Dec 17 2014

Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov – Where I wander — You!

Published by under Poetry

Where I wander — You!
by Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov

English version by Perle Besserman

Where I wander — You!
Where I ponder — You!
Only You everywhere, You, always You.
You, You, You.
When I am gladdened — You!
And when I am saddened — You!
Only You, everywhere You!
You, You, You.
Sky is You!
Earth is You!
You above! You below!
In every trend, at every end,
Only You, everywhere You!

— from The Way of the Jewish Mystics, Edited by Perle Besserman


/ Image by Lidusha /

Happy Hanukkah! I thought this poem would be a nice celebration for us during this season of light…

I love the way this simple poem fills us with the ecstatic recognition that God is in everything, IS everything. All of existence becomes a grand game of hide-and-seek.

A chant that can open the heart and eyes:

Only You, everywhere You!
You, You, You.


Recommended Books: Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov

Music of the Sky: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry The Way of the Jewish Mystics


Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov

Poland (1740 – 1810) Timeline
Jewish

Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov is a greatly beloved figure in Eastern European Jewish history. He introduced Hassidism to Poland as part of a spiritual reform movement that confronted the more rigid, intellectual, and unengaged forms of Judaism that dominated rabbinical practice in the region. Rabbi Levi was a student of the Hassidic master Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhirech, who was the chief disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. Rabbi Levi’s teachings emphasized joy, intensely devout prayer, and the importance of recognizing good in all people.

More poetry by Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov

3 responses so far

Dec 17 2014

commune with nature

Commune with nature.

But don’t go out and do something in nature.
Go out and let nature do something in you!

No responses yet

Dec 10 2014

Jacopone da Todi – How the Soul Through the Senses Finds God in All Creatures

Published by under Poetry

How the Soul Through the Senses Finds God in All Creatures
by Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

English version by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes

O Love, divine Love, why do You lay siege to me?
In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.

From five sides You move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught; I cannot hide from You.

If I come out through sight I see Love
Painted in every form and color,
Inviting me to come to You, to dwell in You.

If I leave through the door of hearing,
What I hear points only to You, Lord;
I cannot escape Love through this gage.

If I come out through taste, every flavor proclaims:
“Love, divine Love, hungering Love!
You have caught me on Your hook, for you want to reign in me.”

If I leave through the door of scent
I sense You in all creation; You have caught me
And wounded me through that fragrance.

If I come out through the sense of touch
I find Your lineaments in every creature;
To try to flee from You is madness.

— from Jacopone da Todi: Lauds (Classics of Western Spirituality), Translated by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes


/ Image by psychicLexa /

We are in the midst of the Christmas Advent season, so I thought I would select a poem by Jacopone da Todi. His meditations on the power of love always move me, and sometimes startle me.

This is an interesting selection to me, the way it reverses several common ideas in sacred literature. Jacopone addresses Love — Divine Love — as a force laying siege to him.

O Love, divine Love, why do You lay siege to me?

So often, on the spiritual journey, we imagine that Divine Love is something we must struggle to attain or awaken, yet, to the poet, Love is all around him, trying to claim him, not the other way around.

Love’s “attack” naturally takes the form of love:

In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.

Once we get past the violence of the image, I find I really like this reversal. When we seek to attain something, that comes hand-in-hand with the assumption that we lack what we seek. But in Jacopone’s vision of Love as the assailant, Love is already there, and all we have to do is drop our defenses. There is no lack and no effort, simply a pure yielding into the Divine Presence already with us. We come to recognize that all of our effort is used in avoiding Love, not in attaining it.

The other reversal of this poem is how it meditates on the five senses as reminders of God.

From five sides You move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught; I cannot hide from You.

Much of sacred writing, especially from the monastic world, is about transcending the world of the senses, yet in this poem Jacopone describes each sense as a sort of divine trap, designed to unavoidably lead him to the awareness of Love’s presence everywhere. Sight, hearing, taste, scent, and touch — they all reflect something of the divine nature of reality.

There is an interesting duality of approach here. I myself have engaged in meditative practices that withdraw the awareness and energies that tend to flow out through the senses. And this can be such a powerful thing, creating a profound sense of completeness within oneself while breaking the normal compulsion to always be outwardly focused. Yet, when we perceive the sensory world in such a way that we no longer engage in the constant categorization of “I want this sensation, but I don’t want that sensation,” the senses don’t hide; they reveal. When we engage with the senses but leave the ego’s desire to possess experiences behind, we find that the senses themselves reveal the most heavenly expressions of Reality. When we really learn to look (or feel, or hear, or smell, or taste) we discover that everything is part of the playful mask that never fully hides the Beloved’s smiling Face.

