All posts tagged poetry

A secret smile on my face

Jane Li-chuan Han on meditation, poetry and silence

Jane Han I used to be a high school teacher here in Taiwan, teaching Chinese language and literature. Now I lead a study group and a dream group. I write poems, and enjoy that very much. I also enjoy practicing a kind of traditional Chi-kung called I-ching-ching, and exploring the inner world. Read more…

Tomas Tranströmer and the arches of our cathedral

Helena Kettner Rudberg

Tomas TranströmerLast year the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. Meditation can help us find ourselves in his poems.

Perspectives can change
Meditation can bring us closer to the themes that Tranströmer writes about: our inner movements and our encounters with what we always knew and what we never knew at all. Things won’t change, and situations won’t be undone. But our perspectives can change, and on this level we can influence our own lives, right amidst past experiences, relationships and contexts that bind us. Tranströmer’s poetry has a meditative quality full of sensitivity to the inner forces of life. Read more…


The loss of a dear one can be a traumatic experience. At other times, it can cause a milder reaction – some sadness, nostalgia, fond memories, and reflection on life and death.

We all carry an image of our friends in our minds. When we have regular contact with those friends, the image constantly grows and changes over time as a result of our interactions with him or her. When the friend is no more, what happens to this image? Perhaps it gradually sinks into the unconscious, being brought to the surface only when certain occasions, places, or persons remind us of it.

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Long meditations

Their qualities aren’t easy to describe, and the following may seem pretentious:

I heard a silent noise
and saw the white of night
as my mind was shot inaudibly
with rays of pitch-black light

A glowing darkness covered me
and filled my blinded sight
with quiet sounds of roaring calm
— a moment’s release from fright

It may all be a little too dramatic, for the intensity of meditation is quite low-key. That’s also the reason why I dropped the following two lines:

At the top of my muted voice
I cried with no sound at all

They sound good, but aren’t really true — if truth is a guideline to go by in poetry.


I’m not a poet, and hardly a translator, but would like to share the poem “Utsettelse?” (Postponement?) by the now aging and sick Norwegian poet Stein Mehren:

As life is being taken from us, we
want it all the more, with prayers
resembling less our raptures
than they resemble our moans of pain
It’s like being drawn
screaming and backwards into
the realm of death, conscious of
not yet having quite finished being born

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