Tag Archives: writers

I Don’t Know How

A preview from one of my fellow blogger’s new book: Dark Earth…

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Inspiration From The Leaves of Grass

 

We Too, How long we were Fool’d

 

We two, how long we were fool’d,
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return,
We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks,
We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side,
We browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaeous as any,
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
We are what locust blossoms are, we drop scent around lanes mornings
and evenings,
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals,
We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look down,
We are two resplendent suns, we it is who believe ourselves orbic
and stellar, we are as two comets,
We prowl fang’d and four-footed in the woods, we spring on prey,
We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead,
We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling
ovoer each other and interwetting each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervious,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product and influence
of the globe,
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again, we two,
We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.

Rumi/ How We Move in Grace

 

 

Doing prayer and meditation at a particular time,

fasting, and going on pilgrimage

are outward statements of inner intention.

Giving to charity and giving up jealousy

are ways to say how it is inside us.

Serving food and welcoming guests into your house

are actions that mean, I feel close to you.

Any time you exert yourself by going somewhere,

giving money, or taking time to pray,

you are saying, There is a priceless jewel inside me.

Fasting says, I have not eaten

even what is permitted.  I must want no connection

to what is not.  Giving to the poor says,

I am distributing my own property.

Certainly, I will not steal from others.

There are, though, fowlers who throw out grain

to snare birds, and cats who pretend to fast,

fast-asleep, when really they are peeking

through eye-slits to ambush prey.

They give generosity a bad name.

But despite all crookedness,

water comes from the star Arcturus

to wash even the hypocrites.

When our water here

becomes saturated with pollution,

it gets led back to the original water, the ocean.

After a year of receiving starlight,

the water returns, sweeping new robes along.

Where have you been?  In the ocean of purity.

Now I’m ready for more cleaning work.

Give me your demons.  I’ll take them to sea.

If there were no impurity, what would water do?

It shows its glory in how it washes a face,’

and in other qualities as well,

the way it grows the grass

and how it lifts a ship across to another port.

Every medicinal ointment derives essence

from water, as every pearl and every seed.

A river is a shop of salves,

food for the abandoned, movement

for those who are stuck.

When the river slows with the weight of silt

and corruption, it grows sad and prays,

Lord, what you gave me I gave others.

Is there more?  Can you give more?

Clouds then draw up the riverwater,

and dissolve it in the ocean.

What this means is

we often need to be refreshed.

Mingling with surroundings, the soul falls ill.

It calls out to the first caller-out, Bilal,

revive us.  Beat the drum that glides us along.

As the body stands at prayer,

the soul says, Peace, my friend,

then leaves for a while.

When it comes back, you don’t have to do ablutions

with sand anymore or guess which way

to point the prayer rug.

Water is the story of how we are helped.

Hot baths prepare us to enter the fire.

Only salamanders can go directly in

without an intermediary, salamanders and Abraham.

The rest of us need guidance from water.

Satisfaction comes from God,

but to get there you need to eat bread.

Beauty comes from the presence,

but those of us in bodies

must walk in a garden to feel it.

When this body-medium goes, we will see directly

the light that lives in the chest.

The qualities of water show

how we move inside grace.

 

Poem from The Essential Rumi

Friday is Forever Rumi

 

 

LIKE THIS

If anyone asks you

how the perfect satisfaction

of all our sexual wanting

will look, lift your face

and say,

Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness

of the nightsky, climb up on the roof

and dance and say,

Like this!

If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,

or what “God’s fragrance” means,

lean your head toward him or her.

Keep your face there close.

Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image

about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,

slowly loosen knot by knot the strings

of your robe.

Like this?

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,

don’t try to explain the miracle.

Kiss me on the lips.

Like this.  Like this.

When someone asks what it means

to “die for love,” point

here.

If someone asks how tall I am, frown

and measure with your fingers the space

between the creases on your forehead.

This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.

When someone doesn’t believe that,

walk back into my house.

Like this.

When lovers moan,

they’re telling our story.

Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.

Stare into this deepening blue,

while the breeze says a secret.

Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,

light the candle in his hand.

Like this.

How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?

Huuuuuuu.

How did Jacob’s sight return?

Huuuuuuu.

A little wind cleans the eyes.

Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,

he’ll put just his head around the edge

of the door to surprise us.

Like this.

 

Poem from The Essential Rumi

 

 

 

 

The Gift Of Water

 

Rumi the gift of water

Someone who doesn’t know the Tigris River exists

brings the caliph who lives near the river

a jar of fresh water.  The caliph accepts, thanks him,

and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.

“Since this man has come through the desert,

he should return by water.”  Taken out by another door,

the man steps into a waiting boat

and sees the wide freshwater of the Tigris.

He bows his head, “What wonderful kindness

that he took my gift.”

Every object and being in the universe is

a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty,

a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained

by any skin.  Every jarful spills and makes the earth

more shining, as though covered in satin.

If the man had seen even a tributary

of the great river, he wouldn’t have brought

the innocence of his gift.

Those that stay and live by the Tigris

grow so ecstatic that they throw rocks at the jugs,

and the jugs become perfect!

They shatter.

The pieces dance, and water….

Do you see?

Neither jar, nor water, nor stone, 

nothing.

You knock at the door of reality,

shake your thought-wings, loosen

your shoulders,

and open.

Poem from The Essential Rumi: The Three Fish

Grace

Divine Light

It’s beautiful and sunny here today.

