“Now come the whispers bearing bouquets of moonbeams and sunlight tremblings.”
--Aberjhani (from The River of Winged Dreams)
List of Stops on an Internet Tour of The River of Winged Dreams
Below is a list of a few links that have been shared with me and which fans of The River of Winged Dreams might appreciate as well. I found the Han Chinese translations of “Angel of Earth Days and Seasons” and “Angel of Peace” particularly interesting because other than a couple of poems in Spanish, these are the only ones I'm aware of that anyone has attempted to translate (note to foreign rights publishers: if you’re interested please email me). Equally worthy of attention are the poignantly, inspiringly, and humanly profound meditations by Shay MacKay in her blog post “Rising from the Ashes.”
Please enjoy the shared literary scenery. For more on behind-the-scenes River of Winged Dreams happenings please keep reading:
There is some justification to recent criticism that I possibly have not shown The River of Winged Dreams as much attention as I should since its publication in 2010. I certainly do not refute the affirmation that it is a book worthy of its growing audience. Therefore, the above quote, from the poem “Angel of Valentine Days and Nights,” is presented not only in celebration of one of the year’s more fun holidays but in honor of a book which in a few months will turn 3 years young.
Obviously one big reason I haven’t campaigned for wider distribution or other considerations regarding the title is because of ongoing work focused on literary projects which have not reached the stage of maturity that The River of Winged Dreams has. Editing the first two volumes of the Savannah Civil War Book Series, putting together a major collection of essays, contributing to an important website, and completing a hopefully ideologically substantive play are not the kinds of things most mortal writers can do effectively while tweeting with one hand and polishing up aspiring classics with the other.
Though in all honesty I felt River was representing itself fairly well with the popularity of its quotations page on Goodreads. But yes, I know, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do a bit more to spruce up the page on Facebook or clean up other areas that still have the old cover for The Bridge of Silver Wings where the new one for The River of Winged Dreams should be. But an author has to prioritize and that’s what I do––even when it comes to which projects I shamelessly ask the Tech Angels to assist me with.
The very excellent news here, however, is that the book has been finding its way out into the world and making friends with all kinds of audiences through commentators, translations, visual art interpretations, and good old-fashioned classically passionate readers. For that and much more: thank you all very much!
Mega-diva Beyonce sings the American national anthem as President Barack Obama looks on during Inauguration Day 2013. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
“Hope drowned in shadows emerges fiercely splendid–– boldly angelic.” --Aberjhani, from The River of Winged Dreams
One of the political jabs with which critics of Barack Obama used to attack him during his first run for the U.S. presidency was that his proposed platform was more rhetorical poetry than political substance. That charge has been largely reversed at this 2013 beginning of his hard-won second term.
The cry now––mostly from those frequently described as extremist conservatives, Tea Partiers, and the “New Plutocrats”–– is that the poet in President Obama has allowed power to exert its corruptive influence. It has, they charge, caused him to imagine that he is “a king” in a country where monarchy is not the law of the land. The supposed evidence is his successful passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and proposals submitted to Congress just last week to help end the loss of American lives due to gun violence.
As it turned out, the very quality for which Mr. Obama was ridiculed––his profound eloquence in print as well as in person–– has become one of his greatest strengths. It has also by extension become one of America’s greatest strengths. Again, as it turned out, his poetry was filled with a great deal of substance capable of steering the United States through its greatest economic devastation since the Great Depression, restoring the country’s status as a leader in world affairs, excelling when necessary in the role of commander in chief, and exhibiting extraordinary compassion for those battered by disaster. Poetry, it seems, had helped provide him with uncommon communication skills and an empathetic manner that has allowed him to simultaneously lead, steer, and guide.
Leadership and Followership
His achievements of course have not been solo events. Teams of very devoted individuals and the American people themselves have made the different manifestations of political visions possible in an extremely volatile––some might say antagonistic––climate. The poem below, Midnight Flight of the Poetry Angels, was written during the presidential campaign of 2008 as much to honor those whose followership have since made Mr. Obama’s presidency possible as it was to honor the man himself. It is presented here, in acknowledgment of the 57th inauguration, as it was when shared three months before he first won the office, with an introductory quote from Dreams from My Father:
Midnight Flight of the Poetry Angels (by Aberjhani from The River of Winged Dreams)
“It was a savage scene, and we stayed there for a long time, watching life feed on itself, the silence interrupted only by the crack of bone or the rush of wind, or the hard thump of a vulture’s wings as it strained to lift itself into the current, until it finally found the higher air and those long and graceful wings became motionless and still like the rest.” ––Barack Obama, from Dreams from My Father
What once was blood streaks your face with indigo tears and lush midnight tunes.
Holding silver hands, you compose a Tao of art that heals broken wings.
Lips glow violet, open to reveal tongues bright with pearl metaphors.
A speckled halo handcuffs the world’s best liars to soft dark passions.
Music’s sweet labors give birth to a springtime rush of sighs rippling dreams.
Out of your mouth rhymes blossom like warm paradigms already in flight.
Golden, your songs, and noble; spinning stars on their axis of love.
On faith’s battered back calm eyes etch prayers that cool a nation’s hot rage.
Inside these scarred hearts genius flows incandescent waves of truth made real.
Hope drowned in shadows emerges fiercely splendid–– boldly angelic.
Recently the following quote from the poem A Poet Is a Clinton D. Powell, also known as “A Poem for a Poet,” has been making the rounds on the Internet: “A poet is a verb that blossoms light.”
The poem was written to commemorate my friend Clinton’s inspired life and early death on January 2, 2011. That others have been gleaning some small inspiration and motivation from the phrase seems appropriate enough. He would have liked that because although he was not particularly prolific as a poet, he was an extraordinary champion of the art and those who practiced it. There were few venues in Savannah, Georgia, where he did not turn up for open mics or other poetry showcases (including classrooms on every educational level) to lend his support.
There is at least one art graphic that I’m aware of with the quote on it already but that one uses an image of me in support of National Poetry Month. I don’t have a problem with that but I also wanted something more illustrative of the words’ original purpose. As so often happens when confronted by such an aesthetic dilemma, those more accomplished than myself in the field of visual arts offered valuable guidance and kindly walked me through the creation of a set of Andy-Warhol-like constructions in which the basic image is repeated several times with color and contrast variations. (Continues below)
After narrowing the choices for a final graphic down to 3, I was supposed to choose 1. However, I l liked the final 3 so much that I decided to stick with the Andy Warhol template and make National Poetry Month and World Poetry Day posters (for use later this year) out of all 3. Hence: the floral trinity presented in this blog on this second anniversary of Clinton’s death. I think the theater director in him would have liked it this way as well.
Among of the pronouncements Clinton once made in regard to poetry was: “I want to be able to touch every part of our community with poetry.” Maybe this bouquet of light upon light will help him do exactly that.