Tag Archives: Poetry

Because The World Needs Us.

I have been writing much about suffering, so today I thought I would write about love. It’s difficult to discuss it in a way that is fresh and alive. The word itself died long ago in the coffin of cliche and teenage romance. What good will saying it one more time do?

When I first heard Ram Dass say the word’s “Souls not roles,” I felt my nerves tingle and cells sing. I printed out those words and taped them on my dashboard. I would see it while I drove, and it seemed the whole world sang its glory. It only took a few days for the song to fade, and then they too were just words.

When I studied poetry in college, I learned the golden rules of modern American verse. The universal is gleamed at through the specific, and the abstract is earned through imagery and sound. Love requires the highest price; even better to invoke it without saying it.

Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir served as a bridge to the devotional poetry of India, which seemed to have its own set of golden rules. It can appear soft and trite for the unprepared. Tulsidas writes for those on the path. His words are earned through years of practice. We prepare ourselves, working our emotions, attachments and mind, so when the gods shower us with rose petals we can appreciate their perfume. Tulsidas takes us beyond the clouds to be obliterated by the Sun.

I don’t know how to reach that depth of love without acknowledging suffering. Maybe it’s protestant guilt, unknowingly inherited through our culture and embedded in a poetry that teaches us love must be earned. Or, maybe its because my Guru once said, “I love suffering. It brings me so close to God.” We know Ram Dass has earned it when he looks from his wheelchair and says, “Suffering is grace.”

In Truth, the world has already earned it. It cries out tears of anguish, desperately in need of that Love.


This (blade of grass)

 
The bottom half folds into the stem the way
some tongues do, cupping a soft streak 
of shadow. 

The top half glistens with sparkle 
and subtle sun glaze. It bends forward 
to a slightly drooping tip. Beneath it 
hangs a bold sphere 
of dew;       

(
                  It could be any 
              blade of grass, but its not 
                         just any 
                     blade of grass,                its this 
             blade of grass

 here before me as the sun hovers above the canopy
                   to cheerfully greet
                        this day, this breath,                   this 
             blade of grass

 that through chance or circumstance or something 
                             unknown
             has enchanted me into a beauty
                       so deep
            that {even if it could 
                           get any better}
) 

all I really want 
is this.



Darshan

It’s the subtlest of the subtle
that we give our hearts to-

deeper than a smile, softer
than an eyelash,

the way a cat’s paws
barely lend their weight
to the mattress,

the way they prowl
with those slow
swooning purs,

the way they gently nudge
two sleeping eyes
awake.


Intimacy

I see a bright crescent
forming like a smile
at the bottom of your
pupil. (This is how pain
condenses to
honey.)

I unwrap the wool from
my body and allow
this thick nectar
to soak
through my skin.


Collapsing the Distance

 
This is what Thank You means-
it is when the pores become 
             so wide
that the wind 
can slip through the skin
and tickle the heart.

It is acceptance
with Love.

And it draws our surroundings
closer- the chair, the ocean,
the trees... it brings them
inside.

It holds the atoms in my body
together, and now holds
your atoms
to mine.

The Way the Earth is Lit

I have heard it was said
by them of old time
that the Moon
borrows her light
from the Sun.

But I say
a beauty as great as the Moon’s
inspires a great lover,
and it was this muse
that sparked the Sun’s flame.

The Sun’s sweet ballads
of love and longing
share the Moon
with all of us, and
in that sharing we are

given hope
that we too can find
such a beauty
to ignite us
into existence.


Autumn’s Cry

 
A leaf lightens 
into gold
and leaps 
from the branch to the sky.

        What whirling what spinning what dancing what joy!

(It is jealousy that clings 
the other leaves to their branches, but only
for so long.)

Autumn knows this secret-
that we are all becoming beautiful
together.

Afterthought

…it is Thank You
and I Love You, it is Joy and it is
Yes! it is the rising sun revealing
a soft pair of hands
sprinkling salt on the
snow-covered
sidewalk.


Freedom

A forehead splits
down the center like a
lightning-struck tree

and swings open
like doors on the
hinges of each ear.

A flock of birds
flies like smoke
from the opening,

and the heart
sings praises
to their wings.


Ahhhh…

 
You are huddled
against a flower's stamen, naked
and much too cold to smell the fragrance
soon to overtake your world. This void-black 
sky is the outstretched arms of
rose petals, enclosed over you like a domed 
cocoon, fingers meeting high overhead 
and interwoven like strands 
of a grandmother basket.

         **Gasping Amazement!  (sucking in)  ...haaaaaaa

That's the sound that you
and this entire world make
when the sky unravels, at first
almost by accident, but then...

             pollen dances
       in the soft-beamed light
                         falling like a breath

  *heart-melting sigh  (release) ahhhhhhh...

first fragrance
of spring.

Release

What would be left of you
for me
if I no longer wanted
you
to be a something
else?


Reflection


Mantra

I tried to be a saint once; it didn’t
work. So now I carry
a pocketful of zippers
when I walk into town.

I lay them on the sidewalk
and pull on their sliders, separating
the concrete to reveal

the sweet mystery of light and sound
that bounces between bamboo
stalks when played upon
by the wind.


Mustard Seed

This is the faith
found folded inside
the absence
of all things,

existing
not for god
or for man or the angels
but for it’s own
Existence.

It’s what’s left
when loss and confusion
have stripped away the nail
from where the universe
hangs.


Fragility

Let me touch my
lips to your cheek, so
I may swallow your tears.
Then, maybe
they will enter my bloodstream,
and I can finally feel
your preciousness
with my entire
body.


Splendor

The gods and saints
never stopped showering us with flowers.

We have just forgotten
how to walk on this earth
lightly
as if every step
pressed into a petal
to release its sweet
fragrance.


Addiction

What I most want to do tonight
is wrestle the sky, grab a hold
of a good-sized
chunk
and wring it like a
wet rag
for a single drop
of light.


Log

A log cannot jump out of the flame.
So, what good can resistance do
but grant a few extra moments
of intense
burning?


Yes

 
Can we be bonded by a faith like this?
where our own existence
is enough? and our faults
seem to vanish
in it's ocean of magnificence
the way a mosquito
seems to vanish
as it dances
across the sun?
 
This here we are
     is the gateway
into a Love
     so abundant
that ripe plums
     weigh their branches
to hover above
     our cupped hands.

I may have reasons for doubt,
but those plums... so deliciously full, so ready
to burst! ...they seem to say
yes.


This Time


This time
     let me be open-
no bait, no traps, no clever
schemes, no hooks or ropes...
The moon doesn't try 
to lasso the sun, for she knows
her ropes will burn. Instead
she basks in the light.
     With open arms
I will wait.