Friday, March 11, 2011

A Full Year of Rumi Readings

Was there a beginning to this journey? Is there an end?

I began to post daily readings here from the book A Year with Rumi on March 11, 2010. Odd, I know, to start in the third month of the year, but what can I say, I'm a late bloomer. I have now completed a full year of posts. Rumi said:

Do not grieve. Anything you lose
comes round in another form. 

As ever, I will continue at my main blog, the eclectic synch-ro-ni-zing, where I express my own deeply felt connections with the world, as well as at the blog that the artful and soulful Lorenzo of The Alchemist's Pillow and I co-host, A Year with Rilke, where the readings of poems and prose excerpts by Rainer Maria Rilke and commenter discussions are as spiritually resonant as anything I've found in Rumi. I heartily invite you to these blogs where you will be most welcome to read quietly or add to the discussions.

I have loved the quiet meditation of typing up Rumi's words via Coleman Barks' earthy and sublimely unpretentious translations, and I will miss the practice. But now, I can come and read them again, meeting them like new friends.

You can still read daily. You can enter a date in the search box on the sidebar to find the reading for a given day of the year.  I have formatted the archives daily, so you can click on 2010, then October, then October 11, for example. This way, you can continue to read Rumi daily if you wish. Search poem titles, words and phrases in the "Search the Archives" box on the sidebar. Unfortunately, you can't search dates, since they are not in the text of the posts, and therefore dates such as "October 11" are not searchable.

I feel obliged to plug the book these readings are from. Click on the book on the sidebar to go to the publisher's page. The book is available online and on land in local bookstores.

Thank you for riding with me here in this caravan of rubies and sunrises, in which we stop off each evening in a different caravanserai . . .

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though
you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi

The lines above are inscribed
on Rumi's shrine in Konya, Turkey.
Followers of Rumi call the day he passed away,
December 17, 1273,
his "Wedding Night"
because he was united with the Beloved.

This epitaph is also there,
and again are his words:

When we are dead,
seek not our tomb in the earth,
but find it in the hearts of men.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


 I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.

To praise is to praise
how one surrenders to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where?
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It is a total waking-up.

Why should we grieve that we have been sleeping?
It does not matter how long we've been unconscious.
We are groggy, but let the guilt go.

Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the bouyancy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The You Pronoun

Someone asked once, What is love?

Be lost in me, I said. You will know love when that happens.

Love has no calculating in it. That is why it is said to be a quality of God and not of human beings.
God loves you is the only possible sentence. The subject becomes the object so totally that it can't be turned around. Who will the you pronoun stand for if you say, You love God?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Lame Goat

Goat sculpture from found objects, by Picasso

You have seen a herd of goats
going down to the water.

The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.

There are worried faces about that one,
but now they're laughing,

because look, as they return,
that one is leading.

There are many different ways of knowing.
The lame goat's kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Tender Agony of Parting

A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
cut holes in it, and called it a human being.

Since then, it has been wailing
a tender agony of parting,
never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Milk of Millenia

I am part of the load
not rightly balanced.
I drop off in the grass
like the old cave-sleepers, to browse
wherever I fall.

For hundreds of thousands of years I have been dustgrains
floating and flying in the will of the air,
often forgetting ever being
in that state, but in sleep
I migrate back. I spring loose
from the four-branched, time-and-space cross,
this waiting room.

I walk out into a huge pasture.
I nurse the milk of millenia.

Everyone does this in different ways.
Knowing that conscious decisions
and personal memory
are much too small a place to live,
every human being streams at night
into the loving nowhere, or during the day,
in some absorbing work.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Strange Frenzy

There is a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?

Friday, March 4, 2011

This World Which is Made of Our Love for Emptiness

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence.
Existence: this place made from our love
for that emptiness!

Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening over and over.

For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free
of dangerous fear, hope, free
of mountainous wanting.

These words I am saying so much begin to lose meaning.
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw.
Words and what they try to say,
swept out the window, down the slant of the roof.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Tent

Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there's no news at all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There is Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling.

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door
and open the love-window.

