Either a Panacea or a Pandora’s box

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There is such a thing known as too much or too little;
chalked up
to an over focus on word-play and belief and an under focus
on concept and intuitive emotions,
do they really think we would be accustomed to following rituals blindly?
Empty jars line the counter awaiting this year’s yield
of berries, honey infused, homemade preserves— I am learning
how each bite, that instills gratitude, tells a story.
As the curtains open, the deep gold of the room becomes blue violet,
almost as though the clouds conspiring to tear us away
from the hypocritical claims of this world—a person’s mind,
it’s said has the ability to unleash either panacea or a pandora’s box;
threads of charcoal sketches and petals,
tell me about the space it inhabits, the place your memory
goes to when you are with it alone with your eyes closed.

Religion is the sum total of deeds, a series of events where people
before you exchange smiles in return;
it’s more than prayer, more than the divide currently prevalent.
For only when use of language is directed toward healing
of the wounded, depicting unfiltered truths, can we hope
to become sophisticated cultures—outside the hills of the valley rose
with the jubilant sound of spring filled stream.

How many forests reside in your soul, sweet child?
How many whispers go unheard?
If the emotions of one in need are equivalent to a hurricane,
then religion needs to be such so as to create a space
to slow it down—
anyone who states otherwise is either an extremist or is selling something.
This callous, apocalyptic wraith like doleful screams in the ether,
chrysanthemums forgotten
inside a journal and hushed insanity; it’s tragedy after tragedy
after tragedy.

Come sit with me under the trees, that’s how they think they can accomplish
their agenda, with a smokescreen;
I am sorry, do they really think we wouldn’t use our minds accordingly?
There is a political undercurrent as well,
though this is less explicit—but gives us neither hands nor feet.
We do not make this light, but drink in the relief that true faith gives us,
vague some days
and upon them the art of steer and nudge;
ode to Poets, to the words begging to be said— I am convinced
that it’s forsythia flares from the corner of my eye;
it’s time we pose a question—sour mashed notes and cosmos
soaked poems that make more sense when the night and those during it
are quiet, why?

 

 

 

 

Photo credits: “Green Room,” painting by Jim Holland, Pinterest

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Posted for Open Link LIVE #290 @ dVerse Poets Pub

34 Replies to “Either a Panacea or a Pandora’s box”

  1. I love the line “This callous apocalyptic wraith like doleful screams in the ether”. You pose bold questions and shine poetic light on both sides of religion. For some religion is an opiate, for others fellowship and salvation. Studying the world’s religions, I personally felt each them too limited , too arrogant and hypocritical for my tastes, like a straightjacket for the soul.

  2. For only when use of language is directed toward healing
    of the wounded, depicting unfiltered truths, can we hope

    So true. Too many sharpened swords, and too few healers.
    Much to think about in your words. (K)

  3. What I love about how your poetry is growing is that you lavish increasing attention on insides and parallels of a though. Conceptually, “panacea” and “Pandora’s Box” are thick concepts, and working them together (even though they are a binary) takes some stitchery. The painterly first stanzas worked best for me, especially “Empty jars line the counter awaiting this year’s yield /
    of berries, honey infused, homemade preserves— I am learning /
    how each bite, that instills gratitude, tells a story.” That’s good stuff.

    1. Aww gosh! Thank you so much, Brendan 😀 so glad the poem spoke to you! It was quite a feat driving the thought process through. 💄❤️

  4. A great poem Sanaa. You raise some very important questions that many are afraid to ask. Rocking the boat can wash one overboard if not grounded. I thought you did a great job of zeroing in on what true religion is and does.
    I liked this a lot…
    For only when use of language is directed toward healing
    of the wounded, depicting unfiltered truths, can we hope
    to become sophisticated cultures

  5. “If the emotions of one in need are equivalent to a hurricane,
    then religion needs to be such so as to create a space
    to slow it down—”

    A fondest hope for any religion is to bring peace, you’re right.

    You did a wonderful job of reading your poem also.

  6. What wordweaving here, truly sumptuous, like listening to the secret thoughts of a warm breeze with an undercurrent that tugs at the hem of your skirt. Beautiful and important. Thank you for sharing, J

  7. It’s always a pleasure to read a poem the morning after Open Link Night because I sometimes miss bits that arrive a little distorted from the Internet. What Carol said was interesting, the line about the empty jars lining the counter rang a bell with me, and she confirmed that Pandora’s box was indeed a jar. I love the alliterative pairing of ‘panacea’ and ‘Pandora’, which are both Greek words! I also like the idea that each bite of those ‘berries, honey infused, homemade preserves’ tells a story – a myth or legend. The line ‘As the curtains open, the deep gold of the room becomes blue violet’ is like the curtains opening on a stage, revealing the main concept in the poem: ‘a person’s mind, / it’s said has the ability to unleash either panacea or a pandora’s box’. My favourite lines:
    ‘threads of charcoal sketches and petals,
    tell me about the space it inhabits, the place your memory
    goes to when you are with it alone with your eyes closed’
    and the final question.

  8. ‘If the emotions of one in need are equivalent to a hurricane,
    then religion needs to be such so as to create a space
    to slow it down—
    anyone who states otherwise is either an extremist or is selling something.’
    – Yes! Such an interesting, deep and poetic examination of the nature of religion. I could talk all day on this topic…

  9. a deep bold and wise poem Sanaa! Most have said it above and I appreciate the great thought that went into this lovely creation

  10. “— I am learning
    how each bite, that instills gratitude, tells a story.”
    Lately I sense I am tripping over wind. My words fade to yours. I should be mute the rest of my days, but this too is process. “We know nothing as we ought”.
    Stunning!

  11. So much to think about in this poem, Sanaa. It was lovely to see and hear you read it last night.
    I love the images of the jars and as others have commented about panacea and Pandora’s box/jar.
    I particularly liked “tell me about the space it inhabits, the place your memory
    goes to when you are with it alone with your eyes closed.”

  12. This is strong Sanaa, and I enjoyed hearing you read it yesterday. I have never found religions, isms, or ideologies to be attractive or embraceable. But I realize that one’s view of life is uniquely personal, and I respect that view, as long as it is neither forced on another, nor a source to inflict pain nor suffering.

  13. This was really good, and love your reading, I think that religion has been so much misused in this world Björn

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