Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

The Wednesday Poetry Corner with Dr. Mary Annie AV

It is with great pleasure that I introduce a wonderful new Indian voice to our Wednesday Corner. Dr. Mary Annie A.V. writes with depth and passion about the subject of Death ~ a subject that has long-fascinated poets and philosophers throughout history. Thank you Mary for being our guest on the plum tree today and for sharing your profound thoughts on a subject that is often not spoken of.

Speculating…

By Mary Annie A.V.

My earliest memories are those of reciting Mother Goose’s Nursery rhymes, which perhaps influenced me to write my first prize winning poem ‘My brother’, at the age of five. However, I guess it is in the Psalms of the Bible that I by-hearted, that I found my sense of language, rhythm and the sheer magic of words. I have always been fascinated by life, death and eternity. The mystery of life and death and eternity makes its way into poems as does love, hate and hope . “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth,” (Psalms of the Bible).

Death in verses, has striven to take a peep into its mystery, but the mystery of death, like birth, will continue till one comes face to face with death. The Indian poet seer Rabindranath Tagore writes thus : “On the day when death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer to him? Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life–I will never let him go with empty hands.” It strangely reminds me of the famous hymn “Must I go, and empty handed,
Thus my dear Redeemer meet?
Not one day of service give Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?”( Charles Carroll Luther,1924).

EmilyDickinsonSmall

Emily Dickinson

The intensity of Emily Dickinson’s curiosity about dying, the passing on from life to death taking the form of a journey, the arrival of death and immortality portrayed in her poems leaves one astonished:

The last Night that She lived
It was a Common Night
Except the Dying—this to Us Made Nature different.
…..

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

The numbness of death in Sylvia Plath’s words , “Outcast on a cold star, unable to feel anything but an awful helpless numbness.”

Yet, does one really die? What happens after death? Let it not be a death but completeness. (Rabindranath Tagore) My short scribble on the same: “When one lives one seeks death. When one dies one lives.” One of the earliest poems I have read about death, which I still love, is shared here.

Rabindranath Thakur (anglicised as "Tagore")1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

Rabindranath Thakur
(anglicised as “Tagore”)1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

“Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there – I do not sleep. I am the thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints in snow, I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. As you awake with morning’s hush I am the swift-up-flinging rush Of quiet birds in circling flight. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there – I did not die.” Mary Frye (1932)

Dr Mary Annie A.V,(M,Sc., Ph.D) writes under the pen name Anna Maria. At present she resides in Trivandrum, India with her husband and three children.

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

27 comments on “The Wednesday Poetry Corner with Dr. Mary Annie AV

  1. Jennifer Brookins
    October 16, 2013

    Interesting read made more so by adding the great Indian poet RabinranthTagore’s comments about death which clearly suggest he was a firm believer in reincarnation, …”Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there – I do not sleep. I am the thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints in snow, I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. As you awake with morning’s hush I am the swift-up-flinging rush Of quiet birds in circling flight. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there – I did not die.”

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 16, 2013

      Yes! Jennifer, it does, or perhaps it suggests that the soul, the Divine is present in everything. Thank you for your comments. Great to see you here.

      Like

      • Mary Annie AV
        October 17, 2013

        I am so glad to be here:) Thank you so much Niamh Clune.

        Like

      • ontheplumtree
        October 17, 2013

        You are most welcome, Mary. Lovely to have you here.

        Like

  2. Uncle Tree
    October 17, 2013

    Isn’t it our job to talk about things people don’t want to hear?
    And by hearing us, isn’t it our job to lessen fears and further the
    understandings of the world, ourselves, and what it all means?

    By all means, Anna Maria. This you have done for us today.
    I love the examples you brought to the table, but there’s
    something odd, something strange, and something quite
    mysterious about the gleam that comes a’ shining off
    your silverware. Oh, Lord. What could that be?

