And they fought.

And his words were hard and cutting,

When once they were romantic and flattering.

And his smile froze in derision and discomfort,

Where once it was loving and devoted.

And his eyes were cold and frightening,

Where once they were adoring and affectionate.

 

And the changed man saw his countenance,

Black tears like tar, filled his eyes,

But froze. Self righteousness took hold,

Of conscience and feelings.

And the ego, fought against justice,

Evil prevailed and did for now? Or evermore.

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.christianitymalaysia.com

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The Photograph

One day,

I’ll be a picture on the wall too.

Probably a smiling one,

Cos that’s what we tend to do,

When they click.

Unlike the ones which,

Decorate or deface,

The walls of our grandparents.

From those days,

When photographs were occasions,

To appear austere and sober.

One day,

All this will pass,

And all I leave behind,

Will be memories.

Of a life lived,

Of smiles, laugher and tears.

Or wait,

Aren’t our memories skewed,

To remember only the details,

We want to?

Therefore,

The tears may be forgotten,

The laugh lines may remain,

Unless someone philosophical,

May try to decipher the marred lines,

Of sorrow and depression,

Unmasked and irreversible

Even by olay…

But whatever it may be,

One day,

Wooden, golden or embellished,

I will be surrounded by just a frame,

Of the fashion of that day,

All I leave behind,

Are memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.inspirefirst.com

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Stuffy in here

It so stuffy in here,

In this relationship

Where everything seems centered

Around your needs, your dreams.

 

Your vehicles, your first love,

Substitute intimacy sufficiently,

So I’m second, or wait.

Behind your coloured bottles.

That you use to hide

Your face from the world,

Or to blind your view to it.

Making you short sighted,

If only for the moment

Meet your limited needs.

That makes me third.

 

But then,

My vision unobscured,

By men behind bottles,

Sees dreams, aspires and sighs.

And now I need space.

 

Cos time pushes me to a corner

Where your needs fill the room.

The smell of liquid threatens to drown,

The smell of Yasmins.

And I need to get out,

before its completely gone.

Before the flickering flame extinguishes,

By rushes of pain and dissatisfaction.

And all that is left is ashes.

 

I need to therefore get out for a while,

Maybe later,

Later I’ll want to come back,

Maybe I’ll realise that I love you after all,

But right now,

Right now,

I have dreams and aspirations,

And time is running out.

 

 

Picture credit: https://karinallergosalto.com

 

 

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Are ambition and determination enough to make an Empress?

Catherine the Great- A biography by Ian Grey

Ian Grey explores the story of Catherina the Great, the empress of Russia who ruled from 1762- 1796, the longest reign of a female Russian leader. He makes her look less victimised than other literature does, instead, as an ambitious woman, who made decisions understanding their consequences very well.200x0w

Could sheer determination and egotism make you the ruler of a nation?

What did it cost and what was the prize the nation had to pay to satisfy the whims of a Monarch, one of foreign origin, who usurped the throne from her husband.

Sophie was born in 1729, the daughter of a Prussian prince. Her childhood was an unhappy one, being subjected to the temper outbursts of her mother and her partiality towards her younger brother. She learned early on to fend for herself and maybe inherited her mother’s achievement drive.

She was married at a young age to the Russian prince, Peter III, who had the inheritance to the throne. There was no love between them from the beginning, and later the relationship turned to one of mutual hatred and disrespect. Catherine entered the marriage knowing very well what she could expect and the fact that her husband would one day rule Russia. She established her space early on, worked on increasing her popularity in the palace and among the common man. She took on a Russian name, learned the Russian language and converted to the popular Orthodox Catholic Church.

When she did not have a child from her marriage, she fell into the disgrace of Queen Elizabeth, who was the empress then. She suffered, with interference by the queen in her personal life, alienation of friends and severe limitations in privacy. She was accused of being a spy and then kept away from royal circles. Her husband joined his aunt, ridiculed and disgraced her in public. She found sympathy however among the common people and the courtiers.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, Peter III was declared the Emperor. Peter 3 was regarded as inept and soon his policies caused an upheaval among the influential higher officials. With the help of Grigory Orlov, a military officer, who was also her lover, Catherine took over the throne when Peter III was away on a trip and had him imprisoned. He was later murdered and speculations were that she had instituted it, or had done nothing to prevent it. She imprisoned also her nephew who had a right to the throne, in inhuman conditions, and later instituted his death as well.

