Oct 11 2013

Ivan M. Granger – How Can I Explain?

Published by at 8:38 am under Poetry

How Can I Explain?
by Ivan M. Granger

Beloved, they want to know:
Did I reach up to You,
or did You reach out to me?

And they want to know:
What is real

How can I explain

— we pour
into each other.

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

/ Photo by s-a-m /

It’s been a while since we featured one of my poems. I thought about this one today…

Did I reach up to You,
or did You reach out to me?

The question that haunts all spiritual seekers: Union through effort or grace? Effort tends to fix the illusion of separation. And grace, well, that sounds so random and passive. How does one earn grace effortlessly? How is effort natural and graceful?

Everyone wants to know.

What is real

What is real? And is the divine touch real? What is bliss? What is union? Is it a fantasy, a fairy tale? Is it a metaphor? Is it just a mental idea? Is it tangible, tactile, felt in the body, or so subtle that words fail? What is it really that seekers seek?

Everyone wants to know.

Let’s step back from the theologies and ten thousand spiritual techniques. The secret shared between lover and Beloved is simple:

— we pour
into each other.


A few years back, the wonderful poet and translator Gabriel Rosenstock sent his translation of this poem into Irish:

Cén Míniú atá Air?

A Shearc, is mian leo a fháil amach:
Ar shín mise suas Chugatsa
nó ar shín Tusa amach chugamsa?

Agus is mian leo a fháil amach:
Cad is tadhall ann
i gceart?

Cén míniú atá air

— doirtimis
ina chéile

I’ll admit, I don’t even know how to pronounce these lines, but seeing this in Irish just brings a satisfied smile to my face. It must be that thin fraction of Irish ancestry somewhere on my mother’s side of the family.

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

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Ivan M. Granger – How Can I Explain?”

  1. Val Leventhalon 11 Oct 2013 at 10:31 am

    Lovely poem, Ivan. Thank you. And yes, so many intellectual struggles to understand the experience of union. Analysis and experience live in different zipcodes, but they do send frequent letters back and forth. It’s important to understand that they are not the same thing.

  2. Chad Okruschon 11 Oct 2013 at 10:39 am

    Lovely. This reminds me of Hafiz.

  3. Aravindaon 11 Oct 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Such a beautiful poem, Ivan. Thank you.

  4. Nedaon 11 Oct 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Ivan !! You have printed many poems that touch this heart but today your poem jumped off the page. So utterly true it is, such mystery, so much unknowing. This life as a seeker drives me crazy sometimes- it’s like a game of cat and mouse.
    Thanks so much for your sharing.

  5. pat johnson 11 Oct 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Really loved your insight within your poem/prose Dear Ivan.

    Thank You!


  6. donkey Hoteyon 11 Oct 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Ian U say, “Everyone wants to know.”

    But that’s feeding the obsessive thinking mind again.. as if
    knowing would bring what we want. There’s no freedom in that.
    its another trap.
    donkey Hotey.

  7. marrobon 11 Oct 2013 at 3:52 pm

    For the questions without answers, we give thanks.
    For those who celebrate the Mystery , and then laugh, carefree,
    avoiding the trap of answers, we truly give thanks.

    Happy ( Canadian ) Thanksgiving

  8. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 11 Oct 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I could rest in your last line alone: lover and Beloved–
    we pour into each other.
    thank you, Ivan
    Happy autumn to you, too

  9. Barb Lucason 11 Oct 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Ivan, you are truly a beautiful mystic. I love this poem as well as your Thought for Today. I have forwarded to many friends.

    thank you so much for sharing so beautifullly. You have touched my life and I have grown!


  10. Gregory Travison 11 Oct 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Such a wonderful expression of the inexpressible. I love this poem.


  11. franon 11 Oct 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Like the sufi water cups , exchanging back and forth , very healing poem…..thx

  12. Carolon 12 Oct 2013 at 4:53 am

    Thank you again Ivan.

    I love this poem as well as the many more in your book.

    Also love the offerings of all the poetry you send, your thoughts for the day, and

    More than one time the poem you offered has helped me clarify and understand
    thoughts that were confused in my mind. Poetry helps us learn, not only with
    the words, but with the spaces around them.

    God’s peace and love, Carol

  13. Pegon 12 Oct 2013 at 8:19 am

    We’ve had to compensate for our spiritual losses of being veiled, losing third eye vision, telepathy, being in more places than just one, etc., so our mind over developed on the one side. Language had to develop so we could write and store information so we would not completely forget spiritual wisdom. A balance between the thinking/labeling mind and the “be” mind is achieved through our spiritual transformation. I was able to see the vortex/channel that opens and connects both hemispheres of the brain. I don’t think we would be able to stay in our physical body after full kundalini awakening if we did not keep the brain hemisphere that wants to put experience into language. Thoughts anyone, Donkey?

    For me, I had many experiences with my obsessive thinking brain. However, my obsessive seeking through my questioning, wanting to put language to my spiritual experience brought me to and through each initiation of my transformation. Lastly, I do realize that language is a poor form of communication. I think that’s why I like poetry, because the poems make you not just read the words but look at the meaning behind the words (telepathy).

    I really enjoy all the comments and discussion!

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