Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

An excerpt from Thomas Merton’s beautiful poem, ‘Song: If you Seek…’:

Follow my ways and I will lead you
To golden-haired suns,
Logos and music, blameless joys,
Innocent of questions
And beyond answers:

For I, Solitude, am thine own self:
I, Nothingness, am thy All.
I, Silence, am thy Amen!

Since today is world poetry day, I thought I would post one of my poems – God In All Things – published in ‘The Other Side of Light’:

The Other Side of Light Front Page

The great dialectic,

Immanent, yet transcendent,

mysterious, yet knowable,

God in all things.

 

God within, God without,

God above us, God before us,

ever about us.

God in all things.

 

Accessible through prayer,

contemplation and meditation,

revealed in Scripture.

God in all things.

 

In the setting of the sun,

In the budding of a flower,

In beauty of new life.

God in all things.

 

In the faces of those we meet,

In forgiveness offered,

or in any act of love.

God in all things.

 

Look,

Listen,

Reflect.

God is in all things.

The Other Side of Light Front Page

NEW PUBLICATION: The Other Side of Light by Scott Peddie & Columba O’Neill

In this short collection of poems, the echo of the spiritual life leaves its indelible mark on each page and in each word spoken. 

It is unusual in that it stems from what at first seems to be two divergent spiritual paths: one a Presbyterian Minister and the other a Cistercian Monk. But in actual fact the spiritual convergence is very clear for the reader to see as the poetry progresses. Common themes of silence, contemplation and reflection, among others, make their presence felt and witness to the fact that God is our reality, regardless of how we choose to express ourselves ecclesiastically. 

The Other Side of Light is a testament to the fact that God can be perceived in all things, and the joy of the Christian journey comes from discovering that reality and in expressing it in words.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Columba O’Neill has been a Cistercian Monk, living in Bethlehem Abbey in Co. Antrim, for more than fifty years. Scott Peddie lives in Co. Antrim and is a Presbyterian Minister and member of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans. He has published two previous books of poetry ‘Embracing Imperfection’ and ‘Looking Inwards: A Bipolar Journey’.

The Other Side of Light is available in Kindle format from Amazon.  In the USA, you can purchase the book here: http://amzn.com/B00JJR3QA6.  In the UK or Ireland, you can download the book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JJR3QA6.

If you don’t have a Kindle device, you can download the Kindle reader for your PC, Mac, phone or tablet by visiting the Amazon website.

 

Looking Inwards Front Page

On Saturday 13th July the publisher (The Crystal Bard Press) will be offering the kindle edition of my second book – Looking Inwards: A Bipolar Journey – as a free download via Amazon.

‘Looking Inwards: A Bipolar Journey is a collection of abstract art, photography and poems by Scott Peddie, a minister and scientist who, after years of suffering from depression, has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. 

The poetry, which is often agonising, always tender and thoughtful, reflects Scott’s experience of living with this complex condition and follows on from his first book, Embracing Imperfection. 

The abstract art and photography is a very personal reflection on the variable emotions that characterise the inner life of an individual living with this condition. 

The author royalties from the sale of this book in Kindle format are being donated to Aware Defeat Depression NI, an organisation that offers practical help to depression/bipolar sufferers and their families’.

You can download the book from Amazon UK here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B36UBYU ….and via this link if you live in the USA: http://amzn.com/B00B36UBYU

Looking Inwards: A Bipolar Journey is a collection of abstract art, photography and poems by Scott Peddie, a minister and scientist who, after years of suffering from depression, has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder.

The poetry, which is often agonising, always tender and thoughtful, reflects Scott’s experience of living with this complex condition and follows on from his first book, Embracing Imperfection (also available from Amazon).

The abstract art and photography is a very personal reflection on the variable emotions that characterise the inner life of an individual living with this condition.

The author royalties from the sale of this book in Kindle format are being donated to Aware Depression NI, an organisation that offers practical help to depression/bipolar sufferers and their families.

Looking Inwards Front Page

You can purchase the kindle edition at Amazon in the UK here or via Amazon in the US here.

I have accumulated thousands of books over the years, but I would hazard a guess that perhaps only a handful of those would fit into the category of ‘must haves’  or ‘books that are so enriching/life-affirming/insightful that I could not do without them! Roger Housden’s For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics’ is one such of those books though.  In it he offers 98 of the most compelling poems from both historic and contemporary Christian writers, commonly referred to as mystics on account of their relationship with God and how they articulate this to the wider community.

The variety of authors and the breadth and depth of their poetry is a wonderful reflection of the range of experience and style of recounting that experience that is extant. And so, through Housden, we have access to the wisdom of the Desert Fathers, the fire of St. Augustine, and on through the medieval insights of Meister Eckhart, St. Francis of Assisi and the visionary ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila and on to more contemporary writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Merton and R.S. Thomas.  With each poem, Housden provides a brief, but insightful commentary that prompts the reader to revisit each poem with new eyes and to meditate on the words more deeply.

Housden’s collection tackles a plethora of different theses which reflects the concerns of believers over the years and in current times.  What is evident is that faith is always beautiful, but sometimes painful; the ecstatic and joyful are an integral part of the experiential encounter with the divine.

Through the medium of poetry, the reader can fully enter in to the intensity of experience that the mystic articulates using expressive and profound words, concepts and motifs. But that is not all; the mystic poets transcendent words as they point towards a truth that cannot be truly expressed in human terms, but can only be comprehended via an individual encounter with God.

And so I shall leave you with the words of one of the Christian mystics featured in Housden’s book – Johannes Tauler, a follower of Meister Eckhart, who  wrote ‘The Mysterious Place‘:

St Augustine says that there is a mysterious place
deep in the soul that is beyond time and this world, a part
higher than that which gives life and movement to 
the body; true prayer so raises the heart that God can
come into this innermost place, the most disinterested,
intimate, and noble part of our being, the seat of our unity.
It is His eternal dwelling-place, and
into this grand and mysterious kingdom He pours
the sweet delight of which I have spoken. Then is man no
longer troubled by anything: he is recollected, quiet, and
really himself, and becomes daily more detached,
spiritualized, and contemplative, for God is within him,
reigning and working in the depths of his soul.

I’ve just come across a short clip of a fantastic interview with David Whyte, the author of several books of poetry and a book of prose and poetry entitled: The Heart Aroused.

Whyte makes a very cogent case that poetry allows us to acknowledge the fullness of our being in ways that are often impossible in daily life. An he is of course correct; poetry allows us to enter the hidden recesses of our personality and to explore our emotions and creativity in greater breadth and depth.

Whyte points out that when we deny the insights that poetry provides, it can prove injurious to the soul and is bad for relationships and business. Poetry unites us with the soul of the world claims Whyte, and this is particularly evident during times of crisis, where poetry provides wisdom, solace and guidance.

I can personally vouch for the advantages of both writing and reading poetry during times of turmoil and crisis; it is therapy for the soul and I cannot imagine life without Burns, Goethe, Merton, Gibran and so many others.

You can purchase the entire hour long interview with Whyte on the ‘Thinking Allowed’ website here: http://www.thinkingallowed.com/2dwhyte.html.  You can also watch an eight minute segment of the interview here:

Embracing Imperfection: An Anthology of Poetry
The Crystal Bard Press has published an anthology of my poetry which deals with living with bipolar disorder.  You can find more information on how to purchase the book by visiting my bipolar blog here: Embracing Imperfection: An Anthology of Poetry.

Here is a short poem I’ve written and uploaded to my blog on living with bipolar disorder:

Within the Realms of Unreality.

Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Over me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and of deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird; —
Beauty through my senses stole;
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

A few lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s beautiful poem ‘Each and All’. Emerson’s masterpiece invites us to reflect on our place in nature, the form and function of beauty, and the nature of truth. You can listen to (and watch) an animated version of the life affirming ‘Each and All’ below.  Enjoy!