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Visions of the Poets - Journey through “Universes Beyond the Visible” (an Essay by Aberjhani)
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The following is the concluding Part 3-B of “Visions of the Poets: Journey Through ‘Universes Beyond the Visible,’” by Aberjhani. To read the first part of this compelling personal essay healing creative and spiritual vision, please visit the Black Skylark Z-Ped Music Player at http://www.authorsden.com/Aberjhani

O texto que se segue é a Parte 3-B e conclusão de “"Visões de Poetas: Jornada Através de ‘Universos para Além do Visível",’” por Aberjhani. Para ler a primeira parte deste arrebatador e íntimo ensaio, uma visão criativa de cura espiritual, por favor visite o "Black Skylark Z-Ped Music Player" em http://www.authorsden.com/Aberjhani

(Brevemente, nesta página, a tradução integral para a língua Portuguesa deste ensaio)

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THE FOURTH NIGHT

 

When I arrived at the nursing home the following night, the scene there was a duplicate of the night before with adult family members crowded around Mom’s bed and younger relatives out in the hallway quietly entertaining themselves. Their numbers and shared sense of religious faith made it slightly easier to bear the knowledge that only an unseen veil of breath and time stood between death and a woman whose will, intelligence, and love had been a defining influence in all our lives. In times when we had given ourselves to passionate pursuits of wealth and achievements in the modern world, she had remained the anchor that kept our spirits balanced and whole. What now would happen to those who could not longer depend on her for the moral strength, wisdom, and love needed to negotiate the terms of their lives.

 

As for me, I was so at peace in my role of solitary night sentry that I imagined there must have been lifetimes when I stood upon fortress walls scanning distance and horizons for hints of danger. And there was no question that in this lifetime, following the loss of my infant children, I had developed a strong shaman-like propensity for dream-visions in which I sometimes carried an individual’s soul from one place to another. After experiencing such dreams, the individual that I had carried in the vision usually passed from the physical world within a week. In my mother’s case, I had not experienced any such dream-visions, presumably because the reality at hand was adequately evident.

 

Several days had passed since Mom’s eyes had opened and they remained closed as I settled in to spend my fourth night with her. I was glad that I still had parts three and four of Universes Beyond the Visible ~ Elements of Dream to read.

 

The third section of the book dealt with the element of “water/agua” and I noticed that the font for the lettering was a fluid script reflective of the subject itself. I flipped back through the previous sections and realized that the title fonts for those also corresponded with the subject––thin fine lines for the section on “air/ar,” and jaggedly florid lines for the pages on “fire/fogo.” I guessed correctly that the final section would contain a heavy bold font indicative of the earth element.

 

I was happily dazzled by the first photograph in the section on water: small bursts of white light inside softly iridescent haloes afloat inside a pool of marine blue. Opposite the photo sat Alexandra’s poem, “Beyond the Visible.” Reading it, then looking again at Joseph’s amazing photograph, I couldn’t help thinking of the lights in the image as angels and guiding spirits standing guard with me over my mother emerging soul.  

 

The second poem in the section, “Unrehearsed Somewhere,” seemed to speak directly to Mom’s state of transitional consciousness in which she could not be described as fully inhabiting this world or the next:

 

            Here and there

            I’m not the only phrase suspended

            not quite within the frame

            between the poem, the image

            or, sometimes, the dream…

            There are more

            many more, here

            in this suspension of distance

            between emergence and leaving

            and it feels natural, peaceful, and serenely inevitable

            to be here, and there

            just one more living concept

            modeled by envoys of muses unseen

            but mostly transmuted forms

            of musical secrets awash somewhere

            within a saline puddle

            on a beach…

                        © Alexandra

 

As I read this poem aloud, I sensed unseen others drawing very near. This neither surprised nor frightened me. Many years before, my mother had told me how she used to walk some fifteen blocks at night from her job at the old DeSoto Hotel (now the DeSoto Hilton) in downtown Savannah to her home and children on Jefferson Street on the city’s West Side. Whenever she had to walk by herself, which was most of the time, a man would show up on the opposite side of the street and walk a path parallel to hers. She never spoke to him, but he would indicate to her when she should avoid an approaching stranger, take a certain turn, or walk a little faster to reach home a little sooner.  After she got closer to the house, the man would disappear somewhere. Sitting in her room and reading to her, I suspected that this guardian soul who used to walk with her, among however many others, was with us now.