The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Have Five Things to Say

I have five things to say,
five fingers to give into your grace.

First, when I was apart from you,
this world did not exist, nor any other.
Second, whatever I was looking for was always you.
Third, why did I ever learn to count to three?
Fourth, my cornfield is burning!
Fifth, this finger stands for Rabia, and this
is for someone else. Is there a difference?

Are these words or tears?
Is weeping speech? What shall I do, my love?
So he speaks, and everyone around
begins to cry with him, laughing crazily,
moaning in the spreading union of lover and beloved.

This is the true religion. All others
are thrown-away bandages beside it.
This is the sema of slavery and mastery
dancing together. This is not-being.

I know these dancers. Day and night
I sing their songs in this phenomenal cage.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Body Intelligence (2)

Elephant and Rider, Indian, circa 1640
Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are guides
who can show you the way.
Use them.

But they will not satisfy your longing.
Keep wanting the connection with presence
with all your pulsing energy.

The throbbing vein
will take you further
than any thinking.

Muhammed said, Do not theorize
about essence. All speculations
are just more layers of covering.
Human beings love coverings.

They think the designs on the curtains
are what is being concealed.

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Do not claim them. Feel the artistry
moving through, and be silent.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Body Intelligence (1)

Three Capetian French scholars
consulting an astrolabe, ca. AD 1200

Your intelligence is always with you,
overseeing your body, even though
you may not be aware of its work.

If you start doing something
against your health, your intelligence
will eventually scold you.

If it had not been so lovingly close by,
and so constantly monitoring,
how could it rebuke?

You and your body's intelligence
are like the beauty and precision
of an astrolabe.

Together, you calculate how near
existence is to the sun.

Your intelligence is marvelously intimate.
It is not in front of you or behind,
or to the left or the right.

Now, my friend, try to describe how near
is the creator of your intelligence.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Red with shyness, the red
that became all the rosegarden reds.

The red distance,
red of the stove boiling water,
red of the mountain turning bloodred,
a mountain holding rubies secretly inside.

Do I love more you
or your modesty?

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Worst Habit

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I'm with.

If you are not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits? Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can't hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back toward you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Shirt

 Portrait of the Boy Eutyches
Egyptian, A.D. 100-150

Has anyone seen the boy who used to come here?
Round-faced troublemaker, quick to find a joke, slow
to be serious. Red shirt,
perfect coordination, sly,
strong muscles, with things always in his pocket.
Reed flute, ivory pick, polished
and ready for his talent.
You know that one.

Have you heard stories about him?
Pharoah and the whole Egyptian world
collapsed for such a Joseph.
I would gladly spend years getting word
of him, even third- or fourth-hand.

* * * 

This reading is poignant for me today,
partly because of the recent triumphs in Egypt.
Today is also the 15th anniversary of the day
my redheaded (not redshirted) brother passed away at age 47;
except for the flute, every word of the first stanza is true of him!
He visited the pyramids at Giza in 1969
and took some beautiful photographs of them and the Sphinx.
I wish I had one here to scan and show you.

Bennett Williams Hart
b. June 28, 1948 d. February 24, 1996 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When I Am with You

 The Moonrise, Mamaroneck, by Edward J. Steichen

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you are not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias.
And the difference between them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Grasses

The same wind that uproots trees
makes the grasses shine.
The lordly wind loves the weakness
and the lowness of grasses.

The axe doesn't worry how thick the branches are.
It cuts them to pieces. But not the leaves.
It leaves the leaves alone.

The motion of the body, the inhaling-exhaling,
comes from the spirit, now angry, now peaceful.
Wind destroys, and wind protects.

There is no reality but God,
says the completely surrendered sheikh,
who is an ocean for all beings.
The levels of creation are straws in that ocean.

The movement of the straws comes from an agitation
in the water. When the ocean wants the straws calm,
it sends them close to shore. When it wants them
back in the deep surge, it does with them
as the wind does with the grasses.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dark Sweetness

The ground turns green. A drum begins.
Commentaries on the heart arrive in seven volumes.

