POETRY



To Be Water

Be the water cascading off the jagged rock face
Feel the winter snow melting under the feet of the sun
Be the ice floating on the lake of castles
Listen to the echo song of the waking cliffs

I dwell here
but I do not own this house
I dwell here
but I am not this flesh and bones
I am Water
My thirst is quenched
I whirl 'round
Spring skyward
Fly
My water dances on the stars

                                                -Cascadia Flute Circle Member Francis Opila

HYMNE A LA TERRE

SII L'ON VIVAIT SA VIE
COMME SI C'ETAIT UN CHANT
DIFFUSANT PARTOUT LA LUMIERE
FOURNAISSANT LA MUSIQUE AUX
ETAILES . . . COMME DES ETRES
DANSANTS DANS LA NUIT. . .

HYMN FOR EARTH

IF THE PEOPLE LIVED THEIR LIVES
AS IF IT WERE A SONG
FOR SINGING OUT OF LIGHT
PROVIDES THE MUSIC FOR THE STARS
TO BE DANCING CIRCLES IN THE NIGHT

                                                -Yuri Zarifsky



 

INVISIBLE COLORS OF GOLDEN HUES
TOUCH THE EYES OF YOUR EARS
SOFTLY
GENTLY
LIKE SNOWFLAKES THEY FALL
TO REST UPON YOUR HEART

(Dedicated to my father (Shi-Tah) who showed me how to make the river cane sing)
                                                -Tony Duncan

A SINGLE NOTE COMES AND GOES

 

A single whistling note heard from afar,
Piercing as the flute,
Sweet as the guitar,
Dying away to silence
Reappearing suddenly
A single note comes and goes.
 

                                    -Hu Yang-siu
                                     Based on a translation by Su Lien-duan and Claude Roy
                                     The Flute (p.9)
                                     Raymond Meylan

MUSIC IS A MORAL LAW

 

Music is a moral law.
 
It gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
a charm to sadness,
and life to everything.

It is the essence of order,
and leads to all that is good,
just and beautiful,
of which it is the invisible,
but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.
 
 
                        -Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations (Wordsworth
                         Collection), 1991, p.45, attributed to Plato (428-348 BCE )

IMMORTALITY

 

I feel in all my limbs His boundless Grace;
Within my heart the Truth of life shines whit
The secret heights of God my soul now climbs;
No dole, no somber pang, no death in my sight.
 
No mortal days and nights can shake my calm;
A light above sustains my secret soul.
All doubts with grief are banished from my deeps,
My eyes of light perceive my cherished Goal.

Though in the world, I am above its woe;
I dwell in an ocean of supreme release.
My mind, a core of the One’s unmeasured Thoughts;
The star-vast welkin hugs my Spirit’s peace.
 
My eternal days are found in speeding time;
I play upon His Flute of rhapsody.
Impossible deeds no more impossible seem;
In birth-chains now shines Immortality.
 

                                                -Sri Chinmoy
                                                 My Flute

THE GOLDEN FLUTE

 

A sea of Peace and Joy and Light
            Beyond my reach I know.
In me the storm-tossed weeping night
            Finds room to rage and flow.
 
I cry aloud, but all in vain;
            I helpless, the earth unkind!
What soul of might can share my pain?
            Death-dart alone I find.
 
A raft am I on the sea of Time ,
            My oars are washed away.
How can I hope to reach the clime
            Of God’s eternal Day?
 
But hark!  I hear Thy golden Flute,
            Its notes bring the Summit down.
Now safe am I, O Absolute!
            Gone death, gone night’s stark frown!
 
                                                -Sri Chinmoy
                                                 My Flute

IT WAS THE WIND

 

It was the wind that gave them life.
It was the wind that comes out of our mouths now that gives us life.
When this ceases to blow, we die.
In the skin at the tips of our fingers we see the trail of the wind;
it shows us where the wind blew when our ancestors were created.
 

                        -Navajo Poem (Anonymous), from Matthews 1897, p.69.

SPRING NIGHT

 

The few minutes of a Spring night
Are worth ten thousand pieces of gold.
The perfume of the flowers is so pure.
The shadows of the moon are so black.
In the pavilion the voices and flutes are so high
            and light.
In the garden a hammock rocks
In the night so deep, so profound.
 


                                                            -Su Dongpo or Su Shi (1037-1101)
                                                             Tr. Kenneth Rextroth
                                                             Zen Poems, Selected and Edited by
                                                             Peter Harris
                                                             Su Dongpo (“Eastern Slope”), a scholar-official  with broad
                                                             philosophical interests, is generally regarded as the greatest
                                                             poet of the Song Dynasty.

WHEN PLAYING . . .



Auch sey im Pfeiffen darauff gsind
Das du blest mit zitterdem wind/
Dann gleich wie hernach wird gelart
Von der Polischen Geigen art
Das/das zittern den gesang zirt
Also wirds auch alhie gespurt.
 
(When playing remember that you know
Into the flute with trembling breath to blow,
As shortly we shall learn awhile
Of Polish violins and their style
That trembling ornaments the song
Thus must we sense it all along.)
 

                                                -Agricola
                                                 (1545 f. 26; comparing the sound of the transverse
                                                 flute with that of the violin in terms of vibrato)
                                                 The Flute (p.77)
                                                 Raymond Meylan

THE SHADOW OF A LEAF

 

Alone in her room a girl embroiders silken flowers.
She hears a flute afar.
She shivers . . .
Dreaming a young man is singing to her of his love.
 
From the sunlight slanting through the paper window,
the shadow of an orange leaf falls on her breast.
She closes her eyes . . .
Dreaming a young man’s hand is opening her robe.
 

                                                            -Ting Tun-ling
                                                             The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                             Peter Pauper Press, NY

OFFERING
(My Grandfather as Egyptian Bas-Relief)
 


Not gotten far, in these three months.  Only to the vestibule, where a hawk watches the weighing of your soul.  The feather.  The pen it makes.
 
Dinner laid out, all gathered, drink giddiness.  There are flute and drums playing from far off; the sun dies behind the pepper mill and chimneys.  It’s like always.  But look aslant, there are pillars under earth, the hallway that begins your travels.  Dead you are someone else—with those eyes become caves, you are dignified, a statue.  Already nothing I say will make you turn and look at me.
 
Wine swallowed, meat, grain.  For the good journey.  The crocodile god won’t devour you, nor forgetting drown you in its dark.  And if you do sink into the living as into a pool and vanish there, at least with the quill pen death gives us, I will write it once:  How clearly I see you.
 
 
                                                                        -Amy England
                                                                         The Flute Ship Castricum

WHY BE JEALOUS?

 

My little boat is made of ebony;
my flute-stops are pure gold.
Water loosens stains from silk . . .
Wine loosens sadness from the heart.

With good wine, a graceful boat, and a sweet girl’s love . . .
why be jealous of mere gods?
 

                                                -Li Po (701-762)
                                                 The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                 Peter Pauper Press, NY
                                                 Li-Po was China ’s most famous poet, who lived on  the edge: 
                                                 Imprisoned as a traitor, pardoned, exiled, celebrated, granted
                                                 amnesty.  Legend says he drowned in the Yellow River , drunk,
                                                 trying to embrace the reflection of the moon in 762.

WHERE EVERYTHING IS MUSIC

 

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and if the whole world’s harp should burn up,
there will still be hidden instruments
playing, playing

This singing art
is sea foam.
The graceful movements
come from a pearl
somewhere
on the ocean floor.
 
Poems reach up like spindrift
and the edge of driftwood
along the beach
wanting, wanting

They derive from a slow
and powerful root
Stop the words now.
Open the window
in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly
in and out!
 

                                                -Jalal al-Din Rumi
                                                 Translation by Coleman Barks

CREATOR GIVE US HEARTS TO UNDERSTAND

 

Creator, give us hearts to understand;
never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
 
Give us hearts to understand that to destroy earth’s music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her she will care for us.  Aho.
 

                                                                        -Voices

A RENUNCIATION OF WIT

 

Buddhists tell of flames of Kalpa consuming all they 
            meet;
Whence then rises this endless, angry tide of passion?
My days are frittered away in business and writing,
But at night comes fitful fancies, subtle visions . . .
I draw my sword when thick and fast they press,
And with a flute dispel the last faint traces.
All palliatives, all wit, s how a mind diseased;
I must burn my allegories by the lamp.
 

                                                            -Gong Zizhen (1792-1841)
                                                             Tr. Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang
                                                             Zen Poems, Selected and Edited by
                                                             Peter Harris
                                                             Gong Zizhen was a Chinese official who failed in politics
                                                             but succeeded in literature, eventually embracing Buddhism.

MY DREAM WILL BE FULFILLED

 

My dream will be fulfilled
In the great festival
Of my surrender’s consecration-fire.
 
Your Smile, Your Flute,
Your Banner, Your Consciousness-Light
In my world shall dance,
I know, I know.
 

                                                -Sri Chinmoy
                                                 My Flute

MY SONG

 

When my song
is your song
is our song
is one song
There’s no song
There’s no song
There’s no song at all.
When myself
is yourself
is ourself
is one self
There’s no self
There’s no self
There’s no self at all.
Yes, when one becomes two
and two become one
then two minus one
becomes none
becomes none.
 

                                    -Sandra Osawa (Makah)
                                     Dancing on the Rim of the World:  An Anthology
                                     of Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing
                                     Andrea Lerner, Editor

JADE FLOWER PALACE

 

Here by the winding streamlet,
among the sighing winds,
old gray mice scurry over the roof-tiles.
No one any more remembers the Prince’s name who built
            this palace under overhanging cliffs.
 
In darkened rooms you can see green ghost fires . . .
from the flutes of the forest you can hear a thousand voices.
The young palace ladies of long ago are in their yellow graves . . .
then why are painted scrolls still hanging on the wall?
The charioteers and their gold chariots are crumbled . . .
then why are stone horses,
carved in olden days,
standing yet?
 
Sadness sits on the grass.
I sing the story, but I am heavy with sorrow . . .
among all these paths that we may walk along into the distance,
which one will ever carry us to life forever?
 
 

                                                            -Tu Fu (712-770)
                                                             The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                             Peter Pauper Press, NY
                                                             Tu Fu, the “Poetry Sage,” born into a noble  family whose
                                                             fortunes had declined, spent years wandering, living in poverty;
                                                             a model of Confucian conduct.  He was a poet whose
                                                             inspiration came in large part from the suffering he witnessed
                                                             during his travels.  His poetry was largely unacknowledged,
                                                             except by his friend, Li Po, and a few others during his lifetime.

TAKE DOWN A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

 

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened.  Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading.  Take down a musical instrument.
 
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
 

                                                -Jalal al-Din Rumi
                                                 Translation by Coleman Barks

UNTITLED

 

I make all the poetic pauses
            outside your door, 
paying hurried heed to the stars,
thinking, by now, you must be
            catching my moondrift.
Not seeing you for a few days
has put teeth in my fingertips
            when I touch your legs.
The flute of my desire pipes
a tune upon the fingerholes
            of your imagination.
A great bird rises from your chest
with wings that fill the room.
 
