Summit

Horizon
Sue Vincent’s #write photo

Fear watched in awe
Mist of doubt dissipated
As he climbed up dauntless
Talking only to his mettle

Friendly talk fell apart
At the speed he sustained
Daggers drawn at everyone
Knocking rivals down

Climbing upon carcasses
Swinging on subterfuge
Intoxicated by a vial of venom
In pursuit of self-glorification

Could a menacing sky dissuade him?
Could Earthly shackles restrain him?
Even woods and waterfalls
Couldn’t persuade him

Not a moment of reflection
As summit beckoned him
He knew zenith was waiting
Just for him

Alone he stood, friendless,
Captive at the top of the world!
Contrite at his truimph
Success comes at a price!
© Balroop Singh, July 2018

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday photo prompt Summit #writephoto.

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Grief, Struggle And Fame Are Interlinked #NationalPoetryMonth

Grief_Poem

Many of our favorite poets who inspire us, had to battle with life and its miseries. I have compiled some interesting and amazing facts from their lives to reiterate the facts that success doesn’t come on a platter; grief transcends all boundaries and the icy finger of death may squeeze all your dreams.

 Robert Frost sold his first poem “My Butterfly, An Elegy, to the New York Independent for $15. He was an extremely successful poet but his life was full of sorrow and suffering. His father died of tuberculosis when he was just 11 years old, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost’s mother died of cancer in 1900. His younger sister Jeanie died in a mental hospital, where she struggled with her mental illness for nine years. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost’s family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression and his daughter too was committed to a mental hospital in 1947.

John Keats, an English Romantic poet who is known for his brilliant poetry, vivid imagery and sensuous appeal died from tuberculosis at the age of 25. He received fame only after his death. His poems were not received well by critics during his lifetime; his reputation grew after his death.

S.T. Coleridge had bipolar disorder, which had not been defined during his lifetime. Throughout his adult life Coleridge had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression was treated for these conditions with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.

He is best known for his long poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel and Kubla Khan, some of which were written under the influence of opium. He has given the English language the famous metaphor of “an albatross around one’s neck”, the quotation of “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” and the phrase “a sadder and a wiser man.”

Walt Whitman, one of the most influential poets in the American canon, often called “the father of free verse” was very controversial in his time, particularly for his poetry collection ‘Leaves Of Grass,’ which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Maya Angelou, best known for ‘I know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa.

When Angelou was three and her brother four, their parents’ “calamitous marriage” ended, and their father sent them to Stamps, Arkansas, alone by train, to live with their paternal grandmother. She was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boy friend when she was eight. It was her tumultuous life that molded her into a multi-faceted personality.

Mirza Ghalib, the last great poet of the Mughal Era, is considered to be one of the most famous and influential poets of the Urdu language but fame came to him posthumously. He started composing poetry at the age of 11. His verses eloquently expressed philosophy, the travails and mysteries of life.

Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese American writer, a poet and a visual artist is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. Due to his family’s poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth in Lebanon. Gibran’s father was imprisoned for embezzlement and his family’s property was confiscated by the authorities. It was only when his mother took him to New York that he could attend school.

Emily Dickinson, a prolific poet lived much of her life in reclusive isolation. Considered to be an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson’s poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.

For a poet of his stature, T.S.Eliot produced a relatively small number of poems. He was aware of this even early in his career. He wrote to J.H. Woods, one of his former Harvard professors, “My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year.”

Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai. (India) His parents had been so much moved by the beauty of the Rudyard Lake in Rudyard Staffordshire, (England) that when their first child was born they named him after it. In a 1995 BBC opinion poll, his poem ‘If’ was voted the UK’s favorite poem.

A 13th-century Persian poet, Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions. Rumi has been described as the “most popular poet”and the “best selling poet” in the United States.

Source: Wikipedia

Compiled by Balroop Singh

Thank you for extending your support during the National Poetry Month by sharing your poems and reflections. Next post will announce the two winners of the gift that I had promised in the beginning of this month.

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My Friend ‘Five’ Still Loves Me Despite My Dislike For Her

Beauty of dawn

There was a time when “Five” was my dearest friend or a compulsive pal…she always chimed in as a loud, musical buddy, trying to remind me that I couldn’t survive without her, I would deeply regret if I disregarded her and therefore I had to share my steaming cup of tea with her.

No longer so! I dumped and divorced her and found my freedom. She continued to arrive even when I snapped off the musical chords she loved. I know I was callous but I had found another friend – ‘Eight’ who believed in liberation, who accosted and accompanied me into all those cool corridors of the dream world.

I owe a deep gratitude towards my dear friend “Five” for making me what I am today, for all those reflections she shared, all those words of caution she spilled around me and the plans she made for me to keep myself and my family happy and healthy, providing me with enough time to step outside and walk in the beauty of the first rays of the sun before I could rush to my work.

Isn’t that what we expect from friends? A true companion, who gave priority to my needs, caressed me when my limbs refused to leave the comfort of bed, reminding me that the moment I move my butt, I would be happier!

She taught me forbearance, calmness and patience. She walked hand in hand with me to the milestone of punctuality, acquainted me with the virtue called self-discipline. She impressed upon me the value of time but I detested her each morning for coming too early, yearning to shun her. She was quite understanding, as she gave me a breather on weekends!

