The Yellow Brick Road

September 1, 2013

I read an article ( http://zencomprehensible.com/zen-on-the-yellow-brick-road/ ) about “the Yellow Brick Road” from The Wizard of Oz. It doesn’t take much for my mind to go off on a tangent. This time however, I don’t think I have strayed too far.

Many of us remember The Wizard of Oz with joy or with a pinch of uneasiness. Those Flying Monkeys have haunted some of us for quite a while. They personified a kind of fear. Watch out or the flying monkey will get you!!

The Wizard of Oz is chalk full of imagery, symbolism, meaning. The author L.Frank Baum was a Theosophist.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophy ) Theosophical symbolism is everywhere in this story.

So here are my thoughts.

The first article reminds us we are all on a road of some kind. When we are walking towards our fears and uncertainties we always come upon obstacles, road blocks. Along the way we pick up things that provide us support–things or people who encourage us to keep going, to not give up. Sometimes we have to face, head on, our deepest fears to get to the truth behind the curtain. And the truth that is ultimately always within us. Glinda tells Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power to go home.” Sometimes we just aren’t aware of, or don’t trust in what is right in front of us.

Does Kansas represent for Dorothy, for us, our physical world as it is right now? The place where we are materially and spiritually? One day Dorothy sings:

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,”

Is she searching for something? Is she ready to begin a spiritual journey?

Then, WHAM! Something drastic happens, a tornado of twirling energy (karma?), flashing bits of her life in front of her. This twisting, powerful force that lurches Dorothy forward—–distancing her from all that is familiar, comforting, predictable. She finds herself looking around in wonder at a new and breath-taking world and while exhaling announces “Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”

dorothy dreams

(google images)

Remember the slippers? Originally the Ruby Red Slippers were supposed to be silver. In some schools of thought, the idea of a “silver thread” represents the connection between the physical and the spiritual. The shoes were changed to red because they showed up better on the film.

Once Dorothy has the magic shoes she is led to the Yellow Brick Road. In Buddhism, the road to Enlightenment is call the “Golden Path”.  And how does the yellow Brick Road begin? In a spiral, yet another symbol of the evolving self. Aren’t there times when we feel we are caught in a spiral of some kind: “Spiraling out of control”, “caught in a downward spiral”, “spiraling upwards”?

begin yellow brick road

(google images)

On her journey Dorothy encounters soon to be friends and companions who are seeking “a brain”/wisdom, “courage”, “a heart”/purity/love. All the qualities for a successful spiritual awakening. Who else does Dorothy talk to? Toto. Toto is Dorothy’s inner voice, the one who sees things for who and what they really are (thinking ahead to pulling back the curtain and revealing “Oz” for what he really is.)

Surmounting obstacles and challenges, Dorothy makes it to Oz. The Great and Powerful Oz may represent our spiritual/religious beliefs. The authority that tells us how to be “worthy”. She is given a “task”, get the broom stick from the Wicked Witch of the East. This accomplished Dorothy now returns to claim her rewards: to return home for herself, a brain for the Scarecrow, courage for the Lion and a heart for the Tin Man. Sadly, she learns the “Great and Powerful Oz” is not so great or so powerful. (What does this say about organized religion?) The Wizard, now a professor, bestows wisdom, courage and love/purity to Dorothy’s three companions while revealing they always possessed the traits and had only to believe in them. For Dorothy, getting home would require trusting Oz, now a mere man, and embarking on the trip home in “a hot air” balloon. At the last minute, Toto, her intuitive self, runs away forcing Dorothy to follow. She misses the launch and is left behind. Glinda swoops in and lovingly tells Dorothy she herself has the power to go home, and she has always had it. All she needs to do is close her eyes and say the magic words.

Back in Kansas, Dorothy has a hard time getting her loved ones to believe she was really in another “place”, but now, seemingly more at peace with herself, and perhaps better balanced between the physical and spiritual, she is comforted by understanding “the is no place like home”

path

(google images)

We are all on a journey of some kind. For some of us it is a journey of healing or forgiving. For other it is spiritual. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences. We all have different names for what we are searching for. Whether we know it or not, we are all on The Yellow Brick Road. In some way or another we want to know what is behind the curtain. To face and overcome our fears. To know what is the truth/real. And for many of us we will come to see that we already possess great strength and wisdom in ourselves. We only have to come to this understanding.