 
                                    -Dana Naone (1949-    )
                                     Carriers of the Dream Wheel:  Contemporary Native
                                     American Poetry
                                     Edited by Duane Niatum

To the tune:
IN THE HILLS


 


At Ch’ang-men, the grass is green,
jade stairs shimmering under dew.
 
Mist softens the moonlight.
East winds drown a sorrowful flute.
 
The water clock marks time.
Outside, orioles greet dawn.
 
I wake in the night
grief-stricken, in tears,
 
exhausted.  Exhausted.
My grip crushes my robe.
 
Again, my mind settles over you
like dust settles over our scrolls.
 

                                                -Hsueh Chao-yun (900-932)
                                                  Midnight Flute:  Chinese Poems of Love and Longing
                                                 Translated by Sam Hamill
                                                 Hsueh Chao-yun is known only through a handful of
                                                 anthologized poems.

I SING, I SMILE

 

I sing because You sing.
I smile because You smile.
Because You play on the flute,
I have become Your flute.
You play in the depths of my heart.
You are mine, I am Yours:
This is my sole identification.
In one Form
You are my Mother and Father eternal,
And consciousness-moon, Consciousness-sun,
All-pervading.
 
 
                                                -Sri Chinmoy
                                                 My Flute
 


PROEM

 

            At times poetry is the vertigo of bodies and the vertigo of joy and the
vertigo of death;
            the walk with eyes closed along the edge of the cliff, and the verbena
in submarine gardens;
            the laughter that sets fire to rules and the holy commandments;
            the descent of parachuting words onto the sands of the page;
            the despair that boards a paper boat and crosses,
            for forty nights and forty days, the night-sorrow sea and the
day-sorrow desert;
            the idolatry of the self and the desecration of the self and the
dissipation of the self;
            the beheading of epithets, the burial of mirrors;
            the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in the garden of Epicurious ,
and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl ;
            the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames
in the cave thought;
            the migrations of millions of verbs, wings and claws, seeds and hands;
            the nouns, bony and full of roots, planted on the waves of language;
            the love unseen and the love unheard and the love unsaid:  the love
in love.

Syllables seeds.
 

                                                -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                                                 The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987
                                                 Edited by Eliot Weinberger

THE SOUNDLESS SOUND – SILENCE

 

Music is the art of hearing the soundless sound,
the art of hearing the music of silence –
what the Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping.
 
When you are utterly silent,
not a single thought passes your mind,
there is not even a ripple of any feeling in your heart.
 
then you start, for the first time,
hearing silence . . .
 
Music helps you from the outside to fall in tune with the inner . . .
Listening to great music you suddenly become silent – with no effort.
 
Falling in tune with the music you lose your ego with no effort.
You become relaxed, you fall into a deep rest.
You are alert, awake, and yet in a subtle way drunk.
 
                                                            -Osho

THE AUTUMN WIND

 

The wind blows, the white clouds run, 
the grass pales, the trees fall bare,
The geese fly south, but the orchids bloom,
Chrysanthemums give their scent.
I think of my lovely girl.
I must leave her, but I can not forget.
 
I am rowed across the river on my pleasure barge,
across the river with white waves rising.
Flute and drum and rowers’ song go with me.
Now the feasting, now the dancing . . .
but still my heart is sad and will not dance.
 
How few our years of golden youth!
How certain our gray years of age!

                                                            -Emperor Wu-ti
                                                             The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                             Peter Pauper Press, NY


ELDERBERRY FLUTE SONG



He was sitting there on a stone
    at world’s end,
all was calm and Creation was
    very beautiful.
There was a harmony and a wholeness
    in dreaming,
and peace was a warming breeze
    given by the sun.

The sea rose and fell
in a rhythm of his mind,
and stars were points of thought
    which led to reason.
The universe turned in the vastness
of space like a dream,
a dream given once and carried
    forever as a memory.

He raised the flute to lips
sweetened by springtime
and slowly played a note
which hung for many seasons
above Creation.
And Creation was content
in the knowledge of music.

The singular note drifted
    far and away
in the mind of Creation,
to become a tiny roundness.
And this roundness stirred
to open newborn eyes
and gazed with wonder
at its own birth.

Then note followed note
in a melody which wove the fabric of first life.
The sun gave warmth
to waiting seedlings,
and thus were born
the vast multitudes
from the song
    of a flute.

                    -Elderberry Flute Song:  Contemporary
                     Coyote Tales
                     by Peter Blue Cloud/Aroniawenrate
                     (Mohawk-Turtle Clan)

THE STARTLED PLUMS FALL DOWN

 

The clouds are soft, the willows delicate . . .
her hair is freshly dressed. 
She places the flute on her lips,
and as the sunset fades and dusk settles,
she plays beneath the pale moon.
 
A freshly-opened cherry bud . . .
her lips upon the flute.
She leans in the corner of the balcony:
The night is chill,
her silken robes are thin, her fingers cold . . .
but music floats through frosty woods and
startled plums fall pattering down.
 
 
                                                            -Chang Hsien
                                                             The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                             Peter Pauper Press, NY

POEM FOR BEN BARNEY
(Early spring, Navajo nation, 1973)

 

If the time ever came
I would call you
                        and you would come.
To stand on that mountain
            on top of that mountain in the west.
And I would go to the east
            stand on the mountain in the east
            and from our mountain-tops
 
                        call them.
 
The meadows and mountains
the winds of the earth
            dancing   spinning   whirling
all wrapped in leather tongues.
 
One-legged antelope in the tree-top swaying
Crow with his chorus singing
                                    It has finally come to this
                                    All their fine magic
                                    It has finally come to this.
Crow and his chorus gesturing
                                                at the world around them
            keeping time to Coyote’s drum.
 
Yet so long as we can summon together
            with flute song flying in the wind
            and flute man coming from the distances
                                    the instrument heavy in his hands
                                    skinsoft tree in flower,
            leaping and dancing lightly
            sunshine not yet ended
                                                sunshine not yet through.
 
 
                                                -Leslie Silko (1948-    )
                                                 (Laguna/Plains Indian)
                                                 Carriers of the Dream Wheel:  Contemporary Native
                                                 American Poetry
                                                 Edited by Duane Niatum

SONG

 

Forget the wars with me and sing
as if the very gods delighted
in our feast, in love, and listening.
The Phrygian flutes repeat
a tender phrase, to find us
here, where swallows babble
yet again, surprised by spring.
 
 
                                                -Stesichoros, 6th Century B.C.E.
                                                Dances for Flute and Thunder: 
                                                 Praises, Prayers, and Insults
                                                 Poems from the Ancient Greek
                                                 Translated by Brooks Haxton

WANDERINGS ON THE ZUMWALT PRAIRIE



Walk the prairie with me
when the call of the wild whispers
when the sunlight of the spirit beckons
when our path ambles through sparse pines
                                                                                 
The summer sun speaks
Waves of grass flow over the wildlands
Seasoned grass, bunch grass, grass that know their own strength
Grass that mingle with wildflowers, ground squirrels, and horned larks
Grass stretching skyward, where the red-tails soar
Across this grass-scape, Coyote scampers
A chorus of bugs chants insistently

The prairie sings a ballad
of the Great White Hawk
that swoops down with golden talons,
making spirits of ground dwellers.
The black beetle’s prayer rises with the thermals
on which the White Hawk glides

The wind stops.
Where are we?
Somewhere near the heart, I believe
My flute song rolls over the ridges
and floats down the canyons
There is no reply
Our inner song already knows
We listen to the stillness

The horizon drifts away,
gathering what’s left of the sun
A cool breeze wakens the earth scent in wolves
A great-horned owl begins her night quest
Elk shadows graze in the fading golden sky
We listen to the stillness
We fall asleep in the prairie’s dream

 

                                                                                              -Cascadia Flute Circle Member
                                                                                               Frank Opila
                                                                                               2011

THINKING OF HER LOVER



The fragrance is blown from the lotus flowers.
The emerald leaves are withered now and brown.
The west wind is puffing sorrows into green ripples
            on thie river.
Everything is dying, my years are dying . . .
I cannot bear the sight of death.
 
I stare at the silken lines of rain,
where my dreams are floating in the lost lands
            of nevermore.
Alone I blow on my flute of jade,
until my balcony freezes with the icy notes.
O endless sorrows, endless tears,
endless leanings on my empty balcony.
 
 
                                                -Prince Li Chin
                                                 The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                 Peter Pauper Press, NY

THE INSTRUMENT

 

I set my stringed instrument hear on the elegant table . . .
I sit here on the expuisite bench.
Emotions flow into me, move me,
as I sit here quietly.
 
why should I play?
Breezes will find the instrument . . .
Breezes will flow over it and sweet the strings to song.
 
 
                                                - Po Chu -I (772-846)
                                                 The Jade Flute:  Chinese Poems in Prose
                                                 Peter Pauper Press, NY
                                                  Po Chu-i was, along with others, among the best
                                                 known of all Chinese poets in the West.  Like many
                                                 of his contemporaries, he spent years in exile, but
                                                 eventually achieved a high position in the court,
                                                 and adopted the name, “Lay Buddhist of Fragrant
                                                 Mountain.”


HUMP-BACK FLUTE PLAYER



us:
All thought and eyes and wanting fingers
were given the flute
    and fascination
the antennae
        quivering
so like a trembling question
    and the eyes
            O, those eyes
a gentle deer
        wary
graceful,
    and to others
            a bug
beetle upright walker
            loner
    rock to rock
lost to us in space/time
found by us and placed
    in dreaming.

Cast in stone and in silver
    still vibrating
jade-tipped antennae
    obsidian eyes
            reflecting
our own loved eyes
and holding back a smile
    behind flute
            a note
a sharp crystal ringing
    an inner
        penetrating to
mind drum,
cast in stone and in silver
    pendants of thought
become grandfather
loner lurking
        between shadows.

we:
Resting easily
        relaxed
hump to rock to ground
    note to sky
            flute

us, we . . .
        (Stop!
for just now above clouds
beneath feet feeling
            thunder
    sky darkens
crouch to paper pencil
    hunch-shouldered
    await rain
            darker still
and thunder directly overhead
    and now the huge
    spatters of rain
into heavy falling early afternoon
    darkness
            and shivered
    just now
at cracking thunder sudden
                overhead
rain heavier
        and wind
leaves pulled from trees
    fern and sumac
    dancing shivering
corrugated roof next door
each rib a runoff river
    waterfalling
            to instant pools,
grasses bowed to ground
lakes and swamps,
            then
    as suddenly gone
    into dry earth.
So back to)

we:
Resting easily
        relaxed
hump to rock to ground
    note to sky
            flute
us, we, all the they’s
    that we are
making cute obstacles
we prefer to call
            art
    dazzled
        by our own
talent.
    Pause here.
Reconsider
        the hump,
and think myself back
to a sweat lodge.
    Goodbye, we, us,
                for now.
Hump is emptiness blackness

voidness spaceness
    overflowing
            pouring outness
blackness,
it is rattle and waterdrum
                hump
    is bottom of well
    is earth core
womb of creation
            is skin
            is membrane
is pulse container volcano
nova black hole in space
    space is
            space is
vacuum sucker tidal pull
    is hump of flute player
in skidrow merica street
five gallon tin tied to back
    filled with nothing,
collector of dreams unwanted,
little packets of nightmares
    tiny packets of fear
    of hate
        of wanting
tiny bundles
        tied neatly
    with sinew
and tied here and there
all over his body
his skin pierced neatly
    (he never even bleeds).

again, all:
the note of flute
        loneliness
memory     meat
to none
    self-pity     tragedy.
The hump is the gourd
    is the vessel

    is the awakeness
to awake and rub hump to rock
feel feet on ground root
                tendrils
    wanting permanence
and find instead
            a doubt
again
    of self.

