Poetry from the Head or the Heart

Poetry from the head arises from thoughts and other mental activities. Poetry from the heart comes from felt emotion, which manifests in bodily sensation. But both borrow from each other. Head poetry arouses feeling, which drives the feeling of desire for which to write. Heart poetry arouses mental activity, as we engage our brain and mind in the act of writing.

The act of writing poetry may occur with or without awareness. Awareness of what motivates our writing, awareness of what arises in the head and heart, awareness of the emotions we are experiencing, awareness of the felt sensations arising in the body, awareness of our memories, awareness of our relationship to the inner and outer.

Some poets get stuck in the head and some get stuck in the heart. I believe that truly gifted poets straddle both forms of poetry, transcending the mundane by exploring the worlds they create through both vehicles. The head opens up one kind of world and the heart opens up another.

Our awareness of the worlds within and the worlds without, create the opportunity for complete awareness. And it is from here that we create the most powerful forms of poetry. Poems that tell stories about how we percieve reality and who we are as human beings. With an awareness of the worlds within and the worlds without, we can choose what to sense and how close or far to sense it. Imagine for example, the world upon the surface of a leaf, versus the surface of an alien planet versus the surface of Earth after a Nazi Blitzkrieg and the feelings which that each panaorama arouses in our heart and in our bodies. Imagine for example, a relationship between two serial killers who track other serial killers, the relationship between an adopted child who discovers that his mother is a nun, the relationship between a small child and her extraterrestrial friend (who others think of as an imaginary friend), the relationship betwen a First Nations man who is being visited by his ancestors, the relationship between the last man on the moon and his species and the feelings that each relationship (panorama) evokes in our heart and in our bodies. No matter what we are writing about, we have the opportunity to visit the inner and outer on any scale that we wish. We can zoom in and zoom out. The key is awareness.

Great poetry is aroused by great feeling and arouses great feeling. But it is also aroused by great images and arouses great images. Great poetry lifts us through the senses – all 5 of them. For most of us, great poetry is filled with spectacular images that evoke intense feeling.

But all poetry starts with choice. The choice to pick up the pen or not. The choice to write from head or heart or both. The choice to continue in the face of despair and downright crappy writing. The choice to be aware. The choice to observe. The choice to feel. The choice to reflect. The choice to be present. The choice to express.

We live in a world of creation and destruction. And we can choose how to use our words and our poems to create or destroy. There is no right or wrong. Head and heart both offer something of value. But it is up to us to learn how to use the power that each offers. When we understand teh power contained in head and heart, than we can become creators and destroyers. For words shape the world. And poetry has always had the power to a light a candle into the darkness of the past, present and future.

The Prodigal Charm Bug

After dark period that lasted 5 years, I found myself in the mid 90’s struggling to make sense of my life and the identity that I had created for myself. I wrote this poem in 1995 as a kind of homage to the suffering of the poet (and the human being), who upon realizing the impermanance, futility and folly of life, considers the possibility of bringing an end to his invisible, unnoticed life. This poem also speaks about the lure and folly of ego in the world and the charm of perpetual seeking and the promise of enlightenment. But exactly what or who the prodigal charm bug is, I will leave it to you to decide !

 

The Prodigal Charm Bug

From the clutches of some forgotten dirge
We rise – Like the Symphony of the Songless Bird.
Almost unheard – The impassioned beatings of the heart,
Soar as quiet as the sun.

The moment of gravity – Like conscience embodied.
But conscience is second in consequence.
Know not I – This circle of cells;
Enlightened you will be – That final hour when it hath come.
When I shall Dethrone the Emperor.
Many amongst the crowd aspired to play a part,
But only upon the chosen doth light fall !
Come not will you with me – Cross legged we’ll dine with white knights.

How does it feel to end life
Swooning into the arms of death ?
Soon I will know – Dragging the impossible to the lair of the body !
Believe me : This is the privilege of the poet,
Like the serpent that weeps – I suffer an illness that plagues the soul !

