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poetry & spirituality...

CREATIVITY: Group Workshops and One-to-One Mentoring...

"Having personally been to quite a few creative writing courses in my time, I can honestly say that these are a breath of fresh air...   So many creative writing courses are product led and quite frankly encourage the internal self-critic (or the one we imagine to be looking over our shoulder!).   Mario uses all kinds of wonderful mindfulness (even meditation techniques) to unlock the sub-conscious and all that is surprising and inspirational beneath the straight-jacket of our busy minds."     '16 Ways' participant [adult course, 2013]


For Mario's Bloodaxe versions of the great Persian mystic poet, Hafez, click HERE.

For Isha Upanishad, a superb modern translation of the core Hindu spiritual text, click HERE.

For the Planet Poetry podcast, click HERE   [by kind permission].     This in-depth interview informs and inspires, gifting us a vaccine for mind and spirit.   Petrucci illuminates the more profound aspects of poetic practice, exploring how science/poetry are [not] kin, and offering an unexpected take on the role of poetry in times of crisis.   We are guided through love, war, ecology, spirituality; we hear how poetic sound can enrich and intensify silence.


LETTER TO MY YOUNG SELF...   [5 mins]   A poet's impassioned letter to his younger self uncovers a secret that carries profound literary, ecological and existential ramifications for us all.  

[video created by Mario Petrucci 2023; for transcript & original RLF link, see audio page].   With thanks to the Royal Literary Fund who kindly recorded the audio (not for redistribution).   Note: if video doesn't play, click here for archived mp4 file (this may take a short while to download).

Some priming thoughts...   by Mario Petrucci

Writing, now, is too often held to be important because it is successful,
rather than becoming successful because it is important.

In the voyage of creativity, as in the voyage of life, we may wreck our boats,
but the ocean remains intact.

On the sometimes difficult journey towards being a writer, as with enlightenment,
at some point one must be brave enough to shine bright enough to cast shadows.

What's the point of writing a poem, if not to modify silence?


spirituality & the Self    [and some poetic PROSE to offer balance...]

For Being, Mario's short story on the nature of Time & Choice, click here.

For The Queue, on the significance of suffering & seeking its fundamental truth: click here.

King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone.

A wonderful story, yes; but what if the Sword is not something external but our inner Gift, that very thing we were born to be and do, while the Stone is our own resistance to wielding it?   Everyone is here to draw their particular Sword from the recalcitrant Stone of this world, of themselves.   No one else can do it; no one else should.   Whether it's accountancy or poetry, seize hold of that Gift, your true Self, release it from bondage, and take your rightful place in the reordering of things.   The Sword and the Stone isn't just a story about a mythical or semi-historical character reified through King Arthur; it is a living metaphor that applies to each one of us.   So, draw your Sword.   Everyone must become King or Queen of themselves.

Prometheus and the Heart.

When you suffer heartbreak - absolute, utter heartbreak - you're Prometheus on the rock, except that it's your heart that's daily devoured, riven by talon and beak.   But this isn't punishment for having stolen someone else's Fire; it's a consequence of having given away your own Fire.   You must grieve on your rock, yes, your body weeping gouts of blood; but to unbind yourself and come down off that rock, you must find a way to reclaim the Fire of the true Self.   This is no ordinary fire - it doesn't burn when you have it.   This is the sacred Fire that burns when you don't have it.

FISH - a short long story    [written 7/8 April 2015, Hastings]

The fisherman was utterly lost.   The storm that had taken him so by surprise had also thrust him far out to sea.   The waters all around him glowed darkly with an immensity of depth; the boat rocked to slow, massive currents.   The night had been vast, the dark steep and impenetrable, terrible with swells and the constant terror of capsizing.   In salmon robes, dawn had brought calm but also, in every direction, that sharp blue arc of distant horizon.   Hours became days.   His net and most of his provisions had been washed away in the storm; all that remained to him was a modest keg of fresh water that, fortunately, had been well tied down, a patch of canvas beneath which he could escape the sun’s fiercest rays, and a small square of net with some thread.   He fashioned the fragment of net into a rough scoop trailed alongside the boat, hoping to snare some confused fry or perhaps a half-blind, tired old fish.

Not well nourished at the best of times, weakness soon descended upon the poor fisherman.   It was the dusk hour, when ocean and sky seem to merge into one continuous translucence.   A small silver fish strayed into his makeshift net.   He felt gratitude well up in him at this unexpected and unlikely meal.   On its side, caught up clumsily in the webbing and half out of the water, the little silver fish gasped gently and held the fisherman meekly in its gaze.   The fisherman had often had cause to eat fish raw, and this tiny creature promised brief respite from the swells of hunger that surged through him.   And yet, something in this fish seemed almost unnaturally clean and bright.   It were as though the crescent of moon had fallen into the sea and cleansed itself of the merest tarnish before yielding itself to him.   “I am sorry, little one.   How innocent you are in this, my hunger – and yet I must eat.”   The fish seemed almost to understand.   It swivelled its eye to the skies without anger or judgement.   Then, without thinking, free of any sense of the consequences of his action, and as gently as he could, the fisherman let the silver fish go.