(Coyote was fastened to the very ground
by rawhide thongs and driven stakes:
    well, he thought,
                well, well.
Yes, I am staked down to the very ground,
    well, well, he thought,
standing there looking down
at himself
        for you see
Coyote is of magic, thought Coyote,
and further thought to pity
this writer of fantasy,
well, Coyote thought again,
if he can’t think beyond words,
    that’s too bad,
            I guess,
though I don’t really give a shit.)

we:
Taking note of sound
    with pencil,
    I end this particular
                piece
and strip naked to enter river
    river endless
    river constant
    river forever
            part
    of the cycle
I dive into
        your current.
                Onen


                    -Elderberry Flute Song:  Contemporary
                     Coyote Tales
                     by Peter Blue Cloud/Aroniawenrate
                     (Mohawk-Turtle Clan)


LISTENING TO A FLUTE AT NIGHT NEAR THE CITY WALL


 

The sands stretch away like snow
Under the shadows of Mount Hui-Lo

The moon is like ice,
Now the enemy has surrendered.
 
From which direction, that lonely flute?
A thousand soldiers dream of home.
 
 

                                                -Li Yi (749-ca. 829)
                                                  Midnight Flute:  Chinese Poems of Love and Longing
                                                 Translated by Sam Hamill
                                                 Li Yi was among the leading poets of his age.

SO LONG AS HIS FLUTE SOUNDS


 
So long as his
flute sounds
I dance
A vine quavers and circles
the deeprooted tree
but my heart
is unsteady
 
 


                                                            -Shashiprabha
                                                             Sattasai 4.4
                                                             The Cane Groves of Narmada River
                                                             Translated and Introduced by
                                                             Andrew Schelling

RIVER FLUTE

 

Down river, someone plays a flute at midnight
Note by note, I’m transported back into my
            youth at home.
 
Listening, I feel my thin hair turning white-
Growing old, still sleepless, still alone.
 
 
                                                - Po Chu-i (772-846)
                                                  Midnight Flute:  Chinese Poems of Love and Longing
                                                 Translated by Sam Hamill
                                                  Po Chu-i was, along with others, among the best
                                                 known of all Chinese poets in the West.  Like many
                                                 of his contemporaries, he spent years in exile, but
                                                 eventually achieved a high position in the court,
                                                 and adopted the name, “Lay Buddhist of Fragrant
                                                 Mountain.”

TO COVER THE EARTH WITH A NEW MIST



            In the mirror of music the constellations look at themselves before
scattering,
            the mirror sinks into itself, drowned in clarity until it is erased in a
reflection,
            spaces flow and hurl down under the glance of petrified time,
            presences are flames, flames are tigers, the tigers have turned
to waves,
            a waterfall of transfigurations, a waterfall of repetitions, traps of time:
            we must give hungry nature its ration of light,
            we must shake the rattle of rhyme to deceive time and wake the soul,
            we must plant eyes in the plaza, we must water the parks with solar
and lunar laughter,
            we must learn the song of Adam, the solo for a flute made from a
femur,
            we must construct the house of glances over this dubious place,
            the house of air and water where music sleep, fire keeps watch, and
the poet paints.
 
 
                                                -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                                                 The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987
                                                 Edited by Eliot Weinberger

THE HIGHWAY


 
All the way down I-5 I hear the wheels
underneath
the concrete we follow
 
they tell me ice had barely retreated
from the northern hemisphere
in the last millennium
when our people came to the river

in the spring we sang to the fish
between the Tanana and the Columbia
eatch leap of
wild water
a rain of silver so infinite
we believed
it could not end
 
we followed what the river told us
murmuring in our sleep, answering the
call,
answering each whisper from winged and
finned
and antlered brethren into
all the seasons
all of our spirits mingled
on the banks:
imprinted on the sides of
countless gorges and crevices
where the scaffolding
clings like spider webbing
 
old names
Minto
Celilo
we are parked along I-5
on the Oregon side across from
Cooks Landing
we can almost hear the dam:
we can hear the diesel trucks
from a long way off but I do not
think you can hear
salmon.
 
my mother looks up at the river
and I know she is listening:
she hushes my little brother
who is playing with a toy diesel truck.
we get back into the pick-up
and return to the highway.

II.  The Call of the Wild:  He Went to Town
I woke up
thinking that I was in Sitka :
it was the rain of course, the cold
intruding into minds and lungs
rain
which in Oregon
falls in heavy fine mists:  great sweeping hands
of spray
that eventually reach in and
envelop you
while freezing under the bridge, huddled
next
to the peach box kitchen table
            or standing up next to the wall at Gus’s or Club 101
waiting for the light to filter through
the fine beautiful cold rain.
 
he dreamed
and I dreamed of the fish
dancing
silver and light
he said
it’s the holidays
take one good shot fire in your
mouth
and promise the ground a swallow
and what does wanting get you
 
what was wanted
of oneself
of wanting so tense that it
became a vision
changing the gray rain into the
keen
indigo sky.
 
he would remember pine ridge
and I would think of Fairbanks
whatever we saw
it was more real than
this.
 
who says what is real
 
 III .  It Gets Done
They are arresting men and women
on the river now
They say it is for selling illegal fish
I don’t know what is illegal
since it is what we do to live.
 
They don’t arrest the white men
who come to the river with their greed
and their alcohol, and their expensive
equipment.
It is a spot to catch the salmon
they say.
I know that the salmon don’t come up river
anymore.
 
The men and the women go out to the river at night.
Their faces are grim.
The men and women tie themselves
to the scaffolding on long
days and it gets done.
We untie the kerchiefs from our heads and wipe
the sweat down,
but sometimes it is mixed with tears.
 
we make camp
and listen to the river.
 
I walk to the edge
of every night thinking
 
what if the river called
and we were not here.
 

                                    -Dian Million (1950-    )
                                     ( Tanana River Athabascan)
                                     Dancing on the Rim of the World:  An Anthology
                                     of Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing
                                     Andrea Lerner, Editor

LISTENING TO A FLUTE IN YELLOW CRANE PAVILION


 
I came here as a wanderer
            thinking of home,
remembering my faraway Ch’ang-an.

And then, from deep in Yellow Crane Pavilion,
            I heard a beautiful bamboo flute
play “Falling Plum Blossoms.”
 
It was late summer in a city by a river.
 
 

                                                -Li- Po (701-762)
                                                  Midnight Flute:  Chinese Poems of Love and Longing
                                                 Translated by Sam Hamill
                                                 Li-Po was China ’s most famous poet, who lived on  the edge:
                                                 Imprisoned as a traitor, pardoned, exiled, celebrated, granted
                                                 amnesty.  Legend says he drowned in the Yellow River, drunk,
                                                 trying to embrace the reflection of the moon in 762.

AT LAKE YI


 
Flutes echo from the far share
as we pause at sunset to bid farewell.

Green mountains , inverted on the lake,
plunge through pure white clouds.
 
 

                                                -Wang Wei (701-761)
                                                  Midnight Flute:  Chinese Poems of Love and Longing
                                                 Translated by Sam Hamill
                                                 Wang Wei was China ’s first truly great Buddhist poet
                                                 of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), best remembered for
                                                 his nature poetry.

TO BE WATER


 
Be the water cascading off the jagged rock face
Feel the winter snow melting under the feet of the sun
Be the ice floating on the lake of castles
Listen to the echo song of the waking cliffs
 
I dwell here
but I do not own this house
I dwell here
but I am not this flesh and bones
I am Water
My thirst is quenched
I whirl ‘round
Spring skyward
Fly
My rivers dance on the stars

 

                                                                                    -Cascadia Flute Circle Member
                                                                                     Frank Opila
                                                                                      6/27/2011



VIGIL


 
I dip my net and the wooden pole
with its metal rim shivers.
 
The sky is still 
as a salmon flutters upward
in the foaming water.
In midriver, salmon and water
merge on an ancient plane,
becoming momentarily
white.
 
the Columbia moves and swells
then spreads itself out
becoming a calm blue in my vision.
 
 Celilo Falls ’* voice is a soft breeze
nestled on bleached bones
and haunting sagebrush
along the shore.
 

* Celilo Falls on the Columbia River was an important ancient fishing ground for Indians from all over the Northwest.  They continued to fish and hold ceremonial gatherings until the Falls was completely covered by a dam constructed in 1956 by the Army Corps of Engineers.
 
 

                                    -Earle Thompson (1950-    )
                                     ( Yakima )
                                     Dancing on the Rim of the World:  An Anthology
                                     of Contemporary Northwest Native American Writing
                                     Andrea Lerner, Editor



THOREAU’S FLUTE


We sighing said, "Our Pan is dead;
His pipe hangs mute beside the river
Around it wistful sunbeams quiver,
But Music's airy voice is fled.
Spring mourns as for untimely frost;
The bluebird chants a requiem;
The willow-blossom waits for him;
The Genius of the wood is lost."

Then from the flute, untouched by hands,
There came a low, harmonious breath:
"For such as he there is no death;
His life the eternal life commands;
Above man's aims his nature rose.
The wisdom of a just content
Made one small spot a continent
And turned to poetry life's prose.

"Haunting the hills, the stream, the wild,
Swallow and aster, lake and pine,
To him grew human or divine,
Fit mates for this large-hearted child.
Such homage Nature ne'er forgets,
And yearly on the coverlid
'Neath which her darling lieth hid
Will write his name in violets.

"To him no vain regrets belong
Whose soul, that finer instrument,
Gave to the world no poor lament,
But wood-notes ever sweet and strong.
O lonely friend!  He still will be
A potent presence, though unseen,
Steadfast, sagacious, and serene;
Seek not for him -- he is with thee."

        -Louisa May Alcott

SONG FOR GUY DAVENPORT
 
Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.
 
Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing.  Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy.  The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,
 
each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining each to all again.
 
And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
 
into the darker circles of return.
 
