Poets on Peace #14
Release Date, December 8)
Diana Woodcock’s poetry circumnavigates the globe as if circling
a mandala, from Flagstaf to Lhasa, Cairo to Macau, always keeping
faith with the work of a scrupulous witness, moral compass firmly
in hand, “balancing—always balancing, ready to be erased,” yet
dancing and singing a bridge into being across the airy space.
Gregory Donovan, author of Calling His Children Home
Dedicated to the Tibetans, Diana Woodcock's collection of poems
reminds us of the immensity of this world. Addressing both violence
and beauty, the collection's compelling and edgy terrain lingers—
like the “golden specks of sunlight…on timbrel bells”—from her poem
“Year of Lhasa.”
Talvikki Ansel, author of Jetty and My Shining Archipelago
From the book:
March 17, 2008 I could not shake
the thought of you in flames.
Throughout the day whispering
the names of those I know still
living in your center, on your
periphery. Felt your misery.
Smelled burning shops, overturned cars,
Chinese flags. Saw smoke rising like
incense over the Potala and Jokhang.
Heard the rumblings of a hundred
tanks moving through your hallowed
streets. Remembered the soldier
who narrowly missed me, knocking
me down-bicycle and body sprawled
on the ground as he sped past laughing.
Today I said it out loud to no one
in particular, to the nameless faces
in the crowd, “I never left you nor
loved any city more.” So tonight
I'll fill seven prayer bowls, make a
mandala out of Arabian desert sand,
remember as I dangle my feet in Gulf
waters the source of the Ganges,
and wonder if indeed I am a certain
lama's reincarnation. I'll take that
long flight back, walk the famished,
enflamed road leading to the holy
city where I'll rise up like incense,
a faithful wife burning on her husband's
pyre because I can't forget
you, most fragile tragic city of Tibet.
“Unless we enjoy ourselves,
others will make us suffer.”
Viewed from Verde Valley, San Francisco Peaks
loom like Potala Palace over Lhasa, white
as the Harvest moon and snow lions.
Though the mountains inspire my drive,
Sedona to Flagstaff-healing and pure-
I am homesick for the ringing of temple bells.
“Music is for happiness,” the old monk said,
smiling with his entire face, not a trace
of bitterness. Took me to the cemetery
late one night. Bells and hand drum,
chanting in unison, rhythm of voice and
instrument, monks confronting night spirits,
calling forth Yamataka to destroy death.
When resentment and hatred tempt me,
I don the black hat, dance as the old monk
instructed, bring my right palm
to my left, and pray. Approaching
the three extinct volcanoes,
I envision the Potala filled once more
with laughter. Between blue sky and
white peaks, snow lions prevail.
Diana Woodcock's first poetry chapbook, Travels of a Gwai Lo, was published in 2009 by Toadlily Press, which also nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2010. In 2009, she also received first, second and third prizes from Artists Embassy International and an International Publication Award from Atlanta Review. Recipient of the 2007 Creekwalker Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2008 (selected by Mark Strand), Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review and other journals and anthologies. Currently teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, she has lived and worked in Tibet, Macau and Thailand.
is a 40 page hand-stitched chapbook - $10.00
(Release Date, December 8)
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