Maya Angelou – Being a gift unto others #rise

May 29, 2014

I fed upon her words

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

She stood shoulders above

She was no god, priestess, queen, diplomat nor elected official, but Maya Angelou exercised the greatest of all powers in creation. She could speak a word and it was done. She was blessed from above like few others. I may be mistaken but I understood her power came by faith and grace.

I also understood that this gentle woman moved mountains with her words. She spoke to stones and they beat again as hearts – even if only for a moment.

Ordinarily, I would join the world in it’s gentle wish for rest for a beloved. But I can not say RIP Maya Angelou. Do not misunderstand me, I have the greatest respect for the woman. Instead, my heart shouts out in joy – RISE HIGHER. RISE UNTO THE GLORY! And I do not believe there is rest in the glory. But greater works. Like the works of stars. Works that never end. Because without their undying light, darkness would overcome.

Michael Jackson

I remember her eulogy for Michael Jackson, “We had him.” I remember how she perfectly captured the memory of the king of pop – that tragic, tortured, brave-hearted hero of our time.

“His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.”

I do not know if poets will capture Maya Angelou as she captured Michael Jackson with words that memorialize a man like no stone or gold could ever have done.

How shall we rise?

I do not know if it can be said of her that we had her. Oh, please, please do not misunderstand me. She gave herself to us. She gave us fire, wind, water, air and earth. She told us to unfold our unseen wings. But only those who had ears to listen, heard her. Only those who had eyes to see, saw Maya Angelou. Only those who had ears, heard.

Though I am not a woman or African American. I rose upon her words. And still I rise. She spoke to us all.

Though I am not a woman, she reminded me that I am phenomenal, that my smile shines like the sun and, most of all, that my head, heart and spirit shall not be oppressed by demonic contempt and conceits.

Be a gift unto others

Maya Angelou was gift unto us. That is her greatest gift; it goes beyond the beating of words. She embodied a rare and precious wisdom.

Our gifts are not given for us to enjoy alone, recklessly or stupidly. We were created to be gifts unto each other. This is how we rise. We rise, together.

 

Stan Faryna
28 May 2014
Fairfax, Virginia

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Superfluous

June 15, 2013

Superfluous

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Ray Dalton, Can’t Hold Us

There are friends with whom I shall never share poetry. Because, unfortunately, poetry is superfluous to those who lack an intellectual spirit. Or spiritual life.

Or brave heart.

I’m not obsessed with poetry. It’s not a daily ritual for me. Nor weekly. But reading it (or remembering it) on occasion, one may find a place for the genuine – as the American modernist poetess Marianne Moore put it.

Today, there may be no necessity for the genuine when our questions can be managed with addictions, prescriptions, hook ups and outrageous materialism. Until you want to live wholeheartedly, feel strongly and love… fiercely and truly.

And only then will you know that you too cannot live without great books, beautiful music, art, illuminated friends and, oh yes, poetry.

Stan Faryna
15 June 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Poetry

by Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician–
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and

school-books’; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of
the imagination’–above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them’, shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.


When your best is suck. And other social media DOHs

February 5, 2013

When your best is suck

And other social media DOHs

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
 …
Among the many splendid things to be received from the blogosphere and elsewhere is… beauty.
Yes, beauty. It glitters greater than gold. It shines brighter than diamonds. And no amount of cash can make a slave of it.
Recently, Anthony Wilson, one of the bloggers I follow with much enthusiasm, shared a poem by Galway Kinnell. The title is Saint Francis and the Sow.
Wilson also writes wonderful things. He shares beauty with us. Writing about the goodness of sharing poetry, the blogging poet bemoans the lack of poetry shared.
My hunch is that the social contract we forge with each other when sharing poems, whether in person, or on email, or on blogs, is vastly underrated as a mechanism for cultural transformation
Like most complaints, it is a gentle call to action. It is one that spoke to my heart. Thank you, Anthony.
And reading Kinnell’s poem that Wilson has so generously shared on his blog, I wanted to share it with you. But for reasons different than Wilson’s reason.
I want to share Kinnell’s Saint Francis and the Sow with you because when our best is suck, when our ambitions, broken promises and failures are a mountain of dirt, we are the sow. As pigs, of course, we may not be deserving of pearls. Just as Christ himself has said. Matthew 7:6
But as Kinnell’s poem reminds us, even a sow wants, receives and is uplifted by blessings. Beyond it’s intelligence and comprehension. More importantly, beyond all its apparent ugly.
And I was uplifted and blessed. It is my hope that you shall also be uplifted and blessed by this poem below.
Stan Faryna
05 February 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Saint Francis and the Sow

Galway Kinnell, Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2001)

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and

blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.