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Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams (Hardcover) S. Samma Negus



 
Excerpt from the book by the author: How can I describe the regeneration of the inner, spiritual life? I haven’t found the words yet. The first years of my monastic life were intensely difficult. The difficulties continued but gradually became muted, as an inner strength and connectedness grew and focussed my attention, heart, mind, to the point that outer events began to fade in intensity and importance. I struggled to transmute the need to create artistically into energy more useful to the monastic life. After I succeeded, I began to jot down music and poetry in spare time; my perpetually busy life would not allow for more, though when on retreat I draw. But nothing can really portray that dark and solitary, blindingly luminous inner journey. My poems are the merest residue of that life, a soul’s attempt to share, to approximate, to in some way set lamps along the dark passage,giving glimmers of awareness, to send messages, to warn, to tempt. They mark a discrete journey, as do—so much better—the poems of St. John of the Cross.
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Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams; the journal of a nun in poems and drawings from the author Elda Boyce who is currently working on her second book; The book Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams is a journal of sorts, recording my inner life as a nun/ascetic—one who has forsaken the world and worldly things in order to one-pointedly search for, and inwardly live in, the spiritual realm. The book title refers to the twofold nature of one’s spiritual quest: the pain or anguish that comes from existential-type alienation and, further down the line when you are trying to counteract that, the rigors of purification; and the glimpses of divinity, the gradual realization of the soul’s deepest dreams that come inevitably through sincere, prolonged spiritual searching. The Beloved breathes forth both fire and ecstasy.

The drawings in Mouth of Fire, Breath of Dreams are symbolic. I guess you could call them surreal; I’m not sure how to describe them. If I could explain them, I wouldn’t need to make them. There is darkness, but also the primal forces working through the mind and nature that guard, sustain, give power to man/woman. After saying that much, I echo Matisse: an artist should cut out his own tongue.

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