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Rare but Relevant
Wytheville, Va    Just striving for a great escape!

Poems

The screaming
children of Gaza
torment the sleep
of a troubled world,
and remain a real-time
unending nightmare;
anointing The Levant’s
fevered brow
with a diadem of
incessant grief.

Gaza is a burning
ankh that sears the
madness of sorrow
upon Egypt’s skull.

Gaza,
an unblinking
third eye
of shame,
peers into
Lower Egypt’s
closed window
ever reproaching
it’s turbulent
conscience;
chiding fellow
Muslims with
the ugly memory
of abject affliction,
the endless images
of a living Guernica
suspended in the hell
of indefinite imprisonment
all Palestinians are forced
to suffer.

As Zionists ***** the
steep walls of Apartheid to
extend its occupation
of Palestine, it
condemns the youth
of Gaza to a life of
incarceration with no
possibility of parole;
hardening the hearts
and steeling the resolve
of a new generation of
militants to demolish the
walls and the wardens
that imprison them.

The Zionist jailers
bestow upon
Ishmael’s Children
phylacteries of shame,
wearing the rolled
prayers of wailing pain
scribed with bits of
dust from the
the broken walls of
demolished buildings
and desolate homes
beyond habitation,
now housing grief
of trampled souls,
forcing recitations
of deliverance
to Allah while
davening an
incessant drone
of anguish at
the Wailing Wall
of Resentment;
decrying the
blood lust of
undying acrimony,
victimization and
the slaughter of
innocents, carried on
with the imperial license
of state sanctioned impunity.


Father Ibrahim's
feuding children may
share a sacred paternity
but remain the
divided brothers
of different mothers;
stoking a sibling rivalry
more bitter then
Cain and Abel.

Our anguish
never dissipates,
the gnawing
impulse of empathy
to assist the distressed
of Gaza is dashed
by omnipotent
powers recusing
the ability to act.

Sympathy is
embargoed
in the black
obfuscation
of religious
partisanship
while timely
assistance
to aid the
distressed
lie netted in
blockades of
realpolitik
affinities.

Gaza, where
Hashim is granted
his eternal rest,
restlessly inhabits
his unknown grave
from the destitution of
his profaned homeland.

Ghazzat,  “the stronghold”
countlessly conquered,
falling to Roman Emperors,
Lionhearted Crusaders
Ottoman Caliphates,
and British Mandates;
slipping from Egypt’s
geopolitical grasp as
as a casualty of
The Six Day War.

Gaza is now a stronghold of
resent and desperation for a
desperate conquered people.

Ghazzat, the prized city of
the western Mediterranean,
a four star Phoenician port of
caravansaries now unable
to trade with any partners
due to ungodly blockades.

Gaza, has grown wholly
dependent on the largess
of UN aid and meager
subsistence portions
doled out by well
meaning NGO’s.

Gaza, the foot stool of
the Levant and surely
the pathway Father
Ibrahim, Jacob,
Joseph and Jeremiah
traveled to escape
Canaan's famine;
finding at the close
of their sojourn
a table set with the
plenteous bounty
the Blue Nile
unconditionally offered;
the veritable feast
of abundance,
the generous yields
of the blessed delta
that sustained the
Prophets of Judah
and a thousand
generations of the
Nile’s Children.

Gaza, the Achilles
heal of Middle East
peace, land of the
Canaanites, Philistines
and Old Testament
heroes.

Gaza, a fortress for
Philistines who
imprisoned the storied
Sampson, revered for
breaking the chains of
imprisonment and righteously
destroying a pagan temple
in a suicidal act of heroism.

Gaza, where the myths and
legends of rapacious
holy crusaders captured
the western imagination
with the chivalrous gallantry
of religious warfare and
valiant last stands of
Templar Knights employing
the tactical imperatives
of terrorism in service to their
higher God.

Gaza, an oasis
by the sea now
lies dry and brittle
as the precious Hebron
waters of Wadi Ghazza
are diverted to serve
the agriculture of
Judah; condemning
a dehydrated Gaza
panting of thirst
to an imposed drought
and a war of
self preservation
to remove
the dammed rivers
of justice controlled
by intractable powers
laying upstream beyond
Gaza’s mean borders.

The Qassams
lunched by Hamas
are desperate
expressions of
exasperated people,
eager to call
world attention
to the growing
insufferable plight
of a people living
in a perpetual
state of siege.

