Mar 05 2014

Colin Oliver – Endpoem

Published by at 9:15 am under Poetry

Endpoem
by Colin Oliver

Given to God,
      the worn sandals of thought
      left at a distant threshold,
one’s care is for Him alone
that His care may be for all.

Before Him, in His mystery,
the unclenching
of the fists of knowing –
      the unhanding of all things to Him,
      being in oneself nothing
      and no-one,
      the fool with open palms –
before Him, that one
might happily contain Him.

Being empty and light,
one is God, His all and His love,
held within the light –
      and one sinks as the light
      to God, through God and,
      for His sake, beyond God.

One is
a pebble turned between God’s fingers
to be tossed
into the pool of His everlasting clearness
      that His hand might be free.

— from Stepping Into Brilliant Air, by Colin Oliver


/ Photo by DragonStella /

Oh, I really like the images of this poem.

Given to God,
      the worn sandals of thought
      left at a distant threshold…

This evokes the idea of removing one’s sandals when entering sacred ground, as Moses is instructed to do when he encounters the burning bush.

When you think about it, sandals are a perfect representative for thoughts. Sandals are a buffer to protect our feet from rough terrain and sharp objects, but they also become a barrier preventing direct contact with the living soil. So too do thoughts act as a buffer in our perception, softening our encounters with reality but also limiting that direct contact. To touch sacred reality directly, we must remove the barriers of both sandals and the busy mind.

Before Him, in His mystery,
the unclenching
of the fists of knowing –
      the unhanding of all things to Him,
      being in oneself nothing
      and no-one,
      the fool with open palms –
before Him, that one
might happily contain Him.

Great phrase: “the unclenching of the fists of knowing.” And also “the unhanding of all things to Him.”

Several beautifully turned phrases here to remind us to let go in order to receive. When we let go of “all things,” we not only release our attachments to things, but we drop our notions of “thingness.” The goal is to stop artificially separating reality into a collection of unrelated objects and, instead, as a fool upon first waking, we recognize the “thingless” unity everywhere. And in that unity we perceive the presence of the Divine.

Being empty and light,
one is God…

Oh, I like that too. (Momentary pause while I go back and reread some of these lines once again… OK, I’m back.)

One is
a pebble turned between God’s fingers
to be tossed
into the pool of His everlasting clearness
      that His hand might be free.

Mm. (That did it. I’m gone again.)






Colin Oliver

England (1946 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

Colin Oliver lives with his wife in a rural community in England. He says of his writing, “Much of my poetry flows from an experience of at-one-ness with the world. A blend of observation and imagination bring the subjects of poems to me, but I’m keen to distill my work through the craft of writing. I’m also a great reader of poetry from different cultures and would name Rumi, Basho, Han Shan and Emily Dickinson as some of the poets who inspire me.”

His poetry has been published in various magazines, mostly in the United Kingdom. He has also had some books published, including Stepping Into Brilliant Air (available from The Sholland Trust or Amazon UK).

More poetry by Colin Oliver

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Colin Oliver – Endpoem”

  1. Therese Monaghan O.P.on 05 Mar 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Oh, I like this so much and your commentary, Ivan.
    Perfect poem for my celebration of Ash Wednesday. Surrendering and letting go of my need to be heard, to control, to be right–all the demands of the ego
    that I hold on to made sense in the wonderful phrase: “the unclenching of the fists of knowing.”
    I am deepening my understanding of why the need to surrender my will these days …and the last lines of Colin Oliver struck me: ” One is a pebble turned between God’s fingers to be tossed into the pool of His everlasting clearness that His hand might be free.”
    To sink into that vision is my wish.
    Thank you for introducing me to this poet.

  2. marrobon 05 Mar 2014 at 3:52 pm

    WOW! This is beautiful!

    And each time I reread it – who can help but linger -
    those images expand, like a ripple of some mystery,
    some universal peace. Yes, one lingers, palms open
    in prayer, a deep breath of gratitude.

    Thanks Ivan and readers for expanding ripples in the pond -
    excellent accompanying photo.

  3. jane churcheron 05 Mar 2014 at 10:31 pm

    The last few lines have left me entranced, they touched something very deep inside.
    Thank you Ivan (again!) for the introduction to yet another beautiful poet.

  4. Alice Whooleyon 08 Mar 2014 at 3:54 am

    lovely poetry and interpretation.

    thank you

  5. ebrahimon 08 Mar 2014 at 7:27 am

    There is a lovely anecdote called paw in the bottle. The monkey slips his hand through the opening of the jar in order to grab the nut, but he cannot retrieve his clasped hand with nut for now it is too big to go through the opening. But the monkey will not leave the nut to free his hand.

  6. janet bradleyon 08 Mar 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I Love this poem and want to print it out to hang on my wall to read first thing in the morning!