Pomposity has its price.
Many doubt this when, swelled
in the afterglow of achievement,
the dominoes fall, one by one;

It doesn’t need to be this way, yet it
almost always is, hubris topples
the bravest among us. Still 
if we are listening, attentive, a small
inner voice that is easily ignored serves
to correct the course;

We perceive what is best, know we are
not separate from anyone or anything
under creation; we, who exist
in the here and now, specks among stars,
imbued with far greater potential
than we dare admit to administer wisely; 

Tigers know their tigerhood, women 
our womanhood often because it is reflected
in the mirror or through the eyes of another;

Imagine there are no mirrors anywhere
in sight; would we move more like animals,
loose and lithe in our bodies, keen in the subtleties
of what is essential, pared down to the bone
of what is not?


41 thoughts on “Stripes

  1. Oh that we would all slow down enough to listen and heed that small inner voice. Thanks for the reminder.

    And for the inspiration to keep my life as simple as possible. This is so easy to forget amidst the cornucopia of distractions available in our modern world. I wonder if, at least in America, our prosperity leads to our pomposity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, James – that last line of yours. I think you’re on to something there. If one defines prosperity as most Americans would, indeed it would hold more true than if, say, we collectively defined prosperity as a nation where every child is fed and every family has shelter; if all had equal access to health care and income parity was a given regardless of gender or race. Yes, the kind of prosperity many (most?) Americans identify with would surely lead to pomposity. Thanks for bringing this to the fore. Aloha ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That inner voice – ah, that we all remembered to listen. It puts us in our place – our TRUE place of interconnected being-ness. I love those last lines – an intriguing question. If there were no mirrors… perhaps we’d be our true “lithe” selves moving with the grace of a tiger.
    I really enjoyed this, Bela. As always, well-crafted. 🌸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Betty, being in touch with that voice since I was small puts me at an advantage in one respect. In another, I really cannot get away with being less than I know I’m capable of. I used to resent this, but came to appreciate it later in life.

      Glad you enjoyed the poem, Betty. Thanks so much. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bela, we would’ve gotten along well as youngsters. I’ve been connected to that voice also since childhood. Didn’t resent it, however I kept it hidden until my late teens in fear of not fitting in. Was afraid to be my self until senior year of high school. Fortunately that led me to others of like mind and I continue to be gratified meeting kindred spirits such as yourself. 🌻

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      2. Betty, I appreciate the kinship. We might have gotten along when young, but then again, I was lost/lost. Perhaps we all are in a way at that stage of life. I meant I resented that I couldn’t get away with much, given that I relied on that voice to see me through a difficult family situation, growing up. So if I didn’t live up to the best of which I was capable, I knew it right away. It didn’t seem fair, but then again looking back? I wouldn’t have traded being me for anything. But that’s hindsight 😉 ❤

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question, Val. I was using ‘the bravest among us’ to point out that it doesn’t matter how much courage we have, in the face of karma, we are all reduced to the same denominator Though your point is well taken, in that bravado and greed elicit their own counterbalance/consequences. Aloha ❣️🏝

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Tigers know their tigerhood.” This reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht. I love the way she writes. It’s worth reading again. There’s so many great quotes, excerpts and stories within stories. Your musing, “Stripes” brings to mind this excerpt:
    “My grandfather would pet the dog, and, in a voice that made him sound like some kind of children’s program puppet, he would say: “You’re a dog! You’re a dog! Where are you? You’re a dog!” and the dog’s tongue would drop out of its mouth and it would start keening.
    After a few hours of this, I said, “Jesus Grandpa, I get it, he’s a dog,” not knowing that, just a few years later, I would be reminding every dog I met on the street that it was a dog, and asking it where it was.”
    ― Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife

    Bela, thanks for writing and sharing such thought provoking insights. I enjoy reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s an interesting question you pose there in the closing stanza, Bela. As I understand it (I may be wrong), then the motor cortex region of the brain has neural pathways ‘painted’ (as it were) within it and which visually are a loose facsimile of the body’s various motor (movement) options. So, the proprioceptive sense of how we are moving, and what movement options are at our disposal, are already ‘mirrored’ within the brain. A fellow called Moshe Feldenkrais wrote an interesting book which covered this, called, The Elusive Obvious. He also developed a system of increasing one’s movement options and which included a practice of simply thinking of the movement and this same thought process ‘painting’ the necessary patterns onto the motor cortex, which in turn then facilitated the thought-of movement. Interesting stuff! H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aloha, dear H: Yes, I am familiar with neural pathways, in that if we continue reinforcing various thoughts and behaviors, these operatives continue ‘deepening the ruts;’ whereas if we make a conscious choice/effort to think/do otherwise, new pathways are formed. I wasn’t aware of their association with movement, per se. Thanks for that. Aware of Feldenkrais mostly through practitioners of same – I’ve not really delved into the philosophy – interesting, as you say.