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Become Living Poetry

July 15, 2012

“Be silent now.
Say fewer and fewer praise poems.
Let yourself become living poetry.”

~ Rumi

What if we became silent poems ……?  What if we each became “living poetry”?  Perhaps it is time to “Be silent now. Say fewer praise poems.” And, to let ourselves “become living poetry”. Are we already? Our every moment of being is  an expression of living poetry.

There are over 5o “styles” of poems. As of today, July 14, 2012, 7:24 a.m., there are 7,026,170,881 people in the world. That’s A LOT of living poetry! What will you experience today? What will you “say” today?

What is your “living poetry” style? These are the “top” 12…well, someone’s top 12. How do you “speak” to others through your daily living? I don’t really know very much about poetry, but thought it would be fun to look into it, and see if I could figure out what form my “living poetry” most closely matched!

SONNET: Sonnets are particularly associated with love poetry, and often use a poetic diction heavily based on vivid imagery.

JINTISHI: . Jintishi often has a rich poetic diction, full of allusion, and can have a wide range of subject, including history and politics.

SESTINA: The sestina has six stanzas, each comprising six unrhymed lines, in which the words at the end of the first stanza’s lines reappear in a rolling pattern in the other stanzas.

VILLANELLE  is a nineteen-line poem made up of five triplets with a closing quatrain. The poem is characterized by having two refrains, initially used in the first and third lines of the first stanza, and then alternately used at the close of each subsequent stanza until the final quatrain.

PANTOUM  is a rare form of poetry similar to a villanelle. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next.

RONDEAU originally a French form, written on two rhymes with fifteen lines, using the first part of the first line as a refrain.

TANKA is a form of unrhymed Japanese poetry, with five sections totalling thirty-one onji (phonemic sounds) , structured in a 5-7-5 7-7 pattern. There is generally a shift in tone and subject matter between the upper 5-7-5 phrase and the lower 7-7 phrase. It was used more heavily to explore personal rather than public themes.

HAIKU is a popular form of unrhymed Japanese poetry. Written in a single vertical line, the haiku contains three sections totalling seventeen onji, structured in a 5-7-5 pattern. Traditionally, haiku contain a kireji, or cutting word, usually placed at the end of one of the poem’s three sections; and a kigo, or season-word.  Haiku often reflects something to do with Nature.

RUBA’I is a four-line verse practiced by Arabian and Persian poets.

SIJO is a short musical lyric practiced by Korean poets. It is usually written as three lines, each averaging 14-16 syllables, for a total of 44-46 syllables. There is a pause in the middle of each line.

ODE:   The ode generally has three parts: a strophe, an antistrophe, and an epode. The antistrophes of the ode possess similar metrical structures and, depending on the tradition, similar rhyme structures. In contrast, the epode is written with a different scheme and structure. Odes have a formal poetic diction, and generally deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from different, often conflicting, perspectives, with the epode moving to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues.

The GHAZAL is a form of poetry common in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Bengali poetry. In classic form, the ghazal has from five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. Each line has an identical meter, and there is a set pattern of rhymes in the first couplet and among the refrains. Each couplet forms a complete thought and stands alone, and the overall ghazal often reflects on a theme of unattainable love or divinity.

Some  rhyme, others do not. Some have a complete thought while others only hint at something. There are poems that use refrains, a line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza. Poems can be romantic, political, spiritual, or mystical. Some are soft, and some are strong or even harsh. Some are metaphorical, while others are figurative. Some are short and some are long.

Personally, I feel my living poetry is not strong on rhyme, but does employ structure. I do seem to be heavy on repetition, perhaps as security. I tend not to express to much that is political and focus more on the spiritual, nature and emotion. I think I am a shorter, sharper type of poetry rather long and complex type. Sometimes people “get” me, other times, not so much!!!

I could be Tanka with a little Haiku or Sijo, and a dash of Villanelle.

I hope you have some fun with this! There are so many sources available on the internet. Explore and see  if you learn a little something about yourself.

http://www.webexhibits.org/poetry/index.html

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0903237.html/