To try to flee from You is madness.


Recommended Books: Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Jacopone da Todi: Lauds (Classics of Western Spirituality) All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time


Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti), Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti) poetry, Christian poetry Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

Italy (1230 – 1306) Timeline
Christian : Catholic

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4 responses so far

Dec 10 2014

holy heart

Find the holy heart
of the moment.

No responses yet

Dec 03 2014

Request for Reader Reviews

I have received so many wonderful and warm-hearted responses to The Longing in Between via email — which have touched me deeply. I would love to introduce this anthology to a wider readership, to people who may have never heard of the Poetry Chaikhana. One of the best ways to do that is through reader reviews posted to key book sites online. If you already have a copy of The Longing in Between and want to encourage more people to discover it, consider going to one of these sites and sharing your thoughts about the book:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
GoodReads

Mostly, I hope the book speaks to you in some important way!

No responses yet

Dec 03 2014

Kindle Edition is Now Available

Several of you asked when The Longing in Between would be available in ebook form for the Kindle. Well, the answer is today! Here is the link.

Depending on interest, I may also release the new anthology in other ebook formats, like iBook, Nook, and Kobo. If you would like to read The Longing in Between in one of these formats, please let me know.

No responses yet

Dec 03 2014

A Reminder: Poetry Reading this Saturday

If you are in the Boulder/Longmont area of Colorado this weekend, I invite you to come by for a poetry reading and book signing I will be doing in celebration of the publication of The Longing in Between.

It will be held on Saturday at 2:00 pm at a cozy community coffee shop called La Vita Bella at 475 Main St. in downtown Longmont. Come by and say hello in person. Here are more event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/656145737831417/

See you there!

No responses yet

Dec 03 2014

Santoka – If there are mountains

Published by under Poetry

If there are mountains, I look at the mountains
by Santoka (Santoka Taneda)

English version by John Stevens

If there are mountains, I look at the mountains;
On rainy days I listen to the rain.
Spring, summer, autumn, winter.
Tomorrow too will be good.
Tonight too will be good.

— from Mountain Tasting: The Haiku and Journals of Santoka Taneda, by Santoka Taneda / Translated by John Stevens


/ Image by Uchinan-Chu /

Should I say something about this lovely poem? No, I think I’ll just read it again, and maybe go for a walk…

Have a beautiful day!

Tomorrow too will be good.
Tonight too will be good.


Recommended Books: Santoka (Santoka Taneda)

Mountain Tasting: The Haiku and Journals of Santoka Taneda For All My Walking: Free-Verse Haiku Teneda Santoka with Excerpts from His Diary


Santoka (Santoka Taneda), Santoka (Santoka Taneda) poetry, Buddhist poetry Santoka (Santoka Taneda)

Japan (1882 – 1940) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

More poetry by Santoka (Santoka Taneda)

One response so far

Dec 03 2014

it whispers

That Mystery
devastating in its immensity,
it whispers:
“I am your very self.”

No responses yet

Dec 01 2014

Holiday Book Recommendations 2014

I realized this weekend that Thanksgiving has already come and gone and I haven’t yet sent out my annual list of poetry book recommendations for the holidays. It’s time I got on the ball, don’t you agree?

I put together this list of book recommendations for the holidays as a reminder that books of sacred poetry make wonderful gifts of the heart.

Here is a a holiday sampler to consider as gifts for you and your loved ones:

==

To satisfy that longing (or awaken it)…

Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey
Sacred Poetry from Around the World
(A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology)

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

We have to celebrate the publication of The Longing in Between by listing it first!

This is a delightful collection of soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by Ivan M. Granger’s meditative thoughts and commentary. Rumi, Whitman, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Lalla, and many others. These are poems of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between.

“The Longing in Between… presents some of the choicest fruit from the flowering of mystics across time, across traditions and from around the world. After each of the poems in this anthology Ivan M. Granger shares his reflections and contemplations, inviting the reader to new and deeper views of the Divine Presence. This is a grace-filled collection which the reader will gladly return to over and over again.”
~ LAWRENCE EDWARDS, Ph.D. author of Awakening Kundalini and Kali’s Bazaar

READ MOREPURCHASE

also Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Real Thirst US Real Thirst UK Real Thirst CAN Real Thirst IND
and wherever books are sold

==

For the modern mystic…

Marrow of the Flame: Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters

Every time I feature a poem by Dorothy Walters on the Poetry Chaikhana, I receive a flood of enthusiastic emails. Andrew Harvey praises her poetry as a “…record shameless but unhysterical of an extreme love affair with the Divine.”