    Nice to meet you, Dr. 🙂 Peace and luvz, Keith

    Like

  3. the secret keeper
    October 17, 2013

    Reblogged this on the secret keeper and commented:
    “Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there – I do not sleep. I am the thousand winds that blow…” Mary Frye [1932] One of my favorite poems. Dr. Mary Annie A.V. did a lovely & meaningful presentation on death & life. Meeting the end of one and entering the beginning another. Which is which? It is the ultimate Question. Tagore states in this post “…When one dies one lives.” I wonder myself if this is true. We all know death is in front of our time here. No one is ever really told when, even if one is gravely ill, the time is not given to us in an exact moment. Some say they feel it approaching. It is a grand philosophical question, poets, artist, writers, songs, express death, love, life, probably the most popular content of most art, these three subjects, but death is the one that haunts us the most. Reading this post has opened my mind to thinking about it in a poetic & philosophical way. It is something feared & expected & needs someday to be faced, in some manner or maybe not for some people. Is it better to be surprised or to be the poet and examine it through divine words of comfort & see it as an uplifting end to pain & a beginning of life as we all are meant to experience it fully. Great post. Love that you brought Mary Annie A.V. to us Niamh Clune. She has a very unique way of expressing such a delicate subject to many. Her choices in poetry and poets are so familiar to me. I feel all will enjoy & find a comfort in reading all that she has offered to us. by Jk the secret keeper Jennifer Kiley

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 17, 2013

      Thank you for your response, Jennifer and for the reblog. Personally, I want to be in life and live it to the full. Death comes when it will. No need to think about it until then, unless there is a reason to. I guess my philosophical meanderings have been satisfied, and my spiritual experiences have quenched my thirst for noumenal wondering.

      Like

  4. Ben Naga
    October 17, 2013

    VISITING JOSIE

    The sweep of time
    Brushes it all away
    In the fullness
    And emptiness

    Even the bits
    That stick fast

    I have not forgotten
    The visit to drizzly Wath
    5 miles from Rotherham
    Near half a century ago

    The forlorn-looking churchyard
    The tombstone with the words
    “One day we shall understand”
    Cut into the impassive stone
    Not as deep-cut as when new
    Softened by years of falling water

    One day that memory
    As one day I too I know
    Shall be brushed away

    And any memory of me

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 17, 2013

      Yes! Ben. Lovely poem. And we will all be brushed away, in a flash when a new moment is born in which we shall not participate.

      Like

  5. Patricia Tilton
    October 17, 2013

    What a lovely and meaningful presentation of death by great poets. I always think of death as our true birth into the one great heart.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 17, 2013

      Thank you, dear Patricia as always for your thoughtful comments.

      Like

  6. Mary Annie AV
    October 17, 2013

    I am overwhelmed by the responses I see here… and I thank each and everyone for the comments they are special and mean a lot to me.There were so many things to be added which I was not able to due to lack of space …Yet I am glad.. 🙂

    Like

  7. Ampat Koshy
    October 17, 2013

    Good article Dr Mary Annie A.V. 🙂

    Like

  8. Jenean Gilstrap
    October 17, 2013

    wonderfully insightful and thought provoking piece…beautifully written…

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 17, 2013

      Thank you for your comment, Jenean. I am sure that Jenean will be delighted with it.

      Like

  9. thiskidreviewsbooks
    October 17, 2013

    I like Ms. Dickinson’s poems! 😀

    Like

  10. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    October 18, 2013

    Reblogged this on BUTTERFLIES OF TIME and commented:
    Dr Mary Annie A.V. speculating on death and what some of our beloved poets have to say about their perception of it,. A great post.

    Like

  11. redplace
    October 18, 2013

    Such beauty. Such prose. I am overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing this!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 18, 2013

      Thank you, Redplace, for stopping by to leave your kind comment.

      Like

  12. Mary Annie AV
    October 18, 2013

    Thanking each and every one again from my heart:)

    Like

  13. tomwisk
    October 18, 2013

    I love Emily. Death has visited my family and friends as long as I can remember. When the carriage comes for me I’ll be moving as far away as I can get. I don’t hate Him/Her but our acquaintance has been too close.

    Like

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