Feb 12 2021

Patrul Rinpoche – Use the time of your life

Published by under Poetry

Use the time of your life
by Patrul Rinpoche

Use the time of your life.
Develop your inner happiness.
Recognize the impermanence
of all outer pleasure.

Live as a Yogi
Do your spiritual practices.
Work as a Bodhisattva
for a happy world.

Become an Amitabha
a Buddha of love and light.
Turn your world into the paradise Sukhavati,
by unfolding the enlightenment energy within you.

Search you a spiritual master,
who knows the goal of enlightenment.
Change your world into a place of grace,
by understanding all the phenomena as spiritual exercises.

Dedicate your actions to the benefit of all beings.
Send all beings light.
Live for the happiness of all beings.
So you get the energy of light.


/ Image by Hartwig HKD /

Today, February 12, is the beginning of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, a good time to release the old and welcome in the new.

I don’t often feature poetry from the Tibetan tradition, even though I love this rich heritage. The reason is that much of the sacred poetry that comes to us from Tibetan practitioners can seem to the casual reader to be rather technical and philosophically didactic. It is rarely the fluid and ecstatic outpouring of the heart, like Rumi’s poetry, for example. But, once you have explored Tibetan expressions of Buddhism a bit and understand some of the sacred terminology, then Tibetan poetry reveals itself to be a treasure trove of wisdom and beauty.

For today, I thought I’d choose a relatively simple and direct poem by Patrul Rinpoche.

Use the time of your life.
Develop your inner happiness.

This poem is a direct appeal to seize the opportunity of our being. We have the blessing of life and awareness, so let’s joyfully use them for what they were really made for — awakening.

The outer satisfaction of pleasures and acquisitions, while they may have their place in our lives too, are always limited and, because of their exterior nature, never provide us with lasting fulfillment.

Recognize the impermanence
of all outer pleasure.

When we are wise, we cultivate our inner happiness, our wellspring of inherent bliss, which does not fluctuate with outer experiences.

We can find parallels in the Christian tradition when Jesus advises his followers to store one’s treasures in heaven where they are not vulnerable to decay or theft.

Patrul Rinpoche gives us simple, clear guidance for a life of spiritual fruition:

Live as a Yogi
Do your spiritual practices.

He reminds us to remain engaged in the practices and activities that return our focus, again and again, to our higher purposes in life. Yes, we have our daily roles and responsibilities, but we must always return to the deeper meaning of our lives and find ways to infuse even our most mundane tasks with that extra spiritual magnetic charge so that increasingly every activity becomes a spiritual practice filled with inner purpose.

Work as a Bodhisattva
for a happy world.

A Bodhisattva is one who has taken vows to work for the healing and spiritual awakening of all beings. In other words, he advises us to live in service and act with kindness, healing the world as we move through it.

Become an Amitabha
a Buddha of love and light.

An Amitabha is a Buddha of light, a radiant and loving expression of pure awakening. The spiritual path is not one of drudgery or rigid progress. We blossom with love and light.

Turn your world into the paradise Sukhavati,
by unfolding the enlightenment energy within you.
…Change your world into a place of grace.

As we discover our inner bliss, we unleash it into the world, letting it do its transformative work. Allowing that energy to move through us, we naturally strive to build outer manifestations of that inner joy, trying to awaken that awareness of paradise in others and in the social fabric we collectively weave.

The well-lived spiritual life becomes a dance of inner and outer, in which kindness and joy are both natural and logical as we more fully recognize the interrelationship of being we all share.

Dedicate your actions to the benefit of all beings.
Send all beings light.
Live for the happiness of all beings.
So you get the energy of light.

May this be a time of cleansing endings and joyful new beginnings. Happy Losar!



[BOOK LIST REPEATING]

Patrul Rinpoche, Patrul Rinpoche poetry, Buddhist poetry Patrul Rinpoche

Tibet (1808 – 1887) Timeline
Buddhist : Tibetan

Continue Reading »

6 responses so far

Feb 12 2021

gathering silence

Once you have gathered enough silence,
silence gathers you.

One response so far

Feb 05 2021

Rainer Maria Rilke – Want the change

Published by under Poetry

Want the change
by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

— from In Praise of Mortality: Rilke’s Duino Elegies & Sonnets to Orpheus, by Rainer Maria Rilke / Translated by Joanna Macy


/ Image by Lulu Lovering /

This poem is a lovely meditation on change and transitoriness — as signs of life. It is only those relationships and experiences which move, and evolve, and eventually disappear that are fully alive.