      I’m so bonded to nature that I cannot help but observe its intricacies and nuances. Last night I dreamed of a powerful Lynx, and had also seen one (hard to do!)when I circled back on a country road in miles of wheatfields in southeast Washington state recently. I had struck a small bird like a sparrow with my rental car – tried to avoid it, but we collided, and I saw its tiny body lying in the road. I felt so bad that I circled back to make sure it was dead and not suffering, and a Lynx crossed the road and tucked into a rocky outcropping alongside a small stream, onto which it moved quickly. (“That” kind of movement!)

      Enjoy your weekend! Big hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So true. So pared down to the bone this is. It is crucial we seek and find that connect with ourselves. For many it’s not possible in a lifetime, yet, for many it is possible. Just look inward, breathe, and let go. Easier said than done 🙂 But we can always try. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Mahesh, for joining in the conversation. Yes, it does seem simple, but then again it wasn’t always so – though those times now seems like ancient history. I remember trying So hard to just relax – to trust, really – as I was raised with so much heavy-handedness. Surely something that took no effort couldn’t be valuable. It’s a paradox, to be sure! And I do think many people (in the West anyhow) are this way. If effort can make it happen, we are all about that. Yet this is effort-less, and once locked and loaded, becomes second nature. I forget what it took to get to this understanding, so thanks for the reminder! Aloha 🌺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “…something that took no effort couldn’t be valuable” – precious words, Bela.
        Yes, “effort-less” – the ease – the switch on/off mode of a practical life until it becomes second nature, a habit, a feeling. Nothingness if you will. Breathe. Thanks for the post, once again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree dear Bela, it doesn’t need to be this way. Yet like those stripes so many keep to their rigid lines and see only their differences, not understanding that we are all the same.. I feel the world is a Mirror.. it is reflecting back that which we need to see.. We are indeed specks among stars.. Love that line..
    It is why I find I need to escape into the wild every now and again.. When you take everything down to the bone.. We are nothing more than animals.. Yet I often feel animals especially dogs have an edge over us.. For they have learnt unconditional Love.. We on the other hand still have much more learning to do in this field.

    Love and Blessings Bela.. a wonderful read my friend
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, always the mirror. I see it like holograms within holograms, projected out and out. As to specks, here’s a great quote from Loren Eiseley:

      “We are rag dolls made out of many ages and skins, changelings who have slept in wood nests, and hissed in the uncouth guise of waddling amphibians. We have played such roles for infinitely longer ages than we have been human. Our identity is a dream. We are process, not reality.”

      We really need to get over ourselves, collectively speaking. And we cannot learn without humility. It just doesn’t penetrate.

      Sending you love and blessings right back, dear Sue ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really love the flow of this one. Sounds like the running of water, maybe through bamboo? Lithe and supple indeed. Bringing ego into alignment with purpose avoids the toxic pride and inevitable fall… Well heeded words.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Whole of the second verse and last call out of what is a superbly crafted poem for me Bela, and this;

    ‘Imagine there are no mirrors anywhere
    in sight; would we move more like animals’ ? – Love it.

    – Esme moving like caged tigers always upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely imagine you moving like a caged tiger, if only because, once let loose … Hoping you are on the mend, at least from this latest episode. Thanks so much for your kind words, sweet one. Aloha 🌺🐳🌴

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You aren’t wrong there Bela – *laughs*. I’m doing ok at present thank you, it’s very much a rollercoaster but there are all manner of rides going on inbetween too – such is health eh? I hope you’re keeping well on the island too dearie. ❤ X

        – Esme handing Bela the skirt she's going to need on the Cloud when she next visits

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I hope you see the connection I did, Bella:


    It is a well known story,
    And I’m sure you’ve heard it said,
    That of all the animal kingdom
    The Lion is the head.

    He sits assured upon his throne
    And knows he can’t be moved,
    But still the King Of The Jungle
    Must sometimes have it proved.

    So he went to see the Tiger,
    Who was sitting having tea.
    “Who’s the King Of The Jungle?”
    The Tiger said, “Why, me.”

    This made the Monarch angry
    And made the Tiger regret it;
    As he landed in a pile of plates
    The Lion roared, “Don’t forget it!”

    He next sought out the Zebra,
    A milder sort of beast.
    “And do you mind telling me, peasant … ?”
    “Oh no, sir, not in the least.”

    But once the question was finished
    The Zebra changed his song,
    Saying “I’m the King of the Jungle,
    And if you think different you’re wrong.”

    The Lion flew into a rage
    And beat him with a broom
    And tore the stripes from off his back
    And stormed out of the room.

    He rudely hailed the Elephant.
    The placid beast never stirred.
    She answered not a word,

    Just picked the Lion up in her trunk
    And gave him such a shake,
    Then wrapped him round some nearby trees
    And threw him in the lake.

    The Lion lay there an instant,
    Till he knew who he was again,
    Then stepped from the water gracefully
    And proudly shook his mane.

    Calmly he approached the Elephant
    With all the style of a dancer
    And said, “Well, there’s no need to get annoyed
    Just because you don’t know the answer.”

    Liked by 1 person

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