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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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life

Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines) by Pablo Neruda

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.


Sharing this poem from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who died on this day in 1973. Neruda is known for writing pieces that are tender and melancholic, explicit and romantic, surreal and political. While there are controversies that surround this man, he is unquestionably one of the best literary gifts the world has ever had.

Book Review: The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Fiction/Religion/Philosophy
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌖

Short Synopsis: A stranger arrives at the remote village of Viscos, carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars. He comes searching for the answer to a question that torments him: Are human beings, in essence, good or evil? In welcoming the mysterious foreigner, the whole village becomes an accomplice to his sophisticated plot, which will forever mark their lives.

A novel of temptation by the internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym is a thought-provoking parable of a community devoured by greed, cowardice, and fear—as it struggles with the choice between good and evil. 

Five reasons to read the book:

1) The questions it asks. Are human beings inherently good or evil? Why do we give in to temptations? How far can we go for it? What is more important: the life of one innocent or the prosperity of many? Does the end justify the means? Reading each page of The Devil and Miss Prym is like solving a series of trolley dilemma. Coelho, in a carefully crafted fiction, throws ethical and moral questions at you that leave plenty of room for nuances and introspection.

2) Chantal Prym is all of us. Chantal is not a likeable character; she has her faults and weaknesses just as she has goodness and strengths. We’ve all been through the same struggle where our morals, ego, and what we think we deserve clash. That is why it is easy to BE her in the story.

3) It’s good without being preachy. It doesn’t pit good and evil but instead, shows the correlation between man, and good and evil. The Devil and Miss Prym reminds us of our free will and the consequences that come with it. Everything is matter of choice, big or small.

4) The time frame. As with the two other books in the trilogy, And on the Seventh Day, this story chronicles a week in the life of Chantal. I like how I can be “in the moment” without thinking much about the characters’ past or future.

5) Coelho’s trademark prose and mysticism. While not everyone is into his kind of writing, I enjoyed every page of this book.

Highlighted Quotes: 

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

“People want to change everything and, at the same time, want it all to remain the same.”

“So you see, Good and Evil have the same face; it all depends on when they cross the path of each individual human being.”

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready.”

“Victories and defeats form part of everyone’s life – everyone, that is, except cowards, as you call them, because they never lose or win.”

Final Thoughts: 

Truth is, I had more questions than answers after reading this book. Though this is not the first time for I felt the same with Veronika Decides to Die and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. But I like how Coelho continues to give me more reasons to be interested at life and living.

Here’s a snippet from a note I wrote when I first read The Devil and Miss Prym in 2012:

Every day is a struggle between good and evil — not one person is completely noble or totally wicked. We encounter questions and situations that put us in a crossroad between right and wrong. At most times, the hardest part is weighing things right. The things that we do, the words that we say, and the thoughts that we contemplate rely on how we deal with the overlapping dos and don’ts. In the end, the decision is ours on which is which…

Because just as what Paulo Coelho said,
“It was all a matter of control. And Choice.
Nothing more, nothing less.”


Posting this long-overdue review in celebration of Paulo Coelho’s 74th birthday today. Feliz cumpleaños, Sr. Coelho. Que tengas una larga vida y nos hagas muchos libros. ❤

 

Book Talk: How do you beat reading slump?

I have not read for a while now. One of my bookmarks is stuck on page 60 of Atwood’s Alias Grace; the other is on page 12 of Ikigai.

I could not keep up.

My mind is in disarray. There’s a live wire inside of me that carries alternating concern and indifference. If I switch between the two, I’d short circuit either way.

A funny metaphor, I know. And probably erroneous too, but who would pay much attention to such mistake when the world has had enough of it?

How are you?
Are you living well?
I hope so…

This is me on my third try at getting back to life. It Cornwell’s From Potter’s Field this time.

Quick Notes: Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Philosophy/Mental Health
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌖

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

This line from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie perfectly summarizes Veronika Decides to Die for me.

Inspired by events from Coelho’s past life, this book tells the story of Veronika — a 24-year-old woman who seems to have everything anyone could ever ask for. Nonetheless, she feels dissatisfied and makes a decision to end her life. She lives and survives and finds herself in a mental asylum where her life completely change.

I finished Veronika Decides to Die last week but it took me a while to wrap my emotions around it. Not sure if it’s the timing, since I was going through another anxiety phase when I was reading it; or because I haven’t considered suicide yet; or because Veronika’s troubles hit very close to home.

Life and death are the central themes of the story, as are madness and conformity.

This book will make you ponder on the consequences of living a repressed life, one that conforms to the norms set by society or that is bounded by one’s own limiting beliefs. It will have you thinking about the days when you feel like Veronika (tired of your prosaic life), or Zedka (unable to keep your emotions at ease), or Mari (too afraid so you choose to escape the real world), or Eduard (constrained by other people’s demand and pressure). It will make you question your authenticity — and insanity.

What would I do if death comes sooner than I expected? Truth is, I don’t know. But just as Vilette is a “safe place” for these people to express themselves, I’d say poetry is my own. Perhaps through these poems, I’d get to figure out myself and life.

Overall, this novel left me more questions than realizations (which is a good thing). Looking forward to finding the answers as I live my numbered days. 😀

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Let love shine

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne died, on this day, in 1864. May this quote awaken the spirit of love within us all in these trying times when anger, hate and fear are at its height.

Where the mind is without fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


Sharing this one from Rabindranath Tagore who was born 160 years ago. This piece is not just a poem, it is a prayer that still speaks true to this day.