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.

We so want the opposite to be true. We reflexively want to grasp the world, to hold it fixed, so we can trust reality, know its rules, and feel secure every day. But Rilke invites us to see with the poet’s keen eye the truth of the matter: that which doesn’t change lacks life and loses beauty–

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

We can’t hold our lives fixed, and we can’t hold ourselves fixed within our lives. The only thing to do is to step fully into each mysterious unknown day.

I love the line–

Pour yourself out like a fountain.

This statement so powerfully evokes the courage each day requires and the generosity of self that we can bring to each encounter.

We give of ourselves not to secure our lives but to live our lives in fullness. And, in doing so, we discover more life in our lives.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

If you’re not a mythology nerd, you may not have picked up on Rilke’s reference to Daphne and the laurel…

And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

In Greek mythology, Daphne was a stunningly beautiful nymph who lived and hunted in the woods. Because of her beauty men constantly sought her favors, but she refused everyone. Then the god Apollo fell in love with her, but she refused him as well. Daphne fled from Apollo, who continued to pursue her. When Apollo was about to grasp Daphne, she called upon her father’s magical power, and she was instantly transformed into a laurel tree. The god Apollo, still in love with Daphne, but unable to embrace her, plucked a branch of the laurel and wore it as a wreath upon his head.

By evoking Daphne, Rilke is calling up this rich myth of beauty, and the inability to posses it. Yet that beauty, in transforming itself into something that can no longer be truly held or lusted after, takes on a new life all its own, a life that yet dances in the wind.

Rilke seems to be inviting us to encounter life with full presence and, with the courage of a witness rather than one who grasps, to appreciate beauty both in the coming and goings of life.


Recommended Books: Rainer Maria Rilke

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God In Praise of Mortality: Rilke’s Duino Elegies & Sonnets to Orpheus
More Books >>


Rainer Maria Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Rainer Maria Rilke

Germany (1875 – 1926) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Feb 05 2021

non-believer

The goal is to become a non-believer,
to abandon belief — and dogma and hearsay —
in favor of direct knowing.

One response so far

Jan 29 2021

Edith Kanaka’ole – E ho mai

Published by under Poetry

E ho mai
by Edith Kanaka’ole


E ho mai
Ka ike mai luna mai e

O na mea huna no eau
O na mele e

E ho mai
E ho mai
E ho mai

Grant us
knowledge from above,

All the wisdom
of the songs.

Grant,
Bestow,
Grant us these things.

— from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger


/ Image by Angela Sevin /

Years ago, when I lived in Hawai’i, I took a class in ho’oponopono. (If you sound it out slowly, it’s not the tounge-twister it first looks like.) Ho’oponopono means literally “to make things right, to return things to harmony.” It is a traditional healing method, but its emphasis is not on healing the body as it is on healing relationships, families, communities. If you think about it, what is the purpose of a healthy body except as an instrument to work for a healthier society? The small body serves the larger body.

As part of my training in ho’oponopono, I learned this chant. Hawaiian chant can be compared to Hindu mantra in that to truly say it properly can take a great deal of training. The inflections are important. The breath is important. Most of all, the sense of personal presence is important.

This Hawaiian chant must be said with force and with heart. It is a prayer, but it is not passive. It is a calling forth, a reaching out and a drawing in — of wisdom, of knowledge, of truth. It evokes in us pono, rightness.

Try sounding out the Hawaiian. Slowly at first, until the sounds become familiar. Then louder, with confidence. Say it over and over again. Imagine repeating this chant in a group. Let it ring through your body and your day!

To hear it chanted, click here
Aloha!


Recommended Books: Edith Kanaka’ole

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology)


Edith Kanaka'ole, Edith Kanaka'ole poetry, Primal/Tribal/Shamanic poetry Edith Kanaka’ole

US, Hawaii (1913 – 1979) Timeline
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : Hawaiian

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jan 29 2021

supremely pragmatic

A mystic must be supremely pragmatic:
Use what works,
whatever opens the heart
and fires the spirit.

One response so far

Jan 22 2021

Civivakkiyar – In bricks and in granite

Published by under Poetry

In bricks and in granite
by Civivakkiyar

English version by Kamil V. Zvelebil

In bricks and in granite,
in the red-rubbed lingam,
in copper and brass
is Siva’s abode —
      that’s what you tell us,
      and you’re wrong.
Stay where you are
and study your own selves.
Then you will BECOME
the Temple of God,
      full of His dance and spell
            and song.

— from The Poets of the Powers: Freedom, Magic, and Renewal, Translated by Kamil V. Zvelebil


/ Image by Natesh Ramasamy /

I have always loved the poetry of Civivakkiyar since I first discovered it years ago. There is a directness that is at times blunt, along with a teasing quality, and underlying it all a radiant realization that rises up through the words. Even his name, Civivakkiyar, feels like poetry on the tongue.

This poem exhibits the Tamil Siddha opposition to orthodoxy and mindless ritualism — which tend to externalize God, separating the individual from the presence of the Divine. Civivakkiyar is proclaiming that God (Siva) is not only found in temples and objects of worship, places and things that have been separated out and defined as sacred. Not “in bricks and in granite,” not in the “lingam” (a common representation of Siva), not in the ritual objects of “copper and brass.”

To say that God is in the temple or the altar or the icon and not elsewhere impoverishes us spiritually. That perspective makes us strangers to the presence of the sacred, which is everywhere, always.

The truth is that God is not ‘out there’ (wherever we imagine ‘there’ to be). The Divine is right here, right now, within us:

Stay where you are
and study your own selves.
Then you will BECOME
the Temple of God…

It is only within ourselves that we find the proper ground to worship and ultimately encounter God, whether we stand in the temple precinct, or the marketplace, the forest grove, or the office space.

When we stop running from sacred place to sacred place and, instead, finally recognize the living sacred presence everywhere — and most especially within ourselves — then we experience such an uninhibited flow of life and delight that we become filled with the eternal “dance and spell / and song.”


Recommended Books: Civivakkiyar

The Poets of the Powers: Freedom, Magic, and Renewal


Civivakkiyar

India (9th Century) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shaivite (Shiva)

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jan 22 2021

by default

If you are not intensely dedicated
to a high ideal,
then comfort becomes your goal by default
and every difficulty becomes a crisis.

No responses yet

Jan 15 2021

Poetry Chaikhana Publications

I don’t often talk about book sales, but I thought I’d let you know that two Poetry Chaikhana publications — Haiku Enlightenment and The Longing in Between — have been selling well since the end of 2020. Haiku Enlightenment has been in the top 100 best selling haiku books on Amazon, and The Longing in Between has been hovering in the top 100 or 200 for poetry anthologies. Amazing! I love to see these book circulating, carrying their wild, illuminating poetry out into the world. A great deal of thanks is due to you, the Poetry Chaikhana community, for your steady support and encouragement through the years.

One response so far

Jan 15 2021

Mary Oliver – In Blackwater Woods

Published by under Poetry

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

— from American Primitive, by Mary Oliver


/ Image by Claudio /

This is one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver. It speaks to so many levels of the human experience.

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light…

Those opening lines draw me in every time I read them. They remind me that nature, too, is a heavenly realm. But there is also the beginning hint of loss here, something evanescent and fleeting. It is as if these trees, in their glow, are fading from the physical world, receding from us. It is a lovely, melancholy sort of transcendence.

Lines in this poem also suggest to me, at times, formless awareness:

and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.

Notice the intentional ambiguity of that final line break above. She could be saying that the ponds are now nameless, or that they are nameless Now, nameless Presence. Contemplating that double meaning can throw the mind into meditation.

She uses a similar line break immediately preceding that: “name is, is”. The break forces us unconsciously to think of how no matter what a place (or person) is named, it IS. It’s existence is undeniable, not somehow dependent on human definitions or categories or names. The line break tricks the mind into contemplating the relationship between pure being and our mental categorization of existence.

But the part of the poem that touches me most is the courageous willingness to embrace both connection and loss:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.


Recommended Books: Mary Oliver

New and Selected Poems Why I Wake Early Dream Work House of Light Thirst: Poems
More Books >>


Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Mary Oliver

US (1935 – 2019) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jan 15 2021

what we love

We become what we love.

Everything else is just movement.

No responses yet

Jan 08 2021

Namdev – The drum with no drumhead beats

Published by under Poetry

The drum with no drumhead beats
by Namdev

English version by Nirmal Dass

The drum with no drumhead beats;
clouds thunder without the monsoon;
rain falls without clouds.
Can anyone guess this riddle?

I have met Ram the beautiful,
and I too have become beautiful.

The philosopher’s stone turns lead into gold;
costly rubies I string with my words and thoughts.
I discovered real love; doubts, fears have left me.
I found comfort in what my guru taught me.