I appreciate her noble nature as she still comes uninvited with her reminders, pulling me out to gaze at the eastern horizon, inspiring me to lift the pen that I pick up at will, motivating me to record those lovely moments of mesmerizing meetings, minutes of which gleam in my poetry.

‘Eight’ has relieved me of all my worries, time crumbles at his feet and he takes me into self-appointed hours of joy…the grace that I have acquired in his company is inimitable, the emotions that he acquainted me with are exquisite…he doesn’t believe in accelerating the pace of the day…the serenity with which he moves forward is unparalleled.

The soft soliloquies of ‘Eight’ endow me with the elegance of moving forward. He shows me how to slow down, let go and detach discreetly.

My oldest friends joy and woe visit me quite less now because happiness wields all the power in my home. Their dissonance started due to the demanding nature of joy and it often clashed with the calmness of happiness. I also like her, as she possesses the potential to drive away agony, angst and fear.

Now I hang out with “Eight” and “Happiness” and let their nuances color my thoughts. They hold a strange power to guide me, the comfort of their company steers me into the positive corridors of life.

“Five” knows I have forgotten her but she continues to bestow her blessings on me by visiting me whenever I need her, whenever I lack inspiration and those are the times I get up early from my bed even now.

Goodness is forgotten so easily! Indifference and hatred distress us forever!

Forgiveness is so hard whereas goodness doesn’t even come to our mind when we think of one mean act of somebody. We need reminders for invoking amity and altruism.My friend five still loves me

“Five” continues to shimmer in my heart albeit I dislike her placement on the clock. I know her friendship with me grew warmer only due to that placement!

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

Do you like waking up early in the morning?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.

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Balroop Singh.

When We Gather The Courage To Step Out Of Our Comfort Zone…

Comfort Zone

All people don’t possess that courage, sometimes we are dissuaded by circumstances or some fears that lurk around keep warning us, whispering into our ears…is it that essential…aren’t you comfortable?

Do you know that ‘comfort zone’, though alluring is quite detrimental? It blocks our mind. It restricts our thinking. It encourages procrastination. It impedes our way to success.

Before we convince ourselves to step out, time flies, life passes by and we realize it is too late.

Too much of comfort makes us indolent and we start accepting life as it unfolds. We stop taking the risks. We forget that life is like a stream, not a lake, however beautiful it may seem.

I know a woman who believed in taking life easy. She never had any big goals; she was very fond of socializing and traveling. A fun-filled life motivated her more than her books. She had never taken her school and college assignments seriously, she had such friends who took pleasure in watching movies and organizing parties. She was not interested in balancing her life.

She happened to start her career as an elementary school teacher, just to earn some pocket money and that gave her great satisfaction. She had never thought beyond that but she happened to marry a very ambitious doctor, whose main interest was a successful profession. He tried to motivate her, persuade her and advise her to take her profession seriously. He reminded her that she was highly qualified.

Let’s call her Shimmer. She didn’t pay any attention to all that pep talk, which she had to hear every single day. She wanted to live in her comfort zone. She thought she wouldn’t be able to handle more than what was in her hands. She got a better break in a high school, which was nearer to her home and her daughter too could study there, so Shimmer changed her job, which seemed to be the best one to her, now.

The awakening hit her one-day when during an argument about her job; she was mocked at for being an ordinary teacher. This hurt her deeply because she knew she had never explored her capabilities. She knew she could accomplish whatever she wanted to.Comfort Zone

She just had to step out of her comfort zone! That off-the-cuff remark proved to be a defining moment for her career. She took up the challenge to prove her worth.

She applied for the top positions at various schools and got picked up by an upcoming school at the young age of 32. She never looked back. She took a fledging institution to envious heights. People of her age looked up to her for inspiration.

Self-belief can take you to unimaginable pinnacles. We just have to tap the power within us; we just have to gather the courage to step out of that comfort zone, which disempowers us.

Shimmer had never made any endeavor to check her potential. Many people are trapped in such situations. They never feel motivated to go beyond the ordinary to see what lies ahead.

The same carefree person, fond of a lot of leisure and fun has completely changed. Now her comfort zone is her school, her students and all those responsibilities, which she carries out most sincerely.

She happens to be my younger sister!

From an elementary school teacher to the illustrious Principal of a renowned school, the journey was quite smooth because a new challenge inspired her to step out of her comfort zone.

When we step out of our comfort zone:

  • We can work on those long forgotten dreams.
  • We can find new untrodden paths.
  • We can rediscover ourselves.
  • We meet new and interesting people.
  • We encounter new challenges.
  • We learn with every endeavor.
  • New avenues of growth unfold before us.

“We cannot expect to grow if we are too afraid or unwilling to change and face challenges. When we exit our everyday, mundane lifestyles to do something different we can experience growth, undiscovered strength, and new abilities within ourselves.” – Ashley Ormon

All we need is a little push but that has to come from within. It is our own inner voice that can nudge us and infuse new verve into us.

Do you lack that valor? Are you dwelling in your comfort zone? What inspires you? I would love to hear your views.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh