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Surfis set poetry in motion

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is said to have written with the melodious rhythm of a bird’s song. It is also said way before Longfellow there were mystic poets called Surfis who wrote with the harmonious rhythm and flow of an ocean wave. Surfis are obscure and esoteric poets that until recently were only known in specialist circles.

The interesting thing about Surfis is that most of their poetry centers around but is not defined by the ocean and waves. The Surfis were known to ride waves before and after writing poetry. The ocean influenced how they lived, what they thought and what they wrote about. Reading Surfi poems are like diving into a vast ocean of life, truth, knowledge, wisdom, nature and love. Surfi poetry is poetry in motion both in the waves and on the page.

One of earliest known recorded poems is by a 7th century Surfi named 0.

This powerful poem is written in a style that represents the daily changing of the tides. Each segment of four verses are meant to be read in constant flow like a moving wave with short breaks in between the verses as like intervals between waves.

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Surfing at the beach on a sunny day

Here comes a wave coming my way

Looks real big, looks real fine

And if you saw it, it would blow your mind

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All of the surfers begin to yell

Hey, hey surfer that’s quite a swell

You better not go cause it could kill

i go any way just for the thrill

The ocean waves have something for me

Have a long and loving history

That’s how i know as much as a man

If anyone can make it i know i can

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So if you are watching me surf this bomb

Look in my eyes they are calm

And that is why this poem is a message to you

If i can make it you can to

So the next time you’re surfing show some style

Think of others once in a while

Go out in life and have some fun

Just remember we are really all one

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Surfing at the beach on a sunny day

Her comes a wave coming my way

Looks real big, looks real fine

And if you saw it, it would blow your mind

Many scholars, theologians, poets and intellectuals have tried to interpret these words but perhaps the clearest interpretation comes from the individuals’ heart. The words of the Surfi O say many things to many people. At the time they were written many people had not heard of surfing or the Surfis and thus thought the words were more metaphorical than literal.

Surfing at the beach on a sunny day and a wave coming my way symbolize both life and a coming new day. It’s (the wave) big it’s fine if you saw it you would blow your mind. Here the author talks about freedom beyond our thoughts, real liberty. Other surfers shackled with fear bode the surfer “don’t go” but the brave surfer knows he would rather die living than live dead, no turning back.

With commitment comes confidence but not cockiness as the use of the smaller case i indicates. The surfer knows he will be victorious because of his close relationship with the ocean waves - hence - a higher power. Further he implores the reader, look, his eyes are calm, everything is ok even while surfing a tidal wave. Wake up the author seems to be saying, if I can make it you can too.

Finally O takes us into the ocean of the unified field. We are all really one he exclaims but not just surfers but the waves the ocean and everything in the universe as well. All things are connected.

In conclusion, O brings us right back to where the poem begins, namely, surfing at the beach on a sunny day. Our own internal beach, each the keepers of our own freedom. Everyone is a surfer in life riding their own wave, expressing them selves as no one else could. A surfer rides on an emerald green wave somewhere else at another time a poet writes on a single white page, and the surfer on the ocean becomes poetry in motion.

Read O’s poem again. Reflect on the words, let each sentence provoke from within a tidal wave of introspection and thought. What do the words say to you?


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