Inspired by the ancient wisdom of the Taoist tradition and wandering the rugged, majestic landscape of alpine mountains, Thompson creates a wonderful sense of place through a deeply sensitive spiritual voice that celebrates simplicity, gentleness and the natural grace inherent within us all; that of the Sage. His poems touch on a range of human experiences; of joy, sadness, love, enlightenment and delusion. Through the lens of modern day living he helps us to recognise an undisturbed Presence whose quiet light draws no attention to itself but is always available to us. His words speak of a deeper understanding, of Self-Realisation, whose poems are reminiscent of the voice of ancient Taoist and Zen Masters, who inspired us to enquire within at the Truth of what we are. His voice though is a gentle one: Sit with me under this sweet-chestnut tree in its wild silence no one has to say a thing. The reader may also be delighted to discover the unassuming artwork of Laura Demelza Bosma, whose drawings bring a warmth and sensitivity as they work in harmony with the poems here.
Hello Heath! I’m thrilled to be chatting with you about your debut book, Taoist Poetry: The Path That Weaves Through Clouds. What instigated its creation?
I had been interested in Taoism (which is a little like a Chinese version of Zen and refers to the Way of Nature) for around 25 years at the time the book was published (2016). I had a spiritual epiphany in 2009 which turned my life upside down really – I realised there was no-self, that what looks out from within, is the same as what is before me – all is One. I write about the flow of life in nature, about the deeper teachings of Taoism, & simple living. I hope that he poems help people to relax, to return to a simple way of living & to deepen their spiritual practice
This makes the mystic poet in me smile. Tell me a bit more about the book itself: the art, what you’re trying to convey…
The art is done by my partner Laura and is described in the intro. There are poems that I try to paint colours with words, some that are simple & some that are very Zen-like.
Did you say “Zen-like”? 🙂 This is primarily a mystical poetry blog, so your book is certainly a perfect fit. In addition to Zenness (I’m well aware this isn’t a word, but it is now :P), what other themes does this collection touch on?
Simplicity / Aimlessness / Enlightenment / Awakening / Nature / Wildness / Love / Sorrow / Sex / Materialism / Nature / Flow / Immortality / The Truth
That’s a powerhouse of profound themes right there! As a Tao-inspired poet, who are your writing muses?
The old Chinese Taoist & Zen poets but also contemporary writers such as Mary Oliver, Medbh McGuckian, Pablo Neruda, Paul Eluard, as well as artists such as Marc Chagall & Odilon Redon.
What wonderful influences for your work! The creative writing process varies amongst us writers, but there is also an underlying similarity or two. What’s a day in your shoes like when you’re crafting a poetic outpouring?
The poems come to me fully formed in a flash. I make very few edits. 90% will have had no editing. There are over 200 in the book – it is my first collection. If I do not write them down in that flash of inspiration then I lose them.
That makes perfect sense. It is no surprise to me that your unique process is very mindful. So, any concluding thoughts?
Only that while the subject matter is Taoism, it really is about connecting to our deep Primal Self to learn to feel the Flow, and to see the world with fresh eyes.
This is no doubt a profound read! I very much appreciate the time you took out of your day to have this interview. It was highly insightful and please keep on writing! The world could always use a little more zen energies in it.
☯Official Website: www.taoistpoet.com (it’s temporary down due to an upcoming host change)
☯A Taoist/Zen poetry mag called Cloudwanderer that Heath is the Founding Editor of: www.issuu.com/cloudwanderer/docs/cloud_wanderer_issue_two_autumn_win