Monday, August 23, 2010

The Heat from Sunlit Windows

Women in the Sun by Padamvir Singh

We walked and tripped over the shadows of trees
and sunlight beams crossed our path as you and I
meandered our way to the convention room.

You are the one who says you feel
you have always been searching
even if only inside yourself
and you could not
for the life of you
point out a certain stance or
express a certain feeling
you felt you had.

Is this why we’re here, now,
so maybe you can find your Self,
and I can find Mine?

And now we are in this convention room
filled with the faces of women like you and me
and their desire is written upon their cheekbones
and is festering inside their mouths
and eating out their eyes
though they sometimes feel
guilt
and shame
at the acts of their hands
but that is all in their heads.

And you and I are walking
and tripping again
but this time
over varicose-veined legs
and arthritic knees
and slender calves
and shapely thighs
that sometimes unfold and curve with desire
and sometimes rock a tired child to sleep
and we hear pieces of chatter about
Tom and Paul and Mike and Al.

And the sunlight filters through the windows
and falls over the hundreds of chairs
and hundreds of faces
and we find our places
and we sit and watch
out of the corners of our eyes.

And I know you are wondering
as am I
how many of them
had touched themselves
that morning or the night before
and told themselves
I love you
and whether or not
they’d washed their hands
clean of those Selves
and whether or not
they’d teared up
with guilt
and shame
at their self-love
but refused to cry.
 

37 comments:

  1. Wow....this might be the most compelling one yet my friend...where did the insperation come from?

    Steven Anthony
    Man Dish~Metro Style

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  2. This read like a poem from one of my favourite poets, Carol Ann Duffy. Your words have a solemn resonance, and a powerful beauty. Indeed, what are we if not mere dwellers searching for ourselves in the shadows. Trying to understand who we are, our urges and instincts, our sexuality and mind.

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  3. what an extraordinary look at the ordinary lives of others - and of ourselves - yet, in the heart and soul of each, in the head, lies that extraordinary spirit which you have shown and shared with us so well and so beautifully! truly beautiful, nevine!

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  4. One never knows where you are going to take us when a new post appears here, but one is NEVER disappointed. Though you set the bar ever higher for yourself, each time you go sailing right over it, gracefully, effortlessly, magically...

    And for those that did, I hope they felt no shame...

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  5. I love this. I was so excited to see you had a new post. I love everything you write and I can't say that about most bloggers.

    What a great way to tell the story of a couple growing old together. I LOVE that you capitalized Self and your repetition of lines starting with "and" was great too. Man! You Are SO GOOD!

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  6. I do so love the way you write.

    I do so love your mind.

    I do so love the freedom of your spirit.

    And I do so love this piece.

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  7. Nevine:

    This sounds like a scene from one of those ashrams where people go to find their true inner worth. On the outset, it starts off as an exercise worth committing oneself to but there is a subtle tone of cynicism. I think of the novel "Eat, Pray, Love" and the Indian part, where Gilbert tries to "find herself."

    Nevine, so many thoughts and layers here. I enjoy peeling them and thinking.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  8. Is loving thyself wrong? if not loving yourself, then whom would you kill for?

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  9. My sweet and beautiful delight, am compelled as a woman by this write and feel so much power, love, freedom and yes the urge to express my sexuality openly without shame, without fear or self loathe. Why not? Women are beautiful beings, if they touch themselves or each other they should be proud realize the uniqueness in them and i wish all women would read this stunning piece because you say it plainly but with raw energy.

    You just liberated me as a woman to another and made me feel more love for you. There's nothing that i admire more than your honesty and the mind in which you portray such intimate and necessary topics about women. Thank you sweetheart, you made me smile, then laugh then giggle just breath taking this last stanza!!

    "And I know you are wondering
    as am I
    how many of them
    had touched themselves
    that morning or the night before
    and told themselves
    I love you
    and whether or not
    they’d washed their hands
    clean of those Selves
    and whether or not
    they’d teared up
    with guilt
    and shame
    at their self-love
    but refused to cry."

    You gave me beautiful wings and made me fly with your words...'NEVER SHOULD WE CRY FOR LOVING OURSELVES'

    With lots Love mwah,
    Wild Rose~

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  10. A beautifully written and thought-provoking post, Nevine.

