… so now I am dead …

This is an imagined monologue of my ex-husband, Soren (Shamshir) Venema, who died in his sleep last week, a short stretch off his 69th birthday. This morning I sensed a faint sound seeking a body. It took a while to clear. The slow translating voice is of course my own. I better post this before I overthink it

So now I’m dead. Nxt birthday cancelled. I hear yur whispers … yu may hear mine and womder if I fund whut I ws seekn or whut looked for me. Won’t reveal my heart’s desire. Yu must fund yus yuself.

This life was a strange dream with others who wer seekin und hiding.

Yu know em by somthing in the eyes. Afar away up or down look. A longin.

We bump into each other in our blind search. They call it love, a deep term that teared at me. The way I saw it …. at random junctions we hold hands and travel together for a while, deeply connected, but lightly bonded.

My juggling across the deep psychic sea gathered an emotional gravity in others. I still puzzle about the phenomenon. While hidden connections pulled, I wanted em kept safe deep down, not intrude with a flashlight. I trusted the lot, like seeds trust dirt and earth and listen to the music of light.

Marvels happen. A son was called and came. He gave me joy with his joy. Witnessing my child grow fanned some scary heat in the heart.

The mother was a hermit, like me, though a bit over-responsible for the deep stuff, her own and others’, and heck, mine too. I couldn’t help putting up a little fence, which annoyed and upset her. Then again, we both sensed each other’s truth from that dark realm where wishes are embodied, where deep connections attract each other into nets of meaning, though I was never tempted by meaning and order. It seemed a little dull to me.

My friends were gold. And my little sister was a treasure I protected.

I had talents, far too many, confusing, so I wandered as hermit.

My longin ws for a hidden tune. As a writer searches among words, so I searched among sounds, high, low, deep, warm, sharp, strong, or soft breaths quivering in bodies of all forms and ages. A tight string or a tight skin over a hollowed body … they hold echoes from many worlds.

Now I’m hailed as an expert about string instruments, and considered as some kind of genius. An image in the Dutch Parool shows I developed a tower above my brow. That’s where half cooked wisdom lingered and intrigued, deep sounds too, dear and familiar sounds, best shareable through sound alone. Long sensitive fingers help.

Correction: This writer’s sincere apology, the image is actually of Nico Dijkshoorn, a Dutch journalist, the one who wrote a good article about Soren. Uncanny likeness of features and expression.

So let’s say this life was full of sounds, which helped me pitch my instrument to the empty void where my sought tune is hiding. An if ya are tuned too, we’ll swing and sing and dance together. May it bring yu to yur heart’s desire.

In the media they say my collections of guitars are children left in the house without father.

Well, that’s company for my son now.

*   *   *

Only last week, Soren shared, unusually, a dream about a friend and mentor of ours, Abdul Aziz Said, who recently died. I wrote about him here in Nov 2015.

In the dream Abdul Aziz  Said played a mouth harp, and Soren played on a rare flute. He was sad about having forgotten the tune. I hope he’s now found it.

Press this link to a recent poignant documentary about Soren on yourtube … Living treasure.

Every day I ask
What is this Soul
That looks out through my eyes –
I did not arrive here alone
and will not depart alone.
Whoever brought me here
Will have to take me home …       Rumi


Filed under Blog

18 responses to “… so now I am dead …

  1. So moving. Love to all of you. Love is all we need.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. my love to you and your son… and may Soren sail on… hugs from the eaves of Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Lang

    hab heute morgen dein course of mirrors gelesen, wunderschön deine gedanken um Soren.
    wunderschön das gedicht von Rumi.
    Es gibt nicht mehr zu sagen, meine gedanken sind bei euch
    in gassho

    Von meinem iPhone gesendet

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is one of the best moving and heart-touching tribute I’ve ever read, my dear Ashen. As I know and have had some similar effects in my memories, I could take all the words by heart. Blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexandra Whittall


    I am deeply moved, by the song of your words and the magic of your photos… You who knew and understood him so well, so much hidden, so much revealed, A mountain of a man, a grotto of hidden and half hidden wisdoms… a magician of sound…a dragon…a soft heart, hidden by gruff…yet his light shone so bright…

    Feeling for you, Thanking you for this, Sending so much love…

    I hope there will be some kind of music festival or gathering, to honour his great being.

    More love, Tenderness, Empathy,

    And warm hugs

    Nur xxx Alexandra Whittall 07808 294118


    Liked by 1 person

  6. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So tender and moving Ashen – a life well lived, may he rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rob

    Thankyou so much Ashen for your poignant and evocative piece and for the video of the Maestro among his friends…. the instruments and records as well as the humans. We like to talk about people we call “characters” here in Blighty and Shamshir was “character” writ large in exotic coloured lights! But they were only the surface ripples of a river with deep and powerful currents, flowing to the ocean of all things. “Deeply connected but lightly bonded” feels very apposite.
    I hadn’t seen the “big man” for 10 years but it was a background source of joy that he was there……figuring in my life at least….and he always will.
    Peace be upon him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. roberto

    Bellissime parole! Ciao Severino! 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tanya

    dear Ashen

    tried to call you but none of the numbers worked(mobil and landline ).

    It was a shock to hear about Shamshirs passing . I have last seen him in Holland some years ago when Kiran gave a quawalli ws. I hardly recognized him till he started speaking. ….

    Thank you for sharing the monolog,his dream  and the youtube video.

    I couldn´t help to not  shed a few tears….a hermit has gone home….We´ll miss him.

    Love to you and Jeshen


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Elmer Koole

    Dear Ashen,
    Thank you so much for sharing this magic dream, the video and the pictures. After I received the message about his passing away he never left me and the last couple of days a stream of memories is coming by: sailing on a boat in the Wadden Sea, traveling in Rajastan, playing Qawwali in Groningen….
    I saw your big man for the last time in the Sufi temple in the Netherlands last November. It was a beautiful meeting with many old friends who hadn’t seen each other for a long time like Tamara, Felix and Meindert.

    Shamsher talks about Gurdieff in the video and I think he could easily figure as one of the characters in Gurdieff his book Meetings with Remarkable Men. He really was a remarkable man and I feel privileged to have known him.

    All love for you and Jeshen,

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ashen, an incredible piece and it must have felt as you were writing through Soren, the emotions evoked are extraordinary and what moving insight and reflection on his life, with you, your son, friends. This is unlike anything I’ve read and it touches me deeply. May he indeed find the tune. Hope you are doing okay. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Ashen, Exquisite. Somehow you managed to capture the essence of a uniquely complicated man and his complicated relationships in this remarkable piece. It sings with beauty, respect, mystery, and love. May he find the tune he seeks in this next phase of his soul’s journey. Maybe your song helped him on his way. With blessings of love and sympathy, Jeanie

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such a heart-touching tribute. Love to you and your son.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Elaine Mansfield

    Ashen, a beautiful piece honoring Soren and the complex pathways of love and loss. I also hope he finds the tune. Thank you for sharing the stark experience and may you and your son have gentle days of healing remembrance.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hello Ashen, I have only just caught up with your post. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I imagine it has been or is a time of memories and reflection for you. A lot of love has been sent to you and I send mine as well. May you and your son ride the winds of this time and come through with nothing but love.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Beautifully done Ashen, so deep and so controlled and therefore twice as evocative. Great tribute to your understanding of him and of yourself!


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