The pen puts its head down
to give a dark sweetness to the page.

Planets go wherever they want.
Venus sways near the North Star.
The moon holds on to Leo.

The host who has no self is here.
We look into each other's eyes.

A child is still a child
even after it has learned the alphabet.

Solomon lifts his morning cup to the mountains.
Sit down in this pavilion,
and don't listen to religious bickering.
Be silent as we absorb the spring.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Imagining Is Like

Imagining is like feeling around
in a dark lane, or washing
your eyes with blood.

You are the truth
from foot to brow. Now,
what else would you like to know?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Talking through the Door (2)

Sala de los Secretos, The Alhambra Palace
(Whispering Chamber)
Granada, Spain
Photo from Wiki Commons

Then you asked, Where have you been most comfortable?
In the palace.

What did you see there?
Amazing things.

Then why is it so desolate?
Because all that can be taken away in a second.

Who can do that?
This clear discernment.

Where can you live safely?
In surrender.

Is there no threat of disaster?
Only what comes in your street,
inside your love.

Now silence. If I tell you more of this conversation,
those listening would leave themselves.

There would be no more door,
no roof or windows either.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Talking through the Door (1)

Patio de los Arrayanes, The Alhambra
Granada, Spain
Photo from Wiki Commons

You said, Who's at the door?
I said, Your slave.

You said, What do you want?
To see you and bow.

We talked through the door. I claimed
a great love and that I had given up
what the world gives to be in that love.

You said, Such claims require a witness.
I said, This longing, these tears.

You said, Discredited witnesses.
I said, Surely not.

You said, Who did you come with?
This majestic imagination you gave me,

Why did you come?
The musk of your wine was in the air.

What is your intention?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Worm's Waking

This is how a human being can change.
There is a worm
addicted to eating grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he is no longer a worm.

He is the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that does not need to devour.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Seed Market

Can you find another market like this?
Where, with your one rose
you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?

Where, for one seed you get a whole wilderness?
For one weak breath, the divine wind?

You have been fearful of being absorbed
in the ground, or drawn up by the air.

Now your waterbead lets go
and drops into the ocean, where it came from.

This giving up is not a repenting.
It is a deep honoring of yourself.

When the ocean comes to you as a lover,
marry, at once, quickly for God's sake.

Don't postpone it. Existence has no better gift.
No amount of searching will find this.

A perfect falcon, for no reason,
has landed on your shoulder, and become yours.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whoever's Calm and Sensible

There is a light seed grain inside.
You fill it with yourself, or it dies.

I'm caught in this curling energy. Your hair.
Whoever's calm and sensible is insane.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love's Confusing Joy

If you want what visible reality
can give, you are an employee.

If you want the unseen world,
you are not living with your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.

Happy Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Escaping to the Forest

The Dream, by Henri Rousseau
Some souls have gotten free of their bodies.
Do you see them? Open your eyes for those
who escape to meet with other escapees,
whose hearts associate in a way they have
of leaving their false selves
to live in a truer self.

I don't mind if my companions
wander away for a while.

They will come back like a smiling drunk.
Thirsty ones die of their thirst.

A nightingale sometimes
flies from a garden
to sing in the forest.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Evolutionary Intelligence

This groggy time we live, this is what it is like:
A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived, and he dreams
he is living in another town.
He believes the reality of the dream town.

The world is that kind of sleep.
The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful doze,
but we are older than those cities.

We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state. Then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we almost
remember being green again.

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream.

It will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Water You Want

Someone may be clairvoyant, able to see
the future, and yet have very little wisdom.

Like the man who saw water in his dream,
and began leading everyone toward the mirage.

I am the one with heart-vision.
I have torn open the veil.

So they set out with him inside the dream,
while he is actually sleeping
beside a river of pure water.

Any search moves away from the spot
where the object of the quest is.

Sleep deeply wherever you are on the way.
Maybe some traveler will wake you.

Give up subtle thinking, the twofold, threefold
multiplication of mistakes.

Listen to the sound of waves within you.

You are dreaming your thirst,
when the water you want
is inside the big vein on your neck.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Water and the Moon

There is a path from me to you
that I am constantly looking for

so I try to keep clear and still
as water does with the moon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The One Thing You Must Do

There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do.
If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry
about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you
will have done nothing in your life.

It is as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you
perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do.
So human beings come to this world to do particular work. That
work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don't
do it, it's as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a
wall to hang things on. For a penny an iron nail could be bought to
serve for that.

Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord.
Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your
moments. If you don't, you will be like the one who takes a precious
dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his
dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly
ignoring your dignity and your purpose.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Pilgrimage to a Person

When you are not with close friends,
you are not in the presence.

It is sad to leave the people you travel with.
How much moreso those who remind you of God.
Hurry back to the ones protecting you.

On every trip, have only one objective,
to meet those who are friends
inside the presence.

If you stay home, keep the same purpose,
to meet the innermost presence
as it lives in people.

Be a pilgrim to the kaaba inside a human being,
and Mecca will rise into view on its own.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Honor Those

I honor those who try
to rid themselves of any lying,
who empty the self
and have only clear being there.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Unfold Your Own Myth

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet? Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Solomon cuts open a fish, and there's a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.

But don't be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, so everyone will understand
the passage, We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment of feeling
the wings you've grown, lifting.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The Nightingale, by Grace Ndirtu, 32-second video here

Let your throat-song
be clear and strong enough

to make an emperor fall full-length,
suppliant, at the door.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Someone Digging in the Ground

May Picture, by Paul Klee

An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.
A head has one use: for loving a true love.
Legs: to run after.

Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.
Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.

A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back completely changed.

On the way to Mecca, many dangers: thieves,
the blowing sand, only camel's milk to drink.

Still, each pilgrim kisses the black stone there
with pure longing, feeling in the surface
the taste of the lips he wants.

This talk is like stamping new coins. They pile up,
while the real work is being done outside
by someone digging in the ground.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Freshness

When it's cold and raining,
you are more beautiful.

And the snow brings me
even closer to your lips.

The inner secret, that which was never born,
you are that freshness, and I am with you now.

I can't explain the goings,
or the comings. You enter suddenly,

and I am nowhere again.
Inside the majesty.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Lovers Walking in the Snow (Crow and Heron)
Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)

This is no ordinary friendship.
I attend your banquet as wine attends.

Like lightning, I am an expert at dying.
Like lightning, this beauty has no language.

It makes no difference
whether I win or lose.

You sit with us in a congregation of the dead,
where one handful of dirt says,
I was once a head of hair.

Another, I was a backbone.
You say nothing.

Love comes in, I can deliver you
from yourself in this moment.

Now lover and beloved grow quiet.
My mouth is burning with sweetness.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

As Much as a Pen Knows

Do you think that I know what I'm doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?

As much as a pen knows what it's writing,
or the ball can guess where it's going next.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always
more marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it does not move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Dumb Experiment

Break open your personal self
to taste the story of the nutmeat soul.

These voices come from that rattling
against the outer shell.

The nut and the oil inside
have voices that can only be heard
with another kind of listening.

If it weren't for the sweetness of the nut,
the inner talking, who would ever shake a walnut?

We listen to words
so we can silently
reach into the other.

Let the ear and mouth get quiet,
so this taste can come to the lip.

Too long we have been saying poetry,
talking discourses, explaining the mystery outloud.

Let us try a dumb experiment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Uthman's Silence

The story is told of Uthman, who when he became caliph
mounted quickly the steps of Muhammad's pulpit,
where Abu Bakr, out of respect for the prophet,
seated himself on the second step.

There were three steps. Omar sat on the third step.
Uthman climbed to the top. When asked why, he replied,
If I sat on the third step, people would say
I was like Omar. If on the second step,
He's like Abu Bakr.

But up here where the chosen one sat, no one will think
to compare me with that king of the spirit.

And sometimes when he had climbed
to the preaching place, that sweet one Uthman,
would not say anything. He stayed silent
until midafternoon. No one asked him
for a sermon, and no one left the mosque.

