telling
what we will be
the moment after the one
where we are

what fruit may we bear,
if we trust in ourselves,
if we let ourselves be,
who we are?

~

our bitterness weighs
on the very branch that nurtured us,
and we wilt and we droop in our pain

our poison spreads

we see it,
but we don’t stop it,
and that makes us very afraid.

 

no longer (2014)

who can say what should be done?

~

no longer can i breathe without running,
no longer can i eat before moving,
no longer can i speak before listening

no longer can i do
before asking,

what if,
what if all i am furthering
is irrelevance?

~

have you come here to sit,
or have you come to work hard,
so that you may make something
from nothing at all?

~

play without work
makes only a stomach ache

and love without change,
a costly, boring painting!

i care not for the pleasures
unless
you first give me of pain.

your place (2014)

take a step back from the frontline
– it is not your place

remove yourself from the head of the table
– it is not your place

step back from the position you’ve given yourself
in the world where you give yourself such prominence

those strings you think you hold,
are an illusion

 

if we told you to build a mountain,
or if we commanded you to fly,
you could do nothing

faced with the impossible,
you would harbour no illusion
of your own inherent limits

if you were to try, you could only whisper a prayer,
knowing you would have to rely
on Someone

 

see what you’ve forgotten in your careful preparation;
see what you’ve overlooked in your careful research?

the ant does not concern itself with the possibility of an eclipse

 

remember your role; your place.

 

i’ve found you, me (2014)

i like you, me

you may be my twin sister unrealized

 

are you in my pen or in the page?
am i holding a magnet, that you rearrange your essence to meet me?

 

i am fond of you, me

you may be my outlet,
the electric source of all my harmony

or perhaps my inlet,
a moonlit sanctuary where only the tide governs our mood

ha!
i’ve found you, me
and i am  not going to let you go!

~

you are exactly me, but better;
my counsel, my friend

your presence is better than a thousand praises to my name

give me hope! and keep me content

be my voice when all else is a confusing din

she was beautiful (2014)

The inner became the surface, and she was transformed. © Saara Punjani 2014.
The inner became the surface, and she was transformed. © Saara Punjani 2014.

she became beautiful in love

 

her face, a lantern, her skin the translucent paper
her lips, they flamed and they were alive

what i saw on her, was what was in her;
the inner became the surface, and she was transformed

 

she became no more desirable than before,
but there was something

her shoulders were relaxed; her spine too
her breath was steady

 

she was beautiful.