Drop

If you can drop
last night's dream,
you can let go of
yesterday's anger.
It's morning.
Love doesn't need
a story.

Labyrinth

Have you walked the labyrinth?
Are you walking it now?
When you are close, you may be far.
Distant, you may be near.
The one before you, way behind.
The one behind you, way ahead.
No difference, no equality.
Goals spill back down their paths.
No one designed this.
It was drawn by walking.
At the beginning and the end,
only compassion.
Here, where you press your
bare foot into wet grass,
is the ground of God.

Archer


You have bent the bow.
You have pulled the arrow
to your eye
and aimed well, warrior.

Now pierce the heart
of the almighty

and bring down the Lord
of blue skies.
Become the hollow
that fills your weapon
with silence.
Be the womb of your intent,
the moonless dark
in the crescent.
Draw your narrow path
into a sphere.
Make taut the curve
of possibility.
In the hands of a master
the bow of birth and death 
is a circle with no target.
Rest where the victory
is already won
and arrows release themselves.

No Deal

Everybody's selling something.
It's a buyer's market.
But there's one thing you cannot purchase:
the breath of surrender.
This is the difference between
love and business.
What's truly priceless is given for free.
It's all around you, friend, like sunlight.
It sparkles in each photon of your bones.
The marketer's mind believes
that exhalation is down-payment
for some ecstasy,
and inhalation is a lease.
But faith is not a contract.
Meditate without negotiation,
and expect no return for your investment.
Never
bargain with the Beloved.
Become like the poor in Spirit,
for they have given their breath away.

Just declare bankruptcy
and be done with it.
If someone led you to believe
you'd get anything in exchange
for the gift of your whole being,
you've been fleeced.

Thank You

Thank you for this wholly ordinary morning
and its quantum daystar world-round light.
Thank you for the blues of empty sky,
the gift of formlessness, for earthworms
in their ether of loam, and for dying
that dissolves our bodies into food
the tiniest hungriest creatures eat.
Thank you for this ladybug whose
wings are woven of my father's dust.
And, yes, my mother's tears must be
by now the snow on the distant mountain.
Thank you for the eye in my heart
that created this earth for seeing and
created it all for saying thank you
and thank you for the gift of gratitude.

Warrior's Breath

You enter my kingdom
by ten thousand wounds,
those in your brother's body,
and in yours.
Each chariot wheel
rolls toward its center.
No restless search for honey
in some other garden,
but this dark syrup, wine of the heart,
contents you.
Some pray until dawn,
and some ask, "Who listens?"
But you have wrestled and succumbed
to a ruthless wonder
beyond words,
and found the way to worship
the lance that pierced you.
Never crying, "Withdraw it!"
you seek no immortality,
grateful for the whisper
of your ebbing breath, my Name.
A song swells in your throat,
a voice that is yours and not yours,
the way smoke curls
from a wick just now blown out.
Then you return to my lips.

Photo: The Dying Gaul, Capitalline Museum, Rome

Birthday

This morning
every star-cast proton 
of your flesh is
3 billion years old -
but You 
have never yet
been born.

New Moon

Big heart carries pain
that others won't feel.
Boundless heart weeps
cleansing tears
without knowing why.
Yet at heart's core
is a hollow
that cannot be touched
by joy or sorrow.
The stars are longing
to rest here.
The moon takes off her
veil of light in vain
to know this stillness.
How may you enter
that shrine of
holy absence?
Follow a breath.
Painting: The Bohemian, by Renoir

Polish

When I discovered this
emerald in my chest
I gave up every profession,
wealth, adventure, and fame
just to accomplish
the simplest task,
the most insignificant
avocation - I became 
a jewel polisher.
Keep moving the white
cloth of your breathing
over the gemstone in
your heart until
the entire universe
becomes edgeless
and brilliant.