For the poetic cryptozoologist…

Sasquatch
by Gabriel Rosenstock

It sounds strange, I know, but this collection of short poems, told from the perspective of a solitary sasquatch, gives us a truly profound meditation on nature and humanity, isolation and connection, perception and mind… with moments of stunning beauty and occasional laughter. You can never go wrong with Gabriel Rosenstock.

==

For the eclectic seeker…

The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions
Edited by Andrew Harvey

An excellent anthology from Andrew Harvey. Poetry and brief excerpts from sacred writings among many world traditions: primal cultures, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Ancient Greece, Christianity, and Islam. Open to any random page and you’ll find an uplifting verse, saying, explanation, or wisdom story.
==

For the wise woman…..

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.

==

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
by Stephen Mitchell

This is a compact anthology, but a wonderful collection that includes Li Po, Wu-Men, Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, Rilke… And the added bonus of Stephen Mitchell’s way with words. One of my personal favorites.

In the Company of Rilke
by Stephanie Dowrick

A lovely, insightful meditation of the poetry of Rilke and why it speaks so powerfully to us today. Recommended for any fan of Rilke.

==

For Nourishment…

Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds
Edited by Neil Astley and Pamela Robertson-Pearce

I came across this collection by accident, through a random recommendation on the Internet — and it has quickly become a favorite! A rich, tasty mixture of poetry by ancient and modern visionaries, from Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry to Kabir and Dogen, and several you may not have heard of before. Open to any page and discover a new treasure.

==

A little Zen in your pocket…

The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhalla Library)
Edited by Sam Hamill and J. P. Seaton

A very nice sampler of Japanese and Chinese Zen poetry. Han Shan, Li Po, Wang Wei, Basho, Soseki, Ryokan, Issa… The book fits well in your hand when you’re walking to the riverside or the local coffee shop.

==

For the Jewish mystic…

The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition
Translated and Annotated by Peter Cole

Finally we have a truly excellent collection of sacred Jewish poetry. While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole’s The Poetry of Kabbalah has more of a poet’s sense of language and even catches of few sparks from the mystic’s fire. This is poetry that startles and transports. The Poetry of Kabbalah has become my favorite source for Jewish mystical poetry in English. Very highly recommended.

==

For the Christian contemplative…

For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics
by Roger Housden

This has quickly become one of my favorite collections of sacred poetry within the many Christian traditions. John of the Cross, Merton, Hildegard von Bingen, Gibran, Dante, Meister Eckhart, Blake… and Roger Housden’s brief, thoughtful insights.

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Merton, in addition to being a deep mystic, was a truly excellent contemporary poet. His poems feel entirely modern, yet touch on the eternal. While drawing on Catholic imagery, one can hear whispers of Eastern philosophy and insight in his words. Poems to reread and meditate deeply upon.

==

For the contemplative activist…

Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Poetry by the beloved modern master Thich Nhat Hanh, exploring service and suffering, humanity and interbeing, breath and stillness, beauty and bliss.

==

Lovers and the Beloved…

Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir
Translated by Vraje Abramian

I read this book early in my exploration of Sufi poetry — and I was hooked! Abu Said Abil-Kheir’s poetry ranges from the ecstatic and celestial, to struggles with abandonment. His poetry has an immediacy and even a sort of devoutly wry petulance. This book remains a personal favorite of mine.

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded
Translated by Ranjit Hoskote

This has become my favorite translation of poems by the great Kashmiri mystic poet, Lal Ded. Sharp insight, flashes of humor, and vast timeless spaces.

Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyan: A Spiritual Interpretation
by Omar Khayyam/Parmahansa Yogananda

A 20th century Indian Yogi commenting on the spiritual meaning of an 11th century Persian Sufi’s poetry. That combination yields both perfume and controversy — but plenty to contemplate. Lovely artwork and border scrollwork. And Fitzgerald’s delightful translation of this classic. Recommended.

==

And for blessings…

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue

I keep being told by people how much they love this book of poetic blessings from the Irish philosopher, poet, and mystic, John O’Donohue. These poetically crafted blessings and meditations on the passages of life manage to elevate the spirit, warm the heart, and, on occasion, bring a tear to the eye.