    Much is discussed, about the way we, as human beings, relate to one another. Perhaps too little time is given over to the relationship we have with ourselves. Most of us make decisions in the knowledge that we must be able to live with ourselves. Therefore, it's reasonable to accept that, at some level of consciousness, we must be able to love ourselves.

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  11. stupid google ate my post! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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  12. try #2... one needs loving release from built-up desires, and if it comes from oneself, there is no shame or wrong in that!

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  13. I read all your amazing lines, but mostly you leave me speechless, just as now.
    I hope that you publish a book that I can buy and treasure and take with me....
    Love to you and your brilliant mind/heart, our true Self.

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  14. Steven – The inspiration… I attended a presentation together with a girlfriend on the changing roles of women a few days before hubby and I left on vacation. The speaker covered many topics, but what piqued my interest most was her talk about self-empowerment and self-love. And as I watched others and focused on my own behavior (especially within that setting) I got to thinking that nowadays, most of us don’t take the time to show ourselves that we love ourselves, and this is especially true with women, who have to try and juggle so many roles. And there you go! So glad you liked it, Steven. :-)

    Sam – Well, Sam… I happen to love Carol Ann Duffy’s work. So, I am speechless that you would find one of my poems comparable with her writing. And you are such a wise soul… about our search for ourselves… and for self-understanding… and self-love. You are a wise soul – period! Thank you, Sam.

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  15. Jenean – Yes, others and ourselves. It’s so easy for us to separate ourselves from the behaviors of others when, if we look closely at ourselves, we will find we engage in very much the same. I reached inside myself, too, for this write. It’s good to do that; it’s a most liberating feeling. And I know that you truly dig deeply into your feelings, too, so you know just how liberating it is.

    Owen – I hope I remain always full of surprises… and I hope they are always interesting, at least. I try to set the bar higher, Owen, but sometimes I make it, and sometimes I run right into the bar, and stumble and cry with pain. But that’s all right. I can take it. And yes, I agree with your last sentence. Why should they feel shame? Why should anyone feel shame at loving himself/herself?

    Ashley – Your perspective on this is intriguing. I had actually written the piece from the POV of two ladies who have been friends for a while, but if a couple works for you, then that’s great. I always think poetry is best left alone as far as another’s interpretation goes. That’s really the beauty of it… different words mean different things to different people. And can I ever thank you enough for your ever enthusiastic spirit, Ashley?

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  16. Lou – I do so love to see you here. I do so love your mind as well. And the warmth of your spirit. And thank you for always being so kind. ;-)

    Susan – I have not read that novel, Susan, and I see they’ve made it into a movie. I saw the trailer and it didn’t seem like my type of thing… but then… you’ve piqued my interest and I am curious to see it. You always leave me with more work to do, Susan! ;-)

    Blasphemous Aesthete – In response to your first question… no. Why should loving oneself be wrong? I just think we’ve been trained by the conventions of society to feel guilty and selfish when we try to devote a moment’s thought to ourselves versus others. As for your second question, I don’t know that I would kill for anyone. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love others. I think I just value human life too much to think anyone worthy of dying for a thought or opinion that is my own. Thank you for stopping in… and for leaving your thoughts.

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  17. Wild Rose – Your comment is liberating in and of itself. Yes, women are beautiful beings, but as I was telling Steven, I attended a presentation about the changing role of women in society, and I don’t know how many women I saw cry when the talk turned to self-empowerment and self-love. The touching was actually a metaphor for the self-love, but by all means, if women feel they must touch themselves literally to satisfy what another could not, I am all for it. There are so many feelings of guilt associated with sexuality that it is constraining for many women to even consider satisfying their sexuality. But then, so many others have broken out of their glass prisons and found themselves. Here we are in the 21st century, and still, we have to attend presentations to hear other women talk about how we must empower ourselves by doing this and that, or at least to be reminded. I truly believe we do it to ourselves. On another level, there are also men who experience this, though in fewer numbers. Your comment has left me with more to think about, Wild Rose. And I thank you so much for that, and send you lots of love back and a huge *muah* from me to you!

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  18. Martin – You are absolutely right. We hardly ever give a thought to ourselves. And most decisions we make take into consideration how others will respond, or how they will be affected. And that is quite natural, since we are not free-standing entities… we are part of a larger group. But, in the midst of trying to do for others, sometimes we do forget to show ourselves the self-love that we deserve. And this is true across the board – for both men and women.

