Saturday, December 5, 2009
Original Painting by Antoine Faddoul
The Fable as narrated by the artist :
The Phoenix, the firebird that comes from Paradise, lives five hundred years feeding on aromatic herbs and filling the air with its heavenly voice, before it perishes and burns in fire. It would then rise from the ashes to live another five hundred years.
For thousands of years, the land that carried the mountains of Lebanon and hugged the Mediterranean Sea was restless. The cedars that the LORD Himself planted on the snowy white mountains of Lebanon witnessed the land's boundaries expanding and shrinking, and those who inhabited the very first civilized cities suffered numerous invasions destroying their cities time and again.
However, like the Phoenix, the survivors always rose from the ruins and rebuilt their homeland in a manner even more magnificent than it used to be, while the invaders left, no matter how long they captured the land for. The Phoenix kept flying over Mount Lebanon with fiery and golden feather, spending its life narrating the greatness of the land and its people with its glamorous voice.
Through history, the Phoenix could not live its full lifespan, yet it never failed to rise from its ashes to chant the story of a living nation.
Completed end of 2006, the painting represents the rebirth of Lebanon through the Phoenix rising from destroyed Beirut. It is the tale of Lebanon's sorrowful history with the surrounding nations, and the will of its people to resurrect.
At the bottom right side, the figures show a sequence of historic assaults against Lebanon with the Israeli war of July 2006 in the front. Behind it, a figure of Beirut falling to Syrian occupation in 1990. Further back, is the Israeli invasion of 1982. Then the Palestinian guerrillas control of Beirut in 1980 and so on back in history.
At the bottom-left side, figures show the revolutions and acts of resistance against the occupiers. A women holding a dead child, and a kid weeping over his dead mother brief the will of the Lebanese civilians against the Israeli attack of 2006. Behind it, the Cedar Revolution of 2005 that drove the Syrian army out of Lebanon, then acts from the peaceful resistance against the Syrian occupation since 1990, and the figures continue back in history marking some historic scenes from Lebanon's revolutions.
The series of Lebanese revolutions are marked with the Phoenixes rising above the scenes, while the ones showing the occupation are marked by fire, dark smoke and ruins.
The painting was done between July and December 2006.
[ See other paintings by the artist at http://www.tonysky.net/tony/]
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
There was a Dancer in the dark.
She had been there from the start.
All too aware of lurking eyes,
laying in wait believing they had a surprise.
Little did they know she knew
they were there.
But she danced on feigning not a care.
In an instant she disappeared,
And the watchers eyes instantly knew fear.
Without a warning, without a sound,
one by one they hit the ground.
Only the night would know the
sly smile on the face that shown.
In the silence she went back to dancing in the
dark, after all, she had been there from the start.
[[Fiction: Fantasy - Published: 01-12-09 from :www.fictionpress.com]
Monday, November 30, 2009
Beast Tamer, Beast Tamer,
Who shall reap thy fate?
Save from evil, the land we dwell,
Or will it be too late?
Descendant of Night,
Born of Day,
Two worlds apart,
He will dwell,
Light and Dark.
But memories lost,
Well hidden away,
Are afraid of the dark,
And even the day,
Bring us Hope,
In this dire time,
Can you cope?
And with new strength,
Can your will,
Be fierce as fire?
The night is long,
To darkness drawn,
Can you quell,
The forces strong,
That come so soon.
They will sing,
The fight be futile,
War be hard,
Lives be lost,
Hope must triumph,
At any cost.
Death by kin shall be his end,
Betrayal by his dearest friend.
-Legend of the Beast Tamer
Silver moonlight washed over dense woods, leaving a glow on all it touched. Thick branches swayed in the breeze and the leaves, for once, recoiled at its touch. The air, unlike it’s usual pureness and sweet scents of the woods, stung the lungs of all who inhaled. It had been tainted because Fire and Earth were fighting once again, and Wind had stepped in to try and stop the conflict.
