May 26 2023

Gabriel Rosenstock – a star

a star
by Gabriel Rosenstock

a star
a tree
and the longing in between

is an tnúthán eatarthu

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

/ Image by AlicePopkorn /

Yesterday I was a guest on Dr. Laurel Trujillo’s podcast The Yoga Hour. We had a delightful, far reaching conversation on sacred poetry, healing, the importance of inspiration to feed the spirit… and the path of longing.

We started our conversation off with this poem by Gabriel Rosenstock, so naturally I decided to share it with all of you.

Without even formulating 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.

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.

We think of longing as a state of lack. There is something or someone we want in our lives, but it is not there. Longing can feel hopeless. But longing is really a spectrum. That ache, that longing pulsates on one end, while union, wholeness, and completion eternally await on the other. It’s not that they’re separate, longing and union; they are connected. The one naturally flows into the other. Longing is not the lack of union; longing leads to union. Longing is an aspect of union. Longing is a landscape we learn and explore as part of the spiritual journey. As seekers we traverse that space between longing and union, becoming its student.

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.

Star and tree, longing fills their dreams, but they awaken touching.


Ivan Interview on The Yoga Hour

If you want to listen my discussion of sacred poetry on The Yoga Hour podcast, you can find it here:

Recommended Books: Gabriel Rosenstock

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition Bliain an Bhandé – Year of the Goddess Uttering Her Name Where Light Begins: Haiku
More Books >>

Gabriel Rosenstock, Gabriel Rosenstock poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Gabriel Rosenstock

Ireland (1949 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : Celtic

Gabriel Rosenstock is the author/translator of over 160 books, including 13 volumes of poetry and a volume of haiku in Irish and in English, as well as numerous books for children. Prose work includes fiction, essays in The Irish Times, radio plays, travel writing and a novel, My Head is Missing (2012).

A member of Aosdána (the Irish Academy of Arts and Letters), he has given readings in Europe, South, Central and North America, India, Australia, Japan and has been published in various leading international journals including Akzente, Neue Rundschau, and die horen (Germany), Poetry (Chicago), World Haiku Review, Irish Pages, Poetry Ireland Review and Sirena. He has given readings at major festivals, including Berlin, Bremen, Struga (Macedonia), Vilenica (Slovenia), Medellín, Ars Poetica (Slovakia) and twice at the nomadic Kritya festival in India. Rosenstock taught haiku at the Schule für Dichtung (Poetry Academy) in Vienna. Among his awards is the Tamgha I Kidmat medal for services to literature.

He has brought out Irish-langua6ge versions and translations of among others, Francisco X. Alarcón, Seamus Heaney, Rabindranath Tagore, Günter Grass, W M Roggeman, Said, Zhāng Ye, Michele Ranchetti, Michael Augustin, Peter Huchel, Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, Hansjörg Schertenleib, Hilde Domin, Johann P. Tammen, Munir Niazi, Ko Un, Günter Kunert, Iqbal, Michael Krüger, Kristiina Ehin, Nikola Madzirov, Agnar Artúvertin, Walter Helmut Fritz, K. Satchidanandan, Elke Schmitter, and Matthias Politycki as well as Irish-language versions of classical haiku and modern haiku by amongst others John W. Sexton (Ireland), J W Hackett (USA), Andres Ehin (Estonia), Petar Tchouhov (Bulgaria) and Janak Sapkota (Nepal).

Rosenstock is the Irish-language advisor for the poetry journal THE SHOp and a Foundation Associate of The Haiku Foundation. His vast output includes plays, work for TV, novels and short stories, children’s literature in prose and verse, including Irish versions of such classics as The Gruffalo. Recent succesful picture books include Sa Tóir ar an Yeití (Cló Mhaigh Eo) and his retellings of ancient and medieval Indian tales, Birbal (Cló Iar-Chonnacht). He is the Irish-language translator with the new children’s imprint Walker Éireann.

Among the anthologies in which he is represented is Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive Press, USA).

His Selected Poems / Rogha Dánta (Cló Iar-Chonnachta) appeared in 2005 and the the bilingual volume Bliain an Bhandé/ Year of the Goddess came out in 2007 (Dedalus). He is the Irish translator of numerous films and TV shows including Watership Down and The Muppet Show. He is also well known as a translator of song lyrics into Irish by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and others and as a translator of plays by Beckett, Frisch, Yeats and others.

His book, Haiku Enlightenment is published by Poetry Chaikhana. Uttering Her Name (Salmon Poetry) is his début volume of poems in English. Dialann Anama (2007) is an interactive diary drawing on the world’s wisdom traditions, mostly Advaita. The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy: Revelations from an Irish Ashram, is published by Non-Duality Press,

More poetry by Gabriel Rosenstock

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Gabriel Rosenstock – a star”

  1. Carolon 28 May 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Thank You Ivan for this poem, and your commentary, and the interview with The Yoga Hour, and especially for more info on Gabriel Rosenstock. I loved the title of your book,
    The Longing in Between and did not realize it came from his poem until after I had your
    book. And today’s Poetry Chaikhana will renew my love of this poem and lead to more reading of Gabriel Rosenstock. Thank You. Carol

  2. psychicsuryaon 01 Sep 2023 at 5:33 am

    Thanks for bringing this celestial gem to our attention and for celebrating the power of poetry to inspire and uplift!The depth and wonder expressed in the poem are truly captivating, inviting readers to contemplate the mysteries of the universe. It’s clear that you’ve shared a piece that sparks reflection and connects with the celestial in all of us. T

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