A pitcher will fill when plunged in water,
so Ram is the One in all.
The guru’s heart and the disciple’s heart are one.
Thus has the slave Namdeva perceived Truth.

— from Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth, Translated by Nirmal Dass


/ Image by Waywuwei /

Namdev starts this song with a riddle: a drum sound “with no drumhead”, and “thunder without the monsoon”… We have the reverberation, but without an initiating event. In deep meditation an inner sound is heard resonating everywhere. In various Indian traditions this primal sound is called shabd or omkara.

And his riddle also tells us that “rain falls without clouds.” The rain that falls is amrita, the bliss-filled drink of divine communion. This is an actual substance, though a subtle one. When the mind is entirely clear and purified (“without clouds”), this “rain” descends from the sky-bowl of the skull, touching the tongue with indescribable sweetness, warming the heart, and filling the awareness with a transcendent joy.

Try rereading the poem with that sense of inner meaning. Read slowly this time, savoring it, feeling what this ecstatic saint is really saying. “The drum with no drumhead beats…” Do you hear it quietly resonating within your own settling awareness? “Clouds thunder without the monsoon…”

Here are my favorite lines:

I have met Ram the beautiful,
and I too have become beautiful.

In this state of bliss and profound unity, we recognize that we ourselves, as individual beings, are a pure emptiness, without any substance of our own. Finally seeing this, we recognize ourselves as being of the same nature as the Divine Reality we witness — and that presence is vast, radiant, whole, and “beautiful.” It is beautiful, and we too are that beauty!

It is as if by touching something utterly whole and perfect, all of our imperfections and divisions are dispelled by that total vision.

The philosopher’s stone turns lead into gold

It is that contact that transmutes the “lead” of the fragmented ego identity into the “gold” of unbounded awakened awareness.

I discovered real love; doubts, fears have left me…

In such an immense ocean of “real love” and the wholeness of gnosis, one’s underlying existential doubts and fears dissolve.

A pitcher will fill when plunged in water

This is a reference to popular yogic metaphor. The individual ego-self is like a leaky pitcher that requires constant refilling to keep even a small amount of water in it. The only way to fill it up is to toss it into the ocean. The pitcher is for the finally filled with water, surrounded by water. The separating walls of the ego become meaningless, since the water of that divine consciousness is both inside and outside with no difference… Suddenly we see a world of drowned pitchers, the same water filling and surrounding everything.

Ram is the One in all.

=

It is a new year, and that is always a time for hope, yet many problems remain unresolved, accompanied by much anger. It is easy to get caught up in the escalations of outrage. I am focusing my life to meet the uncertain road ahead with a combination of practicality, flexibility, and engaged love. Meditation and poetry are two excellent ways to continuously return to the heart that we may know the way forward.

Blessings to you all in the new year!


Recommended Books: Namdev

Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth Namdev, His Mind and Art: A linguistic Analysis of Namdev’s Poetry Hindi Padavali of Namdev


Namdev, Namdev poetry, Yoga / Hindu poetry Namdev

India (1270 – 1350) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Vaishnava (Krishna/Rama)
Sikh

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Jan 08 2021

learn the way

We learn the way
by knowing our hearts.

No responses yet

Dec 11 2020

Symeon the New Theologian – We awaken in Christ’s body

Published by under Poetry

We awaken in Christ’s body
by Symeon the New Theologian

English version by Stephen Mitchell

We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ, He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhood).

I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? — Then
open your heart to Him

and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body

where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,

and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed

and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

— from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell


/ Image by rpphotos /

Since we are coming into the Christmas season, I thought I would take the opportunity to share one of my favorite poems by Symeon the New Theologian.

Symeon doesn’t urge us to merely honor or love the Beloved (Christ within the Christian tradition) from a distance. We melt into the Divine, become one with the Divine, share the same body.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him

Some of these lines remind me of the poem attributed to Teresa of Avila, You Are Christ’s Hands with it’s lines– “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, / no hands but yours…”

This poem by Symeon is one I just want to drink in — it feels so deeply healing and generous to the soul.

and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed

and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

Thinking of Christmas, I have always felt a particular love for manger scenes, ceramic, porcelain, or carved wooden figurines of the Christ Child laid in a bed of straw, Mary knelt over her new child, Joseph with his lamp, the Three Magi holding their gifts, a shepherd with a few sheep, an ox and an ass at rest. Often the scene has a hut-like manger as background, the roof covered with moss — with the announcing angel and the Christmas star shining above. That iconic scene has always felt magical and alive to me, rich with unspoken meaning.

