|PHOENIX NEW LIFE POETRY
WINTER 2017-18 No 66
Phoenix New Life Poetry is the voice of Phoenix Poets, an international co-operative friendship network of artists and writers worldwide, rather than a commercial literary journal and is open to all contributors.
Co-founding poets: David Allen Stringer & Dr. Emmanuel Petrakis, Members of the “Planetary Council” of “The Universal Alliance” (“Phoenix New Life Poetry” is a project of “The Universal Alliance”)
“Culture” is, anthropologically and strictly speaking, a definition of the whole of the Way of Life of a Society, not only of a marginalized or sanitised and unchallenging corner called “The Arts”. Since my childhood, in the 1950’s, the “community integrity” of especially Western society, of the “extended family” and the creative, self-reliant village/ neighbourhood has progressively disintegrated with our many competing and isolated egoisms. “The New Renaissance” is about much more than a literary-artistic movement but for the overall healing and reconstruction of our societies and their planetary environment as an interactive whole.
Almost all the elements of this much needed socio-economic and cultural re-creation have emerged in the spiritual, new age, natural health, community-creation and green movements since the 1960’s & 70’s: however, poetry and the related Arts (such as Music), liberated by surrealism and rock-n’-roll, from traditional conventions in the 1950’s & 60’s, since those decades of early promise, appear to have been either neglected, ghettoised or to have become ‘stuck’ in the ‘ranting’ or cynical ‘negativity’ of knowing what one detests, but not knowing what one, more positively, values & aspires to.
In our magazine we will not react to this by seeking to ‘escape into a romantic faerie tale’, but will seek to strike a wholesome balance between ‘angry protest’ and the beauty-&-beatitude of our divine creation that many lose sight of amidst crises, poverty & suffering! Now, however, in this dawn of the promise of the New Millenium is re-emerging the inspiration for the New Renaissance movement in poetry, music and literature as currently manifest in The Partners Writing Group (based in Middlesex, England), together with our own, as above, with initial input from Shelley’s Hellas and Blake’s Albion. We, here, reach out, to the rest of the World, for your participation.
Visionary prose writings can be included, at our discretion, as extracts, in our “Reviews” section and we will, also, be able to use visionary paintings etcetera, as visual contributions to our pages via the Computer-scanner, with poetry as our priority. Thus, we welcome poems on such themes as:
Peace, Freedom, Social-&-Political Justice, Social Comment, Spiritual, Psychic & Religious Experiences, Communing With The Creator & Creation, Healing Prayers & Invocations, ‘New romantic’ Interpretations of Classical Myths & Legends (e.g. those of ‘Orpheus’ or the ‘Holy Grail’) or whatever be your own dream!
All styles are welcome. There are no set limits on the length of each poem. What matters is their motivating spirit!
Poets are invited to send in, with their work, a concise profile of themselves, their concerns or their autobiographies and, if they so wish, we can add their addresses to their work, as printed, should they seek to be contacted by sympathetic souls!
We are especially interested in News and Information about Community Projects that involve Education-for-Harmonious Living or shared Artistic Creativity. We, also, welcome free-exchanges of journals or of mutual publicity, by arrangement, with other ‘cultural periodicals’ such as feel that they share the essential spirit of our initiative. Choice poems in other languages (French or Greek) can be translated if we feel that they are of merit, otherwise poets in other languages (e.g. Russian) will, themselves, have to make their own translations of their work into English to their own satisfaction.
Postal Subscriptions Inc. p & p: U.K £14, Europe 35 Euros Beyond £30 ($50 U.S.) or equivalents*. Cheques & Money Orders payable to “The Universal Alliance”, Postal Orders to David Allen Stringer. The US $ rate has been increased to make up for changes in the $-£ exchange rate. For a single issue only, send us one quarter of the total annual subscription, as above indicated. Euros & dollars can be best paid by sending currency notes, registered mail to prevent costly bank Charges.*Due to recent increases overseas postage rates, with the abolition of “printed paper rates” by the British Post-Office!