Honeysuckle

When you risk being
fully embodied
in a breath, a heartbeat,
an exquisite now
of pure sensation,
you will not need to believe
in anything,
because you will taste
Divine Eros
in every particle of flesh
and surely reach
enlightenment
through the fragrance of honeysuckle,
the sound of a raindrop,
the touch of my palm in yours,
the ancient light
of a distant star... O traveler,
isn't it time to arrive?
Don't say to the hungry,
"this is my soul."
Say, "take, eat, this is my body."
You are the same
perfect Presence that
Jesus gave his friends.
The shape of the bread
doesn't matter
when each atom dissolves
into God.
 ________

CHÈVREFEUILLE
Lorsque vous risquez d'être
pleinement incarné
dans un souffle, un battement de coeur,
un présent exquis
de pure sensation ,
vous n’aurez pas besoin de croire
en quoi que ce soit,
parce que vous dégusterez
l’Eros Divin
dans chaque particule de chair
et atteindrez sûrement
l’illumination
à travers le parfum de chèvrefeuille,
le son d'une goutte de pluie,
le contact de ma paume dans la vôtre,
la lumière ancienne
d'une étoile lointaine ... O voyageur,
n'est-il pas le temps d'arriver?
Ne dites pas à l’affamé,
"Ceci est mon âme."
Dites: "Prenez, mangez, ceci est mon corps."
C'est la même
Présence parfaite, cher ami,
quelle que soit la forme du pain.
Ne vous inquiétez pas.
Savourez l'essence.
Que chaque atome se dissolve
en Dieu.


(Original version translated
into French by Francine Gaulin)

Towers

The towers of memory collapse.
One breath of Presence
gently blows away the dust
of every story.
You are graciously brought low
to your ancient foundation,
the beaten hollow of your heart.
It is a fall that heals you.
Here in the golden center
of an exhalation
you have no circumference.
Astonishment blossoms.
Yet you may heal the earth
with a wave of wonder.
Don't worry, just return
to the core of your bones
and give someone
the flower of your body
this moment.

Just

The only unforgivable sin
is to be bored.
The root of sorrow
is to search for more
than the ordinary.
A squabble of wrens
at the birdbath.
The patient tree frog waiting
for me to water
his gardenia.
A mysterious wave
of golden joy that
widens across the sea
in my chest for no reason.
If you want to take
the greatest adventure,
plunge into the silence
of this moment, precisely
when nothing special
seems to happen...
You will get lost
in the song of stars
and never be found again.

Lost

I shall not cultivate
the meadows of regret,
but find the green sensation
where the raven goes at night
and the doe stands vigil 
over her sleeping fawn.

I will find a wilder place,
beyond want.
Not to renounce the body
nor to rise above the earth
but to deepen my surrender,
I will enter the entangled stillness
of the heart.

Let me feel its touch
in the bare soles of my feet,
walking gently down
the deer trail
far back in the woods

until Way disappears
in a host of moon-white
wide-awake trillium eyes,
gazing up from the kindness
of my lost shadow.


4 A.M.

4 a.m.
What is said in words
can be said without them.
But what arises
from stillness
has no name.
Why make these
useless distinctions
between silence and dancing,
waking and sleep?
Just let waves
of pure astonishment
play in the ocean
of your heart,
and whoever leaps out
like a breathless dolphin
dripping with moon splendor
is called 'Me.'
We only exist
for a moment, dear friend.
Be always willing
to plunge back
into the night.

Night Song

The scentless nectar in the rose,
The hollow of the heart that knows,
The emptiness inside the drum
Where rhythms of the dance come from,
The choice of what note not to play,
The space around a star,
The yearning silence that would say
'Beloved,' were there any way
To speak of what You are.

Boom

Inside the djembe, it's always
night, empty and still.
But when that hollow throbs
there's booming out here 
and bodies must dance.
You too are a drum.
Never underestimate the power
of the darkness inside.

To Grieve

When we don't know how
to grieve, we blame.
Filled with rain, bright blossoms
with broken stems.
There is no other garden.

Rapture

The Rapture is this breath.
The Judgment Day is the day
I drop my judgments.
The Second Coming, a thrush song
just before dawn.
The Holy Land, wherever
I take off my shoes
and feel the dust between my toes.
When the peony bursts open
in the morning sun
this mind is so astonished
it drops the concepts
of "one" and "two,"
"empty" and "full."
What does it mean to transcend?
It means not to go anywhere else.
Slip between two thoughts
and you are the sky.
Fall between the cracks
in your perfection
and drown in the original wound.
How did we receive this deep
healing laceration?
We were born here, on earth.
All names of God melt away 
like threads of last night's dew

in the golden chaos of silence.
The clarity of my mind is Buddha.
The wine that pours from
one cup of my heart into the other
is the sound of Krishna's flute.
If I were not already
a brilliant particle of Christ's body
I could not sing this.