And it is. We can read the gospel stories of the birth of Christ as simply describing events, or we can read it more deeply as being imbued with spiritual meaning.

In the Nativity, we discover the pure spark of light that is the Christ child — also represented by the star — surrounded by the emptiness of the night. The Nativity is an image of light in the darkness. A small child, vulnerable, humble, poor, a tiny point of existence, surrounded by the immensity of the night… but with the promise that the light will increase until it floods the world with its light. (It is no accident that Christmas is set near the Winter Solstice, when the world is plunged in darkness and awaits the rebirth of the sun.)

Looking at Mary and Joseph, one way to understand Mary in the Nativity story is that she represents the heart or the soul, while Joseph represents the intellect. From this perspective, the gospel story of the virgin birth takes on ever deeper dimensions.

In the mystical tradition, the soul must first stop attempting to take false lovers through every outer experience, and yearn so deeply for the true Beloved within that she (the soul) becomes restored to her natural “untouched” state (Mary’s virginity). That is, the soul must become purified, inward focused, unattached, “untouched” by the experiences of the outer world. Mary’s virginity is a virginity of awareness.

When this happens deeply enough, the divine touch comes, and a new life (the Christ child in Christian tradition) is formed within the soul. The overwhelming sense of joy and spiritual bliss that is felt becomes a new presence in the body and mind.

But the father of this new life is not Joseph. The heart does not conceive by the intellect, but through direct communion with the Eternal. At this stage, the intellect has a choice: Retreat into cold denial, proclaiming, ‘I do not know that child’ and reject the heart and the life it carries; or it can recognize that something deeply sacred is taking place, something not of its own making, and then take responsibility and provide for the growth and maturation of that inner illumination.

In this way, the Christian gospel drama is played out in you and me and in all devout mystics. This isn’t something experienced only by Christians; here, we are simply using Christian language to describe a universal mystical experience…

In the traditional iconography, we see the infant Christ on a bed of straw in a manger surrounded by animals. In the gospel tale, two animals are mentioned specifically: an ox and an ass. Why those two animals? Esoteric Christian teachings sometimes explain it this way: the ox (an ancient symbol of Venus), represents sensuality and passion; the ass can be seen as embodying either the ego or reason. What are they doing in this image of divine birth? Notice that they are not suppressed; the ox and ass are not chained or slaughtered. No, they rest, they are at peace, tamed by the presence of spiritual light. More than that, they are actually protecting the infant, giving him their strength. As one 20th century Christian teacher phrased it, “They are warming the Christ child with their breath.” Viewed this way, the nativity gives us an image not of suppression, but of integration of the energies of life in support of the awakening soul.

There is, of course, much more to explore. The cave or manger of the birth. The three Magian wise men from the east. But I hope I have suggested some good ideas to contemplate and inspire a bit more spiritual connection this Christmas.

he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

Wishing each and every one of you a beautiful Christmas, Hanukkah, and Solstice. May this time when the light renews itself amidst the darkness also bring a renewal of the light and life within you and everyone your life touches.


Recommended Books: Symeon the New Theologian

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul’s Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives
More Books >>


Symeon the New Theologian, Symeon the New Theologian poetry, Christian poetry Symeon the New Theologian

Turkey (949 – 1032) Timeline
Christian : Eastern Orthodox

Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Dec 11 2020

strength to stand

Don’t resent the work.
It gives you the strength to stand
whole and silent
before the Mystery.

No responses yet

Dec 04 2020

Mary Oliver – What is There Beyond Knowing?

Published by under Poetry

What is There Beyond Knowing?
by Mary Oliver

What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can’t

turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean

the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off

fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning

theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;

or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still

in the same — what shall I say —
moment.

What I know
I could put into a pack

as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,

important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained

and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly

to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.

— from New and Selected Poems, by Mary Oliver


/ Image by rema1n5 /

I don’t think I’ll say much about this poem today, just encourage you to read it again, savoring its words…

heaven’s slowly turning
theater of light

and its imagery…

But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

and finding the peace and self-acceptance held within.

If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: Mary Oliver

New and Selected Poems Why I Wake Early Dream Work House of Light Thirst: Poems
More Books >>


Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Mary Oliver

US (1935 – 2019) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Dec 04 2020

Like water

Like water, yield
and so find your destination.

No responses yet

Next »