The smoke rose like a black snake in the sky. It was a total black against the silver-outlined trees. Fire as raven as a piece of starless night lapped up the trees greedily. Wooden huts and lean-to’s caught flame and fed the snake in the sky. People fled their homes, abandoning all they had. Some clutched frail, wailing babes to their breast while others dragged loved ones from the heat.
This fire was easily no ordinary fire; it followed the people as if bewitched to kill them all. Once momentarily free form the flames, many touched the points of the Diamond of the Elements on their body: brow; left shoulder; right shoulder and chest. Then they pressed a fist to the centre of the diamond, at their collarbone, to signal the final two elements. All too quickly they had to flee further while they watched their beloved home burn.
A young man, hardly the age of twenty and one years, scrambled through the brush. Already he cried for the flame had touched his heel and now it was burning from the inside out, making his skin black and bubbled. In his arms was a child with bright blue eyes and fresh tears and screams. With a shout, the man fell but rolled so he landed on his side rather than his child. He forced himself to his feet, hearing the roar of the fire not too far behind, and hobbled as fast as he could.
Already his vision was failing and pain was his only thought. The fire closed in as he strained his body into a run.
Above, a young child flew in the sky and watched the massacre. She laughed loudly and then disappeared into the column of smoke.
[Fiction: Fantasy/Adventure - Published: 12-11-06 from :www.fictionpress.com]
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The old woman lives and works in a dark building in Paris. On a sewing machine as aged as she is, she makes evening bags, handbags with pearl embroidery and silver fringe, for elegant ladies and festive occasions.
Every morning and evening the old woman works. But for a short time in the afternoon, when the weather is pleasant, she closes her sewing machine, takes her handbag – an ordinary one – and goes out.
She has followed the same path for many years, through the gardens, near where she lives. As she walks slowly around the impeccable flowerbeds, she dreams of her childhood gardens, filled with the perfume of peonies and lilacs.
On her way home one evening, she sees a discarded flowerpot. The azalea it holds is dead. Still the soil is good and the pot can be used, so the lady carries it upstairs. A flowerpot. Some earth. Good. She holds the pot close, her eyes shining.
In the precious earth she plants one bean from among those chosen for her dinner and sets the pot on the window-sill. Every day she waters the soil. To her amazement, two leaves appear, then a third. To support the tender sprig, the old lady ties its stem to a knitting needle, stuck in the pot with some yarn.
But enemies appear. A neighbour above shakes dust from his rug down on the bean on the window-sill. Pigeons peck at the leaves and will not be chased away. The old lady decides to move the plant, but there is not enough sun in her room. So she puts the flowerpot out on the landing. She must keep moving the pot as the patch of sun moves. Sometimes she forgets and neglects it. Sometimes she goes to the landing and neglects her work.
Then she has an idea. One walks dogs and children. Why not string beans? So she takes her plant to the garden. In the garden there are sun and water. And sitting on a bench each day, she watches the plant as it starts to become green.
But the walks are brief, because she must work. Back in the dark building the leaves begin to fall. The old lady makes a decision. Early one morning she carries her string bean to the garden, and plants it behind a hedge in the midst of luxurious flowers. Afterwards, a little tired, she rests on the bench. She is happy. Without anyone knowing, she has saved a plant, a life.
Missing the familiar presence of the few green leaves, the old lady leaves her lonely room and each day goes discreetly to see her plant. With enough sun and water, drawing strength from the rich earth, the string bean grows, blossoms, seeds.
Nobody knows it is hers, her own secret garden. She has saved it, and seeing it grow is her comfort and joy, day and night. Soon it reaches out above the hedge that has hidden it and kept it from harm.
One day she arrives to find gardeners at work, planting and pruning, clipping and cutting. She is just in time to see them approach her string bean. It’s presence upsets the harmony of the design. It is an intruder. She doesn’t dare rush in, to tell these men. She waits, her heart racing. And one of the gardener pulls out the string bean and throws it on the ground.
When the men leave for lunch and she is alone, the old lady gently lifts the broken plant. It is dead, and the leaves are already fading. She looks at it for a long time.
She picks some of the string beans and holds them in her hand as a bouquet. Quickly she returns to her room. She puts soil from the gardens in the pot, and in it plants three new seeds. Everything will begin again, as before, perhaps even better than before.
Behind her window, the old lady once again is on the look-out, her eyes fixed on the little pot of earth where the three little seeds sleep. This time she will know how to protect them, when to move them, when to bring them home. A healthy, quiet rain comes from the sky, falling gently on the pot and the life it contains….
French movie maker Edmond Séchan’s, ‘The String Bean’ won the Golden Palm award for short films at the 1963 Canne film festival.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
by Phoenix Within
Phoenix lay on the hospital bed, her eyes closed. As her fever mounted she felt she was losing control of her being. She tried to regain control of herself mentally and to do so she thought about the life she had led and the people she had cared for. She had been a good wife, a caring mother. She had bourn a son as well as a daughter for her family, looked after her children well, watching them grow up, get married and settle down. Now, in her advanced years, the only thing she wanted to do was to relax and enjoy her retirement with things she loved doing – visiting friends, cooking, sewing, and watching television. Then the disease struck her. At first it was confusing. She would just fall down and could not get up. Within a few weeks she lost total control of her left side and was confined to her bed. The hospital visit, doctors, MRI, and then the biopsy followed. It confused her even more. This was not at all how she had planned to spent the rest of her life, straddled to a bed, a burden to her loved ones. She asked her daughter, the person she trusted most, mum, will I get well? And her daughter would always put her arms around her and tell her, you’ll be ok soon mum! She always believed her. She tried to move her left hand and to her enormous surprise, it moved. She got up. She was feeling light and much better. This is good, she thought. It was dark, but she felt as if she was walking in, no, she was in space. She was within space, and again, she was the space. The stars and planets her long lost friends were all there welcoming her back with laughter in their shine. As she floated towards them, she felt happy, happy, as happy as she had never ever felt before in her entire life.
As the funeral pyre burned and the flames leaped up towards the sky, Phoenix shuddered. She thought about the brain tumor, astrocytoma grade 4, that her mother had. There had been no headaches, no warning. Nothing except the mood swings and temper tantrums, which they always looked upon as part of her mother’s character and adjusted their lives around it, never a symptom of a disease. The diagnosis had been shattering and she had never been able to tell her mother what the doctors told her.
Phoenix was hungry. She looked at her dad, as he cradled his one year old on his knees. She pulled at the hairs on his chest and touched his nipples with her tiny fingers. Her dad laughed, and his handsome face lit up as he admired his beautiful daughter. You want your mum, don’t you mum? Mummy da da, she said anxiously. Dad was nice and comfortable but she was thirsty and sleepy.
The Hope Within:
Much, much later, Phoenix could at last look up at her husband inquiringly and he smiled. She is asleep now. She was looking for you. She went to the bedroom with tired steps. Within the covers slept her little daughter, her face peaceful and doll-like. Her mother, the only one she had left now. She sat down on the bed and lovingly touched her little one’s chest.
My phoenix, she prayed, my mother, please God, some day may you soar..
Monday, November 16, 2009
My yesterdays were burned by Phoenix fire
Yet in the death’s ash, embers of hope remain
New dreams given birth in despair
Covered with ash, I mourn what was
To remember what will be no more
Then like the Phoenix I’ll rise
With renewed passion glowing red, yellow, orange
Ash will give way to flame
Like the Phoenix I’ll soar again
But in the end one tires of the high-flown.
If it were simply a matter of life or death
We should by now welcome the darkening room,
Wrinkling of linen, window at last violet,
The rosy body lax in a chair of words,
And then the appearance of unsuspected lights.
We should walk wonderingly into that other world
With its red signs pulsing and long lit lanes.
But often at nightfall, ambiguous
As the city itself, a giant jeweled bird
Comes cawing to the sill, dispersing thought
Like a birdbath, and with such final barbarity
As to wear thin at once terror and novelty.
