Rainbow-Song for The Angel of Tao: A Graphic-Art Poem by Aberjhani

Rainbow-Song for the Angel of Tao poetry art panel No. 2 by Aberjhani
(Art panel No. 2 Rainbow-Song for the Angel of Tao copyright by Aberjhani.)

“Rainbow-Song for the Angel of Tao” is not typical so far as poems posted in celebration of National Poetry Month go. The 3 stanzas of the poem are described as verses and each one has a corresponding art panel created by the poet.

The visual panels and the text stanzas are mirror images of each other reflected in different mediums. That means they reveal different aspects of one another, like the light the art panels reflecting the forms behind the words; and the rhythm of the text echoing the harmony of the light. Definitely a National Poetry Month kind of thing: Rainbow-Song: The Angel of Tao. A Graphic Poem by Aberjhani.


Reflections on Ode to the Good Black Boots that Served My Soul So Well (poem) by Aberjhani

“But why exactly were these shoes so important to Vincent? Why had he carried them with him for so long, beaten and worn as they were?” – Ken Wilber, from the essay A Pair of Worn Shoes (“A Pair of Shoes” painting by Vincent Van Gogh from Southern Review.org)

The story and intent behind my poem, Ode to the Good Black Boots that Served My Soul So Well, is not extremely different from the story and likely intent behind Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, A Pair of Shoes (see image above). In philosopher Ken Wilber’s book, The Eye of the Spirit – An Integral Vision of a World Gone Slightly Mad, the author retells a story first shared by the painter Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) about a pair of “enormous worn out misshapen shoes” painted by his friend Vincent.

The now-iconic Van Gogh (1853–1890) created the image after serving as a caregiver for 40 days and nights to a miner who had been so badly burned that doctors gave him up for dead. Vincent Van Gogh could not accept that prognosis. He had not gone to the mines to paint but had traveled there in well-made boots as a young pastor intent on ministering to whoever might have need of him. 

After laboring with love to nurse the man back to some degree of health, the scars that remained on the miner’s brow and face looked to Van Gogh like scars from a crown made of thorns.

Please enjoy the full post by clicking here:
Reflections on Ode to the Good Black Boots that Served My Soul So Well (poem) by Aberjhani on AuthorsDen.

Dancing with Genius, Dancing with Madness (in Honor of Jalaluddin Rumi)

                                                           (Rumi Visions II CD cover art by  Marvin Mattelson)

I think of Genius and Madness as being very much like a twin brother and sister.  And it doesn’t really matter which one we call the brother, or which we describe as the sister, for one simple reason.  Within the universe of the extraordinary, those qualities we designate to human concepts of gender are often shared, exchanged, or even completely obliterated. Because of this mixture of traits, these twins called Genius and Madness often appear to be the same thing.

They both have a tendency to blur the lines of what we call norms, or established reality.  They both, when we study that grand tapestry known as history and modern-day society, tend to stand out in much bolder relief than other figures. Neither Genius nor Madness ever look upon the world as a finished product. Both tend to view it as a kind of work in progress subject to their peculiarly mesmerizing influence.

Nevertheless: despite their similarities we are talking about twins with pronounced and distinct characteristics. If they at moments appear identical, in the end there’s rarely any difficulty telling them apart. For we recognize True Genius and True Madness most accurately by their legacies. Madness has a fondness for leaving the world filled with confusion and atrocity: such as the assassination of humanitarian leaders; the systematic rape and oppression of women and children; or the deliberate destruction of social and individual harmony. Genius, on the other hand, prefers to reserve its passions for clarity and the joys of intellectual possibility. It bestows upon the world such gifts as the angelic compositions of a Mozart; the enabling spiritual vision of a Martin Luther King, Jr.; the creative brilliance of a Leonardo da Vinci; or the Nobel-winning literary excellence of a Toni Morrison.

To check out the full post by Aberjhani please click the link:
Dancing with Genius, Dancing with Madness in Honor of Rumi article by Aberjhani on AuthorsDen.

The Miracle That Was Gullah Artist Allen Fireall: Poem and Remembrance


What would you call it if you heard about an artist who had been declared legally blind and whose heart had lost the greater percentage of its strength but whom somehow continued to produce masterful paintings in brilliantly-colored detail? The word miracle may not be too extreme at all and it certainly should not be ruled out in the case of Gullah artist Allen Franklin Fireall, who passed away in Savannah, Georgia, on March 31, 2014.

Fireall described himself as an “artist historian” who dedicated his talents to preserving the culture and history of his people. In that sense, his work might be described as historical realism. The images he produced support that assessment in bold hues depicting scenes from African-American island and rural life in the Southeast.

Populating his canvases were: men hoeing row crops, women and men working beside each other harvesting collard greens, people gathered at a lake or river to be baptized, couples enjoying leisurely strolls on the beach, solitary brides in rowboats on their way to get married, fishermen making and casting nets, women sewing quilts, and men in barber shops playing checkers.

In his earlier stronger days, Fireall produced 10 to 15 medium and large-sized canvases every month. They found their way into collections across the globe through outlets in downtown Savannah and festivals and exhibitions throughout the Low Country. They were sometimes lyrically humorous and at other times poignantly sad. What made them miraculous in either case during his final years was that he continued to produce work at all after diabetes robbed him of his sight and a failing heart withered his strength.