As the storm settles through your heart,
In one sense the soul will turn another page –
Descending into battle with a candle,
Like the lasting of my memory.

See the tree of life towering over us,
Like the blackbird’s wing – Stretched over the sun,
Branched fingers creeping through our eyes.

And I curse the beast that warps the heart.
Running – You opened the deity – In thy Art of Rage.
Collapsing, is this – The Sinking Ship of Life.
Whilst heaved, my breast lingers – And I am an Unseen Angel.

Enriched, the solemn giant am I.
A broken Warrior reborn – Piloting consciousness to the very edge.
The dog of my glory – Like the spectre’s shadow.
The moat of Angels and Fools still spinning.

The unprotected heart beats in my chest.
The agonies touch deep within.
And I am withered,
As translucent as the sky.
Lighter than my shadow.

For so long I have cheated the worms of their feast.
And so now : “I Feed Them Commedia”.
The Pulsar within me as aimless as night !

 

© R.J. Hudson 1995.

The Many Faces of Love

I think this is self explanatory. It refelects my own experience of love.

The Many Faces of Love

1. Puppy Love

Her voice trails at the end of the phone
Angel of perfection
Cannot live without her.

2. Tension of Opposites

He loves her body with haste and fury
They scream in pleasure and pain
Man rages with and without her.

3. Family

One plus one becomes three
Great joy in small discoveries
Child becomes the glue of their meaning.

4. Bad Habits (The Critic in Us)

Preferences slowly rise to the fore
She has what he does not
The eye sees only what it wants to see.

5. True Love

He looks past the small irritations
She sees him through the eye of her heart
They find something greater than each of them.

6. The Gaps She Weaves

He is complete without her
But together there is something else
One day the gaps will speak more loudly than words.

7. Till Death

They are blind together but together they see
Always there for each other
Death will remind them of the gift of their love.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2006.

Heart of the Mountain of the Eagle

In 2004 we had a fire on the nearby sacred mountain Burra Burra (Mountain of the Eagle), which was started by a lady who lit fire to the toilet paper she had used to wipe her arse ! The fire burned 2/3rds of the mountain, cracked ancient petroglyphs, destroyed ancient grey box trees, burned wildlife and sent the spirits of the Aboriginal people (who had become my teachers and friends) away. I wrote this poem in 2007 as a homage to the people of Burra Burra. It is the first poem in a sequence of poems written at that time to remember my deceased friends and my favourite mountain.

 

Heart of the Mountain of the Eagle

Buurra waau,
Buurra burra wirrin kyinnya.

The Soul of the Mountain of the Crow
Sent me to the Heart of the Mountain of the Eagle for kinship of a white man.

And I found a place among your people.
Some where across the landscape of souls
I found this place and called it home.
You held me as a child
And nourished me with the dreamtime.
You entered me
And found my tender wounds.
You gathered sticks and leaves
To mend my broken heart.
In you I found my place among the stars
And in your fire I remembered where I came from.
On a cold hard rock you buried my fingers
And in love you healed my wounds.
My place is among you as yours is in my heart.

The Soul of the Mountain is Crying
Her Heart is Broken and her People are leaving.

Let it go
Set it free
And I will hold your memory,
Just as you held me.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2007.

Ovations of a Greening Spring

I have always loved the natural world. In 2006 I moved away from the inland home that I had loved to the coast (and have moved back again). I so missed the land that I knew so well, that I grieved my separation from it. In 2006-2007 I wrote a series of poems about teh natural world taht helped me to deal with my grief for both the place, animals and plants and Aboriginal spirits (with whom I had relationships with). This poem from 2007 was written to convey something of the suffering of animals and the nature of impermanance.

 

Ovations of a Greening Spring

Yes
I have seen empires of dirt sail skyward and heavenly silk descending.
Yes
I have seen ants wrestle with the gods and spiders that fall upon the earth.

But no hand of man has eased their toil
Or lifted the weight of their suffering.

The angels of the apocalypse dance silently
With a mob of homeless kangaroos.
And in the world between
Dead men and women sing songs to the god of fire.

From amidst the storm blue catharsis of a broken sky
Come swarms as unending as the path of history itself.

The seasons within twist and turn between head and heart
And shed their wings in the tall green grass.
Crimson flowers fall from the small victories of hope and denial
And shattered creatures reassemble.

From the greatest depths of man’s tormented soul
Come a flurry of nameless prayers.

Through bitter harsh words and gentle sideways glances
I at last see the tall ovations of a greening spring.
And the earth remains a place of restless change
The transparency of all life shimmering like a halo from the sun.

Oh father earth I hear you
Your screaming whisper has not gone unnoticed.

My heart open to all life as it really is here and now
I feel the cry of the ailing beast within.
And I know that some things will disappear forever
While man watches on lamenting what he cannot change.

We touch the web and we know that we are one
Ever onwards to some place far away.

The harmonic chords of love
Tame the vehicles of change inside this flesh.
And I know as all animals do
That nothing stays the same.

Oh mother earth ever yearning for the web to bind us.
Keep on turning that we might awake from our slumber.

Yes
I shall remember all life as it was.
Yes
I shall remember when we were one.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2007.

Sea of Comfort

This poem slid from my consciousness after my girlfriend had her first misscariage (at an early stage). I felt a great deal of guilt about getting my girlfriend pregnant and all her subsequent miscariages (which were usually the result of stress or a morning after pill – which technically might not have made all of them miscarriages). As it was I was way too young to have become a father. I was still dealing with my own shit and yet to mature. This poem represents my own imagining of forced miscarriage and the guilt that followed.

 

Sea of Comfort

A smooth awakening is beyond your call.
No one warns of imminent removal.
Bound within my abdominal trench,
Your volcanic eruption blends the aching thoughts of termination.

The wrenching hypnotic obsession whispers dark words,
Drifting heartlessly into the shallowest canal
And when retrieved through the grey of the callous psychopath,
Sounds spell sadness and pain.

Caressing inflictions redeem the clear sea of comfort.
Purist sacrifice bears dearly on my soul –
Deep frowns entrenched in remorse.
Lasting chains gather bloody witness,
To the burial of innocence.

 

© R.J. Hudson 1989.

 

Patch the Wounds (Possess the Huntress)

I wrote this poem in 1989, after falling in love for the first time. During time I wore all black, which reflected how I felt inside. 1989-1994 were the darkest years if my life. A time in which the discovery of love parallelled my discovery of pain, anger and rage.  This poem represents an early effort to express pain and joy and spiritual seeking in one poem.  Although it’s a pretty lame piece of writing, it marks a distinct period in my life. I spent several years struggling to express myself and in 1989-1990, I finally became comfortable with poetry as a medium.

Patch the Wounds (Possess the Huntress)

Farewell to the sinking burden,
I shall revel in your love.
Take me under,
Embrace my dreams,
Exchange suffering when our souls collide.

Don’t call me don’t call me,
Leave me to hide.

Shed that which seems normal and cast aside.
Tear the ribbon of life,
Cleanse the fire of pride.

I lurch at you
Dancing upon heart warmed coals.
Cloak and dagger conceals this warrior’s holes.

Shadowing eyes patch the wounds.
A thousand years linger onwards,
Seeking centre searching self,
Wandering in slumber.
I whisper to the secret within.

Oh dare ye possess the huntress ?

© R.J. Hudson 1989.

The Ghost Of Monumental Silence

I have used my life in part, to understand the nature of reality, the nature of mind and the nature of suffering. In this poem, written in 2000, I explore God and it’s relationship to mind, suffering and memory. You may however find your own meaning in this poem.

I borrowed this title for the title of this blog because I like it and because I felt that this poem pretty much sums up much of what I want to say in poetry.

 

The Ghost Of Monumental Silence

‘Twas the twilight of the frogs and a black mosquito symphony called,
When my eyes walked there – to that cauldron of scorpions –
The journey – twisted, like a lean road through a hedgehogs back.

