Poems of Ecstasy, Awakening and Annihilation
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A HANDFUL OF STARS
“Grootbos” is an Afrikaans word meaning “big bush,” an ecological area in the Western Cape of South Africa where the mountainsides are home to 650 related plant species, including proteas and pincushions.
ACROSS THE VELD
Veld is an Afrikaans word for the savanna or the grasslands.
Hawaii’s Waipio Valley is the first of five sacred valleys that stretch along the coast of the Kohala Mountain to Pololu.
Mansur al-Hallaj was born around 858 in the Fars province of Persia. He was a Sufi mystic, writer and teacher. While many Sufi masters felt it inappropriate to share mysticism with the masses, Al-Hallaj openly did so. He made enemies. His ecstatic states of adulation and exultation were controversial. He stated, “I am The Truth”, “There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God” and “There is nothing under my cloak but God”. These utterances led to a long trial and imprisonment for 11 years in Baghdad before he was publicly beheaded on March 26, 922.
MISSING THE MARK
This poem is dedicated to the men of The Group of Hope– Luyanda, Skoji, Pieter, Rasta, Orrie, Maaga and Sihle. Brandvlei Maximum Security Facility is a prison near Worcester in the Western Cape all of South Africa. Within the ancient Aramaic language of Christ, the root word “satah,” an archery term meaning “ that which causes us to miss the mark,” has been biblically translated as “sin” with all the associated connotations.
PETALS AND BLOOD
See Hafiz’s poem Now is the Time, Appendix 1 in Petals and Blood. Hafiz lived most of his life in Shiraz, Iran. Kohala is the name of the northwest portion of the island of Hawai‘i in the Hawaiian Archipelago.
PRAYER TO PELE
Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawai‘i is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
SHORTCUT TO HEAVEN
“Neti, Neti” is a Sanskrit phrase found in the Upanishads—a sacred Hindu text—meaning
“neither this, nor that,” pointing towards The Wordless and Infinite.
THE CHILDREN OF AFRICA
This poem is dedicated to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa. See the Woza Moya Project, Appendix 3 Of Petals and Blood. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” is the National Liberation Anthem of South Africa, translated as “God Bless Africa.”
THE COURAGE OF A LION
Beside the Jabbok River, Jacob wrestled with, and finally surrendered to, God. It is where he was given his new name “Israel, the one who wrestles with God.” (Genesis. 32:22). Jabbok means “a place of passing over.”
THE ENTIRETY AND THE PARTICULAR
Rumi’s teacher was Shams al-Din Mohammad. See Rumi’s poem Yesterday At Dawn, Appendix 2 in Petals and Blood.
Kiyoshi Najita is a teacher and musician. He has been a faculty member for 20 years at Parker School in Waimea, where he teaches English, songwriting and philosophy. He has composed and performed in numerous bands, most recently with Big Empty Field and the newly reformed Anatomy of Hope. His music can be found on youtube, facebook and at Bandcamp.com.