Feb 13 2013
Every Shaped Thing
by Ivan M. Granger
every shaped thing
the thousand thousand
what do you have?
Each gilded god
by the sun.
I can only
— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger
/ Photo by hsld /
It has been a little while since I have featured one of my own poems, so here is one for you today…
I wrote this poem when I lived on the island of Maui years ago. I was standing outside with a scattered forest of eucalyptus and wattle trees in front of me, with Haleakala volcano to my back. I was standing there in a state of deep meditation, when I opened my eyes — and I just saw how everything is reaching, turning, pointing heavenward. The material world, when objectified becomes a confusing tangle of desire objects; but when seen truly, quietly, it acts as a great signpost guiding us, pointing out the direction.
All of creation — every person, every thing, even every idea, “every shaped thing” — is just a reflection of the divine radiance present everywhere.
Whenever we desire a thing… or person or experience, we artificially deify it, the desire and mental fixation becoming a low form of worship. We may tell ourselves, “I want this, I want that,” but what we unknowingly crave is not the thing itself, but that spark of the Eternal barely glimpsed within it. The desired object becomes a “gilded god” — false in the sense that it is not truly the wholeness we seek; but also, like an “idol” or icon, when approached sincerely and openly, material creation embodies something essential: it points to the Divine which it reflects.
No individual can ever gather enough objects of desire to satisfy desire. Every time we acquire that desired object or experience — a new job, a new lover, money, an ice cream sundae — there is a fleeting sense of satisfaction… and then it’s gone. And we’re already feeling desire again and looking for the next object to hang the desire on. We’re looking for the next thing that sparkles. But it is not the object we actually seek, it is that shine. And that shine is the spark of the Divine.
When we learn to see in gold the glimmer of the sun, then we see that everything shines — everything! — ourselves included. And then we are truly satisfied.
|Ivan M. Granger|
Ivan M. Granger grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.
“Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”
Poetry Chaikhana readers often ask me about myself. Who is the guy behind all those poetry emails? What drew you to sacred poetry? And just what does “Poetry Chaikhana” mean?
As a way to answer some of those questions, I thought I’d post an audio interview I did a couple of years ago. I talk a little about myself, and a lot about poetry — the transformational power of poetry, the ways poetry naturally expresses the sacred experience, the non-dogmatic nature of poetry. And I read a few poems.
I hope you find it inspiring and thought-provoking…
Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger
Ivan M. Granger is the creator and webmaster of the Poetry Chaikhana website.