Feb 05 2020
Thief of hearts
by Ivan M. Granger
Thief of hearts,
you have ransacked
this beggar’s hut,
All I see
is the print
of your pilfering hand
— from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger
/ Image by notsogoodphotography /
It has been a while since I featured one of my own poems. Here is one for you today in homage to that “thief of hearts,” who is, of course, the Beloved, God.
Let’s face it, from the ego’s point-of-view, the relationship with the Divine is a problematic one. What the heart recognizes as liberation, the ego sees as theft. It’s really very funny… when we’re not tormented by the spiritual dilemma, that is.
All that the ego claims as its own slips from its grip. Control and possession define the ego. So what is it to do when the master thief breaks into the awareness and reveals everything to be the filmy stuff of dreams and light?
In that ultimate moment, however, the emerging bliss is so all-pervasive that even the drowning ego laughs with its last gasp.
Something I thought I’d point out about the poem’s structure: The poem itself is a pair of thieving hands. It has two groups of five lines, suggesting two hands with five fingers each.
Also, notice that the lines “left me / nothing” are intentionally ambiguous. They could be saying that the thief of hearts has left me with nothing — having taken everything — or perhaps it is saying the thief has left me as nothing — without identity or sense of ego.
The line breaks for “All I see / now” leads the unconscious mind to read several layers of meaning into the lines. Some part of the awareness will read that first line as a complete statement of its own: “I see all.” To follow with the single word “now” snaps the awareness into the present moment. When one sees all, one is fully present, now. Or, when one sees, all is in the present moment.
In this supremely full moment, the “pilfering hand” has removed everything. The world normally perceived as a scattered collection of disconnected people and objects disappears. But — and here’s another secret — that hand secretly gives as it takes. The “print” of that hand leaves us, instead, within a magical universe filled with immensity and life and a giddy sense of being that flows everywhere.
Too much explanation? Maybe we should just let the poem itself do its work…
|Ivan M. Granger|
Ivan M. Granger is the founder and editor of the Poetry Chaikhana, a publishing house and online resource for sacred poetry from around the world. He is the author of Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey and editor of The Longing in Between: A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology. His poetry and translations have been included in several magazines and anthologies.
Ivan grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.
“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.”
Poetry Chaikhana readers often ask me about myself. Who is the guy behind all those poetry emails? What drew you to sacred poetry? And just what does “Poetry Chaikhana” mean?
As a way to answer some of those questions, I thought I’d post an audio interview I did a few years ago. I talk a little about myself, and a lot about poetry — the transformational power of poetry, the ways poetry naturally expresses the sacred experience, the non-dogmatic nature of poetry. And I read a few poems.
Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger