Wednesday 8 May 2024

Poetic Voice (and the Breath of Good Intention) - Essay by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


Poetic Voice (and the Breath of Good Intention)


                              The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  

                                                                   It is the source of all true art and science.  

                                                                                                          --Albert Einstein 

In the beginning was the word and it was borne on the breath of Spirit. Just how that spark of spirit is born within us, how it is nurtured by our impressions, sculpted into phrases, how it is shaped-- its rhythm and language-- remains unknown. At what moment does it slip from our lips, does it flow as a river from our hearts, ink from our minds. How exactly does it unfold on that brilliant horizon, that full moon of revelation.


Like any good messenger, the word falls away once it has delivered the meaning. It is the beauty of the meaning that resonates and endures. And, while all writing is a testimony of the human condition, poetry has the potential to awaken in us that dream which is most deep and profound. Who among us does not wish to realize a dream. Are we not all dreams realized—the dust of memory, the stuff that dreams are made of, the same DNA that we share with the stars? Are not all words born of imagination, illumination. Yet, poetry, unlike prose whose light is more direct, doesn’t spell everything out. It’s light, also reflective, is more indirect. We seem to glean meaning from it on an intuitive plane As in a condensation not unlike the conversion of a liquid to a vapor, it is a distilled wisdom.


Poetry is, after all, translation. It translates the same language to a new language… offers another way of saying the same thing, keys into associations and remembrances using metaphor, imagery, rhyme and rhythm. Like music, it evokes and is both familiar and strange. It is a key that opens a portal to the unconscious and helps us to understand on some scale without fully comprehending. Each of us holds remembrances, emotions, feelings hidden in darkness; developed and created as in a photographer’s darkroom destined to be born into light. Eager to be given a name. Some of the most obscure phrases can unlock the unconscious mind offering us a glimpse of light that might otherwise remain veiled. And, thus, poetry reigns in the world of the visibly Invisible. I am reminded that stars still shine even when we cannot see them.


Paradox is like that--neither this nor that—it both enlightens and obscures… remains in some way a mystery. Its strength is its vulnerability. The most powerful of words are airborne on the fragile breath of spirit. There is something so magical about language, especially in that moment when we connect with word's meaning --when everything is in alignment--the meaning of the word, the breath of good intention, the willingness to be open. There is a kind of holy synchronicity that occurs. It' s very much like being in a sacred space and receiving communion. This feeling which unites all people, no matter what our belief. Vibration—that which we, like meteors, fall short of putting into words.


As we invent through the vehicle of the word, we ourselves are reinvented by the word . In the beginning was the word... and with it came the SOUND! The sound of creation. Every time we utter a word-- be it spoken or written--we are recreating the world , our world--inspiring change and transformation. We have only to find our voice.


In bygone days I believe that there was more of an intention to write something beautiful. I think we’d all like to write something of beauty, but what is considered beautiful is evolving while it remains the same. Today, there is more poetry that is confessional as we want to better understand ourselves and the world around us. And, in these modern times, we are a little less inhibited and feel more free to express ourselves. We are also ever-aware of the possibility of being censored. Remember poor Federico Garcia Lorca. Nonetheless, we continue to strive to write something meaningful, something that imparts truth and, if one is fortunate, something that imparts wisdom. But, in order to effect change through language, it is important to be authentic, to originate, to present that which is no longer familiar so that one is forced to look through new eyes. Sometimes just by changing the order of the words one becomes more conscious and is able to see the world through another perspective. I recall what e.e. cummings said in one of my favourite poems of his : i thank you God for most this amazing day –that’s the first line... and the last two:

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


Sometimes, I like to think… now the eyes of my ears awake, now the ears of my eyes are opened. What would it be like to be that mindful?! To have that much empathy! One of the things poetry does for you is to put yourself in someone else s place. It nurtures empathy and compassion. This is badly needed in the world and no small thing. Everyone has a voice that needs to be heard.

While I love the written word on the page, I am reminded that intonation was our first language and am moved by the sympathetic vibration of the spoken. Both celebrate language and the human spirit. I also believe it is important to try to reach people, to speak our truth, to move people to change, I believe we can lift our voices towards that end--lift our spirits. There is something so elementally transformative about language-- when it comes alive.... and people, as well, in the creative process. How, when it is sounded through the instrument of the voice and the human emotional cadence and timbre, it opens so many windows and doors within.

Like most of you, I am drawn to attempting to solve the why and wherefore of Life's meaning. I want to know!! haha. Please tell me where the sky begins... and where it ends. Most of us have the desire to catch a glimpse of light, the familiar in the Unknown.  Perhaps, there is only ever a very thin horizon which separates us from one another The words communion. communication. community come to mind. What is communion other than finding a oneness, a wholeness , a witness. A connection.


Word is an extension of thought and expression—a good part of what makes us very human . Trying to connect to people, to meaning effects healing and change. Even when we are standing still we are still moving and wishing to be moved... to get somewhere. And, if you don't image (imagine) a place for yourself somewhere on the Large Screen of life, in the Larger Picture, you get left behind. That's why they call it Moving Pictures. For life is not a dead noun but a living verb. Love not just love, but loving. Loving is Everything. You may go a thousand miles and get nowhere… or never leave your room and yet traverse an entire Universe. The more significant home we carry is within our hearts-- love, kindness, a sense f humor. The humility to accept the challenge of darkness, to transform and be transformed. Perhaps, we are not so unlike word, itself ---the light we are buried in?


We are kept in the dark about so many things, whether for political reasons, personal or other unknown . Dark knows we are afraid of it. Wants only to be loved. Why not consider Dark our darkroom and give birth to ourselves? Turn negatives into positives by developing our perceptions. Be more capable of change and experience ourselves as being moved from fear to love. There is something about the duty of caring for the soul and realizing its potential. Humanity. It is one of the reasons I write, one of the reasons I go to listen to others. To you. I can't wait to hear your voice--what you have to say, to sing, next from your minds and hearts. Baring one's soul takes courage, but it is one of the most transformative experiences one can have. Be it written or spoken, whether from near or far, no matter who you are, we may all take comfort in the knowledge that we go our separate ways together. May we do it mindfully... and with grace.

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London–-publisher of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Henry Miller and Bob Dylan, to name a few.  his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish.  A nominee for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Joseph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.  Her selected poems On the Way to Invisible is forthcoming in 2024.

No comments:

Post a Comment

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...