                            -Wendell Berry
                             From Earth Prayers from Around the World,
                             by Elizabeth Roberts

THE FLUTE PLAYER
 
The flute player played songs of the forest
and songs of the sky,
songs of the meadows and songs of the sea,
all day and all night.
 
                        -Robyn Eversole, in The Flute Player

MUSIC LESSON*
 
I really should have studied flute,
Harmonica, or chimes.
A clarinet is nice and light;
A fiddle would be fine.
But I had to take piano,
And my teacher is a brute.
He lives up seven flights of stairs.
(I wish I played the flute.)
 
                    -Shel Silverstein, in Fallin Up
 
*This poem should be accompanied by a picture of a man carrying a grand piano on his back up a steep incline of stairs.

THE PROCESS OF "AGAIN"
 
In among the cracks and grooves of life
Time beats an uneven path
Never respecting well made plans
 
Ignoring a rhythm not its own
Leaving indelible marks and echoes
Shadows that challenge the Sun
 
Scattered fragments of self
Come together
And quickly get in step
To begin "again."
 
                     -Emma Lou Lundgren
                      (2010)

A CRAFTSMAN PULLED A REED
 
A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
cut holes in it, and called it a human being.
 
Since then, it's been wailing a tender agony
of parting, never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute.
 
                        -Jalal al-Din Rumi
                         The Essential Rumi
                         Coleman Barks & John Moyne
 
 
 
When Hari puts the flute to his lips
The still are moved and the moving stilled;
Winds die, the river Yamuna stops,
crows fall silent and the deer fall senseless;
bird and beast are stunned by his splendour.
A cow, unmoving,
dangles a grassblade from her teeth;
Even the wise can no longer
hold firm their own minds.
 
                        -Sur Das

THY MUSIC CAUSETH MY SOUL TO DANCE
 
Thy music causeth my soul to dance;
in the murmur of the wind I hear Thy flute;
the waves of the sea keep the rhythm of my dancing steps. 
Through the whole of nature I hear Thy music played, my Beloved;
my soul while dancing speaketh of its joy in song.
 
                                            -Hazrat Inayat Khan
 
 
Flute-dark notes
poured through minds
flowing out through fingers.
 
                        -Rachel Marsh

SUNSET AT TWIN LAKE

Colville Indian Reservation

The heron stalks
the webbed water,
its feathers made of mirrors.

We hear the white breath
of water lilies as they float
in the cooling air.

The heron is a bringer
of reed music:
legs, beak, feathers—
all are godly instruments
in the evening wind.

Even the mountains
have a distant message
although we are more concerned
with things closer:
our hands still seeking
the last light
as we cast our lines
and the trout jumping
into the net
of the low-rising moon.


                        -Anita Endrezze (1952 -     )
                         (Yaqui)

THE DAY THEY CLEANED UP THE BORDER
EL SALVADOR, FEBRUARY, 1981

“[Government soldiers] killed my children.  I saw it.  Then I saw the head of a baby floating in the water.”
                Surviving village woman as quoted in the news


How comforting
the clarity
of water,
flute music
in a rush
or startling
hush,
crackle of grass
like seeds
in a gourd
and the soothing
whisper
of the reeds.
I prayed the whole night
to be taken to my past,
for the pounding of rifles
comes again and again
morning by morning
till my two babies lay,
names stolen away,
in their beds
and in the yard
where they played.
So many gone
and I pray to be taken,
for the lizards to notice
and begin eating
at my feet,
work their way up
till even my heart
is nibbled away
I have come so many mornings
to the stream, so many times prayed
in the glistening mist
and now
drink oceans to drown myself
from the mountains
of memory.        But look—
that little melon rind
or round gourd, brown and white
in the water
where I could pluck it out
and use it dry, slipping past me
in the ripples and turning
till its tiny mouth,
still suckling,
points
at me.

                            -Wendy Rose (1948 -     )
                             (Hopi/Me-wuk)

THROAT SONG:  THE WHIRLING EARTH

“Eskimo throat singers imitate the sounds the women hear . . . listening to the sound of wind going through the cracks of an
igloo . . . the sound of the sea shore, a river of geese, the sound of the northern lights while the lights are coming closer . . . in the old days the people used to think the world was flat, but when they learned the world was turning, they made a throat-singing song about it.”
            Inuktitut Magazine, December 1980

I always knew
        you were singing!

As my fingers have pulled your clay,
as your maintains have pulled the clay of me,

as my knees have deeply printed your mud,
as your winds have drawn me down and dried the mud of
    me.

around me always the drone and scrape of stone,
small movements atom by atom I heard like tiny drums . . .

I heard flutes and reeds that whine in the wind,
the bongo scratch of beetles in redwood bark,

the constant rattle that made
of this land a great gourd!

Oh I always knew

you were singing!

                            -Wendy Rose (1948 -     )
                             (Hopi/Me-wuk)

FROM THE SUN ITSELF

While something hummed along the river,
I sat on a wooded hill in Spring,
playing my flute to fluttering green.
At my feet, a bellwort and a fern.

A white pine churned above me.
From the sun itself, the bellwort’s flame.
An oak branch snapped, then crashed behind me,
as he came through the canopy.

A huge hawk folded, fell, then opening
his mantle, swooped under the oaks with no qualm.
With the mastery of ashes, he twisted, lifted
and turned, breezing easily on broad wings.

I clung to a high note, more for my health
than his.  No stranger to the scheming wind,
he hit the rim of the hill, flicked
his red tail and broke into blue.

The mottled light underneath his wings
scattered into beeches below.
Heady with flight, I stood silent, for
he knew what the human heart renounces.

He circled east and flew to the sun itself.
So drawn to him by my longing,
I didn’t hear the deepening drone.
As bellwort, fern and pine bough grew greener,

the chopper’s keen blade lagged for a moment,
after a dawn raid on the gypsy moths.
The pilot may never know he was swinging
the fierce edge of our twilight.

                        -Roberta Hill Whiteman (1947 -     )
                         (Oneida)

TAKING A CAPTIVE/1984

A light drizzle falling off
and on for days
Kentucky hills yellow leaves
matted to damp black your
pensive eyes in smokey hollows
My son you are born by
mistake in another world where
your vision lingers too
long
too long to teach those who
seek wisdom from the future
Three generations back    in
my village you would be
painted have a name
Waylahskese
You would carry flute of
polished cedar inlaid with
finest abalone shell bound
with soft white buckskin
On humid evenings I would hear
your cavernous melodies
rolling off limestone bluffs
above Spaylaway Theepi
You would grow into manhood
bringing fresh meat to the
door of your grandmothers’
weegiwa carry your
opahwahka in the oracle of
your heart
Stalking figures yet road
shadows of colonial America
yet drawing breath continuous
memory absorbed into blood
your ivoried tiger form spoors
its way to my heart not as
a killer but as one of grace
Here in my center M’qua seeks
power to bring you  home sniffs
the air for winter
Too soon shemegana pepoou
Your real name awaits
Come into your dreams my young
captive Hear the hawk shriek
as he soars outside your window
Come into the lodge of winter
dreams hibernate with the
bear.
____________________________
Spaylaway Theepi – Ohio River
Weegiwa – house
Opahwahka – medicine
M’qua – black bear
Shemegana pepoou – foreign cold, threat of winter

                        -Barney Bush (1945 -     )
                         (Shawnee/Cayuga)

JOURNEY

I.

Dream

                        Wet, sickly
smells of cattle yard silage fill the prairie air
far beyond the timer; the nightmare only just
begun, a blackened cloud moves past the sun
to dim the river’s glare, a malady of modern times
                        We prayed
to the giver of prayers and traveled to the spirit
mounds we thought were forever; awake, we feared that
hollow trees no longer hid the venerable ones we were
    taught
to believe in.

II.

Memory

Dancers with cane whistles,
the prairie’s wise and knowing kinsmen.
They trimmed their deer skins
in red down feathers.
made drum sticks from the gray grouse,
metaphorically speaking, and knocked on doors
which faced the East.
Dancers with cane whistles,
born under the sign of hollow stems,
after earth and air and fire and water
you conjure faith to clear the day.
Stunningly, blessedly you pierce the sky
with sound so clear each winged creature soars.

In my mind Grandmothers, t hose old partisans of faith
who long for shrill and glowing rituals of the past,
recall the times they went on long communal
buffalo hunts; because of this they tell the
lithe and lissome daughters:
    look for men who know the sacred ways
    look for men who wear the white-striped quill
    look for dancers with cane whistles
    and seek the house of relatives to stay the night.

III.

Sacristans

This journey through another world, beyond bad dreams
beyond the memories of a murdered generation,
cartographed in captivity by bare survivors
makes sacristans of us all.

the old ones go our bail, we oblate preachers of our tribes.
Be careful, they say, don’t hock the beads of
kinship agonies; The moiré-effect of unfamiliar hymns
upon our own, a change in pitch or shrillness of the voice
transforms the waves of song to words of poetry or prose
and makes distinctions
no one recognizes.
Surrounded and absorbed, we treat like Etruscans
on the edge of useless law; we pray
to the giver of prayers, we give the cane whistle
in ceremony, we swing the heavy silver chain
of incense burners.  Migration makes
new citizens of Rome.

                        -Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (1930 -    )
                         (Sioux-Crow Creek Tribe)

SILENCE

Silence:

Nirvana is Samsara,
silence is music.
(Let life obscure the difference between art and life.)

Music is not silence:
it is not saying

what silence says,
it is saying
what it doesn’t say.

Silence has no meaning,
meaning has no silence.

Without being heard
 music slips between the two.

(Every something is an echo of nothing.)
In the silence of my room
the murmur of my body:
unheard.

One day I wll hear its thoughts.
The afternoon
has stopped:
and yet—it goes on.

My body hears the body of my wife
(a cable of sound)
and answers:
this is called music.

Music is real,
silence is an idea.

John Cage is Japanese
and is not an idea:
he is sun on snow.

Sun and snow are not the same:
sun is snow and snow is snow
or
sun is not snow nor is snow snow
or
John Cage is not American
  
(U.S.A. is determined to keep the Free World free,
U.S.A. determined)
or
John Cage is American
(that the U.S.A. may become
just another part of the world.
No more, no less.)

Snow is not sun,
music is not silence,
sun is snow,
silence is music.

(The situation must be Yes-and-No,
not either-or.)

Between silence and music,
art and life,

snow and sun,
there is a man.

That man is John Cage
(committed
to the nothing in between).

He says a word:
not snow not sun,
a word
which is not
silence:

A year from Monday you will hear it.

The afternoon has become invisible.

                            -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                             from The Collected Poems of  Paz:  1957-1987
                             Octavio Paz & Eliot Weinberger

I HAVE COME INTO THIS WORLD TO SEE THIS

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height
of their arc of anger

because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His—the God’s, our
Beloved’s.