Any profits made will go towards “The Universal Alliance” to help us with our communications and other support for our poorer brothers & sisters in Africa, Asia & elsewhere and other projects. Free copies can only be made available, otherwise, to those who undertake to copy the magazine to pass on to others, with the prior agreement of we, the editors. We wish to share our inspirations: but it must remain financially viable! Such Profits have been rare and have usually gone towards covering the cost of following issues, together with any donations that help offset the cost of FREE COPIES overseas.
Contact address: (International) David Allen Stringer, Editor, “Phoenix New Life Poetry”
New address: 10 Long Meadow Views,
Hill Hay Close, Fowey, Cornwall
PL23 1ES UK
Please enclose, with M.S.S. by post, as appropriate, S.A.E./I.R.C.’s or send them by email. We do not pay and do not run competitions as our purpose is not to satisfy the artistic egos of individuals, so much as to help draw together those with whom we can work creatively towards our common, cooperative ideals.
WINTER 2017-18 Editorial
Spiegel Im Spiegel (Mirror in mirror)
Welcome to our Winter Phoenix 2017, from our new address back in Fowey, Cornwall! The above, ‘strange’ title for this editorial is, in fact, the name of a dreamy piano piece by the Latvian composer called Part, one of my favourites, best described as a continuous series of dream images that emerge out of and back into each, as floating across an endless, misty lake (ideal for meditation), in the spirit of what Pirandello called “life is a dream” that I encountered, long ago, in my early 20’s, a mood that is very much in tune with the long, cold, silent darkness of winter, as Earth sleeps (if only we would turn off all that garish, seasonal glare and media & other noise to which so many seem addicted to soaking in, out of fear of the ‘dark’ void of the life-full universe!
This absolute quietness is makes for an ideal state of mind for pure and simple listening, the vital yin that enables the yang of outward expression, for listening to one’s inner thoughts & dreams, to others, to a ‘random’ universe of visions, inspirations, intuitions and perceptions, to the whispered messages of the Great, Cosmic Universal Creator Spirit, images that come to us like the dreamlike images of Spiegel Im Spliegel, to be captured by us to keep, even as fleeting fish in the endless stream of life can be caught in the nets of our attentive consciousness. It is here, in the timeless void, are born the embryos of our poems, whatever our yang constructive intellects make of this raw material in the light of day.
Mechanical (all too yang) urbanized mankind, with its obsession with contrived time-routines and the subjugation of all things to cold mathematics, ideal for robots, but not living, feeling beings (See William Blakes’s critical cartoon of the scientist Newton measuring out the world with a protractor) has come to view this current season, indeed all seasons & time-progressions, as a series hard-set one off events, that come, climax and go, for instance, Christmas, as the days set aside, in theory, for Jesus Christ, in the way that other days are set aside for a whole multiplicity of other causes and purposes, all jostling for attention. It rarely occurs to most of us that Jesus might be relevant to us all the time and once the event has passed, how conveniently it fades back into the dustbin of all of yesterday’s other events and all is back to normal, materialistic ‘business as usual’! Of course, it is better that Jesus is commemorated at all than not (even if hypocritically by some, because it is ‘tradition’), so why not go further and think more quietly about the significance of all such events?
When I was nine years old, at Sunday School, I wrote a poem, from observation of those around me, in the village, that was printed in the Chapel magazine called “The God that is only worshipped on Sundays” – so is it surprising that since, so many have come to not acknowledge our Creator at all, to the destruction of so much in this planetary Creation?
Of course, another mentally harmful consequence of our fixation with a manic series of Events, (as dots in a linear progression that joined together make a pattern for our lives), their build-up and denouement, is to shut out that essential yin dimension of quiet, dark stillness, so needed for our imaginative creativity, conscience and spiritual sensitivity and receptivity as keeps our beings in balance. Where this is neglected, like malicious weeds on waste ground, so many egoisms creep in, in so many ways, to our common detriment, even as in politics, with so many aware only of their own beliefs, ideologies and vested interests (too full of their own noise to listen to others!) that it is inevitable that competitiveness to ‘win’ rather than ‘lose’ and all subsequent conflicts should predominate over harmony & sharing.
