om_4.gif AUM (OM) is a sacred symbol of the Indian religions.  It is here to welcome you to the Poetry place.  It is a soothing sound, the first word and a way of settling down from the busyness of the day.  It is an invitation to turn our awareness inward.

We all need to refresh our spirits from time to time.  At the end of a too busy day, I give myself the possibility of distilling that which I needed to discover, or maybe learn again to take with me into the slumber of the night.
 
In the early morning, I awake thinking about poetry and how it might prepare me for the coming day. I think about what I left behind yesterday and what I will take with me into the day.  I created this space to share poetry I love, with you.  I hope your spirit may be refreshed while visiting here for as long as you might wish to linger.  And return whenever your spirit asks for this.
 
 
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From the 13th-century Persian poet, theologian, mystic,

Jalal ad-Muhammad Rumi:

 

Rumi Love and Ecstasy Poems

 

 

Dance

 

The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.

We must get up and take that in,

that wind that lets us live.

Breathe before it's gone.

 

Dance, when you're broken open.

Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of the fighting.

Dance in your blood.

Dance, when you're perfectly free.

 

***

 

The Guest House

 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the

malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

                      

 

***

 

      The minute I heard my first love story,      

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

 

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,

they're in each other all along.

 

 

 ***

 

When I am with you, we stay up all

night,

When you're not here, I can't get to

sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!

And the difference between them.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Let the lover be disgraceful,

crazy,

absentminded.  Someone sober

will worry about things going

badly.

Let the lover be.

 

 

***

 

 

 

I have phrases and whole pages

memorized,

but nothing can be told of love.

You must wait until you and I

are living together.

In the conversation we'll have

then...be patient...then.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky

And you lift me up out of the two worlds.

I want your sun to reach my raindrops.

So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.

 

 

 

***

 

 

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.

 

 

 

*** 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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From the 14th-century Persian poet, Hafiz:


Build a house for men and birds, sit with them
and play music.  For one day, for just one day
talk about that which disturbs no one and bring
some peace into your beautiful life.

 

***

 


I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath moves through --
listen to this music.

***

Look at the smile on the earth's lips this morning, she
laid again with me last night.

***

Yours is the heart
I care most for in this world,
and yours is the heart
that cares most for me.

***

Wayfarer,
your body is my
prayer carpet

for I can see
in your face
that you are

so exquisitely
woven with
the finest silk
and wool.

And that pattern
upon your soul
has the glorious
signature of
the Divine.


***


If God invited you to a party and said, "Everyone in the
ballroom tonight will be my special guest."  How would you
then treat them when you arrived?  Indeed, indeed!
And Hafiz knows there is no one in this world who is not
standing upon the Beloved's jeweled dance floor.

 

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From the Contemporary Irish Poet, David Whyte:

Threshold


There were words in the end,
and an unlooked for passionate goodbye,
a song for my father in the few moments
she was allowed to take off the mask,
and my own name said once with the
incredible effort of the last.  Then we were all
words, helpless silence, or involuntary
movement in the room, myself telling
her she could go or stay,
my sister saying she was going to meet
the mother she hadn't seen since
she was thirteen, almost shouting
she's waiting for you, the numbers
on the machine steadily dropping
and my father's restless hands unable
to brace the fall.  My other sister
ignoring the machine, looked
straight into my mother's eyes,
fierce and unrelenting,
proud of her right and refusal to relinquish
and my mother's eyes equal to hers,
looked back in a fierce companionship
from far inside her going.

Then I heard my own voice again,
as if discovering some marvel in her face,
the knife-edge of a consummate
unlooked for joy, as she turned to go
where we could not follow.
My voice broke from some high
window that was not in the room
and I said look, she's going,
in unwanted happy astonishment
surprised at the reversal
said as it was, like a young boy
all love and innocent broken promises
anticipating her arrival,
running to a door to greet her
again.

 
***

The Journey


Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom

in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light
fades quickly.
You are arriving.

***

Loaves and Fishes


This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry,
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

 

***

The Seven Streams

Come down drenched, at the end of May,
with the cold rain so far into your bones
that nothing will warm you
except your own walking
and let the sun come out at the day's end
by Slievenaglasha with the rainbows doubling
over Mulloch Mor and see your clothes
steaming in the bright air.  Be a provenance
of something gathered, a summation of
previous intuitions, let your vulnerabilities
walking on the cracked, sliding limestone,
be this time, not a weakness, but a faculty
for understanding what's about
to happen.  Stand above the Seven Streams,
letting the deep down current surface
around you, then branch and branch
as they do, back into the mountain,
and as if you were able for that flow,
say the few necessary words
and walk on, broader and cleansed

for having imagined.

 

***

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 
 
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The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant,
yet familiar figure,
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
waiting for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except, it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately, in the face
of the one you know
you have to love.

So that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms

our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don't,

because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years,
you don't want to any more,
you've simply had enough
of drowning,
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

 
***
 
 

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING

 

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.