Its a modern day
David slinging rocks
against an armor
clad Goliath.

Each Katusha
serves as
a justification
for Zionist
intransigence
and condemns
any possibility
for peaceful
coexistence
of a Two State
Solution.

The pointless attacks
invite massive
disproportionate
retaliation and succeed
in prolonging and
increasing the
measure of Gaza’s
agony.

The mystic grace,
the divine power
of satyagraha
-a non-violent
response to the
cruel enforcement of
Apartheid- is Allah’s
way to secure the
moral high-ground
and the surest way
for Palestinians to
expose it’s unholy
adversaries innate
contempt for civil rights
and a refusal to
recognized the
shared humanity of
all of Father Ibrahim’s
wayward progeny and
recalcitrant prodigal sons.

Mubarak’s fall
has allowed the
Rafah Gate
to swing open again.

The concertina
wire that separates
Gaza and Egypt
has been removed.

The prisoners
of Gaza have
an open portal
of freedom.

It is a Day of
Jubilee, a day
of pardon for
for the inmates
of prisons built
for victims.  

It is a day of
possibility for peace.  

It is a day to declare an
Exodus from the land
of bitterness.

Humanity is
offered the hope
of escape from
the prisons of
acrimony, to
freely move across
the staid borders
of intractability
and exclusion.

The hearts and
minds of Palestinians
and Egyptians
are free to connect
and unite once again.

Liberation is
possible only
when we uphold
and honor the
affirmation
of all humanity.

Music Video:

Silk Road
We Will Not Go Down

Oakland
2/9/12
jbm
a poem from the epilogue section of Tahrir Square Voices
RAJ NANDY Sep 2015
RAJ NANDY
37 followers
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN VERSE
                                    By Raj Nandy
THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE WAS A PERIOD OF TRANSITION
BETWEEN MEDIEVAL & THE MODERN  WORLD. I propose to
present in three installments my researched work for both the Art &
History lovers of this Site. Kindly take your time to read at leisure before commenting. Thanks, -Raj Nandy, New Delhi.

                   PART ONE: BACKGROUND
The Term Renaissance :
The word ‘Renaissance’ means ‘to be born again’ ,
Derives from French ‘renaistre’ and Latin ‘renascere’, -
both meaning the same !
Swiss historian Jacob Buckhardt by writing “The
Civilization of Renaissance in Italy”,
Helped to popularize this term during the 19th Century !
The Renaissance evolved out of ‘Christendom’ , which
was Medieval Europe ;
Ruled entirely by the Catholic Church and the Pope !
It formed a period of transition between the Medieval
and the Modern Age ,
And as a contrast to the preceding thousand years , -
Which the Latin scholar Petrarch christened as the
‘Dark Ages’ !
This era saw a revival of interest in classical learning
of Greek and Roman art and culture ;
Focused on individual’s life on earth , with a new spirit
of adventure !
Happiness was no longer shelved to an afterlife and
repentance for salvation ;
But it lay in the advancement of human beings on Earth , -
with secular contemplation !
Thus individualism , secularism , and humanism , were
chief characteristics of the Renaissance ;
With innovations in art, architecture , and a scientific
temper of thought !
Knowledge no longer remained confined within the cold
ecclesiastical walls ,
But it spread from Italy across Northern Europe , -
To distant English shores through France !
During the Renaissance era Humanism became its
dominant philosophy ;
And there begins our Renaissance Story, since knowledge
is no man’s monopoly !
Events leading up to the Renaissance were many ;
Let me now dwell upon some salient features which
shaped its History !

THE BLACK DEATH (Peaked between 1347-1352) :
It was brought by Genoese merchant ships from the Orient ,
The fatal bacillus of the bubonic plague carried in the blood
stream of rodents !
The plague from Sicily and Italy spread to Northern Europe ,
All medicines failed , and even the Church provided no hope !
After having raged for almost a decade it started to abate ;
But by then almost one-third of entire Europe’s population
lay dead !
This deadly plague which followed the Hundred Year’s War
between England and France ,
Created social , economic and political upheavals in Europe,
leaving little to chance !
People began to lose faith in the church and on sermons of
afterlife ,
Secular thoughts now prevailed in a world where only the
fittest could survive !
Shortages of labour brought an end to Medieval feudalism
and serfdom ,
And Europe gradually emerged out of those Dark Ages, -
to greet the rising Renaissance sun !
The meager labour force could now bargain for better
wages and individual rights ;
Later, merchant guilds protected specialized labour and
their human rights !
Cities got gradually built and a new social order began
to emerge ,
Historians say that Europe saw the rise of a new Middle
Class !
As Europe gradually begun to recover from the aftermath
of war , plague, and devastation ;
The City-States of Italy lit the torch of a new intellectual
emancipation !
But before moving onto the Italian city-states, I must
mention the Holy Crusades ;
Since the Crusades opened up the doors of knowledge
and trade ;
Helping this ‘New Learning’ of the Renaissance to spread !

