“Letters to My Oldest Friend” is now available on Amazon in hardcover & the softcover is available for pre-order

Purchase now on Amazon

Reviews

In praise of Letters to My Oldest Friend

Like many God-inspired poets of India’s Bhakti or devotional past (Mirabai and Chandidas come easily to mind), Janavi Held—writer, photographer, cineaste, observer of small miracles—chronicles the arrhythmia of a heart in love with Divinity. Letters to My Oldest Friend is a revelation. In elegant, spare verse and contemplative visual imagery, she gently cautions that we are victims of speeding postmodernism at risk of losing our souls, and that we will find the tools of our salvation in the quiet, unassuming details of everyday life. Here is a much needed roadmap to our inner geography, chartered by a gifted voice of conscience and our own better selves. Read, look, savor, and be inspired.

Joshua M. Greene
author, Swami in a Strange Land: How Krishna Came to the West 2016

 

In her beautiful debut collection of poems, Janavi Held takes us on a journey of awakening, as she explores the ways in which her relationships with struggle, time, nature and beauty in this world, relate to her burgeoning relationship with the divine. From a restless: “there are so many stories in my lost heart” to the epilogue’s triumphant: “the heart speaks softly now,” her poems and photographs artistically chart the course of a soul moving gracefully through existential angst, as revealed to us in this prayerful dialogue with her “oldest friend”.

 Catherine L. Schweig
Founder of Journey of the Heart Poetry Project Editor of Poetry as a Spiritual Practice (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016)

“Letters to My Oldest Friend” is a classic spiritual journey, starting with the anguish of her losses – of mobility, of mind (she says, but the poem belies it), “wrapped in a blanket of thorns”, then to the longing for the spirit, the Friend, and finally a joyous reunion with spirit through nature. I read these poems almost with tears. I also thought of how poems like these, especially the opening ones, could create compassion in the reader for all the sick and disabled from whom we tend to avert our gaze. Janavi Held’s language is beautiful and evocative, as when she writes, “remembering is a lost art/in the mind of these misshapen times.”  The book is, quite simply, a gem.

Nina Mermey Klippel
author,”Tricks of The Light and Other Poems”, 2010
editor, The Village Zendo Bulletin

 

Book Trailer

 

 

 

Mockup - png with lotus

Divine Names

Divine Names

Your divine
Names wander
into my words
my open mouth
drinking that
temptation is
utterly fed here
sitting under another
spring sky.

We have been
together for so long
yet, during the cold,
wet winter
I forgot to be happy
forgot the feeling
of Your warm air
on my skin
and how
Your flowers
make me laugh.
And today
I can’t remember
why I left You
forsaking the
authenticity
of our eternal
friendship.

Janavi Held © 2017

Somewhere Seasons

Look a Little Harder

Look a Little Harder
For value
in the heart
underneath
the skin
in the eyes
bright
the designs
clouds make
at the love
even if it’s far
at the moon
sliver, at
the way
the light
rises at dawn
look a little
harder
the love
is there
perhaps
under a
mossy rock
in the
churning
river water
or in the
dark of
midnight
blankets
of star-shine
against
a canvas
of black
light, there
somewhere
is beauty
in the wind
moving through
veiny leaves
shimmering
in the sun
as it soaks
into the
parched
earth, there
perhaps
at dawn
when the sky
exhales and
gently spreads
its light
sliding across
the horizon
spilling
onto rooftops
and sleepy
eyes, there
some love
creeps
shyly, there
in the restless
waves, deep
in an ocean
blue, florescent
fish roam
and the light
sinks deep
golden patters
caress the
the watery
floor, incandescent
eyes flourish
in this
luminous, vast
mystery, there
is some value
within the
sounds of
a summer
rain, so
sweet, there
in the sky
thunderous
blue light
cracking
the ether
churning
the sky
the clouds
into the
shape
of wind
blossoming
flowers
in your heart
the soul
measureless
spark of
dazzling love
there you are.