The fish swam at once to the depths.   He told his tiny school of silver brothers and sisters his strange dream: how a simple net had fooled him; how the huge man in a wooden boat had apologised to him for hunger, only to release him.   The small huddle of fish was very still for some time, moving hardly at all and only now and then with the merest flick of a fin in the dimness.   Then, one by one, they began to flutter upwards.   One by one, over several days, they gently but insistently presented themselves to the fisherman’s feeble net.   For a moment, the fisherman doubted his senses; but he knew the sea and its occupants too well to think this was some kind of coincidence or accident.   When least expected, there would be a flash and flip of fish at the side of the boat.   They gave themselves up softly, without struggle; and he ate with reverence, as though each little soul were the entire ocean, or the last crescent of moon that any woman or man would ever gaze upon.   In humility, he accepted the many gifts of their small salt bodies.   He ate until restored.   The last fish of all was, he felt sure, the very one he had released.   The salt of his tears joined the salt of the sea.   He felt fresh strength dart silvery through him and, with a kindly breeze now behind him, the current firm beneath, the fisherman was returned to shore.


staying conscious: love, life, writing...     all texts below are (c) Mario Petrucci

Analysis is like the speed of Sound; Love is like the speed of Light.

“I, who would burst the furthest seams of heaven and earth, make a nest of the believer’s heart.”
Sufi saying (tr. by M. Petrucci)

People on their deathbeds may depart this world either in struggling despair or with a deep inner clarity, calmly comprehending what is of truest value in life.   How, then, to allow one’s living life, not one’s dying life, to become – moment to moment – the joyous deathbed?

For the Codependent human being, nothing is impossible - except the possible.

When you've hurt someone deeply, whether it be a fellow writer or a lover, re-enter their life (if and when they allow you to) slowly, tenderly - like a snail pushing its horns back into the air.

In writing, as in love, even the onion - for all its tears - will eventually blunt the knife.   Persist.

I think, therefore I am??   Absolutely not!   I Am.

Why do bad things happen to good people?   It's easy to misunderstand what I'm about to say, but maybe bad things happen to good people because good people have earned that privilege.

Why do bad things happen to good people?   There are a fair few agendas hidden in that question.   Might we better ask: Why do things happen to people?

If you can do any particular thing - just ONE thing - to the fullest, with your entire being and your being entire... it will, eventually, touch on everything.

You needn't actually be a Christian to appreciate how, if Christmas is receiving God's highest gift, then Easter is that moment you get to unwrap it.

Being a 'free spirit' is a little like writing Free Verse: liberating yourself from external constraint doesn't mean you simply can do whatever you like.   This 'freedom' actually demands an intensification of commitment, to even higher disciplines and to more subtly felt inner scruples.

Despair, like Hope, can be very, very quiet.

They say: 'There's no time like the present'.   In fact, there's no time other than the present.

The trickle in 'trickle-down' is usually blood.

The internet: the world's first carte blanche blabbermouth.

I sometimes feel that life is one-tenth hope and nine-tenths forgiveness, and that the whole thing stays afloat because of the nine-tenths.

I've found it crucial to (re)assert to myself, frequently, that Love isn't only what you (mostly can't choose to) feel; it's also what you (can choose to) do.   [The same is probably true for writing.]


WHAT IS POETRY?   [according to a vivid dream, 10-02-2023...]
Poetry is, at heart, a pair of questions.   First: Do you truly hear me?   Is your listening and receiving of these words (because of the nature or intensity of those words) of a different order to our more habitual mode of hearing?   Second: What, here, is happening?   Something needs to happen.   You need to feel these words so hard that you cry with me, or grasp with me some essential element of what I think or who my ailing mother really was, or what it is this particular landscape evokes...   Whatever it is, I want something to happen that is more than me just telling you 'This is who I am' or 'My mother passed' or 'This landscape exists', and gaining in return a nod of sympathy or superficial interest; the world must change somehow, YOU and I need to happen differently now.   Poetry is what makes that 'somehow', that 'now', real.   But these two questions must be fundamentally conjoined: unless you have deeply heard, nothing much will happen; and if nothing is transformed, the hearing cannot be complete... because poetry is about incarnating the First Person, fully heard, and what great poetry does is to enmesh all first persons into the One.

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for Hafez

how   did

start love
in me? these petals

made filigree in wind
thinly mattered
a rose

if not the rose &
that yellow heart where it

happens first then hips
blushed later

in exposure though no
white bud or

ever fearful
nor fearless quite tinged

to each extremity
with knowing rust’s intensity

heart-held flowers one either
must cling to or

            ... from anima    [Nine Arches, 2013]

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Finally, some   SOULFUL STORIES for CHILDREN   on my YouTube channel...

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This page is currently awaiting full enlightenment...

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Credit: Jemimah Kuhfeld


copyright mario petrucci 2014