THE HOLY CRUSADES (1095-1270) :
At the behest of Pope Urban II and his battle cry “God
Wills It! ” ;
The First Crusade was launched to recapture the Holy Land
from Muslim infidels !
Within a span of next two hundred years eight Crusades
were launched ,
The First one took Jerusalem , but the Second failed to make
Damascus fall !
The Third led by Richard the Lion Heart, made Saladin to
grant the rights , -
To Christian pilgrims to visit their Holy shrines in Palestine !
The Fourth Crusade had sacked Constantinople , - then a
commercial rival of the Italians !
Now cutting a long story short , let us see what History
has taught !
These Crusades helped in opening up the trade routes ,
For importing paper, spices, soap, silk and luxury goods !
Trade was carried out with the countries of Levant region ,
Which included the countries from Turkey to Egypt , -
Bordering the eastern seaboards of the Mediterranean !
These trade routes formed a major conduit of culture
and knowledge ,
And exchanges and interactions broadened the mental
horizon of the Italians !
From Constantinople, recently Christianized Spain , and
the Arab lands , -
The preserved ancient classical knowledge now reached
the Italian hands !
In their School of Salamanca the Arabs of  Spain ,
Had translated works of Aristotle and classical scholars
into Arabic , - thereby preserving the same !
Later scholars translated these precious works into Greek
and Italian ,
And thus the Ancient Classics saw a glorious revival !
The scientific, philosophical, and mathematical thoughts
of the Arabs had also entered Northern Italy ,
From Egypt and the Levant region , to enrich Pre-
Renaissance Italy !
And when Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 ,
Its Greek scholars with their precious manuscripts flocked
into Italy !

THE CITY-STATES OF ITALY :
‘Italia’, once the epicenter of the mighty Roman Empire ,
Disintegrated into several small principalities breaking
up Italy entire !
Its mountainous rugged terrain was a barrier to effective
internal communication ;
And no strong unified monarchies emerged, as in other
parts of Europe !
Italy with its peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean
Sea ,
Had begun to monopolize the trade routes, and also to
prosper economically !
During the time of the Renaissance , Italy had numerous
autonomous city-states and territories ;
Where a powerful leader called the Signore , ruled for
a fixed tenure initially ;
But later this post was declared as hereditary !
Kingdom of Naples controlled the south ;
Republic of Florence and the Papal States the center ;
Genoese and the Milanese the north and west respectively ;
And the Venetians the eastern part of Italy .
These Italian city-states prospered greatly from its growing
trade during the 14th century ;
Its cargo ships visiting Byzantine , and the cities bordering
the Mediterranean Sea !
It became a status symbol for rich families to patronize
art and culture ;
They vied with one another commissioning paintings
and architecture !
But the Italian city-state that had prospered the most ,
Was the city-state of Florence which became the host ;
And the ‘Cradle of European Renaissance’ !
...............................................................­­................................
* ALL COPY RIGHTS WITH THE AUTHOR -RAJ NANDY*
(My Part -II will contain the Story of Florence , - " Cradle of the
Italian Renaissance". Thanks for reading, do recommend this Verse to
your other poet friends!
Comments from Gita Ashok, an Educator, from ‘Poetfreak.com’:- A thoroughly researched erudite collection of historical facts presented in a very lucid and interesting manner. This write made me reminisce all those history lessons that I learnt in school many years ago - many of which I found boring as it was taught in an intimidating way. I feel like going back in time, becoming a student once again and learning history through such creatively written works of art. But I realize that we are all yet students of life and can still continue to learn and grow. I feel fortunate to have read this great piece of literary work and I look forward to reading the second part.-  by Gita Ashok | Reply
Edit poem

