40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS. A Poem from Poets around the World. One per Day to Stay Awake during Covid. And to remind us of the Beyond.

On 8 January 2021, I selected a range of 40 much-loved British poems for reading during the lockdown.. ‘Quarantine’ comes from a French word referring to a 40-day period.

I regarded the selection as a  small offering to those of you who benefit from daily spiritual nourishment through mindful reading of a poem.

Here is the link to the poet and title of the poem from January 2021.

https://www.christophertitmussblog.org/40-days-and-40-nights-a-poem-per-day-to-stay-awake-during-lockdown

On 8 January 2022, I offered a range of 40 or more much-loved poems from poets around the world. Do read one poem per day.

A poem has power. In the space of a few words, it speaks to us of a dimension far bigger than itself. Cut-to-the-bone words on the screen or paper reveal life through truths unbroken. Stripped of projections and wishful thinking, we see there is nothing to fear but only truths to realise.

A poem can offer a range of voices, of inspiration according to our receptivity, mood and quality of presence.

You read a poem one day and draw benefit from it. You read the same poem on another day and uncover fresh significances.

Here is a Poem Per Day for 40 Days and 40 Nights

I have written below the name of the Poet, Title of the Poem and singled out a line or verse from the poem.

You take the next step. You google the name of the poet and title of the poem to read the poem. Google also, if you wish, the meaning, interpretation and analysis of a poem. This can contribute to a further understanding. You can often find readings/songs on YouTube.

You may know many of the poems below. I hope you do.

I believe poetry has the most impact when we read the poem out loud. This contributes to a deep resonance in our being.

There is no order with the poems.

WEEK ONE

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1286) Iran.

A GREAT WAGON
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there

Johann Goethe (1749-1832) Germany.

FAUST
from desire I rush to satisfaction; from satisfaction I leap to desire.”

Rabindranath Tagore. (1861-1941) India.

GITANJALI (Song Offerings)
The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day.

Thich Nhat Hahn. (1926-). Vietnam.

PLEASE CALL ME BY MY TRUE NAMES
I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
After being raped by a pirate.
And I am the pirate not yet capable of seeing and loving.

Federico Lorca (1898-1936) Spain

THE MOON WAKES
When the moon sails out
the bells fade into stillness
and there emerge the pathways
that can’t be penetrated.

Mahoud Darwish (1942-2008) Palestine

UNDER SIEGE
The water in the clouds has the unlimited shape of what is left to us
Of the sky. And other things of suspended memories
Reveal that this morning is powerful and splendid,
And that we are the guests of eternity.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) USA

ENTERING THE KINGDOM
The dream of my life is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees
To learn something by being nothing
A little while
But the rich lens of attention

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Austria.

EVENING
Your life, with its immensity and fear,
So that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
It is alternately, stone in you and star

WEEK TWO

Pablo Naruda (1904-1973) Chile.

KEEPING QUIET
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) Canada.

ANTHEM
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in…

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) France.

MEDITATION
Wise up, Sorrow. Calm down.
You always lay claim to twilight. Well, here it is, brother,
It descends. Obscurity settles over the town,
bringing peace to one, worry to another.

Bob Dylan (1941-) USA.

A HARD RAIN’S A-GONNA FALL
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been then thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard , and it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard-rain’s a gonna fall.

 Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanon

THE PROPHET
Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you

Namik Kemal (1840 – 1888) Turkey

FREEDOM
Why are the people
Enamored so
Of living long?
I can’t imagine
The profit
In clinging to safety.

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) Israel

A MAN DOESN’T HAVE TIME IN HIS LIFE
A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

WEEK THREE

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) African American.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) Poland

A SONG ON THE END OF THE WORLD

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) Pakistan

HIGHWAY

A long, desolate highway
Its gaze fixed on the far horizon
Spreading out its grey beauty
On the breast of the cold earth—
Like a grief-stricken woman
In her desolate home
Dreaming of her absent lover
Lost in thought, each part of her body immersed
in the idea of union.

