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A Single Flame


goldenlangur
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goldenlangur

A Single Flame

 

Two moths circle a single flame.

The one on the left, mottled blue and red,

black eyes drooping towards the edge of wings

is from the vast plains torched of the Arthashastra

now a forgotten creed.

 

The other, on the right, speckled black and white

crossed icebergs and cold seas

abandoning dreams sculptured with screams of men

interred beneath the concrete.

 

Here, on an icy night

round and around

the single flame

eyes aflame

a star-crossed dance

they dance to notes

set in the chrysalis of karma.

 

 

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Your descriptions of the two moths, their appearances, their geographical, almost prehistoric origins and that of how they converge around the flame are brilliant. The first (because you mention the plains) is like a moth from the East, a "country moth," so to speak; the second is like a moth from the West -- a "city moth" (inasmuch as you mention the men "interred beneath the concrete"). Taken separately or together, they are like "moths of the ages."

 

I have one area of contention. Although it can be read like a snapshot of a split second, the references to left and right seem superfluous to me. The moths are "circling" the flame, and it seems that they would be juxtaposed left and right only for an instance. I wonder if they could simply be referred to as "one" and "the other," leaving out the mention of left and right? This is just a thought, so please disregard it if I am off the mark. It is certainly possible for the reader to tolerate, as an exercise of poetic license, the possibility of the moths' appearing to be static and in motion at the same time. They could, after all, be fluttering, in a circle, at a high rate of speed.

 

The end appeals to me a lot, because of its winter imagery, which is my favorite type of imagery:

Here, on an icy night

round and around

the single flame

eyes aflame

a star-crossed dance

they dance to notes

set in the chrysalis of karma.

Another pleasing aspect of this poem is its appearance on the page. It looks like the moth and the flame. Thank you for the pleasure of this poem.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Aleksandra

icon_pale.gificon_question.gif wow what a poem Goldenlangur. At first, I admire how you are writing such wonderful and hard poems ( hard for me icon_redface.gif ). Gl, I feel that this poem gives some view of world. Somehow, it sounds to me like a worldwide poem. Your use of the word Arthashastra made me google it, and the ending part of the first verse makes a lot of sense for me.

 

When you talk about Two moths - it's possible that you are talking about a real inspiration by moths, OR using moths as a metaphor. It works in both ways. Moths as a metaphor gives to me imagery of the world walking on some wrong path, because the moths are destructive too.

 

Here, on an icy night

round and around

the single flame

eyes aflame

a star-crossed dance

they dance to notes

set in the chrysalis of karma

 

The ending part of your poem is wonderful. It has a good structural point. I like when you say: round and around / the single flame eyes aflame . That gives the poem a more peaceful ending. The imagery here works so well, especially these expressions: an icy night / a star-crossed dance.

 

In the end you wrote: in the chrysalis of karma - very nice expression. That gives some hope, in my opinion, for all of that what you expressed in this poem. Maybe it's the coming of a new, better day?! OR maybe a rebirth of a forgotten creed?!

 

Goldenlangur this poem made me think a lot, and it is very possible that I interpreted it poem wrong, but sure, this is my view of this wonderful poem.

 

However, I love this poem, golden.

Thank you for sharing.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

Your reviews are a pleasure to receive icon_smile.gif I love the way you've linked the moths to the country and the city. In this you've extended the reference of this piece. I also appreciate how you describe the moths:

 

moths of the ages

 

It is amazing how you help me to see things here, which perhaps were sub-conscious or not even conscious considerations. Most rewarding icon_biggrin.png

 

You make a very good point about the left and the right. Certainly, I will plead guilty to poetic liberties here - in terms of pure phenomenon, the moths would not flutter in the slow and measured manner I imagined, each keeping to a side facing the other, separated by and drawn to the flame. So your remark has certainly made me think again. I will take this into consideration in my rewrite, of which I do many!

 

I'm pleased that the winter scene touched a chord.

 

 

 

Thank you for another superb review.

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Hi Aleksandra,

 

Time and again, I'm struck by how generous you are in your exchanges in the forum. As you're yourself an experienced and more over a published poet, I quite don't know what to say to your lavish words of praise icon_redface.gif

 

 

Thank you for taking the trouble to google Arthashastra. In terms of its politico-philosophical impact and renown, perhaps it is similar to Plato's Republic?

 

Your thoughts here are very well expressed:

 

 

Aleksandra wrote:
.

 

Moths as a metaphor gives to me imagery of the world walking on some wrong path, because the moths are destructive too.

 

In the end you wrote:
in the chrysalis of karma
- very nice expression. That gives some hope, in my opinion, for all of that what you expressed in this poem. Maybe it's the coming of a new, better day?!
OR
maybe a
rebirth
of a
forgotten creed
?!

 

Aleksandra

 

I like how you perceive hope and rebirth of a forgotten creed.

 

 

 

Thank you very much,

 

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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this piece is charged with an intensity and beauty that are both captivating and magical.

 

to me the poem spoke of transience, of reincarnation of endless cycles of karma.

 

it is secretive, mysterious and rich - especially considering the nocturnal setting and nature of moths.

 

i particularly enjoyed the imagery of the of the flame and the contrasts between heat and night (life and death) and these last lines are fabulous!

 

"they dance to notes

set in the chrysalis of karma."

 

thank you...

 

icon_smile.gif

To receive love, you have to give it...

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goldenlangur

Hello Douglas,

 

What a great reading you've given this piece. icon_smile.gif You've certainly put your finger on role that karma plays in our consciousness and behavior:

 

to me the poem spoke of transience, of reincarnation of endless cycles of karma.

 

Your thoughts here are wonderful:

 

i particularly enjoyed the imagery of the of the flame and the contrasts betwen heat and night (life and death)

 

It was inspired by the Mumbai bomb attacks and its political and social fallout. Can Karma explain what we do and suffer? How can we grasp the urge to maim and kill?

 

 

Thank you so much.

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Goldenlauger,

 

What a pleasure to read your spiritual golden images again! You have a distinct reflective voice filled with the intelligence of the entire living cosmos, not just the world of human affairs but the non-human the Other, which holds up a powerful mirror to our own being.

 

Well done,

 

DC

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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How Fantastic this poem is!

 

Two moths circle a single flame.

 

I love the directness of this first line, the title within it- setting up in simple singularity, the characters and the journey...

 

then we are led into wonderful images of description for these protagonists/victims-of-circumstance...

 

for me on my first reading of it, I was seeing the metaphor of these moths as socio-philosophical movements- the markings on their wings to be markings of struggle endured by these historical energies-

 

I allowed myself (sorry for the US-centric view here) to take "left" and "right" in the political sense that we use it here in the US- liberal and conservative... the liberal moth here being described with droopy colorless eyes, falling off of its own wings, never fully realizing its 'place of origin' from its efforts at life (will love to look more at the symbolism of the plain here later)

 

for the conservative moth, everything it believes in (again, its markings on the wings as if being born into these positions) is in "black and white" ('no gray area' as it were)- and marked by the cold cities in which it finds its purpose and origin (concrete, tall cold iceberg structures) that fail to live up to the dreams that build them... indeed, destroy their proponents ("interred") through freezing...

 

and then in a singular simplicity again, we are brought from those histories, to the here and now...time and place:

 

Here, on an icy night

 

(noting here "icy" is an attribute of the "right"- whereas the failings of the left were 'fiery' ("torched"))

 

we are then treated to a sense of quickness in the next few lines- a sense of 'flurry', with the use of repeated word-sounds near next to each other:

 

round - around

flame - aflame

star-crossed dance - dance to notes

 

not exactly a 'battle'- but truly a dance-

flurry, quick, and of 'two'...

 

and then the last two lines to 'cement' it all together for us- to tell us what this single thing is that forces these helpless creatures to meet in such a dangerous dance...

 

dance to
notes

set
in the chrysalis of karma
.

 

the single flame is linked with the chrysalis- which indeed can speak beautifully of karma, in the way that these moths are helpless to it, destined to it, just as they are helpless to the markings on their wings- their DNA is their karma just as much as their struggle, their dance is... and the inevitability of a transformation that neither of them can know now- but bespeaks of their inherent beauty- these markings and this dance... helpless to beauty, despite the sufferings of what they carry on their wings and experience in their flight... the single flame-dance also being the circle of karma- the rebirth from suffering and struggle, to a higher form each time...

 

love it!

 

 

is this what the author intended here? The time I spent with the poem was MOST enjoyable! and Im sure the author will appreciate that icon_smile.gif - I felt free to bring my own perspective to it- so I think that freedom was there in the poem already- the descriptions and drama allowed for an open interpretation, and this reader took that as a gift- and en-JOYed it thoroughly!

 

thank you for bringing it here gl!

 

___________________________

 

THEN, I go on to read that this was born of a political event/ struggle/ tragedy

 

THEN, I lose the review Ive written to not having had cookies enabled on my browser icon_sad.gif - OH NO!!!!

 

SO, I write my review over again- as best I can- being sure to save it before hitting any buttons

 

BUT, now I cant be sure my review as read can be as innocent of the knowledge that the author offered (bombings politics etc) as it was when first written- but, oh well- I believe it is *shrugs* icon_biggrin.png

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goldenlangur

DC,

 

 

I'm not quite sure how deserving I am of your incredibly generous words icon_redface.gif Non-duality is certainly a Buddhist principle and I struggle so much of the time.

 

But it's good to see you around and read your work.

 

 

Thank you.

 

Happy New Year icon_smile.gif

 

 

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Apologies rumisong for this delayed response to your superbly detailed and perceptive review.

 

 

Your reading here is gratifying:

 

for me on my first reading of it, I was seeing the metaphor of these

moths as socio-philosophical movements- the markings on their wings to

be markings of struggle endured by these historical energies-

 

Please don't apologize about taking a

US-centric view

. I'm delighted that this is why my piece took you.Besides, you open the window to another world for the likes of me.

 

As I keep reading your review I'm persuaded that your critique is more eloquent than my piece icon_biggrin.png What a wonderful reading this:

 

their DNA is their karma just as much as their struggle, their dance

is... and the inevitability of a transformation that neither of them

can know now- but bespeaks of their inherent beauty- these markings and

this dance...
helpless to beauty
, despite the sufferings of what they carry on their wings and experience in their flight...

 

 

 

Re your post script about what inspired this poem - I sometimes veer towards a nihilistic perception of the world. So un-Buddhist and without hope!

 

 

A big thank you for this thoughtful exchange.

 

 

goldenlangur

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur wrote:

 

Your reading here is gratifying

 

There is a whole topic of discussion itself, that maybe we can get into someday, all of us here... 'what is this dynamic that happens, when we feel the poet in us, coming out to read someone elses poem'...

 

do you know what I mean?

 

its like, Im a reptile-man (as poet) underneath this skin- and when another poet (as reptile-person) comes and delivers a poem (hissing and slithering and flicking out a tongue) then all of a sudden I start to grow scales (again) and flicking my tongue uncontrollably - the reptile-man in me starts to come out, in the presence of other reptiles!

 

hanging around poets is like that icon_lol.gif

...

 

or, should we have said monkeys?

...

or perhaps we should have said birds!

 

yes, birds would have been better- its really feathers that Im growing, not scales icon_lol.gif

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goldenlangur

A very imaginative analogy:

 

its like, Im a reptile-man (as poet) underneath this skin- and when

another poet (as reptile-person) comes and delivers a poem (hissing and

slithering and flicking out a tongue) then all of a sudden I start to

grow scales (again) and flicking my tongue uncontrollably - the

reptile-man in me starts to come out, in the presence of other

reptiles!

 

 

But you've come up with a brilliant idea: What animal/bird does one identify with as a poet?

 

The species of monkey whose beautiful name I borrowed, is a non-meat eater and quite important for me.

 

Perhaps as a bird you're borne like Rumi in his ecstatic flights to the realms beyond icon_smile.gif

 

 

goldenlangur ( hugely aware that this is certainly a borrowed identity icon_wink.gif )

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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