What they saw Edit 1.0 (Mark, TqB)
#1
I’ve been struggling with this for months, so thought I’d workshop it.

What they saw (Edit 1.0)

1: Olive*
Fruit
from the tree of life I bring
to spread the taste of worlds
to come, and words
borne fruit.

In him I saw the daylight,
Ananias,
emerging from the womb.

2: Yggdrasil
The nine worlds are
its reach, 
with room for the gods,
even unto their doom.

Sun eludes the rider
travelling in its shade for days,
which is nothing,
even a hundred years
is nothing.*

3: Kalpavriksha
It came out of the sea,
the churning ocean
bearing precious gifts: 
eternal life, bartered and stolen,
and death, 
but for the blue throated one.*

4: Bodhi
But not being born, Ananda,
is the greatest gift of all.
Nothing awaits them 
through endless cycles of grief, 
and the search for a house
that’s a stranger to sorrow.*

5: Zaqqum
For the rest is a fire prepared -
for man and jinn - 
one not overtaken 
by sleep
watching over them* 

References (in order):

1) There is no specific tree associated with Jesus other than the fig, and that one's not a good association. However, the olive looms large in everything biblical, from the Mount of Olives to Gethesemane, and even in the OT
The restoration of Paul's sight was a rebirth for him.
2) The rider riding in the shade of a tree for 100 years is Islamic Hadith, not Norse lore, but some liberties have been taken to avoid two Islamic references in the poem. If anything Yggdrasil was bigger than the Touba of Jannah
3) The wish-fulfilling tree emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk. The story, which includes the episode of Siva's throat turning blue, can be seen here: Churning of the ocean of milk | Hindu mythology | Britannica
4) Some more context: Thig 10  Kīsā Gotamī (dhammatalks.org)
5) One of the most admired verses in the Quran: Surah Al-Baqarah - Ayatul Kursi - Quran.com




Original:

What they saw 

Fruit
from the tree of life I bring
to spread the taste of worlds
to come, and words
borne fruit.

Sun eludes the rider,
travelling in its shade 
for days. Yggdrasil 
called, and in the wind its leaves 
sing the churning oceans.
Its shade stretches.
immense as the darkness of the tomb.

But daylight, Ananias,
I saw in him,
emerging from the womb.

Not being born, Ananda,
is the greatest gift of all.
They set no store here or in heaven,
No fire prepared
for man or jinn,
by the one who never sleeps
watching over them

Footnotes:
1) https://sunnah.com/muslim/53/9
2) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalpavriksha
3) https://quran411.com/ayatul-kursi
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#2
Hi busker-
Below I pulled the parts that struck me, and also made some comments:


from the tree of life I bring
the taste of worlds
to come 


More description of the tree, here, would help this reader.  Unless I know that Yggdrasil is a sacred tree, I stop and am perplexed.  More about the mysterious rider would be good, as well.

in the wind its leaves
sing the churning oceans.
  'like churning' instead of 'the churning'?
Its shade stretches
immense as the darkness of the tomb.


Not being born
is the greatest gift of all.

the one who never sleeps
watching over them


I think the tone/subject of the footnotes needs to be reflected within the body of the poem.  It's a bit of 'cheating' to expect that readers will need to digest the notes to better understand the poem: the poem should stand on it's own.

If possible, the title might be able to convey a bit of the subject, in lieu of the notes.

The mixing of spiritual/faith tradition metaphors confuses me- not sure how you can solve that.  Might I suggest a dialogue style?  Or even a monologue?  A conversational style may help.

You are trying to cover a lot of ground, busker, and I have a hard time pulling out of the shade (of Yggdrasil) in order for the light to appear in my mind's eye. 

Maybe you should try to approach it from another angle.

Since you mentioned that you have been struggling with this one, I thought that I should let know you that I took notice. I don't know that I've been much help, but I wanted to at least leave you with some the impressions I got from your poem.

