The Longing in Between, Sacred Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger The Longing in Between
Sacred Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


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A delightful collection of soul-inspiring poems from the world's great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by Ivan M. Granger's meditative thoughts and commentary. Rumi, Whitman, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Lalla, and many others. These are poems of seeking and awakening... and the longing in between.

Devoted readers of the Poetry Chaikhana can finally enjoy this amazing poetry paired with Ivan's illuminating commentary in book form. The Longing In Between is a truly engaging and thought-provoking exploration of sacred poetry from around the world.

Read More: Table of Contents + Introduction + Sample + About the Author

The Longing in Between is a work of sheer beauty. Many of the selected poems are not widely known, and Ivan M. Granger has done a great service, not only by bringing them to public attention, but by opening their deeper meaning with his own rare poetic and mystic sensibility.
     ~ ROGER HOUSDEN, author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series

Table of Contents

I. Slowly Green
“Bring all of yourself” by Sanai
“Even poorly planted” by Issa
“May it be beautiful” Navajo Prayer
“What is the grass?” by Walt Whitman
“Sophia in Egypt” by Vladimir Solovyov
“On many an idle day” by Rabindranath Tagore
“The Canticle of Brother Sun” by Francis of Assisi
“The Higher Pantheism” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Within this earthen vessel” by Kabir
“Such was the Boy” by William Wordsworth
“You are all the forest” by Akka Mahadevi

II. Like the Wind Searching
“Swallowing the open field” by Yamei
“Chanting the Beloved’s name” by Bulleh Shah
“Awake O sleeper of the land of shadows” by William Blake
“The Place of Rest” by AE (George William Russell)
“Learning the scriptures is easy” by Lalla
“Belief and learning led the way” by Sanai
“The way of the masters” by Yunus Emre
“Who has not found the Heaven—below—“ by Emily Dickinson
“One Thread Only” by Bulleh Shah
“There is no place for place!” by Sanai
“One shrine to the next” by Lalla
“Every man who knows his secret” by Sarmad
“Friend, this is the only way” by Sachal Sarmast
“Boundless” by Colin Oliver

III. Flood and Flame
“E Ho Mai” by Edith Kanaka’ole
“Bird Bath” by Elizabeth Reninger
“Like a river in flood” by Akka Mahadevi
“Last night, as I was sleeping” by Antonio Machado
“The Elixir” by George Herbert
“Thinking” by Ryokan
“Not only do the thirsty seek water” by Rumi
“My body is flooded” by Kabir
“Love’s Living Flame” by John of the Cross
“How is it I can love You” by Symeon the New Theologian
“Pima Medicine Man’s Song"
“I saw a great light” by Jay Ramsay
“The Light of Your Way” by Symeon the New Theologian
“Reason” by Shabistari
“I lost my world, my fame, my mind” by Rumi
“On Those Words ‘I am for My Beloved’” by Teresa of Avila
“Love” by Thomas Traherne
“Waiting” by Dorothy Walters
IV. Only the Mountain Remains
“Mountains” by Issa
“The Absolute works with nothing” by Rumi
“God, whose love and joy” by Angelus Silesius
“Sitting (Reverence Mountain)” by Li Bai
“An Exquisite Truth” by Hsu Yun
“Love came and emptied me of self” by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir
“‘I’ and ‘You’” by Shabistari
“Liberation From All Obstructions” by Hogan Bays
“You are Christ’s Hands” by Teresa of Avila

V. Beyond Knowing
“Only God I saw” by Baba Kuhi of Shiraz
“The Further You Go” by Andrew Colliver
“The Night” by Henry Vaughan
“Millennium Blessing” by Stephen Levine
“Nirvana Shatakam” by Shankara
“Buddha’s body accepts it” by Issa


About the Poets

“Ivan M. Granger’s new anthology, The Longing in Between, gives us a unique collection of profoundly moving poetry. It presents some of the choicest fruit from the flowering of mystics across time, across traditions and from around the world. After each of the poems in this anthology Ivan M. Granger shares his reflections and contemplations, inviting the reader to new and deeper views of the Divine Presence. This is a grace-filled collection which the reader will gladly return to over and over again.”

     ~ LAWRENCE EDWARDS, Ph.D. author of Awakening Kundalini: The Path to Radical Freedom and Kali’s Bazaar

The Longing in Between, Sacred Poetry from Around the World, Ivan M. Granger, Poetry Chaikhana Anthology The Longing in Between
Sacred Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


Barnes & Noble and Amazon Real Thirst US Real Thirst UK Real Thirst CAN Real Thirst IND
or ask at your local independent bookstore

Introduction (excerpt)

a star
a tree
and the longing in between

Gabriel Rosenstock

Without even bothering to formulate a complete sentence, Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock gives us the whole spiritual endeavor—rootedness and aspiration, life, light, a terrible void, and the aching heart that impels us onward.

The longing in between…

Each poem in this collection is born of that same longing—the crisis of longing and its resolution.

If longing poses the question, then union is the answer.

This vibrant tension between longing and union reminds me of a story told by the 10th century Persian Sufi master Junayd. When asked why spiritually realized masters weep, he responded by telling of two brothers who had been apart for years. Upon their reunion, they embraced and were filled with tears. The first brother declared, “What longing!” to which the second brother replied, “What joy!” Longing and fulfillment, the one is not separate from the other.

The mystic maps the territory between the soul and God, between lover and Beloved, between the little self and the true Self, between the transitory and the Eternal. The road connecting these is the road of longing. Mysticism is the science of longing.

The poems gathered in these pages speak to us of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between...


even poorly planted
rice plants
slowly, slowly… green!

English version by David G. Lanoue

There is something healing about this haiku.

These words suggest to me that no matter how imperfect we imagine our circumstances—lack of education, finances, travel, guidance, whatever we think is missing and holding us back—still we inexorably grow green. Spirit awakens in us with utter disregard to the limiting details of our lives. And what is truly beautiful is the unique ways that greenness comes upon us. The story we get to share with the world is the specific way that spirit rises in us, the special path it finds around the obstacles that make up our individual lives, and how we are often strengthened by this navigation.

And while daily life itself may have its challenges and struggles, that greening process, well, it just happens—slowly, patiently, naturally. All we have to do is let it.

One shrine to the next, the hermit can't stop for breath.
Soul, get this! You should have looked in the mirror.
Going on a pilgrimage is like falling in love
with the greenness of faraway grass.

English version by Ranjit Hoskote

The pilgrim, rushing from one shrine to the next, tallying up destinations, without pause or reflection, accomplishes little but the loss of breath (or spirit).

Of course, this poem isn't just about pilgrimage, it is about how we journey through life. Do we hasten through our experiences without attention? Do we accumulate possessions without purpose? Are we endlessly "in love with the greenness of faraway grass"? In all this breathless hurry, what is it we are really looking for?

That spark, that life, that sense of wholeness—it is never "out there," found in some place or special object or experience. When we are really paying attention, the outer reflects back to us what was within all along.

We can spend a lifetime looking, traveling, and acquiring. Or we can look in the mirror.

     Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—blessed vision!—
that a fountain flowed
here in my heart.
I said: Why, O water, have you come
along this secret waterway,
spring of new life,
which I have never tasted?

     Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—blessed vision!—
that I had a beehive
here in my heart;
and the golden bees
were making
from all my old sorrows
white wax and sweet honey.

     Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—blessed vision!—
a blazing sun shone
here in my heart.
It was blazing because it gave heat
from a red home,
and it was sun because it gave light
and because it made me weep.

      Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—blessed vision!—
that it was God I had
here in my heart.

Antonio Machado

This is my favorite poem by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Actually, it is one of my favorite poems, period.

The repeated line, which I have translated as "blessed vision," has elsewhere been rendered as "marvelous error." Machado's actual phrase in Spanish is "bendita ilusión," but this "illusion" is not an erroneous delusion; it is an illusion in the same sense that a dream or vision is an illusion. It is something intangible, seen and felt but not physically there. I have the feeling that Machado is teasing us by calling the experience a dream, seeing if we are foolish enough to ignore it. Perhaps the poet can't quite believe the beauty of his vision.

Let's take just a moment to explore how this poem parallels the mystic's ecstatic experience...

Machado discovers continual delights in his heart: a flowing fountain, a honey-filled beehive, a blazing sun, God… all found within the heart. Read enough descriptions of mystical union, and the same phrases come up again and again—the heart ablaze with light and heat, filled with sweetness, bubbling and overflowing, a heart expanding to embrace all creation.

The fountain flows from the heart, running along a "secret waterway." It is a "spring of new life." This is often part of sacred ecstasy. Mystics experience a sensation of drinking some unknown liquid that warms the heart and fills one with a bubbling sense of life previously unknown and unimagined...

Ivan M. Granger About the Author

Ivan M. Granger is a poet and modern mystic. He is the founder and editor of the Poetry Chaikhana, a publishing house and online resource of sacred poetry. Mr. Granger lives in Colorado.

"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 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.”

Read More About Ivan M. Granger

“I have long thought that poetry offered the deepest most imaginative theology, coming as it does from the heart and the soul, rather than the analytical mind. Ivan M. Granger has woven these poems into a tapestry of great wisdom with his reflection on each poem. I can imagine each poem and commentary furnishing the basis for a daily meditation. I would recommend this anthology to lovers of poetry, to mystics, and to explorers of the spiritual life.”
     ~ HARVEY GILMAN, author of Consider the Blackbird and A Light that is Shining: An Introduction to Quakers

The Longing in Between, Sacred Poetry from Around the World, Ivan M. Granger, Poetry Chaikhana Anthology The Longing in Between
Sacred Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


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and at these independent book stores

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