Some regard Catherine as a socially enlightened ruler; she exchanged correspondence with the French philosopher Voltaire. She was a patron of the arts; the Hermitage Museum opened during her reign, beginning as part of her personal collection. Under her influence, Russians adopted western European philosophies and culture.

For a female Empress to rule in a patriarchal society must have seemed impossible, but above and beyond that, Catherine encouraged female artists. Reforms that gave women freedom was started by Peter I, but during Catherina’s reign, women writers and poets rose in Russia. Catherina herself wrote a couple of popular plays and started a magazine which was in good circulation until her death.

Another talked of topic during her reign was her love life. Catherine and Peter III hated each other. She took the comfort of her lovers during every period of her unhappy life. Before she ascended the throne, she had 2 lovers, one of who was the father of her first child. Her romantic relationship with Grigory Orlov, a Russian officer of the guards, helped her claim the throne. Later it was prince Grigory Potemkin. She wrote to him:

“The trouble is that my heart is loath to remain even one hour without love. It is said that human vices are often concealed under the cloak of kindness, and it is possible that such a disposition of the heart is more of a vice than a virtue, but I ought not to write this to you, for you might stop loving me or refuse to go to the army fearing I should forget you…”  (From the book “The Russian Chronicles,” 1998, Quadrillion Publishing, edited by Joseph Ryan)

Another one of her lovers, Stanislaw Poniatowski, was placed on the Polish throne, after the death of the Polish king.

Catherine was also a successful military ruler; her troops conquered a great deal of new territory. She gained influence over Poland through the relationship with the Polish throne. In 1768 Turkey declared war on Russia which ended favorably for Russia. She also gained territories on the Black Sea coast and the Sea of Azov area.

While Catherine enjoyed great military success, internally Russia had a precarious social structure. Much of the population lived as serfs, in essence a form of a slave. Poor farmers would sell themselves and their families to landlords to pay loans that they had taken. Their living conditions were horrible; Further, there were no rules regarding how they should be treated resulting in many acts of unspeakable cruelty. This would contribute to a full-fledged revolt led by someone laying claim to the throne which was initially suppressed with harsh military action. Although Catherine is said to have personally opposed the institution, she tolerated it. In 1767, her government even published a decree condemning serfs who protested about their conditions. She did this so that she would not lose the support and favor of the nobility.

Catherine died quietly in her bed on Nov. 17, 1796, at the age of 67 after suffering a stroke. There were evil rumors about the conditions of her death spread long after.

Catherine was succeeded by Paul I, who was supposedly her son with Peter III (Paul’s true father may have been Sergei Saltykov, one of Catherine’s lovers). In any event, Paul did not last long on the throne; he was assassinated in 1801.

During Catherina’s reign, the gap in wealth between the nobility and common man increased. Social conditions worsened and eventually, the royal family lost support. Nicholas II was executed in 1918, ending the Russian royal family.

The resulting civil war would see the rise of the world’s first communist state, one that would eventually become a global superpower.

Catherina had no claim to the throne.

Yet she reigned with authority.

The cost she paid?

At no point during her reign did she feel happy, contented, loved or secure.

All her actions seemed to have been focused on obtaining any of these needs.

Do you envy her?

 

 

You can get the book on Amazon here.

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Come Thirsty

It was the beginning of another year.

She felt like life was pressing on her from every side.

Darkness threatened to subdue her spirit.

An overwhelming sense of helplessness and hopelessness engulfed her.

And she was afraid.

Afraid that she would fall once again into that bottomless pit of depression.

It wasn’t the first time.

But yet.

She wrote them down.

Each of the problems in her life.

And found solutions for NONE.

She read about “being thirsty”.

She asked the one who had promised to quench her thirst with living waters,

“Why am I yet thirsty?,

When you said I would never thirst again.

Nothing has changed. “

Silence.

Not empty, but comforting.

He was listening.

“What do I do about my list of problems?”

“Is there anything you can do about them?”

She shakes her head- no.