So that a sumptuous monotony
Sets in, a pendulum of amethysts
In the shape of a bird, keyed up for ever fiercer
Flights between ardor and ashes, back and forth;
Caught in whose talons any proof of grace,
Even your face, particularly your face
Fades, featureless in flame, or wan, a fading
Tintype of some cooling love, according
To the creature’s whim. And in the end, despite
Its pyrotechnic curiosity, the process
Palls. One night
Your body winces grayly from its chair,
Embarks, a tearful child, to rest
On the dark breast of the fulfilled past.
The first sleep here is the sleep fraught
As never before with densities, plume, oak,
Black water, a blind flapping. And you wake
Unburdened, look about for friends—but O
Could not even the underworld forego
The publishing of omens, naively?
Nothing requires you to make sense of them
And yet you shiver from the dim clay shore,
Gazing. There in the lake, four rows of stilts
Rise, a first trace of culture, shy at dawn
Though blackened as if forces long confined
Had smouldered and blazed forth. In the museum
You draw back lest the relics of those days
—A battered egg cup and a boat with feet—
Have lost their glamour. They have not. The guide
Fairly exudes his tale of godless hordes
Sweeping like clockwork over Switzerland,
Till what had been your very blood ticks out
Voluptuous homilies. Ah, how well one might,
If it were less than a matter of life or death,
Traffic in strong prescriptions, “live” and “die”!
But couldn’t the point about the phoenix
Be not agony or resurrection, rather
A mortal lull that followed either,
During which flames expired as they should,
And dawn, discovering ashes not yet stirred,
Buildings in rain, but set on rock,
Beggar and sparrow entertaining one another,
Showed me your face, for that moment neither
Alive nor dead, but turned in sleep
Away from whatever waited to be endured?
(James Merrill, “About the Phoenix” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by James Merrill.)
by Carmen Colombo
Out of my ashes
will rise a new phoenix.
A soaring being
returning from death
proving once again
that life is eternal.
I live forever
because the spirit
I will return
in another body
in another time,
but it is me.
The me who is me now
will always be.
As long as I live,
And I live
F o r e v e r
© Carmen Colombo1996
by George Darley
O Blest unfabled Incense Tree,
That burns in glorious Araby,
With red scent chalicing the air,
Till earth-life grow Elysian there!
Half buried to her flaming breast
In this bright tree, she makes her nest,
Hundred sunn'd Phoenix! When she must
Crumble at length to hoary dust!
Her gorgous death-bed! Her rich pyre
Burnt up with aromatic fire!
Her urn, sight high from spoiler men!
Her birthplace when self-born again!
The mountainless green wilds among,
Here ends she her unechoing song!
With amber tears and oderous sighs
Mourn'd by the desert where she dies!
Laid like the young fawn mossily
In sun-green vales of Araby,
I woke hard by the Phoenix tree
That with shadeless boughs flamed over me,
And upward call'd for a dumb cry
With moonbread orbs of wonder I
Beheld the immortal Bird on high
Glassing the great Sun in her eye.
Stedfast she gazed upon his fire,
Still her destroyer and her sire!
As if to his her soul of flame
Had flown already whence it came;
Like those that sit and glare so still,
Intense with their death struggle, till
We touch, and curdle at their chill!
But breathing yet while she doth burn
The deathless Daughter of the Sun!
Slowly to crimson embers turn
The beauties of the brightsome one.
O'er the broad nest her silver wings
Shook down their wasteful glitterings;
Her brinded neck high arch'd in air
Like a small rainbow faded there;
But brighter glow'd her plumy crown
Mouldering to golden ashes down;
With fume of sweet woods, to the skies,
Pure asa Saint's adoring sighs,
Warm as a prayer in Paradise,
Her life-breath rose in sacrifice!
The while with shrill triumphant tone
Sounding aloud, aloft, alone,
Ceaseless her joyful deathwail she
Sang to departing Araby!
It comes alive though the transforming power of fire and it lives again in full splendor. In the Middle Ages, the Phoenix was often used as a symbol for Christ, as he resurrected.
This legendary bird is an archetypal dream symbol that brings us positive and powerful images of rebirth. If you dream of the Phoenix, it is most likely that you are receiving message from the unconscious that are telling you that new life and new beginnings are always possible. This bird is a reminder that we have internal powers of regeneration and that we have the power to change things for the better.
As you are interpreting this dream, try to visualize a great bird rising up from fire and ash. It is a powerful image, whether produced by a dream or visualization.
In the Garden of Paradise,
beneath the Tree of Knowledge,
bloomed a rose bush.
Here, in the first rose, a bird was born.
His flight was like the flashing of light,
his plumage was beauteous,
and his song ravishing.
But when Eve plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
when she and Adam were driven from Paradise,
there fell from the flaming sword of the cherub
a spark into the nest of the bird,
which blazed up forthwith.
The bird perished in the flames;
but from the red egg in the nest there fluttered aloft a new one
the one solitary Phoenix bird.
The fable tells that he dwells in Arabia,
and that every hundred years, he burns himself to death in his nest;
But each time a new Phoenix,
the only one in the world,
rises up from the red egg.
The bird flutters round us,
swift as light,
beauteous in color,
charming in song.
When a mother sits by her infant's cradle,
he stands on the pillow,
and, with his wings,
forms a glory around the infant's head.
He flies through the chamber of content,
and brings sunshine into it,
and the violets on the humble table smell doubly sweet.
But the Phoenix is not the bird of Arabia alone.
He wings his way in the glimmer of the Northern Lights
over the plains of Lapland,
and hops among the yellow flowers
in the short Greenland summer.
Beneath the copper mountains of Fablun,
and England's coal mines, he flies,
in the shape of a dusty moth,
over the hymnbook that rests on the knees of the pious miner.
On a lotus leaf he floats
down the sacred waters of the Ganges,
and the eye of the Hindu maid gleams bright when she beholds him.
The Phoenix bird, dost thou not know him?
The Bird of Paradise,
the holy swan of song!
and flapped his black wings,
smeared with the lees of wine;
over the sounding harp of Iceland
swept the swan's red beak;
on Shakespeare's shoulder he sat
in the guise of Odin's raven,
and whispered in the poet's ear
and at the minstrels' feast he fluttered through the halls of the Wartburg.
The Phoenix bird, dost thou not know him?
He sang to thee the Marseillaise,
and thou kissedst the pen that fell from his wing;
he came in the radiance of Paradise,
thou didst turn away from him,
towards the sparrow who sat
with tinsel on his wings.
The Bird of Paradise,
renewed each century
born in flame,
ending in flame!
in a golden frame,
hangs in the halls of the rich,
but thou thyself often fliest around,
lonely and disregarded,
“The Phoenix of Arabia."
when thou wert born in the first rose,
beneath the Tree of Knowledge,
thou receivedst a kiss,
and thy right name was given thee
by Rebecca Wiles
Beautiful, glorious and sacrificing self for renewal
you build a pyre and set yourself ablaze.
For the sake of self;
Red bird of fire
You come forth through your ashes
A new bird shedding the old self;
Which no longer is needful.
You embrace your new strength and fly
To the heights of the sky,
To the city of the sun, and
give the ashes unto the alter of the sun god;
For your immortality.
Embrace yourself for you are a child of the sun,
And will live eternal;
Through birth, death, and renewal!
The spirit never dies!
by Jennifer Psallidas
Set me free
Sail over wet lands
Sweet teary Sun,
So bravely shining...
How does the lustful observer gain passage?
Some mystical vessel, set sail on the stars?
Where is the portal?
Fluted engines drive me on
My path is still unclear
I've travelled infinite miles
Over thousands and thousands of years.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
For those who know heartbreak well
Dry eyes run with rage from the outside in
Something unknown to man
Yet familiar to the mind’s eye
Witnessing murders of the soul
Unrelenting and treacherous
Deafening screams of rage from within
Take precedent over raw emotion
Scaling heights unknown
Heights unreachable yet felt deep inside
Amicable fears, tears, and sadness dance beautifully
Onto the stage for all to acknowledge
Slowly transforming into a swell of bursting flames
Only to die down and become ashes
Rising after moments of realization, anew.
Embracing the Phoenix within you.