I know that you're savvy enough to get this one to work. Let it sit, and simmer, and try to read it anew.  Good luck, 
...Mark
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#3
Thanks, Mark. These are some very helpful observations.
You’re right in that it’s been a challenge to bring together disparate theologies and world views
I started getting into the New Testament a little bit last year, trying to understand the psychology of Paul, and the worldview of the early Christians. I’ll always be a dilettante in these matters, because my day job is in a completely different area, and my interests are wide rather than deep.
I have also been interested in the mohammedan worldview, and of all the Abrahamic religions I find Islam to be the most coherent, theologically. But that’s just the Abrahamic tradition, while Buddhist / Hindu beliefs are quite different. They all say different things, but provide some meaning to their adherents, and they’re all wrong. Somewhere in this there’s a poem, but this is not it. It’s too disjointed.

I like the idea of a dialogue. Maybe that can work.

Yes, I’ll let this one simmer for a bit.

Thanks again for the thoughts.
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#4
(01-20-2023, 03:56 PM)busker Wrote:  I’ve been struggling with this for months, so thought I’d workshop it.

What they saw 

Fruit
from the tree of life I bring
to spread the taste of worlds
to come, and words
borne fruit.                              did you mean words borne by fruit?  I think word borne fruit ....

Sun eludes the rider,
travelling in its shade 
for days. Yggdrasil                      The World Tree?  instead of using a proper name.
called, and in the wind its leaves      called to the rider?  if or not, needs to be shown who receives the call
sing the churning oceans.
Its shade stretches.
immense as the darkness of the tomb.

But daylight, Ananias,
I saw in him,
emerging from the womb.          This stanza is pretty cryptic for this reader.

Not being born, Ananda,
is the greatest gift of all.
They set no store here or in heaven,
No fire prepared
for man or jinn,
by the one who never sleeps
watching over them                       These lines here left me baffled as well

Footnotes:
1) https://sunnah.com/muslim/53/9
2) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalpavriksha
3) https://quran411.com/ayatul-kursi

I know you are going to let this simmer, but I assume it's still open for comments.

I assumed the footnotes were just to give us some insight into your sources, and not to be part of the final poem.  I checked them out (admittedly briefly), they helped but even with them I can't put all those lines together into a coherent whole.  I only skimmed Mark's comments, so maybe repeating stuff here.

All that said, it's a very interesting read and I do hope to see here your next version.

TqB
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#5
Thanks, TqB
Will repost in due course
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#6
Reposted.
Thanks, TqB and Mark
Yggdrasil is out back in
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#7
(01-20-2023, 03:56 PM)busker Wrote:  I’ve been struggling with this for months, so thought I’d workshop it.



What they saw (Edit 1.0)



1: Olive

Fruit

from the tree of life I bring

to spread the taste of worlds

to come, and words

borne fruit.



In him I saw the daylight,         In Ananias I saw the daylight?

Ananias,

emerging from the womb.       this line eludes me



2: Yggdrasil

The nine worlds are

its reach, with room

for gods and poetry, 

even unto 

the doom.



Sun eludes the rider

travelling in its shade for days,

which is nothing,

even a hundred years

is nothing.



3: Kalpavriksha

It came out of the sea,

the churning ocean

bearing precious gifts: 

eternal life, bartered and stolen,

and death, 

but for the blue throated one.         this reference also eludes me



4: Bodhi

But not being born, Ananda,

is the greatest gift of all.

Nothing awaits them 

through endless cycles of grief, 

and the search 

for a house

that’s a stranger to sorrow.



5: Zaqqum

For the rest is a fire prepared -

for man and jinn - 

by one 

not overtaken by sleep,

watching over them 


It would be helpful if the title would somehow clue the reader into the idea that these are five trees that you are referencing.  Perhaps many readers would guess that; Olive, Yggdrasil and Bodhi may be common enough references, but I still needed to look up the latter two to be sure.

Or perhaps the identification of them as trees could be made part of the individual subtitles?


Other than that, and the two lines I noted, it's a fine series of short poems, each with its own special revelation, that cohere as a single poem.

TqB
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