I have come into this world to see this:  all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul.

a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:

every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine’s womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every s ong the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
God;

for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching—
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into the world to experience this:

men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind
word,

men so true their lives are His covenant—
the promise of
hope.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of
their arc of
rage

because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh

we can wound.
                            -Hafiz (c 1320-1389)

WAKE UP!

Friend, wake up!  Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over—do you want to lose the day
    the same way?
Other women who managed to get up early have
    already found an elephant or a jewel. . . .
So much was lost already while you slept. . . .
and that was so unnecessary!

The one who loves you understood, but you did not.
You forgot to make a place in your bed next to you.
Instead you spent your life playing.
In your twenties you did not grow
because you did not know who your Lord was.
Wake up!  Wake up!  There’s no one in your bed—
He left you during the long night.

Kabir says:  The only woman awake is the woman
    who has heard the flute!

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from Kabir:  Ecstatic Poems
                 by Kabir, Robert Bly

THE GOD’S BREATH

I am
a hole in a flute
that the God’s breath moves through—
listen to this
music.

                                 -Hafiz (c 1320-1389)

THE FLUTE OF INTERIOR TIME

The flute of interior time is played whether we
    hear it or not.
What we mean by “love” ios its sound coming in.
When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches
    wisdom.
And the fragrance of that knowledge!
It penetrates our thick bodies,
it goes through walls.
Its network of notes has a structure as if a million
    suns were arranged inside.
This tune has truth in it.
Where else have you heard a sound like this?

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from Kabir:  Ecstatic Poems
                 by Kabir, Robert Bly

THE FLUTE OF THE INFINITE

The flute of the Infinite is played
    without ceasing, and its sound is
    love:
When love renounced all limits, it
    reaches truth.
How widely the fragrance spreads!
    It has no end, nothing stands in
    its way.
The form of this melody is bright
    like a millions suns:  incomparably
    sounds the vina, the vina of the
    notes of truth.

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from One Hundred Poems of Kabir: 
                Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

THE SOUND OF THE ECSTATIC FLUTE

I know the sound of the ecstatic flute,
    but I don’t know whose flute it is.

A lamp burns and has neither wick nor oil.

A lily pad blossoms and is not attached to the bottom!

When one flower opens, ordinarily dozens open.

The moon bird’s head is filled with nothing but
    thoughts of the moon,
and when the next rain will come is all that the rain
    bird thinks of.

Who is it we spend our entire life loving?

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from Kabir:  Ecstatic Poems
                 by Kabir, Robert Bly

I HEAR THE MELODY OF HIS FLUTE

I hear the melody of His flute, and
    I cannot contain myself:
The flower blooms, though it is not
    spring; and already the bee has
    received its invitation.
The sky roars and the lightning flashes,
    the waves arise in my heart,
The rain falls; and my heart longs for
    my Lord.
Where the rhythm of the world rises
    and falls, thither my heart has
    reached:
There the hidden banners are fluttering
    in the air.
Kabir says:  “My heart is dying,
    though it lives.”

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from One Hundred Poems of Kabir: 
                Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

AT LAST THE NOTES OF HIS FLUTE COME IN

At last the notes of his flute come in,
    and I cannot stop from dancing around on the
    floor. . . .

The blossoms open, even though it is not May,
and the bee knows of it already.

The air over the ocean is troubled;
there is a flash, heavy seas rise in my chest.

Rain pours down outside;
and inside I long for the Guest.

Something inside me has reached to the place
where the world is breathing.

The flags we cannot see are flying there.

Kabir says:  My desire-body is dying, and it lives!

                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                 from Kabir:  Ecstatic Poems
                 by Kabir, Robert Bly

THE FLUTE

The song of the flute, O sister, is madness.
I thought that nothing that was not God could
    hold me,
But hearing that sound, I lose mind and body,
My heart wholly caught in the net.
O flute, what were your vows, what is your practice?
What power sits by your side?
Even Mira’s Lord is trapped in your seven notes.

                    -Mirabai (c  1498-1550)
                     from Mirabai:  Ecstatic Poems
                     Versions by Robert Bly and Jane Hirschfield

GITANJALI

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure.  This frail
vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with
fresh life.

This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales,
and has breathed through it melodies eternally new.

At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its
limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of
mine.  Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room
to fill.

                    -Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
                     from Gitanjali

MY SONG HAS PUT OFF HER ADORNMENTS

My song has put off her adornments.  She had no pride of dress
and decoration.  Ornaments would mar our union; they would
come between thee and me; their jingling would drown by
whispers.

My poet’s vanity dies in shame before thy sight.  O master poet,
I have sat down at thy feet.  Only let me make my life simple
and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.

                    -Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
                     from Gitanjali

THE DAY BREAKS IN THE EAST

The day breaks in the east, like a bud bursting its sheath to come out in
flower.  But if this fact belonged only to the outside world of events, how
could we ever find our entrance into it?  It is a sunrise in the sky of our
consciousness, it is a new creation, fresh in bloom, in our life.

Open your eyes and see.  Feel this world as a living flute might feel
the breath of music passing through it, feel the meeting of creative joy in
the depths of your consciousness.  Meet this morning light in the majesty
of your existence, where it is one with  you.  But if you sit with your face
turned away, you build a separate barrier in the undivided sphere of
creation, where events and the creative consciousness meet.

                    -Rabindranath Tagore (c 1861-1941)
                     from The Essential Tagore
                     by Rabindranath Tagore and Fakrul Alam

TO THE WORLD’S FESTIVAL OF DELIGHT

To the world’s festival of delight
I was happily invited.
I am thankful, I am grateful
For a life thus blessed.

My eyes beheld the beauty of forms
And had their fill looking around;
My ears became enthralled
At the profound sound.

At your altar you have instructed me
To let tunes from my flute flow.
And so with music I weave a garland
Out of joy and sorrow.

Is it time now for me to depart?
Do call me to your assembly
Where I can celebrate your triumph
Through music, resoundingly.

                    -Rabindranath Tagore (c 1861-1941)
                     from The Essential Tagore
                     by Rabindranath Tagore and Fakrul Alam

BACKBONE FLUTE

Prologue

For all of you,
whom I’ve admired or still am admiring,
hidden like icons in the cave of the soul,
like a goblet of wine at a festive gathering,
I shall raise my heavy-verse-brimming skull.

More and more often, I wonder,--
why shouldn’t I place
the period of a bullet at the end of my stanza?
Today,
just in case,
I am giving my final, farewell concert.

Memory!
Gather into the brain’s auditorium
the bottomless lines of those who are dear to me,
from eye to eye, pour mirth into all of them.
Light up the night with the by-gone festivity.
From body to body, pour the joyous mood.
Let no man forget this night.
Listen to me, I will play the flute.
On my backbone tonight.

                    -Vladimir Mayakovsky
                      from Backbone Flute:  Selected Poetry of
                      Vladmir Mayakovsky
                      by Audrey Kneller

THE BOATMAN’S FLUTE

Today there is no wind on the Yangtze;
the water is calm and green
with no waves or ripples.
All around the boat
light floats in the air
over a thousand acres of smooth, lustrous jade.

One of the boatmen wants to break the silence.
High on wine, he picks up his flute
and plays into the mist.
The clear music rises to the sky—
    an ape in the mountains
    screaming at the moon;
    a creek rushing through a gully.
Someone accompanies on the sheepskin drum,
    his head held steady as a peak,
    his fingers beating like raindrops.

A fish breaks the crystal surface of the water
and leaps ten feet into the air.

                            -Yang Wanli
                             Translated by Jonathan Chaves

SPRING NIGHT

The few minutes of a Spring night
Are worth ten thousand pieces of gold.
The perfume of the flowers is so pure.
The shadows of the moon are so black.
In the pavilion the voices and flutes are so high
    and light.
In the garden a hammock rocks
In the night so deep, so profound.

                    -Su Dongpo
                     Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

CONCERT IN THE GARDEN
(Vina and Mridangam)
for Carmen Figueroa de Meyer

It rained.
the hour is an enormous eye.
Inside it, we come and go like reflections.
The river of music
enters my blood.
If I say body, it answers wind.
If I say earth, it answers where?

The world, a double blossom, opens:
sadness of having come,
joy of being here.

I walk lost in my own center.

                            -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                             from The Collected Poems of Paz:  1957-1987
                             Octavio Paz & Eliot Weinberger

RELEASE
for Cintio Vitier

In a rain of drums
the flute’s black stalk
grew, withered, and sprouted again
Things cast off from their names
I flowed
      at my body’s edge
among the unbound elements

                            -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                             from The Collected Poems of Paz:  1957-1987
                             Octavio Paz & Eliot Weinberger

A TREE WITHIN

A tree grew inside my head.
A tree grew in.
Its roots are veins,
its branches nerves,
thoughts its tangled foliage.
Your glance sets it on fire,
and its fruits of shade
are blood oranges
and pomegranates of flame.
                   Day breaks
in the body’s night.
There, within, inside my head,
the tree speaks.
             Come closer—can you hear it?

                            -Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
                             from The Collected Poems of Paz:  1957-1987
                             Octavio Paz & Eliot Weinberger

SPRING

Sound the Flute!
Now it’s mute.
Birds delight
Day and Night.
Nightingale
In the dale
Lark in Sky
Merrily
Merrily Merrily to welcome in the year.

                    -William Blake (1757-1827)
                     from The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake
                     by William Blake & David V. Erdman

GITA GOVINDA (segment)

O rare voice, which is a spell
Unto all on earth who dwell!
O rich voice of rapturous love,
Making melody above!
Krishna’s, Hari’s – one in two,
Sound these mortal verses through!
Sound like that soft flute which made
Such a magic in the shade –
Calling deer-eyed maidens nigh,
Waking wish and stirring sigh,
Thrilling blood and melting breasts,
Whispering love’s divine unrests,
Winning blessings to descend,
Bringing earthly ills to end; --
Be thou heard in this song now
Thou, the great Enchantment, thou!

(Here ends that Sarga of the Gita Govinda entitled
KALAHANTARITAVARNANE MUGDHAMUKUNDO.)

                        -Jayadeva (circa 1200 CE)
                          from Poems, by Edwin Arnold,
                         Jayadeva

THE TRUE MASTER

The true Master –
    what can he do
When the pupil is inept?
Trying to awaken him is just
    so much air
Blown through an unfingered flute.
           
                -Kabir (c 1440-1518)
                from Songs of the Saints of India
                by John Stratton Hawley & Mark Juergensmeyer

CHEROKEE MORNING SONG

Wi Na De Ya Ho            I am of the Great Spirit, It is so
Wi Na De Ya Ho            I am of the Great Spirit, it is so
Wi Na De Ya                  I am of the Great Spirit
Wi Na De Ya                  I am of the Great Spirit
Ho Ho Ho Ho                  It is so
He Ya Ho
He Ya Ho
Ya Ya Ya

                -Traditional Cherokee
                 from on-line discography and liner notes
                 for Walela (http://www.walela.com/LTwalela.html)

THE GREAT SONG OF LIFE

The Great Song of Life
Plays in us
In all of its
Beautiful
Painful
and
Poignant
Glory.