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
       The earth, and every common sight,
                          To me did seem
                      Apparelled in celestial light,
            The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
                      Turn wheresoe’er I may,
                          By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

                      The Rainbow comes and goes,
                      And lovely is the Rose,
                      The Moon doth with delight
       Look round her when the heavens are bare,
                      Waters on a starry night
                      Are beautiful and fair;
       The sunshine is a glorious birth;
       But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
       And while the young lambs bound
                      As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
                      And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
       The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
                      And all the earth is gay;
                           Land and sea
                Give themselves up to jollity,
                      And with the heart of May
                 Doth every Beast keep holiday;—
                      Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy.

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
      Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
      My heart is at your festival,
            My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
                      Oh evil day! if I were sullen
                      While Earth herself is adorning,
                         This sweet May-morning,
                      And the Children are culling
                         On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
                      Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm:—
                      I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
                      —But there’s a Tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone;
                      The Pansy at my feet
                      Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
                      Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                         And cometh from afar:
                      Not in entire forgetfulness,
                      And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
                      From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
                      Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
                      He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
                      Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
                      And by the vision splendid
                      Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
                      And, even with something of a Mother’s mind,
                      And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
                      Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ Darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learn{e}d art
                      A wedding or a festival,
                      A mourning or a funeral;
                         And this hath now his heart,
                      And unto this he frames his song:
                         Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
                      But it will not be long
                      Ere this be thrown aside,
                      And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his “humorous stage”
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
                      As if his whole vocation
                      Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
                      Thy Soul’s immensity;
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
                      Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
                      On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a Master o’er a Slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

                      O joy! that in our embers
                      Is something that doth live,
                      That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
                      Not for these I raise
                      The song of thanks and praise
                But for those obstinate questionings
                Of sense and outward things,
                Fallings from us, vanishings;
                Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realised,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
                      But for those first affections,
                      Those shadowy recollections,
                Which, be they what they may
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
                Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
                To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
                      Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
                Hence in a season of calm weather
                      Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
                      Which brought us hither,
                Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
                      And let the young Lambs bound
                      As to the tabor’s sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
                      Ye that pipe and ye that play,
                      Ye that through your hearts to-day
                      Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
                Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
                      We will grieve not, rather find
                      Strength in what remains behind;
                      In the primal sympathy
                      Which having been must ever be;
                      In the soothing thoughts that spring
                      Out of human suffering;
                      In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
                      Is lovely yet;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.


Sharing this beautiful piece from William Wordsworth who was born on this day in the year 1770. Wordsworth is one of the poets whose love for the natural world can be felt in his poems. Many of his works talk about the importance of nature to our intellectual and spiritual development. He saw nature as a living source of wisdom, peace and joy.

This particular ode speaks about growing up, falling in love for the natural world, losing connection with nature, and finding consolation in remembering the past. Today, let us take some time to appreciate the beauty around. ❤

Wrap-Up | March 2021

Monthly Blog Update

We marched into the month of March to celebrate the true beauty and strength of women. Yet, across the world, the number of oppressed and abused women continues to climb at a fast rate. Here in the Philippines, incest and rape soared high during the pandemic. The culture of mysogyny and sexism is an all-day meal. It’s tiring.

And who would have thought, we’d have a dejavu of last year’s trauma. While the rest of the world is trying to move forward, my country — guess what — is still in chaos. There’s too much politics, greed and miscommunication. I could rant and list how fucked we are now but that won’t change a thing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that March has not been too great for me. Here’s a quick look back:

Things I’ve written…

Creative writing has been hard for me lately. My one and only poem this month was triggered by a recent issue about our Tatay Digs who was seen trying to touch his maid’s private part during his birthday. The palace, of course, defended the man and claimed there was “no malice.” The maid “laughed” and besides, the president’s wife was present. FTW.

Books I’ve read…

I’ve only managed to finish three books this month:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Famous Tales of Mystery and Horror by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav (re-read)

As for my book haul, I’ve finally got a copy of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Php390 @purplephcloset)

Some bookish thoughts:

Places I’ve been…

My friends and I had another sea to summmit experience this month. We spent a weekend camping in a not-so-know mountain in Naga. Though I have nothing against sharing beautiful hiking/camping spots with others, I think it’s not ready for everyone yet. Like it or not, there will be irresponsible people who abuse nature. We need to continue reminding ourselves proper outdoor etiquette.

Respect nature and wildlife. Take your trash with you.

Now, moving onto April….

My mouth is an open wound for the flies

Honey, let me tell you what your eyes refuse to see

When I smile at the man who dares touch my skin,
All my insides turn upside down
My ribcage strain to hold out anger
My chest is empty of breaths and full of violence
A curse has latched itself into my bones ─
It peels. It burns.

Beyond my Cheshire smile is a war
Between words I want to say and the world that won’t let me
My heathen tongue is shut by the thing that you call “joke”
So I bite down a wrathful scream
Swallow a coil of sorrow,
Bury it deep in a mass grave of apologies

For being a woman who can’t fight.

Honey, you see ─ or perhaps you don’t
There is no safe place my kind
Against the devil and you, the accessory to the crime
Who thinks a touch,
A tap,
A graze,
A pinch
Is just being “playful”

I am not a toy.

I am bones and flesh held hostage
By prejudice and wealthy monsters
Who use my lack for their gain ─
Leave your pretense on my doorstep
For I have long died
My smile ─ no, my mouth
Is now an open wound for the flies

Open your eyes.


I know that I said I won’t let current news and affairs affect me. That I would take care of my mental health first. But there are just those days when people’s stupidity triggers the anger in you. This is one of those moments.

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