Ajahn Buddhadasa (1906-1993) Thailand

MORALS AND PROGRESS

Selfishness fills our heads, pushing us under its muck
with a wonderful magic that fills our minds
absorbing everything until the heart is dark
and thinks its sensual infatuation is ‘progress.’

Namik Kemal (1840-1888) Turkey

LET US TRULY RENOUNCE ALL HOPE AND DESIRE

Let us break the cage of flesh if it bars our resolve
As our country moans in pain with every breath
And calls for help—listen, this is the voice of God.

 Du Fu (712-770) China

BALLAD OF AN OLD CYPRESS

Already the minister and his lord
have met their moment,
yet still is this tree
cherished by men.

Wendell Berry (1934-) USA

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.

WEEK FOUR

Aki No Bo (died 4 January 1718) Japan

Final Words to a friend

The fourth day of the new year:

What better day to leave the world.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) USA

HUMPBACKS

where everything

even the great whale

throbs with song

Miguel Hernandez (1911-1942) Spain

THE WORLD IS AS IT APPEARS

The world is as it appears

before my five senses,

and before yours, which are

the borders of my own.

Hafez  (1320-1389) Iran

THE CHRIST’S BREATH

I am

a hole in the flute

that the Christ’s breath moves through –

listen to this

music

 Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) Germany.

THE WIND WILL SHOWS ITS KINDNESS

One day the wind will show its kindness

and remove the tiny patches

that cover your eyes

 Rose Auslander (1921-1986) Germany

THE UNHEARD HEART

I hear the unheard heart

in my breathing

like a clock made of air

then the melody of the music-box

is alive in my temples

its tones muted like the moving spheres

Robert Frost USA (1874-1963)

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 WEEK FIVE

 Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) Iran

A GREAT WAGGON

Let the beauty of love be what we do

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground

 Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Austria

BUDDHA IN GLORY

Behold, you feel how nothing more clings to you:

your shell is in the unending,

and there the heavy juice halts and yearns.

And from beyond a brightness helps it,

 Walt Whitman (1819-1892) USA

SONG TO MYSELF

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?

I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe,

 and am not contain’d between my hat and boots

Rainer Maria Rilke. (1875-1926) Austria

SECOND DUINE ELEGIES

And all things conspire to keep silent about us

 Alberto Caeiro (1885-1936) Portugal

UNTITLED POEM. From A Little Larger Than The Entire Universe

What truer science is there than that of things without science?

I closed my eyes and the hard earth on which I lie

as such a real reality that even my back feels it.

I don’t need reason when I have shoulder blades.

 Bob Dylan (1941-) USA.

CHIMES OF FREEDOM

An’ for every hung up person in the whole wide universe

An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) Iran

THE WORLD WHICH IS MADE UP OF OUR LOVE FOR EMPTINESS

For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.

then one swoop, one swing of the arm,

that work is over

Free of who I was, free of presence, free

of dangerous fear, hope.

WEEK SIX

Bob Dylan (1941-) USA.

GATES OF EDEN

At times, I think there are no words

But these to tell what’s true

And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden

Arthur Rimbaud. (1854-1891) France

THE SLEEPER IN THE VALLEY

A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed,

With the nape of his neck bathed in cool blue cresses,

Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the sky,

Pale on his green bed where the light falls like rain….

 No odour makes his nostrils quiver;

He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast

At peace. There are two red holes in his right side.

 Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Austria

DUINO ELEGIES

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’

Hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me

suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed

in that overwhelming existence.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) USA

THE SUMMER DAY

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

 Kabir (1440-1518) India

ABODE OF THE BELOVED

Oh Companion That Abode Is Unmatched,

Where My Complete Beloved Is.

In that Place There Is No Happiness or Unhappiness,

No Truth or Untruth

Neither Sin Nor Virtue.

There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun,

There Is Radiance Without Light.

Omar Khayyam. (1048-1131) Iran

THE RUBÁIYÁT

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

Photo

Around 50 years ago, my mum posted to me during my time in the East this small booklet around 12cm by 9cm. It included her favourite poetic quotation.




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