                By Cris Janoff,
                From Songs from the Golden Flute:  A Book of Poems and Lyrics
                Copyright 2001

THE GOLDEN FLUTE

Like a bird that sings from its heart without fear,
Sing about everything that you hold dear.

Don’t let all of those sweet songs inside of you
Sit and run away,
Let them pour out in all of their glory
Cause there may not be another day.

And know that you have life and breath
Because you were born to play a special part;
You’re meant to put the golden flute to your lips
And play what’s in your heart.

                By Cris Janoff,
                From Songs from the Golden Flute:  A Book of Poems and Lyrics
                Copyright 2001

HOPI SONG OF CREATION

Taiowa is the breath;
humankind, the mouthpiece
to carry the sounds of creation to
the far reaches of eternity.
 
                           -Hopi

GLORY TO THE MUSICIAN

glory to the Musician whose Melody
erases everything that burdens the heaert
the One whose breath blowing in the flute
releases us from all that burdens our mind

                             -Nureddin Abdorrahman Ibn-e Ahmad Jami

HOPE

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

                                             -Emily Dickinson

ANTHEM

Ring the bells that you can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything
That's how light gets in.

                           -Leonard Cohen

SONG OF THE HUMPBACKED FLUTE PLAYER

Kitana-po, ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po,
ki-tana-PO!
Ai-na, ki-na-weh, ki-na-weh
Chi-li li-cha, chi-li li-cha
Don-ka-va-ki, mas-i-ki-va-ki
ki-ve, ki-ve-na-meh
HOPET!
                                       -Hopi

3 HAIKU POEMS

The tone of the flute player
Brings my heart to peace,
Lovely One, come home with me
 
Just playing my flute
I'm the master of nothing
Hollow, empty space
 
I breathe all that is
my flute alive with music
particles to waves
 
                -by Flutemaker Stephen de Ruby
                Native Love Flutes
                www.deruby.com

IN MY DIVINE STUDIO

In my divine studio
Where I am sitting right now
Crafting your heart, lyre
And flute,
 
I long for the day when you will join me
In knowing
 
The extraordinary humor
And all the enchanting realities
 
Of the infinite performances
of
God.
                                       -Hafiz

YOU ARE THE NOTES

You are the notes, and we are the flute.
We are the mountain, you are the sounds
    coming down.
We are the pawns and kings and rooks
you set out on a board:  we win or we lose.
We are lions rolling and unrolling on flags.
Your invisible wind carries us through the
    world.

                                                 -Jalal al-Din Rumi

TO MUSIC
 
Music:  breathing of statues.  Perhaps:
silence of paintings.  You language where all
language ends.  You time
standing vertically on the motion of mortal hearts.
 
Feelings for whom?  O you the transformation
of feelings into what?  - :  into audible landscape.
You stranger:  music.  You heart-space
grown out of us.  The deepest space in us,
which, rising above us, forces its way out,  -
holy departure: 
when the innermost point in us stands
outside, as the most practiced distance, as the other
side of the air: 
pure,
boundless,
no longer habitable.

                                                                            -Rainer Maria Rilke

DANCING

Dancing is not getting up painlessly like a speck of dust blown around in the wind.
Dancing is when you rise above both worlds, tearing your heart to pieces, and giving up your soul.
Dance where you can break yourself to pieces and totally abandon your worldly passions.
Real men dance and whirl on the battlefield; they dance in their own blood.
When they give themselves up, they clap their hands;
When they leave behind the imperfections of the self, they dance.
Their minstrels play music from within; and whole oceans of passion foam on the crest of the waves.

                                                                  -Jalal al-Din Rumi

A NATIVE PSALM
 
(Among the Cherokee, it was said that when one had captivated another's heart that they "walked in their soul."  Among many Native American Tribes, when a young man began the courting process, he would fashion a courtship or love flute.  Sitting outside the woman's lodge, he would play love songs for her.  The role of the blanket among Northern Plains tribes of denoting relationship is multi-faceted.  In a public declaration of love, a young woman would put a blanket over her shoulders and hold it open for a young man.  Together, they would walk through the village with the same blanket over their shoulders.  It was a public display of commitment.
 
Native people often adopted others from within and outside their tribal structure.  Once recognized, the adopted person had the same social status as a birth-child or partner.  Such an event was often celebrated with feasting and dance.)
 
"Creator,
You have covered the Earth with grasses.
Cover me with Your presence.
Flood over my spirit like a rain,
until I stand, wet
because of You.
Walk through my soul,
so Your steps are as familiar
as the rhythm of my heart.
Make from the branches of my life,
a love-flute.
Play me.
Blow your breath through me,
and I will play your love song.
You have held your blanket open for me,
and welcomed me inside.
Cover me.
Wrap and envelop me,
and I will dance
the dance of the adopted one."
 
                                        -Ray Buckley (Lakota/Tlingit)

THE REED

after it had been nourished by the waters of ancient rains
the reed raised its head
it beheld itself and saw that it was encased in a robe of cane
 
next it beheld the mud out of which it had appeared
and knew then that it was tied by many knots to where it had
taken birth
 
O Friend
the reed moaned
lend me a hand
so I may move away from this mud
 
time passed and when it was right the Flute Player appeared
He removed the many layers of cane and undid the reed's
many knots
the reed was now smooth outside and empty inside
He then put the reed to his lips and finding it empty of itself
breathed in the selfless reed all his secrets in the form of
 melodies
 
the reed declared then that it was no more
and it was right for now it was a flute
 
his breath is in me and my voice is his tune, the reed
announced humbly
I am him and He is me though to the ignorant this be
Blasphemy

                              -Nureddin Abdorrahman Ibn-e Ahmad Jami


WITH GRATITUDE


My father is closest to God when he is in the forest
The rustling needles in the wind move him
He has worked in the wood his entire life
And it has become a part of me

Often I have sat near a stream at the homestead
Or rode up into the hills
And sat under trees not realizing the healing they do
To the earth and our souls

Great lessons come from these erect beings
To root yourself
To wait and be patient
To adjust slowly to change

After going through trying times
Looking back allows one to see where great things have
happened
How pain can create something strong and beautiful

A friend and guide told me of his love of wood
It was a time of pain and resistance for me
He asked me to look at the most beautiful grains
And how they came from stress

Beyond advice he has stood like a tree
Allowing me to stumble around while he listened
He seems to know about change that is slow
I have found my higher being in such beings as trees and
Friends like these.

                        -Ron Severson (Lakota Sioux)
                         copyright 2005

THE FLUTE SONG

I do not blame the little birds
For flying down so near;
I do not blame the little brook
For creeping close to hear;
The tiny specks of sunshine, too,
That flutter from the sky,
And drop in spots of golden light
Down through the leaves so green and bright,
And on the soft grass lie.

They come in answer to a voice
That seems a brother’s call;
The flute-song that my father plays,
The sweetest song of all;
It brings the summer breezes back
Just as they thought to creep
To sunny lands so far away,
Where they could take a holiday,
And, drowsy, drop to sleep.

It sets the little aspen leaves
To dancing on the tree;
And starts my heart to singing
To the sweetest melody.
And even in my dreams at night
I hear the flute-song call,
So sweet and drowsy, low and clear,
It brings the woodland voices near,
And seems to sing them all.


                    -From Indian Legends in Rhyme,
                     by Grace Purdie Moon (1877-1947),
                     Kiva Publishing, Inc., Walnut, CA, 2000



Indian Legends in Rhyme, published in 1917, was the first of twenty-two books for children written by Grace Moon and illustrated by Karl Moon.  The stories and legends, told by Grace Moon in a simple and charming style, were gathered by the Moons during years of living and traveling in Indian country.  Their last published title appeared in 1950, and as of the year 2000, fifty years later, all of their titles were out of print.  Publication of Indian Legends in Rhyme initiates a project to bring the best of Grace and Karl Moon’s work to a contemporary audience.

                    -From the Introduction and back matter


RATTLE

 

When anew world is born, the old                          Let us shake
turns itself inside out, to cleanse                               the rattle
and prepare for a new beginning.                          to call back
                                    It is                                        a rattlesnake

told by some that the stars are                               to dream back
small holes piercing the great                                  the dancers.
intestine
of a sleeping creature.  The earth is                       When the wind
a hollow gourd and earthquakes are                    sweeps earth
gas rumblings and restless dreaming                      there is fullness
of the sleeping creature.                                         of sound,
                                                What                      we are given

sleeping plant sings the seed                                  a beat
shaken in the globe of a rattle,                              to dance by
the quick breath of the singer warms                   and drum
and awakens the seed to life.                               now joins us
 

            The old man rolled fibres of                        and flutes
milkweed across his thigh, softly                             are like gentle
speaking to grandchildren, slowly                          birds and
saying
the thanksgiving to a sacred plant.                        crickets on
                                                                                                branches,
His left hand coiled the string as it                          swaying trees.

grew, thin and very strong; as he                           The fan of
explained the strength of a unit                             winged hawks
of threads combined.                                              brush clouds like
                                    He took his                         streaks of

small basket of cocoons and poured                     white clay upon
grains of coarse sand, poured from                       a field
his hand the coarse sand like a                              of blue sky
funnel
of wind, a cone between hand and                      water base.
cocoon.                                                                   The seeds in

 
            Then, seven by seven, he bound                 the pod

these nests to a stick with the                                 of a plant
string,
and took the sap of white blood                           are children
of the plant, and with a finger,                              of the sun
rubbed
the encircling string.                                                 of earth
                                    And waited, holding          that we sing

the rattle to the sun for drying.  And                     we are
when
he shook the first sound, the                                   a rainfall voice
children
sucked in their breaths and felt                             a plumed
strange
stirrings in their minds and                                     and sacred bird
stomachs.
And when he sang the first song of                      we are

many,
the leaves of the cottonwood joined                     shadows come back
in,
and desert winds shifted sand.                             to protect
                                                And the                 the tiny seedlings

children closed their eyes, the better                     we are
to hear tomorrow.                                                 a memory in

What sleeping plant sings the seed                       single dance
in the gourd of night within the                             which is all
hollow moon, the ladder going down,                  dancing forever.
down into the core of this good earth                   We are eyes
leads to stars and wheeling suns                            looking about
and
planets beyond count.                                            for the children
                                    What sound                        do they

is that in the moist womb of the sea;                     run and play
the softly swaying motion in a                               our echos
multitude of sleeping seeds.                                   our former joys
                                    Maybe it                             in today?

is rattlesnake, the medicine singer.                        Let us shake
                                                And                        the rattle

it is gourd, cocoon, seed pod, hollow                     for the ancients
horn,
shell of snapping turtle, bark of                            who dwell
birch,
hollowed cedar, intestines of                                 upon this land
creatures,
            rattle                                                         whose spirits

is an endless element in sound and                      joined to ours
vibration, singing the joys of                                 guide us
awakening,
shushing like the dry stalks of corn                       and direct us
in wind, the cradle songs of night.                        that we
            Hail-heavy wind bending upon               may ever walk

a roof of elm bark,                                               a harmony
                        the howling song                          that our songs

of a midwinter blizzard heard by                       be clear.
a people sitting in circle close to                           Let us shake
the fire.  The fire is the sun, is the              the rattle
burning core of Creation’s seed,                           for the fliers
sputtering
and seeking the womb of life.                             and swimmers

 
            When someone asked Coyote, why        for the trees

is there loneliness, and what is the                       and mushrooms
reason and meaning of loneliness:                       for tall grasses
Coyote

took an empty gourd and began                        blessed by
shaking
it, and he shook it for a long time.                        a snake’s passage
                                                Then                      for insects

he took a single pebble and put it                       keeping the balance,
into the gourd, and again began to                     and winds
shake the gourd for many days, and                  which bring rain
the pebble was indeed loneliness.                        and rivers
                                                Again                    going to sea
Coyote paused to put a handful of               and all

pebbles into the gourd.                                         things of Creation.
                                    And the sound                   Let us

now had a wholeness and a meaning                 shake the rattle
beyond questioning.                                                                        always, forever.
 

