Talk on the Baha’i Faith and the Arts

Hi all. Been a minute since I’ve been around these parts. Hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a very challenging few months but I am now experiencing incremental victories by the day, so things are good. Here is video of my first public talk, The Baha’i Faith and the Arts at the Houston Baha’i Center back in August.

In the talk we explore some philosophical underpinnings regarding how art is defined and how its purpose is perceived. We also delve into some perspectives on the arts from assorted historical figures such as Beethoven, Shakespeare and Van Gogh. The talk wraps up with an analysis of what the Central Figures and Institutions of the Baha’i Faith have to say about the arts and how these conceptions intersect with and are possibly influenced by some of the philosophical foundations presented at the beginning. Enjoy!

Heeding the veiled call…

1240342_557730997614752_2042269807_nHeeding the veiled call of the sea
Whereupon elements of
Intermittent truths abound,
We pushed with the borrowed fortitude
Of hallowed and transient awareness,
Segmented by traces of a moon’s swift touch.

We hunted the winds and quartered them,
Dutifully placing them at the edges of
Our darkened peripheries,
Marking an approximate end
To every course we
Had ever hoped to surmount.

With irregular bursts of passion
We ignited flares to
Illuminate the history of
Many a journey lost,
Only to dissipate back into
Hazy embarkations,
Blurred shorelines
And muffled soundings.

Art: “A Seascape, Shipping by Moonlight”
Claude Monet

Light: An Elegy

Light: An Elegy

A light shimmers in the fore,
Joined by the hand
Of song and rhythm
And lambent dances
Along a moonlit creek in repose.

What does it see
Beyond this specter
Of jaded spirits
And world-weary migrations
To parts hitherto untold
That beckons its uncompromising smile?

From whence does its melody arise
That it traverses so calmly
Through dimensions and landscapes
Hitherto unseen?

When will a world
Left in silent agony
Learn its dance
And free itself from
These windless vales
Of stagnant tears?

A light begins to fade in the offing,
Just beyond the directionless bend.
As she retracts her hand
To commence one more excursion

She speaks,

Gently reminding the creek
That upon her return,
A new song will be sung,
And a new rhythm mapped out
For posterity.

And the shiftless vale will blossom
With a chorus of sparrows
And flora bedecked with purple amaranths
Heralding a new day,
In which smiles are freely-given
And hearts are open
For the weary traveler
To stop and rest awhile,
Before the next journey.

Art: “Sunset at Lavacourt”
Claude Monet

Here…

Here...

Here,
Cosmic distances
Have kissed their limits
Hello and goodbye.
And ‘ere the moment
They are at last embowered
By these watchful arms
A keeper emerges in the offing
Without a word,
Speaking only with compassionate hands
That toil ceaselessly in iridescent shadows
Cast by a remote awareness
Of where the smallest path once lay bare,
Dutifully awaiting a chance at perfection.

Art: “Verger en Fleurs” (Orchard in Bloom)
Claude Monet

As the winds subsist…

As the winds subsist...

As the winds subsist,
as the horizon broods,
a faint luminosity guides us along
ever-shifting and inconstant paths,
nocturnal awakenings and re-awakenings,
successive alignments across avenues
both well-worn and forgotten in time,
alien dream-like tableaux reified into
vaguely-familiar vignettes of journeys past.

Art: “A Seascape, Shipping by Moonlight”
Claude Monet

Engulf me, O winter’s yawn

Engulf me, O winter's yawn

Engulf me, O winter’s yawn
With your gleams of evanescent glory.
Immobilize me in your infinite knowing,
And tell me your story.

If you find me astray,
Bear me up with haste.
Reveal to me the end of self,
Through stones your precipitation graced.

Take me through endless mirrored corridors,
Where the howl of legends echo each season.
Remember their fables when ages apart,
Until I find, in your breath, my reason.

Art: “Village in the Snow”
Claude Monet