~ Janavi Held © 2017

Translucent.

Flooding

Flooding. jpgThe Sky in the heart.

Flooding

Within the
shadowy waters
of illusion
I built thick
castle walls
sunken deep
in those hazy waters
my heart froze
and slept for eons.
Awakened from this
deep sleep of ignorance
by a flood of
Your liberating
monsoon rain
You’ve opened the sky
in my heart
and the
walls of my fortress
are a sunken wreck
I have floated
to the surface
waves
crushed my body
as I rose You
carefully collected
all the lost parts
and knitted me
together with
Your lovely hands
saturated with
eternal love.

~ Janavi Held © 2017

Out on This Natural limb

Out on This Natural limb

 

On the ends

of wind-waving branches

I build my residence

watching all manner

of creatures grow into living

the fragrance of the wind

carrying pollen and ozone

feeds my inner ocean

as long fingers of sunlight reach

the vast expanse of my seeing.

Out on this natural limb

I wait for morning

clinging to the inside

of the earth’s desires.

 

~Janavi Held © 2017

Flying

Soaked

Soaked

 

A dead sea soaks

in memory

its form

now shapeless

has far to go

to be lost to

the little bits of

thought still

swimming its

dry banks.

 

My thoughts swell

memories tremble there

old incomplete sentences

structured in timeless

yawning, titanic clouds

blocking the realness of

now.

 

Janavi Held © 2017

 

Watching

Horizon

Horizon

 

I move too

as the waves

pierce the horizon

that distance

unattainable

longs for me as well

to embellish my ears

with wind

to swallow my eyes

inside that insatiable horizon.

 

Janavi Held © 2017

 

Birds and Beaches

 

In her beautiful debut collection of poems……….

cover with flowersIn her beautiful debut collection of poems, Janavi Held takes us on a journey of awakening, as she explores the ways in which her relationships with struggle, time, nature and beauty in this world, relate to her burgeoning relationship with the divine. From a restless “there are so many stories in my lost heart” to the epilogue’s triumphant: “the heart speaks softly now,” her poems and photographs artistically chart the course of a soul moving gracefully through existential angst, as revealed to us in this prayerful dialogue with her “oldest friend”.

Catherine L. Schweig
Founder of Journey of the Heart Poetry Project
Editor of Poetry as a Spiritual Practice (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016)

In Praise of “Letters to My Oldest Friend”

Mockup - png with lotusLike many God-inspired poets of India’s Bhakti or devotional past (Mirabai and Chandidas come easily to mind), Janavi Held–writer, photographer, cineaste, observer of small miracles—chronicles the arrhythmia of a heart in love with Divinity. Letters to My Oldest Friend is a revelation. In elegant, spare verse and contemplative visual imagery, she gently cautions that we are victims of speeding postmodernism at risk of losing our souls, and that we will find the tools of our salvation in the quiet, unassuming details of everyday life. Here is a much needed roadmap to our inner geography, chartered by a gifted voice of conscience and our own better selves. Read, look, savor, and be inspired.

 Joshua M. Greene
author, Swami in a Strange Land

“Letters to My Oldest Friend” is a classic spiritual journey,

“Letters to My Oldest Friend” is a classic spiritual journey, starting with the anguish of her losses – of mobility, of mind (she says, but the poem belies it), “wrapped in a blanket of thorns”, then to the longing for the spirit, the Friend, and finally a joyous reunion with spirit through nature.  I read these poems almost with tears. I also thought of how poems like these, especially the opening ones, could create compassion in the reader for all the sick and disabled from whom we tend to avert our gaze. Janavi Held’s language is beautiful and evocative, as when she writes, “remembering is a lost art/in the mind of these misshapen times.”  The book is, quite simply, a gem.

Nina Mermey Klippel

author,”Tricks of The Light and Other Poems”, 2010

editor, The Village Zendo Bulletin