A more widely aware state of yin can only be ensured by going into retreat from the daytime routine of constant events and distractions into the stillness with which I opened this editorial, on a regular basis (even as one sleeps by night), and not necessarily by withdrawing into a monastery or nunnery. That quiet sphere of the void so many seem to avoid, whence the inspiration of poetry arises, so could prove, in the macrocosm to be the redemption and salvation of our greater humanity, with all its purblind, blinkered chaos, whether or not they composed poetry! Could not this be the ‘New Renaissance’ of which we speak? Is it not in speigel im Spiegel that we become aware of the myriad, insane, absurdities of our so-called ‘civilization’ and its routines (without going off into other dimensions on psychedelic drugs, as I did in the 1960’s, but perhaps, Zen-Taoist Buddhist meditation would help ). It so happens that the root inspiration for this editorial came to me, spontaneously, out of this void, in the middle of the night, though it helps, in manifesting it, that I write it in quietness, looking out over green fields & woods.
Should any of you have any thoughts you might like to add to this introductory editorial, do feel free to send them to me to enrich the mix, as the spirit of our Phoenix is one of sharing a feast, rather than a series of podiums from which to spout as separate beings, even if the general, practical format be that of a poetry reading in which we each take our individual turn, in a loosely alphabetical order.
I close this down for now to get on with the poetry, wishing you all a happy Yule, Winter Solstice or Christmas (however you celebrate it!)
David Allen Stringer
A CHRISTMAS BAROMETER
Xmas or Christmas could be said to be the gauge whereby one can measure the state and health of any society or family, reflecting in reality, beneath the Media Image the health of our life-styles and changing worlds or circumstances, all the more poignantly when juxtaposed with the stereotyped and superficial ceremonial and hype & set against those highest stated ideals of “Peace & Goodwill to all”.
The best and ideal family Christmases, for me, were up to the age of 14 when our extended clan families in our native South Yorkshire coal-mining villages gathered, in the old fashioned way, round the piano at my favourite Aunty Kitty’s cottage in Thorpe Hesley (the local chapel organist like her mother, my welsh paternal grandmother, before her), for the traditional home-made party fare & sing-a-longs (no ‘felt need’ for 24/7 TV in those days!), after which they went progressively downhill when we moved away, with my father’s career moves, hundreds of miles away from the rest of them and turned into the ultimately disintegrating nuclear family, for the next 4 years.
The last “clan family Christmas” when I was 15 turned into a catastrophe, as it was when my maternal grandmother fell out with her daughter-in-law (our hostess) and they never spoke ever after!
Thus, I discovered, it is a brilliant time for reunions and disintegrations, the acid test.
When I was working away from home, after 21, in Manchester & Salford, Christmas was surreal and touching, a combination of the usual getting drunk with one’s mates in the pub and my father coming all the way up from Cornwall with my gift, my first type-writer, which encouraged me with my emergent writing. We had fallen out and became close again.
Many of the next 20 Christmases varied between nothingness and a hellish misery and loneliness, as ever more fragmenting nuclear family society was progressively sucked into the mass-media TV show of the commercialised Christmas (no more sing songs round the old family piano!) and those who happened to be left outside (as, sometimes, myself) could become suicidal, left out in the cold, outside the snug illusion, without even the solace of the Christian celebration as more and more including myself, became more & more agnostic and cynical, until an upturn for the better when, having rediscovered, inside me a deeper spiritual faith in Christ and met my current wife, at 40, at least the core of what Christmas is supposed to be about was restored to health, though sadly when we will never get back to those memorable golden years of the 1950’s when it was a truly shared communal event, not just of the family, but the whole village – the token residue of which remains in our surviving custom of exchanging Christmas & New Year cards, which, however, can ironically be taken as the taunting, but ever unfulfilled promise of our coming back closer together, also, on the other 360 days of the Year!
Share with your friends: