Archive for the 'Other Voices' Category

Feb 05 2015

Video: Gabriel Rosenstock – Haiku, Art, and Wonder

An excellent discussion by Gabriel Rosenstock on how haiku helps to tame that monkey mind and opens us to wonder of life… all in Irish (with English subtitles).

Oh, and we get paper airplanes delivering kamikaze poetry too!

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Nov 26 2013

Life & Death, Belief & Meaning

Published by under Other Voices,Poetry

I forwarded many of your email messages and blog comments to ebj. He sent this note and two more poems in response…


I am deeply moved, both by folks’ words and what I sense of their energy within those words.

Since some have requested more, I offer two recent pieces (one earlier this evening in response to what I’ve been moved to write because of what you’ve forwarded. The other in reference to my present state of being – on the verge of not being.


We can touch without touching,
Connect without meeting,
Love without longing.

The word is spreading
In giving we receive.
In receiving we give.
Our degrees of separation
Apparently reflect
Our degrees of connection.

With open hearts,
Centered mindfulness
Possibilities abound into the Infinite
A concept beyond conceivable
The irony is that we
Still have a word for it
To share, inspire and raise the level
Of our sacred connections
Even higher.

ebj 11/25/2013

Life & Death, Belief & Meaning

sitting on what may
become my deathbed in a few weeks
Wylie, the prince of cats, crawls on my lap.
then a question arises:
should I write down these simple thoughts
or pet him?

when he moves to my feet
I begin:

some believe in an afterlife
what if there isn’t?

some believe in paradise
the other place…

some believe in karmic rebirth
to atone for transgressions
reap rewards
until enlightenment.

some believe it all ends
at their last breath.
what if it doesn’t?

as each spends their moments
immersed in their beliefs
where are they?
what are they doing
with the water or the wood?

as we attempt to prepare
for our sacred moment-
those of us given the blessed chance to prepare
(which many of us could before it is upon us)-
what are we preparing for?
where are our thoughts, our minds?

the body is frequently denounced
for its imperfections and distractions,
its drives and constant needs,
the source of so much suffering and pain
but let us speak a moment for the body
as it carries the water and the wood
as it serves as the vehicle
for our soul in this present form
for it is always here now
until it isn’t…

ebj 11/20/2013

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Nov 25 2013

From moment to moment

Published by under Other Voices,Poetry

I had an unexpected email dialog over the weekend, one I found deeply moving and inspiring. I am still sifting through my thoughts and emotional responses– A reader of the Poetry Chaikhana sent me a poem and a simple, honest discussion of his own death. The clarity and dignity expressed in his poem and accompanying note left me without words.

He has given me permission to share some of it with you.


Thanks for posting such great poetry.

I found “Naked in the Bee-Hive” [by Hakim Sanai] especially poignant since I now sit on my death bed with the condition of pulmonary fibrosis and a plan to fast out soon.

I write this not for your condolences. I accept this as a gift. So I send this note just to share thanks for posting thought-provoking poetry about living, loving and dying – the three most precious and sacred experiences we humans are gifted to have.

Perhaps, someday, the Mystic Poets’ words will guide all of us toward greater peace and love.

With that, I’m sending you my latest effort to express this moment in my life:

Moment of Wonder

it is written:
“…live from moment to moment…”
how is that?
what is the “to”?
is the “from moment” different
than the “to moment”?
is separation so absolute that
I am different from
you are different from
she is different from
they are different from
we are different?
is everything different
from the ultimate beginning
before time was time
and space was space?
what was the stone before
it was the stone?
what was the flower before
it was the flower?
what was the sun before
it was the sun?
who were you before
you were you
or before the earth?
what was this moment before
this moment?
and after?

~ ebj 11/14/2013

…The perspective I’ve come to adopt on life and death have been heavily influenced by the Mystics of history and present times. Through them, and many personal relationships, I have discovered the beauty of living with integrity, mindful that all experience is transient while still inherently meaningful, and serving others through one’s heart can serve us well along our path and help alleviate much of life’s suffering as is illuminated by the First Noble Truth.

With this belief as a guide, I’ve been blessed to experience the ineffable sense of Oneness where death is as sacred as birth along with all forms of conscious experience (perhaps even non-conscious experience!)

In peace and with love along our paths…


My sincere thanks and admiration to ebj for allowing me to share his insight and poetry at this profound moment in his life.

Sending love to ebj and to all of you!


20 responses so far

Feb 27 2012

Songs of the Soul 2012

If you are going to be in the San Francisco area between March 16 and 18, this is an event you shouldn’t miss!

Poetry readings and discussions, Sufi music, explorations of Sufi philosophy and prayer practices.

Coleman Barks
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore
John Fox
Riffat Sultana (an amazing singer!)

…and many other excellent poets, spiritual teachers, scholars, and musicians.

For more information, visit

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Apr 06 2008

Haiku, and the Art of Disappearing

Would you like to disappear? Haiku can show you the way!

‘How painful it is to see people all wrapped up in themselves,’ commented Ryokan. Well, it’s unwrapping time, for all of us now, time to let go. How? Let’s see!

Haiku is an ardent, inspired and inspiring engagement with everyday life, an intercourse with nature-centred events, mainly, events that are happening around us all the time but which we perceive more keenly on the haiku path. Read true haiku with reverence, write true haiku – do it right and you can disappear, happily, now — and over and over again in the course of your life.


There’s a professor in Chicago who has been studying happiness. What is happiness? It’s all about flow, maintains Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life: ‘The metaphor of ‘flow’ is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives …’


Catechism… Sometimes it appears that the cat knows more than we do, learning from experience, fitting into the world, and disappearing from it, more gracefully than we can:

      the cat
            walks into the autumn wind –
                  extended whiskers

                  Murayama Kokyō
                  (Version: GR)

      she doesn’t know –
            the cat on the stove

      (Version: GR)

/ Photo by fazen /

      from darkness
            and back into the dark
                  the affairs of the cat!

                  (Version: GR)

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Mar 30 2008

Meeting The Mountain: Taoist Poetry & True Intimacy

Not surprisingly, the poetry of the Taoist tradition is steeped in Taoism’s core values: a close observation and deep honoring of the rhythms of the natural world; a delight in simplicity, play and paradox; and a child-like wonder which has discovered the human form to be the meeting-place of Heaven and Earth.

The poems offered by Taoist practitioners ~ hermits, yogis, priests, farmers, wandering rascals ~ tend to be short rather than long. They often begin with an image from the natural world, encountered “nakedly” and relayed to us ~ the reader ~ in a way that preserves the freshness and spontaneity of that ordinary magical moment. There is ease and simplicity, which allows for great subtlety, and a kind of intimacy difficult to describe.

In The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters, Tony Barnstone and Chang Ping have given us an English translation of three classic Chinese works on the art of poetry Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Mar 30 2008

Other Voices on the Blog

Published by under Other Voices

As you read these blog articles, make a point of checking the author’s name at the beginning of the post. You’ll start to see some new names. I will be slowly be bringing other voices to the Poetry Chaikhana Blog. I don’t feel this blog should reflect only my particular point of view and interests. I see this blog as being an opportunity to invite other writers, poets, and spiritual practitioners to share their own insight, interests, wisdom, and creativity.

So check back, and check the author’s name…

One response so far