    LW – Google has an eating disorder… this we know! And I agree entirely with what you said, LW.

    Adriana – And I read all of your amazing words, and they’ve left me smiling, as always. If I ever publish a book, you will not buy it, Adriana. I will send it to you, along with my fondest thoughts and my warmest wishes. Love back to you a hundredfold, dear Adriana.

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  19. i never know quite what to expect when i come here - but whatever i find is always powerful. this is no exception.

    there is so much strength between these lines - not only to slip the shame and take hold of that love, but to reach out and help others take hold of theirs - seeing a sisterhood in a roomful of strangers. it is a powerfully beautiful thing.

    on a lighter note - how is it that that last stanza is so empowering for women - but would probably come across as vulgar or crass from a male pov? i'm sure there are plenty of reasons - just had to smile at the thought of it.

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  20. An empowering write, Nevine. We do need reminders now and again that self-love is a prerequisite to loving others. We need this, especially women as we get so caught up in *roles*: mother, sister, friend, lover etc that we need to shed those roles if even for a day or a moment and value who we are, our SELF deep inside. Our roles can be redefined if necessary or simply revived.
    This topic has certainly brought a plethora of thoughts...something a great read can do! Thanks for this, Nevine and for your graciousness.
    hugs~
    Calli

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  21. Well... the difference in me is only that I never refuse to cry. In fact, that always goes after the former (!), I cannot help it, but cry... and I wonder why...ANd now yes, I know...

    No wonder, I cry, because of everything- and because I love myself for I have no other one who can love me this way- what is a real shame...

    Woman, what you bring to us and make us say here.

    Lots of sweet hugs
    D.

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  22. That is a powerful and thought-provoking post, Nevine! Great topic, too!
    We are told to search deep within ourselves to find out who we are and to know ourselves.
    If we follow our inner Self, we leave ourselves open to the criticism of the society (I personally don't care) which can at times be unbearable.
    This piece reminds me one of my favourite quotes..I spent most of my life in doing "neither" what I ought "nor" what I liked.

    Honestly knowing ourselves is no simple task, is more than that.
    Let's break the "glass".

    Reading this I'm just digging up a TREASURE!!

    Big hugs,
    B xx

    TTYFF (Thanks To Your Friendship Forever)

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  23. Reality or metaphorical darling, your words sailed me to another heaven. They meant the same to me that women should be free to love and appreciate themselves and never have to cry just to open up and touch themselves emotionally or physically. To be able to open up emotionally means they can start loving themselves inside out. I loved this post kiss** :) xoxo

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  24. Nevine this work of art twisted me in many different directions and I honestly dont think I can make one assumption about it. It has so many to me and each time I read it, it sparks something new...

    you do this to me... so often...

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  25. Your honesty, the rawness of your soul and how your words make beauty out of tragedy. Wow, I am just sitting here saying wow Nevine. You write the things I’m afraid to think. Because even when there's heat coming from the windows I'm cold inside. But your words opened me up and I want to let the sun in. You are an inspiration. I cant thank you enough.

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  26. Joaquin – Well, I know to expect some good feed back from you, so I’m literally jumping up and down when you come around – and that is no exception. And yes, you are a man, but you did see the inside of this… the sisterhood… the support. And your last note made me smile, too. I can’t even imagine reading something like my last stanza from a male POV because, yes, it would be crass, and now I’m wondering why, too. I think that the voice of my poem is a “female-to-female” voice, and maybe that is what took away from that stanza’s being crass even from a female’s POV. But thank you for giving me something new to think about… and just when I thought I was done with it, Joaquin! You have a mind that is way too cool. :-)

    Calli – “… self-love is a prerequisite to loving others.” I couldn’t have said it better. And those roles… they take over our lives… over us… and sometimes we’re left scratching our heads and wondering who we really are without all the costumes. Calli, you are the gracious one, truly. I so appreciate your visits here. Hugs back to you.

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  27. Dulce – I’ve always said this to myself: No one will ever love me as much as I love myself, so I have to love myself well. It’s not a shame at all, Dulce. Life is a challenge and we are human, and as tough an exterior as we women like to wear, most of the time it’s just a sham. It’s the cover-up we need to face the world. And hey, there’s nothing better than good old confession to ease the mind, body, and soul. ;-) Hugs back, Sweetest!