AN INTRODUCTION TO ITALIAN RENAISSANCE was added 21 hours ago.
Mateuš Conrad May 2016
it's quiet hard to find a welcoming book, i can cite two read in one sitting, thus spoke Zarathusrta (the original intent) and the soft machine by burroughs... all others came with many composed sittings... but none of the repeated encounters can be spoken of so favourably as Bertrand Russell's history of western philosophy, with that book came the kindest summer - in that i find historians the prefects of philosophy, the Republic guardians, leave the poets to do their sing-along, and furthered abstracts of symbols (should they wish, and ought), give presence to historians like Russell and Tatarkiewicz (surname derived as descended from Tartar auxiliary at the battle of Tannenberg with two naked swords dipped into ****** soil awaiting blood by a Lithuanian king married to a Polish gal).

sometimes poems can be more memorable than entire
books, there memorableness technique used in
epics gets lost most of the time,
writers' custard narrative awaiting a memorable
spontaneity is always missing, a memorable quote
needs to be bookmarked, it's hardly remembered,
all that talk of etiquette, esp. 19th century is always
the fog in novel, Mr. Darcy and his twin
Mr. Rochester, both haunted -
the former by social structures (prejudice;
his wife to be by lower caste governed by pride)
while the latter by a madwoman in the attic -
there's nothing memorable about these novels
in mono assertions, unless you have a book-club or
a cinematic script and a movie... poems are more
memorable, naturally, even if you're unable to recite
them because you rather recite the list of ingredients
for a bonkers curry, someone else will recite you a
poem, no problem. i guess that's because memorising
poetry is afforded by rhymes, the crude musicology
if given an instrument, would be to pluck
two same notes, ugly with a guitar, beautiful with
the tongue.
no, novels are not memorable, ask blind Samson about
the pillars he absorbed with his strength and pulled
down... ask him...
or... or i can tell you a little secret, it's a secret concerning
Sylvia Plath's *bell jar
... page 119 in my edition (Faber & Faber),
slight digression: a page later she's complaining in
a "fictive" personality about the ineffectiveness of sleeping
pills... she has been apparently given max'      imum
strength pills... dear Sylvia,
                                        against your doctor's orders,
          against all pharmaceutical orthodoxy,
sleeping pills are best effective with alcohol,
even though the tagline is to avoid mixing the two...
i can't specify the quantity of alcohol in milligrams
akin to the dosage of the pills, dear Sylvia, they're only
effective with the liquid sedative, and perhaps a painkiller
like paracetamol...
nonetheless on page 119 she's citing a book you will
probably not read, and neither did she (explanation
a bit later)... she cites the first page of J. Joyce's
Finnegans Wake...
                 riverrun past Eve and Adam's...
and that ONE-HUNDRED LETTERED word:

  ba'ba'ba'dal'gharagh'takamminanarronk'onn'bronntonner'r­onn'tuonn'thunn'trovarr'houna'wnska'wntooh'oohoo'rdenen'thurnuk!­

i tried the syllable scalpel to my best ability for breath,
this grand anti-onomatopoeia, cut for brief pause...
but she didn't read any further like Delmore Schwartz
trying to sell this **** Grææ tongue...
she didn't read on, because there's another century in this
book:

(i left a bookmark on the page (no. 23) - a painting by
Diego Velázquez, the toilet of Venus 122.5 by 177 centimetres)

with loss of breath and entry of the centipede as follows

perkodhuskurunbarggruauyagokgorlayorgromgremmitghundhur­thrumathunnaradidillifaititillibumullunukkunun!

but i must i don't have the ratio, since i didn't bother counting
either words, but Sylvia did, and if she counted the first word
as a century, this second word must also be a century -
yet on suspicion should i believe she read further, or didn't?
they claimed the book to be a Babylonian Tower
readying for dispersions of the people, yet with historical
events it's a joke, given that there are no diacritical marks
in the book to provide stresses of accents:
e.g. fumatul poate să ucidă (romanian for: do not smoke
cigarettes, yes, there's a black market for cigarettes,
THANK GOD!) - and with saying that, it is not a book
with a Babylonian Tower attached to it, it's a tower for sure,
but a Globalisation Tower, how english became the
Lingua Levant once more, when the Franks had their
puppet king of Jerusalem at the time of Saladin.