Poetry and Power in Qatar ~ and beyond.

So, you thought poetry was just for fun rhymes and wooing women? Without music poetry is often backhanded as a literary form ignored and disdained as too esoteric or too convoluted for straightforward no nonsense reading.  By the way, if you think Mother Goose nursey rhemes are just silly ditties, you’ll think again after going a few rounds with an annotated copy with the darker references to realities. Oh, speaking of reality.

MIC CHECK

A while back I had an actual face to face conversation with a young woman who insisted no one had never been imprisoned for writing literature. I found her literal ignorance astounding  not only for her lack of awareness of the historical contexts in which writers in all genres have run into very serious trouble for expressing their views, but also for what it revealed about her lack of comprehension of some of the works she’d claimed to have read. Hence, this post. I believe it makes my point in a very very contemporary fashion.

From Democracy Now!’s headline news

15-Year Sentence for Qatari Poet Upheld

Democracy Now! Headline News for 22 October 2013

In Qatar, the top court has upheld a 15-year jail sentence for a poet convicted of incitement against the regime. Mohammed al-Ajami was arrested in November 2011 for allegedly disparaging members of Qatar’s ruling family in a poem. But activists say the real motivation was his poem “Tunisian Jasmine,” in which he expressed support for the Arab Spring uprisings, writing, “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites.” Al-Ajami was initially dealt a life term but that was reduced to 15 years in February. His lawyer said he has been held in solitary confinement for two years. Al-Ajami’s only recourse now is to appeal to the emir. Click here to see our interview from Qatar with Mohammed Al-Ajami’s lawyer.

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/22/headlines#102211

Qatari poet Mohamed Ibn Ajami Imprisioned for Life for Reading a Poem 

[“Tunisian Jasmine” audio text]

Published on Feb  9, 2013

February 6, 2013 7:23pm PST
From Democracy Now: “Three days after the United Nations Climate Change Conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Mohammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled “Tunisian Jasmine,” supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are, without exception, thieves. Thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.”
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/7…
From the Guardian “A Qatari poet has been sentenced to life in prison for an Arab-spring-inspired verse that officials claim insults Qatar’s emir and encourages the overthrow of the nation’s ruling system, his defense attorney says.
It was the latest blow in a widening clampdown on perceived dissent across the Gulf Arab states.
The verdict in a state security court is certain to bring a fresh outpouring of denunciations by rights groups, which have repeatedly called for the release of the poet, Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami. It also marks another example of tough measures by judicial and security officials in the Gulf against possible challenges to their rule since the Arab spring revolts began last year.
The poet’s lawyer, Najib al-Nuaimi, said he planned to appeal.
“This judge made the whole trial secret,” said Nuaimi. “Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me.”
Ajami was jailed in November 2011, months after an internet video was posted of him reciting Tunisian Jasmine, a poem lauding that country’s popular uprising, which touched off the Arab spring rebellions across the Middle East. In the poem, he said: “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive” authorities, and criticized Arab governments that restrict freedoms.
Qatari officials charged Ajami with “insulting” the Gulf nation’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and “inciting to overthrow the ruling system”. The latter charge could have brought a death sentence.
Nuaimi said Ajami, a third-year student of literature at Cairo University, had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest.
Gulf regimes have stepped up crackdowns on a range of perceived threats to their rule, including Islamist groups and social media activists. Earlier this month, Kuwaiti authorities arrested four people on charges of insulting the emir with Twitter posts, and the United Arab Emirates imposed sweeping new internet regulations that allow arrests for a wide list of offensives, including insulting leaders or calling for demonstrations.
Last year, Bahrain issued a royal pardon for some protest-linked suspects, including a 20-year-old woman sentenced to a year in prison for reciting poetry critical of the government’s effort to crush a Shia-led uprising against the Sunni monarchy.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/…

 

I don’t know about you, but this packs a resounding wallop in my book of verses.

Unexpected Special Sunday Edition: Omnia — Are you feeling “Alive” today? or Are you Poe-ish?

Let’s take a worldly spin with more than a tip of the hat to our friends in the Netherlands with the “neoceltic pagan folk” band Omnia.  Big WAVE~~~~!  Let’s break down some barriers with the power of music’s sound-waves.  Dance Time is NOW!

“True music surpasses all politics and religion.”