Please enjoy the full article by Aberjhani by clicking this link:
The miracle that was Gullah artist Allen Fireall: Poem and remembrance – National African-American Art | Examiner.com

A Double Dose of Dynamic Compassion – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

“To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity.” –The Charter for Compassion

You could say I recently received a double dose of compassion. The first came in the form of a friendly reminder from fellow wordsmith Barbara Kaufmann that the founder of the Charter for Compassion movement, Karen Armstrong, was going to be a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday program. The second came in the form of a photograph of the late much-loved actor Paul Walker assisting a group of children. Reach Out Worldwide, the organization founded by Walker, had paired the image with one of my quotes about compassion back in September and it resurfaced on Twitter and Facebook following Walker’s tragic death.

1. Paul Walker

For many, the death of the late actor and humanitarian was a shock as well as a revelation. It was a shock partly because he was so young and partly because people generally prefer Hollywood scenarios where the beautiful heroes and heroines triumph over brutal opposition rather than succumb to it. Most––would prefer that reality were a better respecter of persons. But it––like gravity, time, or disease––is not. Reality as we live it most often takes on qualities like mercy, grace, and yes, dynamic compassion, when we choose to endow it with such powerful elements.

Please enjoy the full post by Aberjhani at the following link:
A Double Dose of Dynamic Compassion – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

Text and meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech (part 3 of 4) – by Aberjhani

                         Image still from “Let Freedom Ring” video provided by the King Center.

“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” ––Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream

In its essence, “I Have a Dream” is one citizen’s soul-searing plea with his countrymen––Whites and Blacks––to recognize that racial disparities fueled by unwarranted bigotry were crippling America’s ability to shine as a true beacon of democracy in a world filled with people groping their way through suffocating shadows of political turmoil, economic oppression, military mayhem, starvation, and disease. The speech is particularly remarkable for the way it balances a militant rejection of racial and political oppression with unwavering faith in humanity’s ability to exercise love and moral vision in the face of hatred and xenophobia.

In Dr. King’s words: “With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The power to strike such an uncanny balance came as much from the tradition of dissension and prophecy historically employed within the African-American church as from the contents of King’s own formidable character.

The word “prophecy” itself does not appear in the speech. However, halfway through it, King evokes the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos. Exactly what was on his mind is made clear in the pages of his 1958 book, Stride Toward Freedom, which is included in A Testament of Hope (p. 481, pb edition):

To check out the complete article by Aberjhani please click on this link

Text and meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech (part 3 of 4) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Feathers of Gold, Feathers of Silver (from The River of Winged Dreams) – by Aberjhani

Blog digital art graphic courtesy of Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

In July 2006, I sat down to write a short simple thank you note to fellow poets and writers who had graciously wished me well on my birthday. To my surprise, the intended short simple note came out of my pen in the form of the following poem: 


Each, shaped from a heart
divine—such is the nature
of your humble wings.

 Love, Mercy, and Grace,
sisters all, attend your wounds
of silence and hope.

You are the good twin
and the bad. Not arrogant,
but jubilant…sweet…

With grief or without,
your flight commands awareness
of joy beyond pain.

Holy starbright of
infinite heavens, for these
tears––I do thank you. 

Just the fact that it was a poem was the first big surprise. The second was the style in which it was written, a variation on the haiku that I had never used before. Had my muse taken on the form of an angelic presence to gift me with a unique way to say Thank You? Or had an angelic presence paid me a visit to play the role of my muse? I smiled at the possibilities, posted my Thank You poem, and life went cautiously on about its modern-world business. 

So how astonished was I when another angel poem materialized just a week later?  Very! This one called itself Angel of Grace. I don’t recall a specific reason for its composition, only afterwards feeling deeply inspired—almost pressured in fact—to dedicate it to the English poet Kate Burnside and her family. Since we have never met nor even chatted, this dedication stunned Burnside at least as much as it did me.           

These angels of poetry, I thought, have a nicely wicked and scary sense of humor.


Angel of Grace forced me to confront the possibility that even though I had no intentions of writing additional poems about the influence or presence of angels, some additional poems might nevertheless have every intention of making themselves known to me.  It turned out they did.  Most were written down but some were not simply because I could not always hold the words or images long enough in my mind to do so. They would come in bursts of intense energy like exploding butterflies, dazzle me with their depth and light, then vanish.  

The manner in which the poems continued to manifest intrigued me to no end. Predictably, the most violent among them was Angel of War. I did not like the concept of an Angel of War—probably because of the ongoing atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—so tried to resist the act of physically writing a poem about one. This struggle not to pick up a pen and write clashed head-on with an intense compulsion to do exactly that. For more than a week I found myself engaged in this psychic battle. Any time I wrote a stanza in one notebook, just to get it out of my head, I would later write somewhere else a question challenging the nature of war. This tugging back and forth eventually gave the poem its final form of haiku-like stanzas followed by angry questions. 

The Angel of War experience was a weird one that I did not have time to contemplate long because—talk about some serious irony—the next week the Angel of Peace showed up during a storm that knocked all the lights out. Every time I went feeling through the dark to do one thing, I would grab a candle or flashlight along with a pen and paper then stand wherever I was and write instead. Both Angel of War and Angel of Peace were featured in the July 2007 online issue of Poetry Life and Times. 

To read this full post by Aberjhani please click this link:

Feathers of Gold, Feathers of Silver (from The River of Winged Dreams) – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.