May 03 2013

Ivan M. Granger – Bent

Published by at 8:46 am under Poetry

by Ivan M. Granger

Yes, seekers, do
sit up,
stand tall.

But hear
my bent secret:

      All saints slouch.

God’s lovers lean
into the divine embrace
and there
let the years pass.

      Struggling for straightness,
      your strivings shaken,

      learn what true knowers know:

Effort clears the way,
but the steps
are already taken.

— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger

/ Photo by Demi Brooke /

Since I am doing a public book signing tomorrow, I thought I would share one of my own poems with you today.

So many straight spines and rigorous strivings in the spiritual game. All valuable in the right context. But, you know, at some point you just lean into that divine embrace and finally find what all that effort failed to attain.

I like the image of a slingshot. You and I, we are the pebbles. We pull and strain; we fast and meditate, pray and breathe, turn inward, reach outward to help how we can… and yet all we feel is tension. Then, unexpectedly, we surrender, perhaps we stumble, we let go. The slingshot snaps back; that’s when we soar!

Letting go doesn’t mean much if we haven’t first created the proper dynamic tension and focus through spiritual effort. But ceaseless tugging only leads to rigidity and strain. Effort is required, but it is only through yielding that we reach the goal.

Another way to understand this is that enlightenment, salvation, liberation, the true Self, these are not attained through effort. They are not attained at all. They simply are. They are already our nature. Effort is necessary, yes, but only to clear away the delusion that they are not already who we are. Effort clears the way, but the steps are already taken.

So, yes, seekers, do sit up, stand tall. But, with the reclining saints, we slouch our way into heaven. Resting in that recognition, we let the years pass…

A good weekend to go outside, lean back into the earth, look up, let go, and soar!

(And, if you are in Colorado, swing by La Vita Bella Coffeeshop in downtown Longmont this Saturday, between 1:00 and 3:00 pm. I’ll be there, signing books and chatting. I might even be coaxed to read a few poems, if you like.)

Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

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 few 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.

Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger


Ivan M. Granger is the creator and webmaster of the Poetry Chaikhana website.

Email Ivan M. Granger

More poetry by Ivan M. Granger

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Ivan M. Granger – Bent”

  1. Rose Cookon 03 May 2013 at 9:47 am

    I love this poem Ivan, thank you. Just what I needed today.
    ‘and there let the years pass’…Yes!
    Blessings, Rose Cook

  2. Carolon 03 May 2013 at 11:02 am

    Thank you, Ivan.

    I’ve loved this poem since I first got your book! Surely wish I lived closer
    and could bring my book to have you sign it.

    Hope the day of book signing goes well.

    ‘Effort clears the way,
    but the steps are already taken’ . . . Yes.

  3. Cindyon 03 May 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I really like this poem, especially the words slouch and surrender and the idea of not being in control. This is so true. The final arrival after all of our strained effort is not due to our effort at all, but is a gift. At least this is my understanding.

  4. Keithon 03 May 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Yay! What a wonderful poem! Thanks very much Ivan I really was touched by this one.

  5. Gingeron 03 May 2013 at 2:13 pm

    How special to read one of YOUR poems, Ivan! Have a great time at your book signing.

  6. Catherine Evendenon 03 May 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Loved this poem! Thanks for sharing it with us. Blessings.

  7. old oakon 03 May 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Beautifully resonant thoughts with profound humour.

  8. Sylviaon 03 May 2013 at 3:00 pm

    God’s lovers lean
    into the divine embrace
    and there
    let the years pass.

    Love that image, those lines. Thanks ivan!

  9. Lois Holubon 03 May 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Oh, I love this poem, and remember the first time I read it on your website. I have shared it with my yoga teacher who looooved it, and with friends who totally get it. It is SUCH a great reminder, so perfect. The bent secret, the slouching saints. Thank you always for this beautiful poem, Ivan.

  10. j carlinon 03 May 2013 at 9:00 pm

    saints are those who
    hear the Word
    and do it

    has nothing to do about posture

  11. Taoon 03 May 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Very deep insights, Yvan. You always hit the nail right on its head.
    Yours reminds me of a Rubayat poem by Rumi I read many years ago.
    It went somehow like this :
    “I said to my lover : All my life I’ve been fasting and praying and doing penance only to reach you” But he only smiled, then he took all my penance and effort and burned them like straw. Then he said to me: ” and now ? will you finally surrender NOW ?”
    Let me put a finger specifically on something you quietly imply in your poem (and comment) without mentioning it directly = the menace of the forever lurking spiritual ego.
    The more effort a sannyasin makes in his disciplines, the more he runs the risk of getting a high opinion about his spiritual level, as if it were an achievement.
    I like to use the analogy (parallel) of awakening from a nightly dream= Say you dream one night that you are meditating and praying intensely and teaching others about the need to come back to YOURSELF, but unable to really let go and to simply wake up as your Awakened Self, then all your effort only intensifies and proportionnally prolongs your dreamstate, just because you are still always busy trying to be a better me, inside your dreamland.
    Letting go and waking up is more like a subtle withdrawal from the whole scene than an effort to conquer the illusion of Maya.
    As you beautifully say = “Effort is required, but it is only through yielding that we reach the goal”

  12. Ann Rundleon 03 May 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Love this poem. Good luck and blessings for the book signing. May many people find your words strung together as a chain bringing them the guidance to live more fully.

  13. Kris Hineson 04 May 2013 at 12:30 am

    Hi Ivan,

    I loved Bent – especially the first ten lines. It reminds me of those great lovers of God, the masts, or God-intoxicated, in India. Meher Baba spent many years travelling and connecting with them – a journey described in The Wayfarers by English doctor William Donkin who travelled with him. And in the many amazing photos, so many are indeed bent.

    Go well,


  14. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 04 May 2013 at 7:42 am

    Leaning into the Divine Embrace–and to do that one must bend. I love those two words: lean and bend.
    You make me want to look up the scripture passage of the bent woman. Yes Ivan I will spend my day out in this gorgeous sun and take to heart the sentiment of your poem—Thank you for providing your poem for meditation. I enjoyed getting to know you in your interview this morning. Blessings to you in your book
    chatting. Wish I lived in Colorado to meet you.
    Peace and joy,

  15. Aliceon 05 May 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I loved this poem! I shared it with a lot of people.

  16. rosellen little, new nameon 05 May 2013 at 5:42 pm

    thank-you. I struggle alot.
    can I lean in?
    can I let go?
    can I?

  17. Sobhanaon 07 May 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Would have loved to read ALOUD wonderful, wonderful poem of yours, Ivan Unfortunately, noticed it a little late … just now, today, Tuesday….

    “All saints slouch” expression touched me most And I don’t know how to express farther except we have to go LONG way if we ever know or find the truth of THAT….
    Aside all how beautiful the comments you provide as always Enjoyed reading and absorbing
    Thank you very much for sharing

    Hi Cindy, I encountered the term slouch in W B Yeats’ “Second Coming”; I liked it too then & now in Ivan’s poem, “Bent.”
    Hi Tao, my lord god, Giridhaari, the meditating mountain, doesn’t do (or yet to…) anything –just watch

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply