Apr 03 2017

Poetry, Politics, and Personal Transformation

Published by at 9:02 am under Poetry Chaikhana Misc.

I want to send a sincere thank you out to the several people who have sent in a donation in the last few days in response to my request for help. And also for the many sweet messages – including birthday wishes. The generosity and warm-heartedness of the Poetry Chaikhana community continues move me and inspire me. Thank you, all.

With the donations that have come in so far, the most immediate bills and expenses are now covered. The internet service provider is paid and happy, and I can continue to send out this large mailing of poem emails. But Poetry Chaikhana finances are still tight and more donations are needed.

If you have been thinking about sending in your own donation to the Poetry Chaikhana, now would be a wonderful time to help out.

And, once again, to everyone who has recently sent in a donation, and to everyone who makes a regular donation, your support is so appreciated. You keep the Poetry Chaikhana going in the world.


Poetry and Personal Transformation

We forget how fundamental poetry is, not only to culture, but to consciousness. Poetry is meditation in the form of words. I posted this on the Poetry Chaikhana website years ago, and it’s just as true today:

“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.”

/ Photo by woodleywonderworks /

The Politics of Poetry

In addition to the spiritual importance of this sacred poetry, there is also a cultural, even a political motivation behind the Poetry Chaikhana. Here’s how I described it in a interview a few years ago:

“Sacred poetry has the unique benefit of being a deeply personal expression of spiritual truth while, at the same time, being largely free from dogma. In the United States, for example, there is an increasing prejudice and fear about the Muslim world. But who can read Jelaluddin Rumi without immediately recognizing the deep truth that Islam can express? The same is true for a non-Hindu reading Lal Ded or a non-Christian reading St. John of the Cross. Sacred poetry is the natural goodwill ambassador for the world’s religions. Poetry can reach across cultural divides, soften prejudices, and shed light on misunderstandings. I hope the Poetry Chaikhana can help to facilitate that process.”

Sacred poetry is transformative on both a personal and a global level.

The Poetry Chaikhana is an important resource for people all over the world seeking to more deeply understand their own wisdom traditions as well as the spirituality of other cultures in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

The next time a poem touches that warm ember deep in your chest, and your thoughts stop, and your mind clears, and a quiet smile spreads across your face… reach out and feel who else on this planet is feeling exactly the same thing. Could be someone who wears different clothes or different colored skin, someone who speaks with a different accent or an entirely different language, someone who sits or kneels or bows to worship. Reach out and recognize that person as a brother or sister who, like us all, is walking through the human journey, pausing occasionally to sing songs of the Divine.

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