Feb 05 2020

Ivan M. Granger – Thief of hearts

Published by at 7:41 am under Poetry,Poetry Chaikhana Misc.

Thief of hearts
by Ivan M. Granger

Thief of hearts,
you have ransacked
this beggar’s hut,
left me
nothing.

All I see
now
is the print
of your pilfering hand
everywhere.

— 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.

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Too much explanation? Maybe we should just let the poem itself do its work…


Recommended Books: Ivan M. Granger

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 For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania
More Books >>


Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

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.”

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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

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12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Ivan M. Granger – Thief of hearts”

  1. Ashiqueon 05 Feb 2020 at 8:50 am

    Hi Even,
    It’s so beautiful poem I love it totally.

  2. Bonnie Badenochon 05 Feb 2020 at 11:50 am

    Dear Ivan – Oh, so touching, this poem and where it touches is so physical, right in the heart. Your commentary is interesting (because some poetry gets written through me from time to time), but I don’t need to think about structure to feel the full impact in my body. So grateful for you, Ivan, both as curator of the world’s most touching poetry and as the mystic that you are.

    I wanted to share that something you wrote some time back about how all disease is not meant to be cured gets read in our trauma retreats regularly. Much, much gratitude, Bonnie

  3. Sylviaon 05 Feb 2020 at 12:30 pm

    I enjoyed the commentary on the poem Ivan, I found it enriching to go back and re-read the poem in its light. Not too much for this reader. Thank you!

  4. Patricia Tayloron 05 Feb 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Good morning from Melbourne, Ivan. I did enjoy your poem before I read your explanation. However my understanding expanded with your notes. Bless you. Trish

  5. Liliason 05 Feb 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Amazing I actually read that last night, the book at my bedside. Your poem speaks volumes, as I have been practising centering prayer for only five years, most of that experience is one of total unknowing and at times boring!! If it wasn’t for slight changes going on with me I might have given up. It is so true that poetry can reach places in one’s soul that nothing else can touch, I truly thank God for that and thank you Ivan for your beautiful poems.

  6. Jim Atwellon 05 Feb 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Lovely Ivan.

  7. Sandra Peyrolleon 05 Feb 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Hello Ivan
    what more could I say
    but to agree with Sylvia.s comet above
    Your comments are NEEDED badly
    have a blissful day
    Sandra

  8. Sharon Blessumon 05 Feb 2020 at 9:33 pm

    You are amazing, dear Ivan!

  9. Carol Burnson 06 Feb 2020 at 3:10 am

    Thank you Ivan. This poem and your commentary touched my heart. My daughter
    is in a behavioral health unit now, after several weeks of not being herself, now severely
    depressed, hope she is where she can receive help. And receive spiritual help from
    the ‘pilfering hand.’ Gratefully, Carol

  10. Ivan M. Grangeron 06 Feb 2020 at 7:42 am

    Carol, I’m keeping your daughter in my thoughts… with much love. Ivan

  11. Kathy Kramer howeon 06 Feb 2020 at 8:59 am

    Hi ivan,
    I value your poetry and commentary. This is one I’ll copy into my journal. It is meaningful that you describe the ego self as a beggars hut. These days as I meditate in centering prayer I invite the noisy mind to take a rest and sink into the true riches – the handprint of the Beloved on my heart . Kathy

  12. Cintamanion 10 Feb 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Absolutely beautiful poem. Short and sweet, but palpable sentiment. I need more of your poetry and your mood. I hope we can speak some time about God and devotion 🌼🙏🏽🌼

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