 

Page after page, I marveled at the creative synchronicity between poetry, dual languages, and photography in Universes Beyond the Visible ~ Elements of Dream. The glittering rapture of “Ocean’s Ascent” pulled me inside a deep reverie about the changes taking place in my life, which for a decade had been largely defined by my role as a caregiver.

 

The exceptional quality of art and poetry did not diminish in section four, titled “earth/terra,” of the book. If anything, it increased with a richly fertile blend of color and song that enchanted the eye and soothed the mind. For some reason, Joseph’s short poem, “Circle of Life,” struck me with the force of a boulder. I wanted to read it aloud. Only I could not. Something similar happened upon reading Alexandra’s poem, and viewing the accompanying photograph for “Tableau with more than Harlequin.”  

 

Whatever the cause of my unexpected inability to read aloud, it seemed to have the same impact on Mom’s roommate, Mrs. Rivers, because she did not shake her bed rail or call out once. Just as I came to accept that some unseen force appeared to have cancelled my ability to recite aloud, I turned to the poem “Contemplation,” with its majestic accompanying image of a stone bridge amid lush forest greenery. Without hesitation, I did read aloud this time:

 

            Others have walked here,

            though their voices are now silent.

            Even so,

            when I listen with my heart,

            I can hear them,

            I can feel the tears they’ve cried

            of both Joy and Sorrow.

            They know me and I know them.

 

            I, too, have had presence here before.

            So I stand in reverent silence

            at the centre of the Rose of the Four Winds…

            at the centre of the Universe.

            I know not where the wind will carry me.

            With my hands uplifted

            and my face toward the sun,

            I give thanks for what was, what is, and what

            shall be.

 

            The winds are dancing all around me

            in a never-ending circle,

            in an ever-flowing stream,

            flowing in and out of my body

            through my fingertips,

            giving and receiving

            through the top of my head

            and the soles of my feet.

 

            I am

            a part of the Four Winds.

            I am the stream.

            Death and Birth are Twin Souls

            as are Dark and Light.

            No one knows the beginning or the end.

            I am nothing… I am everything.

            I am.

                        © Joseph

 

The peculiar thing is that it was clearly my voice reciting the words of the poet-photographer Joseph, and yet the one speaking felt indisputably like my mother, WilliMae Griffin Lloyd.

 

My thoughts glided peacefully through the remaining words and images of Universes Beyond the Visible ~ Elements of Dream. Instead of profoundly marking the end of something, the last page seemed to signal a new and important beginning.

 

THE FIFTH NIGHT

On the morning of February 8, 2006, a very chilly Wednesday, I did as I had been doing for almost a week––drove home from the nursing home so I could bathe, catch up on some work, grab a nap, and eat before heading back out in the evening. I prepared a larger dinner than intended but had resolved to make myself eat it when the telephone rang. I answered it and stopped breathing at the sound of my brother Wallace’s choked baritone voice: “Our mother’s at peace now.”

 

In less than twenty minutes, I stood outside the nursing home breathing deeply the cold night air to steady my nerves and strengthen my soul. I embraced two nieces who were standing outside crying and gave one of them my jacket. Inside, the hallway and Mom’s room were filled with my blood-kin. Their eyes and their broken hearts overflowed with grief. In a space beyond their weeping, I also saw my mother’s eyes. They were open now and shining, like two small suns radiating their gifts of light and love for the very first time and always.

 

Aberjhani

© 3/1/06

Aberjhani is the award-winning author of I Made My Boy Out of Poetry, Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, and The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois.

Aberjhani é o autor galardoado de "I Made My Boy Out of Poetry", "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance", e "The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois".

 

 

           

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