Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joyce Sutphen : The Heart Remembers Everything It Loved..

How To Listen

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift
your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let
things come randomly. Don't expect answers.

Forget everything you've ever done.
Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story
you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move
might frighten the truth away forever.

Don't attempt to copy anything down.
Don't bring a camera or a recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

The Heart Remembers Everything It Loved

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.


Morning falls out of its orbit
and swims up through the blue.
Last night, when I heard the news,
I forgot my human hunger.
Now I am making calculations
with a row of ivy and old hibiscus.
I am silent as a shadow in the ferns,
I am frond green and curled.
It may be necessary to drink through
the roots; I could eat sunlight and air,
start a green factory in each finger;
I could make each arm a branch.
Let me begin as stem and leaf.
I'll make something you can breathe.

At The Moment

Suddenly, I stopped thinking about Love,
after so many years of only that,
after thinking that nothing else mattered.

And what was I thinking of when I stopped
thinking about Love? Death, of course—what else
could take Love’s place? What else could hold such force?

I thought about how far away Death once
had seemed, how unexpected that it could
happen to someone I knew quite well,

how impossible that this should be the
normal thing, as natural as frost and
winter. I thought about the way we’d aged,

how skin fell into wrinkles, how eyes grew
dim; then (of course) my love, I thought of you.


The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water
over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old
birthday, counting the years as usual,
but I will count myself new from this
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers shifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.

Naming The Stars

This present tragedy will eventually
turn into myth, and in the mist
of that later telling the bell tolling
now will be a symbol, or, at least,
a sign of something long since lost.

This will be another one of those
loose changes, the rearrangement of
hearts, just parts of old lives
patched together, gathered into
a dim constellation, small consolation.

Look, we will say, you can almost see
the outline there: her fingertips
touching his, the faint fusion
of two bodies breaking into light. 

Joyce Sutphen

(b. 1949, lives in Minnesota)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kishori Amonkar : The Diva of Hindustani Music

Kishori Amonkar 
Raag : Haunsadhwani (Tarana)

 Kishori Amonkar

Our music is the fifth Veda. The Vedas teach you Brahma Vidya. You cannot learn that from a machine. If you go on contemplating and meditating upon the divine art, I am sure you will reach the ultimate destination of a note – which is Brahma. I am trying my best to reach that.

Kishori Amonkar

We have given an entertainment value to our music. Singing, practising and performing, all are different. These are the three aspects of music. I give importance to singing. It is like talking to your soul. It is an inner communion which you are trying to communicate ... in the process, naturally it will diminish in value.

 Kishori Amonkar

This art needs meditation. It is not that I don't love the public. It is because of them I am where I am today. I consider each one of you as an embodiment of Raghavendra Swamiji. When I sing, you become Raghavendra… I am seriously moving away from performing. I am waiting for a chance to get into teaching completely. That's my goal.

Kishori Amonkar

In North India, music is treated as entertainment. I detest that to the core….people don't care. They casually walk in and out of the theatre, while you are singing. The audience in Madras also does that. I feel it is not their fault. If you see Tirupathi Balaji standing before you, what will you do ? You will get rooted to the spot. So I think, perhaps, I lack the qualities to make me forget myself and in turn make you forget everything else.

 Kishori Amonkar

I believe that Indian music is nothing but the expression of a feeling. If I say, ‘I love you,' can you measure it? You just have to feel that vibration. We have limited our music to formats. In North India, every raga is sung in a typical form. First alaap, then vistaar, then you put words into the alaap; words in the thana, then dhrutha … We repeat the entire repertoire. I don't think one needs to singdhrutha here. Dhrutha conveys an entirely different feeling. You sing it when you are restless or have an intense feeling. But we don't do that. Apologetically, I accept these faults. You do the same in Carnatic music. In a performance you give a break, you give some time for the violin, some time for the mridangam. It is a break from the emotion.

 Mogubai Kurdikar

It is a nice blend of mind and brain which you need in art. You cannot be merely sentimental, devoid of intellect. There should be a perfect balance between intellect and heart. It is known as sayyam in Indian religion. This is how we ultimately reach moksha. But you must understand that you need control to do that. I am learning to control myself. I know I am an extremely intelligent person. This is why my mother did not take me to any concerts until she approved of it.

 Kishori Amonkar

The two systems - Hindustani and Carnatic - are more the result of practical tradition, influenced by environmental cultural forces. I think this is a world of notes. We should not put in too many words, too many rhythmical acrobatics into our singing. It is high time instrumentalists got out of the acrobatics with the percussionists. These are just gimmicks. The worst exploitation of the audience is by gimmicky artists. Listeners have been led to believe that they should be excited by a performance. That goes exactly against the principles of Indian classical music, which brings you peace!

Kishori Amonkar

(Courtesy : Lakshmi Viswanathan, The Hindu)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal : The Sancho Panza Of Indian Politics?!

To right the unrightable wrong,
To love, pure and chaste from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star..

~ Don Quixote de La Mancha