In the silence many began to see with Uthman's light.
This is how a living master opens the inner eye.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Many Wines

Glowing Night, by Oscar Bluemner

God has given us a dark wine so potent
that, we leave the two worlds.

God made Majnun love Layla so much
that just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.

Don't think all ecstasies are the same.
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur, and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
not the ones adulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Visions of Daquqi (4)

Old Cities, Msyir Mohammed

One of the seven answers, Names, sometimes
the names slip away,
but it is not forgetfulness.
It is our being so absorbed.

Then they all say to me,
Would you lead us in prayer?

Yes. But wait awhile.
I am still in some temporal confusion
that will be solved by companionship with you.

Through companionship with the ground
a grapevine grows. It opens
into the earth's darkness and flies.

It becomes selfless in the presence
of its origin and learns what it really is.

They nod, as though to say, Whenever you are ready.
That nodding was a flame in my heart.
I was freed from hourly time,
from sequence and relation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Visions of Daquqi (3)

Lanes, Ahmed Nussaif

The caravans had no food, yet food was dropping
all about them. If someone had said,
Look, over here, they would have thought him insane.

How can this happen. Am I dreaming?
I walk up to the trees. I eat the fruit.
I may as well believe.

Then the seven trees become one and then seven again.
At every second they are both one and seven.
Then they are seven men seated in meditation
for the sake of the one reality.

I come close and wave. They call,
O Daquqi, the glory and the crown.

How do they know my name?
They have never seen me until now.
Immediately they know my thought
and smile at each other.

Honored one, is this still hidden from you?
How can anything be hidden from one so dissolved in God?
I think inwardly, If this is the spirit-reality,
how is it we are speaking words and saying names?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Visions of Daquqi (2)

Kliem of the South, Ahmed Nussaif

What are those candles that no one seems to see?
In the presence of such lights
people were looking for lamps to buy.

Then the seven became one,
in the middle of the sky's rim.
Then that fanned out to seven again.

There were connections between candles
that cannot be said. I saw, but I cannot say.
They became seven men and then seven trees,
so dense with leaves and fruit no limbs were visible.

Flashes of light
spurted from each fruit like juice.

And most marvelous of all was that hundreds
of thousands of people were passing beside the trees,
risking their lives, sacrificing everything,
to find some scrap of shade. No one saw
the trees with their tremendous shade.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Visions of Daquqi (1)

Husam, tell about the visions of Daquqi,
who said, I have traveled east and west
not knowing which way I was going,
following the moon, lost inside God.

Someone asked, Why do you go barefooted
over the stones and thorns.

What, he answered. What.

A bewildered lover does not walk on feet.
He or she walks on love. There are no "long"
or "short" trips for those. No time.

The body learned from spirit how to travel.
A saint's body moves in the unconditioned way,
though it seems to be in conditionedness.

Daquqi said, One day I was going along
looking to see in people the shining of the Friend.
I came to the shore at twilight and saw
seven candles. I hurried along the beach
toward them. I was amazed. My amazement was amazed.
Waves of bewilderment broke over my head.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Farther and Farther from Zero

Winged Figure, Abbott Handerson Thayer

Suddenly, I fall from the pavillion
into a place where I see the ugliness,
hypocrisy, rouge on a sunken face,
a thorn lodged in a kidney, the blind crone
holding a laurel wreath for the winner,
her black ribbons in shreds,
her eyes dark with purple,
a gold anklet on her shriveled leg.

The puppet show looks charming,
but go behind the screen and see who runs it.

Wash your hands and face of this charade.
Anyone who wants these prizes
flares up quickly like a wood chip.

There is one who can help,
who turns the wheel from nonexistence
to a sweet-breathing emptiness.

Words are ways we add up the breath,
counting stress and syllable
with our exacting musical knack
that takes us farther and farther from zero.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Price of Kissing

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.

Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let's buy it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Night Full of Talking

Landscape, by Fred Williams Lysterfield

A night full of talking that hurts,
my worst held-back secrets. Everything
has to do with loving and not loving.
This night will pass.
Then we have work to do.