Thank you to everyone who joined the April 13th virtual live session. It was so great to be with 57 people joining in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, and across the continental USA.
Our text for the session, “Last Letter to My Son” by Nazim Hikmet, is posted below. Choosing today’s text is a gesture toward continuity with Hikmet’s “The Mailman”, which we read last Monday before needing to end our virtual session abruptly. Just as the poem’s father and son are separated, we, too, are separated over long distances and yearning to connect. Sharing the poem this evening also seemed like a mutual, simultaneous delivery of Hikmet’s precious letter.
Reading aloud, two volunteers gave voice to thoughts and feelings embedded in the poem. Closely reading for language and craft, participants pointed to the blending of darkness and light, commonalities among all beings and things,and the experience of being alone, especially now. Multiple participants noted the repetition of “but people above all” (four times in 23 lines). Others highlighted the father’s call for his son to respect where he lives, by invoking “your father’s house,” which someone suggested could refer to an earthly or a heavenly father. The facilitators were moved by the comment about grief being for “what was not dead but rather what was dying” and by someone calling today’s text “a lesson in connection.” As we moved throughout the text, we kept returning to the first word: Still. One person spoke of the various uses of “still” as “ongoing” or “motionless.”
This session’s prompt was: Write about a habit worth cultivating.
Participants’ writings included habits of journaling, keeping still, listening (as a language to convey what is not possible to put into words), looking both inward and outward, making a clearing, and fostering compassion —a suffering with — so that compassion becomes a way of walking with others.
Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.
Please join us for our next session: Wednesday, April 15th at 12pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
From “Last Letter to My Son” by Nazim Hikmet From Poems of Nazim Hikmet, trans. Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk. NY: Persea Books, 1994 (revised 2nd ed., 2002). Still, it's no fun to startle in the middle of work sometimes or count the days before falling asleep alone. You can never have enough of the world, Memet, never enough . . . Don't live in the world as if you were renting or here only for the summer, but act as if it was your father's house . . . Believe in seeds, earth, and the sea, but people above all. Love clouds, machines, and books, but people above all. Grieve for the withering branch, the dying star, and the hurt animal, but feel for people above all. Rejoice in all the earth's blessings – darkness and light, the four seasons, but people above all.