Steve Evans-van-der Harten

Now how about some Pagan Folk Lore with a decidedly literary bent: Shakespeare, Poe, Lewis Carroll.

video and info links/tracks posted by paganfolkvideos

About DVD:
* http://www.myspace.com/worldofomnia/b…

Tracklist:
01. Intro/Bealtaine
02. Wytches’ Brew
03. Richard Parker’s Fancy
04. The Raven
05. Alive!
06. Dil Gaya
07. Entrezomp ni Kelted
08. Fairy Tale
09. Saltatio Vita

Order DVD here:
* http://www.worldofomnia.com/shop/inde…

World of Omnia site for info and downloads: http://www.worldofomnia.com/

For more videos paganfolkvideos  http://www.youtube.com/user/paganfolkvideos?feature=watch

There are some days when I  am so glad YouTube has thrived since its early start-up days. This is one of those days. Damn, the GREAT! music you can discover with a clicking mouse.  I wish I could reward it with a meal treat.  Yes, I do MISS the large independent music store that has closed down. It had wonderful listening stations for all kinds of music. It had fun quirky staff, music lovers all. It was a place to meet face to face. That is lost on the net no matter how much you skype or mumble. It’s not the same as engaging with a real live breathing other member of our species standing three feet away from you.  There are no pheromones shared here–yet. We dance out of sight of each other.  Often all we have are words to communicate. There’s the power of art in images to share.   And then there’s music for when word language fails to bridge the gaps.

Singing songs of bards long gone /// Loreena McKennitt Serves Saturday’s Sensuality

So often in these times of vast literary ignorance it’s  forgotten that “songs” and poetry move together. Today’s rock stars have nothing on the travelling bards of the past who relied on their musical talents for daily survival.  Odd that many who currently evade poetry like a plague yet adore their modern musical choices.  What are song lyrics but poems?  Loreena McKennitt’s music often draws directly upon the rich works of dead poets.  I doubt any of them, the dead poets, are complaining.

Loreena McKennitt’s renditions are nothing if not sensual sound feasts. 

Loreena McKennitt:

The Highwayman

via Flyborray

poem by Alfred Noyes

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171940

The Dark Night of the Soul

via Ginevra Corvino

poem by St. John of the Cross

Poems Found in Translation

http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com/2009/09/saint-john-of-cross-dark-night-of-soul.html

The Stolen Child

via JulioCzar6

Poem by W.B. Yeats

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stolen_Child

The Lady of Shalott

via alantisreturning

Poem by Alfred, Lord  Tennyson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_of_Shalott

One more for fun.

The Mummers Dance

via  JulioCzar6

More on Mummers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummers_Play

Poets’ Folly

Yeats walked out of Sligo and sighed.

His heart from Maude could not be pried.

Nerval spied Jenny and fell into ectasy.

Unfulfilled desires haunted him mercilessly.

Akhmatova armed with verse,

Fell not beneath her heart’s hearse.

A woman, she endured against romance’s curse.

 

 

wojcik@

‘dove’

dove

all you found

you soap

me soap

we scent share

touch tender

dove

 

wojcik@2009

An Adaptable Woman

Searching finite portraits

For some sign of essential mental identity

Of a mutating earth goddess

No face seems quite right

For a woman of Galilee in 5 BC.

Nazarene, what does that physicality mean?

Dark? Arabic? Creamed coffee skin?

A Black Madonna?

Who is she

Leaving traces of her heart in

Guadalupe,

Fatima,

Lourdes,

Medjugorje.

Illuminating our dark ages.

No burning bush,

Just woman incarnate:

Predatorily marking spiritual territory;

Ripe fecundity never captured

In glass, oil, charcoal, wood, or marble;

Nor her scintillating soul of

Endlessly penetrating grace.

Eternal feminine principal propagating;

Was that ghost waiting for her-

Or she for he?

What’s a god to do when a goddess calls his seed into her hallowed stall?

Did a cultural class smash their romantic alliance?

No matter what the color of your patriarchy negating face,

Hail Mary of incomparable grace.

 

wojcik@2000

Cemetery Hill, Wounded Knee, 29 December 2006

After the sage is gone

After the tobacco has fallen

After the prayers have gone silent

After the singing has ceased

After the drums are still

After the rusting cars, mini-vans, trucks have rolled away

After the horses’ trailers have departed

After the alternator has been changed on the ancient blue and white pick-up

Then

Bowl sings

Instrument of a people without a country

But not without identity;

People making a new way-

Sings for a People with a land

Yet

Losing identity,

People fighting to heal their sacred hoop-

It sings rich and strong

To the North, South, East  and West

To the sky

To the earth

To the wind

To spirit within and without

Bowl sings as never before

Deep and full

Seeking all walking the winds

Bowl sings

Hopes

Spotted Elk’s Band dances

 

 

wojcik@2006

disappear here, no questions asked

slow driving un-named road

frozen red clay rock

constantly falling into clouds

sky open wide watching

faux flat lands

rolling without warning

checking the miles

2, 2 1/2, 4, 6 1/2, 7, 10

southeast, south east of what?

points unknown

where? where? where did they push you off?

find, find, find

a curve in the dirt

still here nearly eighty years later?

yes, yes, yes

discovery no joy

just–here, here, here

you rode this un-named road then

now a whisper

“close enough,  get away, no good disappearing”

naked woman centered

sleeping again with your words

dawn comes

rosewood mala resting left

cat marked blue book resting right

naked woman center

mind full of your presence

 

 

wojcik @ 2009

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