Saturday, January 21, 2017

Paulette Spescha-Montibert writes

The Poet

In the middle of the World
this is where a poet
should be
Eyes, ears, heart wide open
in the middle of the world
the poet should be
not a pleasant place for sure
but, because
this is where he belongs
it's where the poet will be

Difficult isn't it
It's noisy in the world
it's polluted in the world
one can hardly breathe or see
The poet though, cannot avoid seeing
so big, so huge, so overwhelming
and spread all over the world:
injustice, war, racism, hunger
Mother Nature plundered
abused, day after day...

Humanity it seems
has chosen our time
to show its darkest side
A disgusting place indeed
this middle of the world
hardly a place for his muse
to be
but, because
it's where he belongs
that's where the poet will be

"The best place to be
is where you are now" *

In the middle of the world
where he is now
the poet will seek and find
a quiet dwelling within himself
to pose and to reflect
and pray god for the strength
to keep alive his call
This peaceful place will teach him
where to find and how to sing
the hidden beauty of his time

Poetry, always, has sung Beauty
the beauty of nature, the beauty of
human feelings, the beauty of human work
the beauty of the victory
of man over himself
Poetry went to the barricades
singing then, the beauty of human rights
Poetry, since the darkness of Time
sings the Beauty of the infinite
Love of God for his Creation
What will the song of the poet be
as we reach the end of the 20th Century

The poet, solitary in his dwelling
but a man of his century
will see, coming to life
the consciousness of the world
In the plundering of the earth
he will read the denial
Remembering the Lotus Flower
the poet will lend his voice
to the aspirations of his time

The darker the night
the brighter the day

In the middle of the world
the song of the poet
will bring Light and Justice
will bring friendship
among nations, among races
will convey understanding
between cultures and religions
because his poetry
will be in praise of Knowledge
and of the exchange of Knowledge

his poetry will be
a never ending  hymn of amazement
for the every day renewed
beauty of nature around us
for the every day renewed 
beauty of the Human Soul
The song of the poet will be
a never ending hymn of wonder
for the tranquil beauty of
simple things around us

How beautiful the song of the poet
when in praise of a simplelife
in which generosity means
a word that brings peace
a simple life
in which human values
are restored and prevail
in which wealth means health
and peace of mind
and piece of hart

The song of the poet
will be a song
of Compassion
a song of Love
What other song could bring
in the middle of the world
a renewal to this jewel
of the human spirit
which is called

* says Korean poet Ku Sang in a poem

Dante Illuminating Florence with his Poemk, by Domenico di Michelino

Dante Illuminating Florence with His Poem -- Domenico di Michelino


  1. Dante (Durante degli Alighieri) introduced Italian (rather than Latin) as a literary language (though the vernacular had been regularly used for lyric works throughout the 13th century) and invented the interlocking three-line rhyme scheme known as terza rima. His "Comedìa" (which Giovanni Boccaccio rechistened the "Divina Commedia") was begun in ca. 1308; the "Inferno" section was published by 1317, but it is not clear if all three parts of the "Comedia" were each published in full or a few cantos at a time; "Paradiso"seems to have been published posthumously. However, the book was completed in 1320, a year before his death at 56. In it he narrated his travels through Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven), allegorically symbolizing the soul's journey towards God. The poem drew deeply on history, Greco-Roman myth, and medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially the "Summa Theologiae" of Tommaso d'Aquino, earning the sobriquet "the Summa in verse." The guelfi e ghibellini, Guelphs and Ghibellines, were factions originally supporting the pope and the Holy Roman emperor, respectively; their rivalry began with an investiture controversy in 1075-1122 and lasted until the 15th century. They took their names from the Italian pronunciation of the Welf family of the dukes of Bavaria and the Hohenstaufen castle Wibellingen [modern Waiblingen] in Swabia. After the Hohenstaufen dynasty lost the empire in 1268, the terms became associated with individual Italian families and cities rather than the struggle between empire and papacy. The division between them was especially important in Florence. Dante fought with the Guelph cavalry at Campaldino in 1289, signalling the end of Ghibelline power and a reformation of the Florentine constitution that required membership in a commercial or artisan guild to participate in public life; so Dante entered the Physicians' and Apothecaries' Guild (since books were sold in apothecary shops). However, by 1300 the Guelphs had divided into the Black Guelphs, who supported the papacy, and the White Guelphs, who opposed papal influence over Florence. The Whites took power first, expelled the Blacks, and treated the papal ambassadors badly.

  2. In response, pope Bonifatius VIII planned a military expedition against the city and sent Philippe IV's brother Charles de Valois to impose his authority. Dante was sent as part of a delegation to Roma to discern Bonifatius' intentions, but the pope dismissed them all except Dante, who was already a famous poet; before his departure, Giotto di Bondone, the first of the pre-Renaissance artists, had painted his portrait, which was eventually housed in the Palazzo del Bargello. In the first week of November 1301, Charles and the Blacks entered Florence, destroyed much of the city, killed many of the Whites, and installed a new government. In March 1302, Dante (still in Roma) was accused of corruption and financial wrongdoing when he had served as city prior (Florence's highest position) for two months in 1300, condemned to two years' exile, and fined. When he refused to pay he was condemned to perpetual exile and faced a death sentence if he ever returned. In "Paradiso" he had his great-great-grandfather warn him that "You shall leave everything you love most: this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first. You are to know the bitter taste of others' bread, how salty it is, and know how hard a path it is for one who goes ascending and descending others' stairs." He took part in several attempts by the Whites to regain power, but they all failed due to treachery, and Dante became an independent, devoting himself mainly to writing. In 1310, emperor Heinrich VII led 5,000 troops into Italy, and Dante, demanding that he retake Florence, wrote "De Monarchia," proposing a universal monarchy under the emperor. In Florence, Baldo d'Aguglione pardoned most of the exiled White Guelphs, but Dante was excluded due to his correspondence with Heinrich. In 1312 Heinrich assaulted Florence and defeated the Blacks, but Dante was not recalled to the city; Heinrich died the following year. In 1315, the military dictator Uguccione della Faggiuola amnestied the remaining exiles in exchange for public penance and a heavy fine, but Dante again refused. When Uguccione defeated the Florentine forces, he commuted Dante's death sentence to house arrest on condition that he go to Florence to swear he would never enter the town again; when Dante still refused, his death sentence was confirmed and extended to his sons. Nevertheless, he wished to return to his native city: "If it ever comes to pass that the sacred poem to which both heaven and earth have set their hand so as to have made me lean for many years should overcome the cruelty that bars me from the fair sheepfold where I slept as a lamb, an enemy to the wolves that make war on it, with another voice now and other fleece I shall return a poet and at the font of my baptism take the laurel crown." He accepted Guido Novello da Polenta's invitation to Ravenna in 1318; after a diplomatic misssion to Venice, he died and was buried in Ravenna. Florence eventually came to regret its treatment of Dante and repeatedly requested the return of his remains. An empty tomb was buit for him in 1829, with a quotation from the "Inferno" inscribed: "Honor the most exalted poet" (however, the next line, ("his spirit, which had left us, returns"), is pointedly absent.

  3. Ku Sang was raised in what is now North Korea. His parents were Catholic and his older brother was a priest, but after studying the philosophy of religion in Japan he had a crisis of faith and only returned to Catholicism later in life. He began writing poetry as a university student, before he returned home to work as a journalist. His first poetic publications were in a volume put out by the Wonsan Writers League, but they were severely criticized by the Communist Party for failing to adhere to the party line. and he fled south, becoming assistant director of a writers' group deployed to cover the activities of the South Korean military during the Korean War. Later he served as editor-in-chief of "The Yeongnam Ilbo," an editorial writer for the "Kyunghyang Shinmun," a lecturer on poetry at Chung-Ang University, and an anthologist. His poetry was marked by its directness and rejection of linguistic play, refined symbolism, and artificial rhetoric.

    A Pebble

    On the path before my house
    every day I meet a pebble
    that once was kicked by my passing toe.

    At first we just casually
    brushed past each other, morning and night,
    but gradually the stone began to address me
    and furtively reach out a hand,
    so that we grew close, like friends.

    And now each morning the stone,
    blooming inwardly with flowers of Grace,
    gives me its blessing,
    and even late at night
    it waits watchfully to greet me.

    Sometimes, flying as on angels’ wings
    it visits me in my room
    and explains to me the Mystery of Meeting,
    reveals the immortal nature of Relationship.

    So now, whenever I meet the stone,
    I am so uncivilized and insecure
    that I can only feel ashamed.


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