Tag Archives: mindfulness

“Absent Presence” or “Present Absence”

Version 1:

Although I touch your hair

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly here.

 

The form, which I devised, consists of stanzas of iambic trimeter containing rhyming tercets. I have considered rearranging the lines to put the poem in terza rima. In terza rima it would look like this:

Version 2:

Although I touch your hair,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly here.

I would welcome any feedback regarding which version works best.

 

Paul

“Mindless Life in Ghostly Shadows”

a sonnet by Paul Burgess–this is one of my rare “serious” works. I would genuinely appreciate any feedback readers would provide.

This drinking tea to empty out a cup
And doing tasks to cross them off our lists
Directs the eyes to what is coming up,
Although what’s here, and nothing else, exists.
If sewing only to complete a dress
With thoughts of only what will next arrive,
Then shadows and a deathly emptiness
Accompany all moments we’re alive.

Without Awareness, tapestries of what has passed
Are woven presents filled with ghostly dreams,
And threads of faded “Now” that we’ve amassed
Will hold together Future’s fraying seams.
To always look behind or play the seer
Exchanges “is” for “is not truly here.”

This poem was inspired by the following passage from Thich Nhat Hahn’s Miracle of Mindfulness:

If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”…If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future–and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life” (5).

“Pills: a Modern Fable”

by Paul Burgess […a poem on the tendency to treat symptoms rather can causes and to escape pain rather than deal with it]

One day while walking through the nearby hills,
I came across a lady selling pills.
She said to take her tablets twice a day,
And troubles would all start to melt away.
The pills provided such a soaring high
That I returned to buy a new supply.
But where she’d been I heard no human sound,
And nothing of that lady was there found.
Along with waves of troubles flooding back,
I count among my woes those pills I lack.

 

“To Anxiety” [Complete; parts 1-3]

In response to the following prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ [Since I rarely write anything so personal or serious, I would genuinely appreciate constructive feedback.]

A  3-part letter in blank verse [unrhymed iambic pentameter]

Pt. I
Although I’ve spent a lot of time with you,
And you would often hold me, stand by me,
Remain with me in best and worst of times—
To starve equanimity while feeding fear
With nourishment required by peace’s roots—
Your frequent recent absences bring no tears
To eyes no longer clouded by your breath’s
Impenetrable, nauseating fog.

Pt. II
I never could escape when trying to flee.
To struggle only tightened boa-like
Embraces slowly piercing heart with bones.
Exhausted and resigned to dying in your grip,
I ceased to claw, to scratch, to push away—
No more diversion, dreaming, fear, or hope.
Observing, only watching, touching you,
I saw your face more clearly than before.

Pt. III
The wave of panic darkening your eyes
Expressed your fear; you knew what I had grasped.
Though coiled around your nearly vanquished prey,
Without my help, your strength began to wane.
You’d only grown so strong because I’d fed you;
I was entangled because I’d pulled the knots.
You let me go because I let you go.
On future visits, bring your food or starve.

“Anxiety” Pt. III

In response to the following prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ [Since I rarely write anything so personal or serious, I would genuinely appreciate constructive feedback.]

You will find the first part here: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/anxiety-pt-i/

and the second part herehttps://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/anxiety-pt-ii/

“[To} Anxiety” Pt. III

The wave of panic darkening your eyes
Expressed your fear; you knew what I had grasped.
Though coiled around your nearly vanquished prey,
Without my help, your strength began to wane.
You’d only grown so strong because I’d fed you;
I was entangled because I’d pulled the knots.
You let me go because I let you go.
On future visits, bring your food or starve.

“Anxiety” Pt. II

In response to the following prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ [Since I rarely write anything so personal or serious, I would genuinely appreciate constructive feedback.]

You will find the first part here: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/anxiety-pt-i/

“[To} Anxiety” Pt. II

I never could escape when trying to flee.
To struggle only tightened boa-like
Embraces slowly piercing heart with bones.
Exhausted and resigned to dying in your grip,
I ceased to claw, to scratch, to push away—
No more diversion, dreaming, fear, or hope.
Observing, only watching, touching you,
I saw your face more clearly than before.

“Anxiety” Pt. I

In response to the following prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ [Since I rarely write anything so personal or serious, I would genuinely appreciate constructive feedback.]

“[To} Anxiety”

Although I’ve spent a lot of time with you,
And you would often hold me, stand by me,
Remain with me in best and worst of times—
To starve equanimity while feeding fear
With nourishment required by peace’s roots—
Your frequent recent absences bring no tears
To eyes no longer clouded by your breath’s
Impenetrable, nauseating fog.

“Life: A to Z”

A prose poem in response to the following prompt:
http://zealousscripts.com/2014/06/03/114/

Achievement is not the child of conquest
Bravery is not the brother of aggression
Courage is not the spouse of violence.

Do not underestimate the mundane
Experience the miracle of breathing
Feel the breaths come and go.

Getting even—becoming an account in need of balance
Hurting those who hurt you
Injuring those who injure you, is never
Justice.

Kings are often miserable
Lords just as sad, but
Maids might smile sincerely.

Narcissism drowns people in themselves.
Obsession drowns them in others
Paranoia drowns them in delusions about themselves and others.

Quiet when listening
Respectful when speaking
Silent when enraged.

Termites bring down houses
Unseen amoeba destroy humans
Vices bury heroes
Water erodes mountains.

Xenophobia freezes hearts to stone
Young smiles gently melt them to soothing liquid
Zealotry boils hearts, leaving a dry pot.

 

I planned to write this in series of 3, but I noticed too late that I had left two letters out…I ended up adding those two to existing sets of 3.

 

P.S. This is a first draft. I welcome feedback.