                                                                        -Peter Blue Cloud (1935 -     )
                                                                         (Turtle Mohawk)


NEITHER SPIRIT NOR BIRD
by SHOSHONE LOVE SONG

Neither spirit nor bird;
That was my flute you heard
Last night by the River.
When you came with your wicker jar
Where the river drags the willows,
That was my flute you heard,
Wacoba, Wacoba,
Calling, Come to the willows!

Neither the wind nor a bird
Rustled the lupin blooms,
That was my blood you heard
Answer your garment’s hem
Whispering through the grasses;
That was my blood you heard
By the wild rose under the willows.

That was no beast that stirred,
That was my heart you heard
Pacing to and fro
In the ambush of my desire,
To the music my flute let fall.
Wacoba, Wacoba,
That was my heart you heard
Leaping under the willows.


NOTE
“Tell me,” I asked an Indian song-poet who had just taught me a song of his composing, “when you made your song, which came first, words or music?”

The Indian stared at me in puzzled surprise:  “I made a song,” he answered, “a song is words and music—all comes together.”

Because Indian poems are therefore really songs, conceived as a very part of the iteration and intonation of music, I have endeavored in my translations to hold in minutest detail to the original rhythm and accent, believing that only thus can the Indian verse sing, through an alien tongue, in its true form.

                -NATALIE CURTIS
                 Santa Fe, New Mexico, September, 1917

                -From Native American Poetry, edited by
                 George W. Cronyn, the 2006 Dover edition,
                 which is an unabridged republication of The Path on
                 the Rainbow:  An Anthology of Songs and Chants
                 from the Indians of North America, originally
                 published by Boni and Liveright, Inc., New York,
                 in 1918


"Crow's Butte Island - Columbia Gorge"
Photo courtesy of William Coberly, bill@teardropsnw.com

ROLL ON COLUMBIA: AN EPILOGUE
By FrankO Opila

Come Friends
Join my Journey
Swim in my current
Glide on my riffles
Run my rapids
Let time be empty
 
I feel the morning rain
dripping off the conifers
The icy glacial melt
awakens my thirst
I take a few deep breaths
and let Springs rise up from Within
 
My source is sourceless
My headwaters have no place of origin
Yet somewhere in the Canadian Rockies
I emerge
 
I gather cascading streams
And plunge downward
I slice through a canyon chute
I breathe water
I exhale water
My shorelines migrate
I change course on a whim
 
I no longer sit behind clay dams
I re-craft the wild cataracts
Priest Rapids, Dalles des Morts
The forest once drowned grows feral
Salmon spawn in all my streams
My tributaries
My contributaries
My visionaries
 
My Totems are here
Bears black and brown visit and play
Deer and Elk graze and drink abundance
The elusive Lynx stalks in the woods
Families of Otter frolic in my eddies
A pack of Wolves
unnamed unnumbered
howl moonfully from my bank
Beavers love-slap my water skin
Coyote dances on the cliff edge
Eagle flying blesses my winding course
 
I cross no boundary between nations
There is no Canada
There is no United States
 
My path goes round Roosevelt’s dam
I roam over the Grand Coulee
I spill wetness over Dry Falls
And where once salmon were halted
I now let them walk up my arms
 
My Friends,
I hope you’re enjoying the float
Perhaps you’ve seen the Osprey fishing
Perhaps you’ve heard the Loon wailing
Trust your journey
And should you see Woody
Please tell him
Yes indeed, I roll on
 
On the Hanford Reach
I feel the radioactive shock
Still cookin’ after all these centuries
I cough toxic sand and roll on
 
I meet my goddess river the Snake
She brings sweet cold water
More than I can breathe
We rejoin, we marry, we roll on
 
Today there are no tugs
No barges carrying gravel and grain
No merchant ships with cars and phones
No railways, bridges, or dams
No outfall pipes spewing waste
No dikes, riprap, or seawalls
 
Today I carry salmon smolts
on their circle of destiny
Sturgeon grow ancient in my sleep
I roll on
 
I hear distant drumming
I briefly linger in a pool
Coyote winks at me
I swirl a whirlpool in reply
I drop over Celilo Falls
once smothered and now alive
I roar over the rocks
My breath becomes Spirit spray
 
Ghosts of the River People
gather on my shore
They drum on Antelope skins
Dance the Salmon song
They fish the free-falling falls

Taste again the Salmon power
Give thanks to the Great Spirit
Retell the old Coyote tales
 
Coyote grins
and scampers away
 
Across my flank
In her garden of rock
She Who Watches waits
Her eyes shine on the River Souls
 
The remains of the dam
lie on my bed
I slowly grind the concrete
into round boulders
The turbines into sleeping rust
All buried in my sandy belly
 
I sail through the Gorge
I recall the last great flood
some centuries ago
when I carried the volcanic ash
when I was given a new path
 
Bridge of the Gods resurrected
arches her benificent back
River Souls amble across
I slide under her smooth shadow
I roll on
 
I bask in the snow-capped radiance
of Wyeast and Klickitat
who no longer hurl stones of fire
their jealousy now abated
Their beloved beauty St. Helens rests
 
Thunderbird rides on thermals above
soaring high on 10-foot wings
The Sky jumps with fire bolts
The Sun paints rainbows on slate
Wind caresses my shimmering skin
 
The once muddy Willamette
comes to me clear and cool
We swell over the marshes and sloughs
Hundreds of thousands of ducks,
geese honking, swans, and cranes
ascend and fly about
The cacophony is prayer
The prayer is wildness
 
Ghosts of the Street People
come to visit my shore
They linger and camp
under the stars in the black night
They rest in the peace of moonlight
They drink my holy water
without any filters or fear
They gaze at the salmon running
once a lucrative catch, now a sweet dream
 
Friends, please hold on
I am fluid might
I am rolling thunder
I am flowing free
The Corps no longer dredges my guts
I have washed the sand islands
built with my precious entrails
I roll on
 
I feel the pulse of the incoming tide
I sense the magnificent Ocean
I taste salt
I don’t want to mix
But I‘m drawn from Beyond
 
I make my way onto the bar
We clash, buck, and surge
We roil whale bones and ship masts
We spit dragon spray
Then I am Beyond
I dissolve in the swells
There are no dead zones
 
I breathe, the salmon breathe
I catch a current
I drift to where the Albatross fly
I dissolve again
and again
 
I feel the morning rain
dripping off the conifers
The icy glacial melt
awakens my thirst
I take a few deep breaths
and let Oceans rise up from Within
 
 
 
FrankO Opila
May 2011





GIFT OF THE ANASAZI

Breath of the player –
Ruffled the feathers
When centuries of life,
Held Blessings of Sound.

Held in the Sound is –
Birth of the leading edge –
Splitting air and ear,
Twisting – or off-center!

Ever remember your echo?
Those of the canyon’s still do
Very haunting and flightful,
This sound to be shared with you.

Ever the sound – forgotten –
Never to Know the Master –
Played again with Mystery,
The Ancestors live within you!

Ancients breathe – their Sound –
A mystery for all to share –
The Ocean’s roar, is now tuned –
As all the tones relax!

Cliff Dwellers’ sound,
Breath of all players –
Sound and the Prayer
A Gift of the Anasazi!

Cascadia Flute Circle Member
Ken Jewell
January 16, 2011
Copyright 2011




Photos by William Coberly,
bill@teardropsnw.com



Secrets of the Raven

O Raven!
Tell me the secrets of the deep forest
You who converse with the Wise Owl
You who converse with the star-reaching firs
with the giant hemlock and cedar
You who sky-dance
with your beautiful black mate
You who kraaah
and break the wild silence

O Raven!
Tell me the secrets of the deep forest
Tell me the secrets of the rushing river
of the healing spring waters
Tell me what the cold wind whispers
as she runs through the wildwood
Show me how the winter sun
finds his way to the rhododendron understory
the salal and Oregon grape
Tell me how the Star People
shine on our Sacred Earth
Tell me the secrets of the Beloved
those secrets my soul already knows

The Raven flew through the forest canopy
She perched on a limb
and gazed upon the beseeching one
She chortled and cackled
Quoth the Raven,
“Yes, there’s more”

Cascadia Flute Circle Member
Frank Opila
January 22, 2010
Breitenbush Hot Springs


ANCIENT FLUTE
 
 
Richard Hall
 
I was born before humans dreamed of walking this earth -

Born when my father, the wind caressed my mother,
 
the tree
 
And I am the dawn of music: -
 
The whistle of pines when the moon
 
brightens the snow covered hills
 
The rustle of leaves when a summer
 
breeze touches an aspen grove
 
The low moaning of late autumn winds
 
through the ragged bark of an ancient oak.
 
And now, as spirits dream the human song of life,
 
I am the gift that speaks
 
of their primal past,
 
of their ties to all that is -
 
The gift of wood from my mother,
 
The gift of breath from my father
 
The singing of the human soul
 
The healing of the human heart.
 