    Betty – Society is so tough, as if it isn’t made up of people who are just as vulnerable as we are. And that’s why we should adopt the “don’t care” attitude, sometimes. But most of us are too afraid. I loved the quote you shared, Betty. It seems it encapsulates the reality that most of us live. Yes, breaking the glass is a must, and first we have to dare ourselves to be armed with the strength it takes to do that. And YOU are the treasure, Betty. And the nicest friend! Big hugs back to you!!!

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  28. Wild Rose – I so love when we have conversations like this. It’s as if we’re lounging around over tea and snacks and chatting, Wild Rose. And the emotional and the physical ARE the same, as are the reality and the metaphor, just like you mentioned. Whether one touches oneself literally or figuratively is beside the point. It is in the act of touching itself that the healing begins, and that is a matter of higher thought. And I love that you loved this poem, Wild Rose. I’m beaming like a little girl with candies in her pockets. :-)

    Sir Thomas – And you are nice to me, so often. No, always. And I appreciate your sharing your thoughts, even when they are twisted “in many different directions”, because sometimes being twisted is the best way to be. ;-)

    Nancy – And what about your honesty? I am the one saying “Wow!” If I have put thoughts you want to think at the front of your head, then we are both lucky for that. And I smile that you are going to let the sun in, because there is nothing more warming and embracing than the light of the sun. Thank you for all your kind words, Nancy.

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  29. Dear Nivo,
    this poem touched me on so many levels..i understand your idea,your ideology here..women are kind of my issue right now,you know how things are in here and we need more love to be spread,more respect to our feelings and more support to our needs of loving ourselves in order to be able to give love to anyone. it is a hard task and it saddens me to see it around me even close relatives in my family,but we have to be strong to face ,deal.feel ourselves and know we can only make a difference if we start by BELIEVING we can..:)

    I extremely loved,enjoyed and honored to have read your poem..i love being a woman more :)
    lots of love and a tight hug all the way mn masr el 7elwa l belad el 3am Sam :)))

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  30. I can imagine these words echoing in a long corridor as you and the Other are looking for your Selves. A very powerful red with very evocative - and provocative - visual images.

    Great to have you back.

    Greetings from London.

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  31. You grabbed me by the throat with this one.

    The depth of intimacy you achieve here, even when the characters are not being intimate at all, is amazing.

    Jai

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  32. Te lire est chaque fois un ravissement!
    Aimes-toi, la vie t'aimera!

    ***Bisous...plein, ma belle*******

    ****/\****
    **<****>**
    ***\/\/***

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  33. "filled with the faces of women like you and me"

    This line, and others, upon a second reading, made it clear to me that you indeed were intending it to be two ladies! Sorry about that. I guess I didn't read too closely!

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  34. You've hit the nail on the head here, Nevine. So many women are conditioned into feeling shame. We should have the freedom to be free.

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  35. I am a bit late to the discussion which acknowledges your gifts of poetry and insight. I agree. You take Everywoman and elevate her to her highest level of striving for self love, whether physical or emotional. I feel lucky to be a woman who can inhabit such realms as you create in your poetry. A privilege, really.

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  36. Abeer – You’re so right in everything you said, and I think that most of the time, as women we don’t believe we can. And until we change that way of thinking, we will be the ones to suffer. But I am so glad you enjoyed the poem, Abeer, and lots of love back to you in masr el amar ya amar. ;-)

    Cuban – And great to have you back, too. I’m hoping you spent a good holiday time (I’m sure you did) and that you feel refreshed and ready to hit reality once more. ;-) Thanks for the nice words, Cuban.

    Jai – Well, thank you for that. Characters getting physically intimate with this one would have turned it into an utter mess, I’m guessing. It was best to leave it as stoic as possible, definitely.

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  37. Cremilde – Et tu es, comme toujours, gentille. It is my pleasure to know you enjoy my writing, Cremilde. Je te souhaite de tout coeur un bon weekend, mon amie! Bisous bisous bisous… :-)

    Menina – Women should never feel shame about anything at all, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve spent too many centuries of history doing that, and it’s time we passed the shame game on to someone else, already!

    Judy – Your visits are never too late for me, so don’t worry about it. And I’m so happy about the collective spirit that embraced this poem. It resembles the spirit that was in the convention room where I attended the talk about women’s self-empowerment. I feel lucky to be a woman, too. And Judy, I am the privileged one!

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.