I am the accident that sired meaning – The little ripples of death,
Having put away prophecies with blood – I am crazing myself in a word –
Now in my inhuman way – I am like a dusty parable.

Bearing the bodies of my dreams to you –
These cells embellished with suffering –
Their eyes reappearing – the only hope of empty men.

Whaled like a beach – Like solace, spawned from tasteless dust.
Ideas are beheaded – dawning forever, in the partitions of the eye.

At sunrise they leap from their cradles – broken before the light,
And in your mind, cataracts wicked and unmoving –
Prey like a snake upon the mouse – The sun dividing itself inside of me.

Ah, the pleasure of the mind is to say nothing,
Mystical intelligence – circling from the whole of my wake –
Oceans of creation, breaking like freak textures of the mind.

But the notes of your certainty bring a vengeance – to The One –
He, who feels – wisdom in His eyes – as You stare into My open hand –
The Who of the How – The Ghost of Monumental Silence.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2000.

The Great Force

A reflection from 2015 on the great force within and the power it has to shape all reality.

The Great Force

The force arises,
As if from nowhere.
In its wave,
Come murder, death and destruction.

From far, far away,
A force of equal strength arises
And thrusts its wave into the other.
Between two waves,
Come murder, death and destruction.

But beyond them,
A far more powerful force arises.
A force that stems from understanding and love.
It’s game is small – attending to root causes and shifting power.

The great force cannot be extinguished.
It does not live in time
But dwells in the heart of all living things.
It seeks vitality through difference and sameness
And it does not take sides,
Because it knows no right and no wrong.
Only how things happen.

The great force moves however fast or slow it needs to,
Through the minds hearts, actions, speech and feelings
Of all living things.
It has no name and needs no name.
Yet it has been called countless things.

It arises where it is most needed –
Spontaneously
But there are few who recognise it
And even fewer who know how to express it.

It is there,
In the darkest moments of human history
And there in the greatest natural catastrophes.
It is there,
In the dawning of the ages of awakening
And there when all life is thriving.
It is there,
In the glory of the day light
And in the secrets of night.

The great force is ever unfolding
And always renewing.
It has no preferences
But illuminates all choices.

When all that man perceives,
Turns to darkness
And all that he feels is despair.
The great force will continue playing away inside him,
Waiting for just the right moment to emerge.

When enough humans feel despair,
A great emergence will leap forth from within
And the great force will forge the way.
Always ready to bring man to his knees
And lift him up into the light.
Where at last he can see what he is
And let the great force blossom inside him.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2015.

The Great Knowing

A reflection from 2015 on the nature of the self in sleep and waking.

The Great Knowing

Here in the depths of sleep,
There is movement between the I and the Iless.

Darkness rolls me over,
In the seen and the unseen.

Monsters reach out to ensnare me
And demons rise from so long ago.

Ghosts wait to remind me of who I was and what I have forgotten
And skeletons dance loudly inside the hidden cupboards.

The light drifts between them,
Like sunshine moving through fog.

Here and there an angel lifts me out of the darkness,
Showing me the reasons I cannot see.

From within the darkest waves,
Old men and old women take my hand and steer the way.

They are always scarred and ugly,
But their hearts are pure and free.

All the kingdoms of heaven and hell mean nothing to the free.

They speak to me with eyes that whisper.

Telling me not to be afraid and not to desire salvation.

The I and the Iless continue to rise and fall,
While the great knowing embraces them all.
The darkness gives birth to webs of delusion, prisons of fear and uncertainty and terrors of the separate self.
The light offers up the rooms of its many mansions,
Its vistas of peace and perfection and wonders of the infinite within.

The old ones have seen it all
And recognise the I and the Iless in a moment of truth.
They come from many kingdoms but belong to no kingdom at all.
No projection binds them or deceives them.
They have no temptation, no heaven, no hell.

Sometimes I see them,
Between the doors of perception,
Inside heaven or inside hell.
But just when I reach them,
The I fades away and all is forgotten.

The Iless awakens and erases the play.

Only the great knowing remembers.

 

© R.J. Hudson 2015.