 
Written by Richard Hall of Chris ti Coom Flutes (www.christicoom.com) in support of the Crane Flute Project.  To see a photo of the Crane Flute, and to learn more about the Philosophy of the Crane Flute Series, please go to: http://www.christicoom.com/philosophy.html



SONG OF THE FLUTE

– Sufi




Beshno az ney chun hekayat mikonad          Listen to the reed flute telling its story
Vaz jodayiha shekayat mikonad                   Complaining of separations.
Kaz neyestan mara bebride-and                   “They have cut me from the reed forest
Az nafiram mard o zan nalideand.                Men and women lament from my wailing song.
Sine xaham sharhe sharhe az faraq               In absence my chest is ripped to shreds
Ta beguyam sharh-e dard-e eshtiaq.            So I can describe the pain of yearning.
Har Kasi ku dur mand az asl-e xish               Anyone who remains far from his origin
Baz juyad ruzgar-e vasl-e xish.                      Will long for days of union again.
Man be har jam‘iyati nalan shodam               I went wailing in every crowd.
Joft-e bad halan o xosh halan shodam.          I joined both the sad and the happy ones.
Hark as az zenn-e xod shod yar-e man        Each person befriended me for his own needs
Vaz darun-e man najost asrar-e man.          And did not want to know the secrets I held inside.
Ser-e man az naleye man dur nist                 My secret is not apart from my wail,
Lik chashm o gush ra an nur nist.                    But it is not revealed to the eye and ear of external reality.
Tan ze jan o jan ze tan mastur nist                 Body is not hidden from the soul, nor the soul from the body.
Lik kas ra did-e jan dastur nist.                      But the soul is not to be visible with our outward eyes.

Atash ast in bang-e nay o nist bad                The reed flute’s song is fire itself, it is not made from wind.
Hark e in atash nadarad nist bad.                 Let him who lacks this fire, not exist.
Atash-e esha ast kandar ney fotad               For it is the Fire of Love that breathes in the reed.
Jushesh-e eshq ast kandar mey fotad.          And the Fermenting of Love that lives in the wine.
Ney harif-e har ke az yari borid                   Anyone torn apart from his love is welcomed by the reed flute.
Pardhayash pardhaye ma darid.                 The musical notes tear apart all our masks.
Hamcho ney zahri o taryaqi ke did              Who has ever seen a poison and an antidote like the reed
Hamcho ney damsaz o moshtaqi ke did      Who has seen a friend so earnest like the reed.
Ney hadis-e por xun mikonad                       The reed tells the story of the blood-stained path
Qesehaye eshq-e majnun mikonad.             Recounting tales of love’s madness.

Do dahan darim guya hamcho ney              We have two mouths speaking like the reed flute:
Yek dahan penhanst dar labhaye vey.         One mouth is hidden in his lips,
Yek dahan nalan shode suy-e shoma            The other wails at you
Hay o huyi dar fekande dar sama.               Causing an uproar in the heavens.
Lik danad hark e u ra manzar ast                Yet he who sees him knows
Kin faqan-e in sari ham zan sar ast.              That the wailing too comes from his lips
Damdame in nay az damhave ust                the song arising from one of his breaths.
Hay o huy-e ruh az heyhay-e ust.                 Soul rumbles with the commotion of his longings.
Mahram-e hush joz bi-hush nist.                     No one but the fool understands this wisdom,
Mar zaban ra moshtari joz gush nist.              For there is no customer for the tongue but the ear that listens.
Gar nabudi naleye ney ra samara                If there were no fruits born from this lament
Ney jahan rap or nakardi az shekar.            The sugar cane reed would not bring sweetness into the world.
Dar qam-e ma ruzha bigah shod                  In our grieving, time becomes meaningless
Ruzha ba shurha hamrah shod.                    Days pass by in worry and sorrow.
Ruzha gar raft gu ru bak nist                        And though the days are passing, be not afraid,
To beman in an ke chon to pak nist.             For if you stay, there is no other as pure as you.
Hark e joz mahi ze abash sir shod                 All but the fish grow tired of water,
Hark e bi ruzist ruzash dir shod.                     And those who still need food, their days are already gone.
Dar nayayad hal-e poxte hich xam              The state of the initiated, the raw will not recognize,
Pas soxan kutah bayad vas-salam.              So let us shorten our conversation and say goodbye.”

Bade dar jushesh geday-e jush-e mast         Wine’s fermenting depends on our own fermenting,
Charx dar gardesh asir-e hush-e mast.          The wheel of Heaven needs our wisdom to keep it turning.
Bade az ma mast shod, ney ma az u            The wine gets drunk from us, not we from it.
Qaleb az ma hast shod, ney ma az u.           The mold is created from us, not we from it.
Bar sama’-e rast har tan chir nist                   Not everyone is capable of listening to the righteous song
To’meye har morqaki anjir nist.                      Not all birds have an appetite for figs.
Band bogsal, bash azad, ey pesar                 Tear the chains and be free, boy
Chand bashi band-e sim o band-e zar.         For how long must you chain yourself to silver and gold.
Gar berizi bahr ra dar kuzevi                         If you pour the ocean into a pitcher,
Chand ganjad qesmat-e vek ruzevi.              How much will satisfy one day’s thirst?
Kuzeye chesm-e harisan por nashod             The pitcher is never filled in eyes of envy,
Ta sadaf qane’ nashod, por dor nashod.       Until the oyster is satisfied, it is not filled with pearls.
Hark e ra jame ze eshqi chak shod               Anyone whose garments are torn apart by love,
U ze hers o eyb-e kolli pak shod.                   Is purified of envy and faults.
Shad bash ey eshq-e xosh sodaye ma           Blessed this our maddening love
Ey tabib-e jomle ellathaye ma.                     Healer of all our complaints.
Ey davaye nexvat-o namus-e ma                 The cure for our sense of pride and dignity,
Ey to Aflatun o Jalinus-e ma.                          Love is our Plato and Galen.

Jesm-e zak az eshq bar aflak shod               Earth’s body reached the heavens for Love.
Kuh dar raqs amad o chalak shod.               And the mountain touched the sky and began to dance.
Eshq-e jan-e tur amad, azheqa                    Oh lovers, it was love that gave soul to Mount Sinai
Tur-e mast o zar-re Musa sa’eqa.                  When it thundered in drunkenness and Moses fell before it.
Ser penhanast andar zir o bam                     The secret is concealed in the high and low notes;
Fash agar guyam jahan bar ham zanam.     If openly I reveal it, then I will undo the world.
Anche ney miguyad andar in do bab           What the reed flute speaks in its melodies,
Gar beguyam man jahan gardad xarab.      If I speak in words, the world will be in ruins.
Ba lab-e damsaz-e xod gar joftami              If you are my twin, with your lips as my companion
Hamcho ney man goftaniha goftami.           Then, like the reed flute, I will unravel many mysteries.
Hark e u az ham zabani shod joda               Anyone who is separated from one who speaks his tongue
Binava shod gar che darad sad nava.           Will be voiceless though he possess a hundred voices.
Chon ke gol raft o golestan dar gozasht.        If the rose is gone and the rose garden dies,
Nashnavi zan pas ze bolbol sargozasht.         You will no longer hear any stories from the nightingale.
Chon ke gol raft o golestan shod xarab,         If the rose is gone and the rose garden is in ruins,
Buye gol ra az ke juyim, az golab?                Must we seek the scent of the rose from rosewater?

Jomle ma’shuq ast o asheq pardeyi               The beloved is everything, the lover only a veil.
Zende ma’shuq ast o asheq mordeyi.            The beloved is living, the lover only a dead thing.
Chon nabashad eshq ra parvay-e u              If he loses interest in love,
U che morqi mand bi par, vay u.                   he is like a bird with no wings—woe upon him.
Par o bal-e ma kamand-e eshq-e ust          Our wings are caught in love’s lasso
Mu keshanash mikeshad ta kuye dust.         As he drags us by our hair to the alley of our friend.
Man che gune hush daram pish o pas           How can I keep my senses,
Chon nabashad nur-e yaram pish o pas.      When the light of my friend’s vision is no longer with me?
Nur-e dar yomn o yasr o that o fowq          His light pours forth in four directions
Bar sar o bar gardanam chon taj o toq.        I wear it on my head and neck like a crown and collar.

Eshq xahad kin soxan birun bovad                Love desires that these words be apparent.
Ayene qammaz nabovad, chun bovad?        If a mirror is not reflecting, then what is it?
Ayneat dani chera qammaz nist                   Do you know why your mirror does not reflect?
Zanke zangar az roxash momtaz nist.           For the rust has not been scoured from its face.
Ayene kaz zang-e alayesh jodast                  If the mirror is freed from rust’s impurities,
Por sho’a-e nur-e xorshid-e xodast.               Then it radiates with the light of god’s sun.
Ru to zangar az rox-e u pak kon                  Go and clean the rust from its face,
Ba’d az an, an nur ra adrak kon.                  Then you will understand the meaning of that light.
In haqiqat ra sheno az gush-e del                  Listen to this truth from the corner of the heart,
Ta borun ayi be kolli z’ab o gel.                     So you can come out of this world of water and clay.
Fahm agar darid o jan ra rah dahid             If you are aware and give passage to the soul,
Ba’d az an az shoq pa dar rah nahid.          Then set foot on the path with earnest desire.




Turkish Shah Ney
This song was written about the Turkish ney reed flute.  The Turkish ney reed flute, together with the Turkish tanbur lute and Turkish kemençe fiddle are considered the most typical instruments of Classical Turkish music.  The ney also plays a primary role in the music of the Mevlevi Sufi rites (semâ).
A rim-blown, oblique flute made of reed, the Turkish ney has six finger-holes in front and a thumb-hole in back. Using cross-fingering, finger-hole shading, and embouchure adjustment, the player can produce any pitch over a two-and-a-half octave range or more. Nearly all Turkish neys have a mouthpiece made of water buffalo horn, or sometimes ivory, ebony, plastic, or similar durable material. Sizes range from the lowest, Davud (in E/mi, 95 cm long), to the highest, Bolahenk nısfiye (in d/re, 52.5 cm long). The low-pitched Ṣah (Shah) ney (in F/fa, 90 cm long) is shown above.  Note: Pitches in the previous sentence refer to the note generated with all holes closed. In some Turkish musical circles, the "pitch" (akord) of a ney is determined differently, using the note (perde) which matches A=440 (diyapazon). This pitch is one note higher, e.g., Mansur being A/La rather than G/Sol. Note also that the lengths above are approximate.
One refers to a Turkish ney player using the verb üflemek (blow) although for all other instrumentalists one uses the verb çalmak (play). One might speculate that the ney's close identification with the Mevlevi Sufis might be the origin of this usage.
The classical Turkish ney's closest relatives in other countries, the Arab nay and the Persian ney, do not use a mouthpiece, but rather blow against the sharpened edge of the tube. In Turkish folk music, one type of ney (dilli) (Tin whistle) has a fipple; the other type (dilsiz) is a rim-blown oblique flute, as is the Turkish classical ney. The Bulgarian  kaval, a folk instrument, resembles the Turkish dilsiz folk ney. The Romanian nai—a panpipe, not a flute— may be related etymologically and morphologically.
                            -via Wikipedia
                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ney_(Turkish)

                             See also,
                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ney


THEY WILL RETURN – MY FRIEND

They will return again.
All over the earth.
They are returning again.
Ancient teachings of the earth.
Ancient songs of the earth.
They are returning again.
My friend, they are returning.
I give them to you.
And through them,
You will understand.
You will see.
They are returning again
Upon the earth
 
                                                Crazy Horse (Oglala Sioux)
                                                (1842-1877)

  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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