“Then leave them to me.”

She smiled, for the first time in days.

“And what do I do in the meanwhile?”

“Rest”, he said, “And drink of living waters till your thirst is quenched.

“People will accuse me of ignoring the situation, of being complacent, of neglecting my responsibilities. They will see me as someone who is not able to cope and has lost it.”

“Do you care?”

“No”

She smiled as peace engulfed her.

That was before she fell into the most refreshing sleep in days.

 

The “WELL” prayer:

“Lord, I come thirsty. I come to drink, to receive.  I receive your work on the cross and in your resurrection. My sins are pardoned, and my death is defeated. I receive your energy. Empowered by your Holy Spirit, I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. I receive your Lordship. I belong to you. Nothing comes to me that hasn’t passed through you. And I receive your love. Nothing can separate me from your love.”

Max Lucado in “Come Thirsty” 98680

 

 

 

 

You can get the book on Amazon here.

 

Painting- Water to the thirsty

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Artistic Dissonance

Create, they said.

Enhance, make more.

 

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Make sure it is there, but let no one infer.

Be sure no one understands, no one cares.

 

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Let nothing resonate with anything else.

Let there be dissonance but subdued.

 

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Let there be no pattern, no form,

No theme, nor rules to conform.

 

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Art, they said, should be freedom,

Wild flowers of expression, restless thoughts.

 

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Let it create feelings – of disharmony,

Let the light disturb, rather than soothe.

 

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Let it be splashes of colour, edges and shapes,

But above all, nothing should make sense,

Nothing at all.

 

 

 

Iris Hotel, Gurgaon (NCR), Haryana, India on 7.12.2017.

 

 

 

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Calm waters are attractive

Sharing another piece of slam poetry by Julia Engelmann, which I could so relate to 🙂

Julia Engelmann -Calm waters are attractive

Stille Wasser sind attraktiv

I’m a Nerd.
But no stylish Hipster,
more of a thinker,
a total Chimera.
I don’t surf on any fashion trend nor retro wave,
I surf on the Internet.
Books to read and texts to write,
and sometimes I have the feeling
that I’m different and alone.
Nobody looks like me and
nobody seems to be close to me,
sometimes I have the feeling that no one is like me.
A place where I belong, there is none for me.
But why do I feel different?
And,
and,
and
what should happen next,
I wonder,
what do I do wrong,
I just want to blend in,
though.
But then blend into what?
And what should it be called,
because we are indeed all different
and in that sense are similar to each other.
Maybe it’s not about what divides us
but about what we have in common.
Maybe that’s why we know each other
instead of staying alone.
Because it’s rather a matter of content
than of form.
It’s rather a matter of individuality
than of norm.
It’s actually a matter of fantasy,
and above all
it’s more about the what
than about the how.
What should it be called after all?
‘Everyone is strange and odd’
but these are mere synonyms for
peculiar and unique
If someone tells you you’re different,
then tell yourself that different
doesn’t mean wrong,
it’s just another way of being right.
And if you want to get along,
you have to move your ass,
you have to face your worst fears!
If you want to succeed,
you must fight off your pain barriers
up the toughest mountain
and keep moving forward.
And what matters is not how high you can leap,
but how high you think you can.
It’s not about physics,
but about imagination.
Above all it’s a matter of what
rather than how.
And who bounds another
enclose themselves
Who weakens another
doesn’t feel themselves strong
Me,
I open my heart
and leave life intact
because I believe it’s good enough that way.
And then I meet you,
and you see me.
And you take,
because you’re by me
and you make the sight clear,
you make real and visible
There are so many expressions,
so many countables
But we are two variables,
on which there was nothing to count,
and I find my place.
I find my space.
In the smallest intersection of your world
and mine
we are the smallest common diversity,
we are what holds us together
and maybe at the first sight
I’m not so cool,
maybe even boring for many people,
but I listen to your words
and I like your voice,
because I like you
and the way we turn the world in our favor.
And this makes me splendid to me.
We are both more
than the addition of ourselves,
We are both more
than the hours that we share,
we are both more,
we are both like mermaids,
whose characteristic is a so called need for salvation,
that is to say,
they can only be freed by the love of a man.
Maybe you are this man for me.
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