==

For even more book recommendations, click here.

May you and your loved ones have a special holiday season during this time when the sacred light renews itself in the midst of darkness —

— and may the new year bring you bright blessings!

Ivan

One response so far

Nov 26 2014

John O’Donohue – On Waking

Published by under Poetry

On Waking
by John O’Donohue

I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life,
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

— from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue


/ Image by itulu26 /

I thought of this poem for Thanksgiving week.

This is a good time to remember how profound a simple thing like being thankful can be. The more we cultivate the habit of gratitude the more we find new channels opening up within the awareness. Sometimes, when life is filled with challenges or crises, it can be difficult to think of what we’re thankful for. But there is always something. There are always lots of things, actually, things and people and experiences, that fill us with life and joy and new awareness.

When we really get good at the spiritual practice of gratitude everything becomes fuel to feed the fires of love and awareness. I remember a line from a poem, I think by Ramprasad, that says, “Even a curse is a blessing.” When we have cultivated a truly courageous practice of thankfulness, even difficult and traumatic experiences can be unlocked to reveal hidden treasures. It all ultimately awakens us.

But, more to the point, gratitude dispels the dark trances we slip into and reminds us of the simple joys and beauties we’ve lost sight of. Thankfulness brings us back to the life of the present moment and the fulfillment we find there.

This poem for today…

I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn

A poem of gratitude for a new day, a world of new life to be experienced.

For the gift of eyes
To see the world

Or thankfulness for vision and presence in the world.

The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.

Or appreciation for self and self-awareness.

The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn

Open-hearted anticipation of how each day magically unfolds possibility into reality.

The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger

And how the past offers itself up to feed the soul that seeks fullness by continuously reclaiming itself.

And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

For all these reasons, for the advancing stories of our lives, rise each dawn with a smile, with strength, and with thanks!

Have a beautiful day today! And if you celebrate Thanksgiving, may it be one of bounty, love, friends and family… and the gratitude that allows us to see our lives clearly.


Recommended Books: John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong Conamara Blues Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom Echoes of Memory
More Books >>


John O'Donohue, John O'Donohue poetry, Christian poetry John O’Donohue

Ireland (1956 – 2008) Timeline
Christian : Catholic
Secular or Eclectic

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3 responses so far

Nov 26 2014

selfish

Be just selfish enough
to insist on what is
spiritually important to you.

No responses yet

Nov 21 2014

Han-shan (Cold Mountain) – This rare and heavenly creature

Published by under Poetry

This rare and heavenly creature
by Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

English version by Red Pine

This rare and heavenly creature
alone without peer
look and it’s not there
it comes and goes but not through doors
it fits inside a square-inch
it spreads in all directions
unless you acknowledge it
you’ll meet but never know

— from The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, Translated by Red Pine


/ Image by mynameistran /

I really like this verse by the great Taoist/Buddhist poet and prankster Han Shan. It is almost a riddle, a challenge to figure out what this “rare and heavenly creature” is. But the only way to solve the riddle is not through the thought process, but through the awakening process…

It is “alone without peer.” It is One, whole, complete, and solitary without any “other.”

Look and it’s not there.

The normal act of looking requires an observer to be separate from the observed. Looking in that sense requires duality, fragmentation, and separation. In that separation, the One is lost and this “it” is not seen.

It fits inside a square-inch
it spreads in all directions.

This is an acknowledgment of the holistic nature of this deep reality. It is found in the heart, in every creature, every cell, every atom — in the tiniest of containers. Yet this “it” is everywhere, and it is not a different “it” anywhere else. It is both specific and, at the same time, all-inclusive.

Unless you acknowledge it
you’ll meet but never know.

This is my favorite line. When the awareness truly opens to this eternal reality, it is profoundly… familiar! There is the shocking realization that you have always known it and felt it. The quest isn’t to find or “meet” this “heavenly creature,” it is to finally recognize or “acknowledge” it — already present.


Recommended Books: Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry
More Books >>


Han-shan (Cold Mountain), Han-shan (Cold Mountain) poetry, Buddhist poetry Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

China (730? – 850?) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan
Taoist

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6 responses so far

Nov 21 2014

action stillness

Action proceeds from stillness.

No responses yet

Nov 19 2014

Marie Howe – Annunciation

Published by under Poetry

Annunciation
by Marie Howe

Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does–

and so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as toward a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.

— from Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words, by Kim Rosen


/ Photo by Kaeldra-1 /

This is one of those poems that somehow carries deep healing within its lines. Don’t rush through this one. Pause for a moment, take a breath, and then read this poem slowly.

Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does–

A flash of genuine insight. Perhaps it will return, or perhaps it is a fleeting glimpse. But once seen, it is known to be real. Once felt, we know we have been touched.

and so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as toward a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

And we can spend a lifetime happily learning to lean more in that direction. Or you can say that we learn to swim in light…

…I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me

Those closing lines — wow!

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.


Recommended Books: Marie Howe

Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words What the Living Do: Poems The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems The Good Thief: Poems


Marie Howe, Marie Howe poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Marie Howe

US (1950 – )
Secular or Eclectic

More poetry by Marie Howe

2 responses so far

Nov 19 2014

the mystic’s awareness

The mystic’s awareness
does not sift reality,
it bathes in it.

No responses yet

Nov 14 2014

Thich Nhat Hanh – Looking for Each Other

Published by under Poetry

Looking for Each Other
by Thich Nhat Hanh

I have been looking for you, World Honored One,
since I was a little child.
With my first breath, I heard your call,
and began to look for you, Blessed One.
I’ve walked so many perilous paths,
confronted so many dangers,
endured despair, fear, hopes, and memories.
I’ve trekked to the farthest regions, immense and wild,
sailed the vast oceans,
traversed the highest summits, lost among the clouds.
I’ve lain dead, utterly alone,
on the sands of ancient deserts.
I’ve held in my heart so many tears of stone.

Blessed One, I’ve dreamed of drinking dewdrops
that sparkle with the light of far-off galaxies.
I’ve left footprints on celestial mountains
and screamed from the depths of Avici Hell, exhausted, crazed with despair
because I was so hungry, so thirsty.
For millions of lifetimes,
I’ve longed to see you,
but didn’t know where to look.
Yet, I’ve always felt your presence with a mysterious certainty.

I know that for thousands of lifetimes,
you and I have been one,
and the distance between us is only a flash of thought.
Just yesterday while walking alone,
I saw the old path strewn with Autumn leaves,
and the brilliant moon, hanging over the gate,
suddenly appeared like the image of an old friend.
And all the stars confirmed that you were there!
All night, the rain of compassion continued to fall,
while lightning flashed through my window
and a great storm arose,
as if Earth and Sky were in battle.
Finally in me the rain stopped, the clouds parted.
The moon returned,
shining peacefully, calming Earth and Sky.
Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly
I saw myself,
and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.
How strange!

The moon of freedom has returned to me,
everything I thought I had lost.
From that moment on,
and in each moment that followed,
I saw that nothing had gone.
There is nothing that should be restored.
Every flower, every stone, and every leaf recognize me.
Wherever I turn, I see you smiling
the smile of no-birth and no-death.
The smile I received while looking at the mirror of the moon.
I see you sitting there, solid as Mount Meru,
calm as my own breath,
sitting as though no raging fire storm ever occurred,
sitting in complete peace and freedom.
At last I have found you, Blessed One,
and I have found myself.
There I sit.

The deep blue sky,
the snow-capped mountains painted against the horizon,
and the shining red sun sing with joy.
You, Blessed One, are my first love.
The love that is always present, always pure, and freshly new.
And I shall never need a love that will be called “last.”
You are the source of well-being flowing through numberless troubled lives,
the water from your spiritual stream always pure, as it was in the beginning.
You are the source of peace,
solidity, and inner freedom.
You are the Buddha, the Tathagata.
With my one-pointed mind
I vow to nourish your solidity and freedom in myself
so I can offer solidity and freedom to countless others,
now and forever.

— from Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh, by Thich Nhat Hanh


/ Photo by paul davis /

Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly
I saw myself,
and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.
How strange!

I have just heard that a few days ago the beloved Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh went into the hospital with a brain hemorrhage. He has such a gentle, boyish face, that it is easy to forget that he is in his 80s. The most recent news I have heard is that he is in critical but stable condition.

Every flower, every stone, and every leaf recognize me.
Wherever I turn, I see you smiling
the smile of no-birth and no-death.

I hope you will join me in sending blessings to this great soul, for he has been a great blessing to the world through his gentle presence, clear wisdom, and peace activism.

At last I have found you, Blessed One,
and I have found myself.
There I sit.


Recommended Books: Thich Nhat Hanh

Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy & Liberation


Thich Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh poetry, Buddhist poetry Thich Nhat Hanh

Vietnam/France/US (1929 – )
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

More poetry by Thich Nhat Hanh

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