A gentle breeze dancing through the trees.

The sky above deeper than the deep blue sea.

Clouds bursting in bright white.

Beauty abundant as far as the eye can see.

I breathe in the true essence that surrounds me.

My heart is filled with gratitude and love,

for I know the Divine Light within,

is always there embracing my skin.

 

Poem by Tammy More @2014

Today’s Poem from Rumi: The Pistachio Passport Section

ON LOSING AND FINDING IDENTITY

Traveling alone to Konya in 1984,  I managed to lose my passport.  I’m not sure how I checked in to the Selijuk Hotel without it, but I did.  It was early evening.  I walked along the main street and came upon a visionary nutcart, lit with glorious lanterns and heaped with perfect pyramids of every kind of nut in elegant wooden compartments.  I bought a quarter’s worth, a newspaper cone of pistachios, impossible abundance.  As I came back in the hotel, one of the men watching television called out, Bul duc!  Others chimed in laughing, bul duc, which means “I found it” in Turkish.  The name of the hotel in Ankara I stayed in the previous night.  They had found my passport at the I Found It Hotel.  Ceremonially I went from chair to chair in the darkened hotel lobby, bowing with the paper spiral, Please.

rumi flower

 

 

WITH YOU HERE BETWEEN

Lovers work, so that when body and soul

are no longer together,

their loving will be free.

Wash in wisdom-water, so you will have no regrets

about the time here.

Love is the vital core of the soul,

and of all you see, only love is infinite.

Your non-existence before you were born

is the sky in the east.

Your death is the western horizon,

with you here between.

The way leads neither east nor west,

but in.

Test your love-wings and make them strong.

Forget the idea of religious ladders.

Love is the roof.  Your senses are waterspouts.

Drink rain directly off the roof.

Waterspouts are easily damaged

and often must be replaced.

Say this poem in your chest.

Don’t worry how it sounds

going through your mouth.

A human body is a bow.

Breathing and speech are arrows.

When the quiver and arrows are used up or lost,

there is nothing more for the bow to do.

 

May I Present Humphrey Gifford

1580 woman

 

A Delectable Dream

Here is a timeless satire on the faoibles of woman.  It was written nearly four hundred years ago, yet it sounds like a twentieth-century comment–a twentieth-century man’s comment.

A woman’s face is full of wiles,

Her tears are like the crocodiles;

With outward cheer on thee she smiles

When in her heart she thinks thee ill.

Her tongue still chats of this and that,

Than aspen leaf it wags more fast;

And as she walks she knows not what,

There issues many a truthless blast.

Thou far dost take thy mark amiss

If thou think faith in them to find.

The weathercock more constant is,

Which turns about with every wind.

Oh, how in pity they abound!

Their heart is mild like marble stone’

If in thyself no hope be found,

Be sure of them thou gettest none.

I know some pepper-nosed dame

Will term me fool and saucy jack,

That dare their credit so defame

And lay such slanders on their back.

What though on me they pour their spite?

I may not use the glozer’s trade:

I cannot say the crow is white,

But needs must call a spade a spade

(c. 1580)

glozer: flatterer.

I Write About…

A great poem from my friend Venus Bohemia. Enjoy!

ROZIET GARRUSE

I write about Love. Whatever that concept means to me.
I write about Fate, as if I know what Fate really is.
I write about Pain, convinced that I feel it everyday.

I write about Children, as the future of a questionable prorated world.
I write about Men, as creatures, for quite some time, overrated.
I write about Women, including myself, as opposed, but liberated now.

I write about Music, as the “cause and effect” of our insane society.
I write about Politics, and their crookery, power-hungry status.
I write about Nature, and the way humankind destroys it day by day.

I write about God and His Unconditional love for my son and for me.
I write about Sins, and how hard it is to stay away from it, on my daily basis.
I write about Free-will, and the disguised idea we all have, “we can do everything!”.

I write…

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Hope

pandoras_box

 

 

I’m thinking again of Pandora

and the box, of the boy

committed to stopping her

until she undid her golden braids

and got her way.

He’d wanted to open it, too,

but he’s made a promise

to a friend, and for a while

the promise was relevant.

I’m thinking of irrelevance,

of word and spirit and heart,

how the boy leaned against

her warm shoulder for a look

just as the evil Passions swooped

like mosquitoes to their necks,

the hundred and fifty Sorrows

stinging them with guilt and worry

they’d carry all their lives,

the paradise of childhood gone,

work now to be done,

clothes to mend, hunger and thirst

gushing out their laughter.

I’m thinking too

of my own irrelevance

when friends now dead chopped crank

on hand mirrors and snorted it

through rolled-up dollar bills, when

Wild C, who was like a brother,

jumped in front of an El train

after his girlfriend didn’t take him back.

Philadelphia: that city a box of sorrows,

a flock of swirling darknesses.

And don’t forget the many Cares

Pandora let loose,

the black clouds that trailed them

like doppelgangers.  Follow them

over doorways and skyline.

Listen to them darting about, tickliing

before they burrow in and spread.

In a  week my daughter will be six.

This summer she’s in paradise:

swimming, her cat, books, ice cream.

I’m thinking again of Pandora

because I’m thinking of Hope,

the last force to rise from the box,

the only answer to Troubles

like loneliness and age.

Fear is the knot in a golden cord

twisted around the heart,

without end or beginning.

Hope is the hand that unties it.

 

Poetry by Daniel Donaghy