Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Warrior Poet’s Hard-Won Epiphanies

Short Verses

Review

of

Kurt Brindley’s

Short Verses & Other Curses
(Haiku, Senryū, & Other Poetic, Artistic, & Photographic Miscellany)

 

A Warrior Poet’s Hard-Won Epiphanies

 

Self-made and/or naturally insight-endowed, Kurt Brindley has the soul of a poet; further, he has the soul of a warrior poet. He makes passing reference to the martial tradition that has also been a part of his life in the poem “If I Were A Samurai:”


I would know

when to bow
and when to ignore
when to speak
and when to be silent

when to eat
and when to fast
when to think
and when to meditate
when to advance
and when to hold
when to strike
and when to parry
when to kill
and when to die

All writers — the serious and the not-so-much — inevitably find themselves in a battle, as often as not Biblical in proportions, for the human soul, their own as it happens. (The New Testament’s words along these lines — Ephesians 6:12 — are more reminder than news.) Although drawing upon the culture of ancient Japan, the lines also resonate with those of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes. Certainly, the outcome of this inner struggle determines how writers view themselves or what they have made of themselves by means of their literary endeavours. They have dared to partake of forbidden fruit whose concentrated energies fuse words together in a manner guaranteed to produce light endlessly in recipient minds.

Here is what is at risk when one trespasses upon this discipline:

the moment is nigh
when once self-evident truths
succumb to madness

Writers task themselves to pursue and to lay down truth that is hard-won in the full confidence that it will “receive its pardon.”

what must be endured
before the blossom unfolds
heaven only knows

Here the epiphany has come through relentless struggle; its visitation is in the nature of grace.

Paradoxically, the greater the responsibility one assumes, whereby it claims to embrace all, the lighter becomes the burden and the meditative being can declare it to be lyrical in experience.

nay, the setting sun
’tis we, a reflective we
who settles the day

The cynic may argue that it is all a matter of raw assertion — empty metaphysic — but a literary Coriolanus will flash his body’s reminders of battles fought to the incredulous:

the blood turns not red
until the wound has occurred
truths are bound by scars

And, no matter the devastation,

still, the sun rises
still, the wind blows, the trees sway
still, I live to thrive

Giving voice to our most indomitable attitudes of being, the poet has strengthened and enriched us, and, sometimes, simple logic leads to profound reflection:

If we are all of the same matter
Then mustn’t we matter all the same

In addition to his warrior spirit, it is a Rabelaisian welcome that has made Kurt Brindley’s web-site www.kurtbrindley.com a much trafficked gathering spot. He never fails to rejoice even in complaint, giving every evidence that he knows what could be instead of what is. “’Tis the warden found within/That keeps us from our freedom.”

“Meet Me In The Courtyard/Where The Blood No Longer Flows” — one of the final poems in this most admirable collection — speaks (the reviewer will presume to say) to the spirit of transcendence that ever renders humanity “sacred in our time.” Our time is no different than any other in being one of bloody execution.

The one regret that came from having downloaded this book is that a hard copy would have enabled going back and forth with ease and delight, choosing and balancing poem against poem. It is frustrating to be unable to satisfy more gracefully the need to experience again and again the individual contents that have given pleasure, insight, and the companionship of profound thought of a type that can only be poetically rendered. As the Bard himself would say,

when all is perfect
less even just one thin thread
nothing is perfect

That’s the trouble with all things virtual. So far.

__________

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