Meet Here

Lovers meet here
where there are not two.
The color is deep burgundy.
The fragrance is musk.
They drink the wine of annihilation
with its bouquet of stars.
The sound? Breathlessness.
Well, dear, it brings tears.
I think it may be your true name,
this murmur of dawn that loons
and thrushes listen to, tilting
their heads just before singing...
Now you must hear it,
the keening of a thousand
galaxies goldenly born
from the darkness in your chest.
Call it silence.

H. J. Ford watercolor, illustration for
The Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam

Flavors In My Blood

In the cool of the evening
my Beloved walks down this
cobbled path of little bones
that begins at the almond tree
growing between my eyebrows
and ends at the dark lily pond
in the woods beneath my navel.
We meet in the heart chuppah
under a golden canopy of sighs.
Now I must explain that
all the gods are flavors in my blood,
all the goddesses just tremors
of my exhalation.
She takes my hand, asking,
"Did you eat of the tree whose
fruit is Knowledge?"
I answer, "No Beloved, I ate
of that other tree whose fruit
is bewilderment."
She plays her seven stringed vina
which is my body, cacophony of dust.
Mangoes and pomegranates
split themselves without a knife,
because ripeness and wounding
are one.
I dance now.
Galaxies swirl open,
rainbows on a peacock's tail.
Other worlds spring up and blossom,
rooted in the juices of my longing
and her tears.
I am so full of light the moon rises
to gaze at my face.
For in me, pride and innocence
are the same joy.
I delight in the Presence
that is both Self and God.
All this happens in the bindhu
between two breaths.
Dear one, I won't believe
until I feel the bruise of your footprint
on the inside of my chest.


Photo by Kristy Thompson

Blaze

You are no longer the veil.
You are the face.
Reveal the blaze
of your emptiness.
You are no longer knowledge
but the smokeless
blue flame
of the Knower.
Burn away the clutter
of thought.
Singe your heart
with this breath
and wander no more
in the smog of bad news.
Shake off the ashes
of the Information Age.
This is the Age of Wonder.



Photo: A flower, by Bob Witkowski

Pilgrim

Dear one, take off your shoes.
Come with me on a pilgrimage
into the back yard.
Your feet shall sting
with morning dew,
your body shall smolder
with the silence
of dissolving stars.
Let me show you how
there is no difference
between weeds and flowers
if you look closely,
no difference between
the least and the greatest
if you let things blossom
into themselves.
What is loam?
A profligate entanglement 
of generous corpses.
Your body is destined
for this grace.
The One who created
this boundless chaos
is near you.
The sun is always
fingering the dark root.
What is a friend?
This breath, a sparrow,
my glance, reminding you
how beautiful you are today.
Dear one, come with me.
Take off your shoes.


Photo: Wild flower patch in my back yard

If You Knew

If you knew how many
love potions you imbibe
with one inhalation,
and all the healing
elixirs you pour out
in a single sigh
of astonished prayer,
you would awaken
before dawn to spend
the darkest, most radiant hour
caressing the earth
and bathing the stars
with your breath.

Photo by Art Wolf: our beloved

Mt. Tahoma at dawn.

Wait

Seeds burst open, not knowing why.
Bees feast on pollen but the concept of honey
has never occurred to them.
Lovers entangle their glistening chromosomes
to create you from the chaos of desire,
though they've never seen your face.
Your body can't conceive how many families
of worms death will nourish.
Wait, don't numb your heart with conclusions.
Let darkness lie fallow until light ripens
your grief garden.
Take some time for uncertainty.
Don't decide.

Finish

Anyone who cradles
their own breath
finishes the work
that Christ started
in Mary's womb.
Empty yourself.
Now receive
the anointing.
Spirit descends
into flesh with every
inhalation.
The falling and rising
of your chest
is the whole story
of redemption.

Holy Absence

 
"God can't come to visit you unless you're not there."
~Meister Eckhart


Now teach me the way
of divine absence.
Just as You have made
yourself absent
so that I may be present
to the plaint of a frog,
first scent of hyacinth,
or the disappearing
white-tailed flicker
in morning mist,
teach me to be
absent too, Lord,
so that your presence
might consume my eye,
my tongue, my twin
chambered heart
with invisible fire;
so that my absence
and your presence
may be waves of prayer,
cups of longing
poured empty, poured full.


Getting Invited

Your ancestors and mine
are having a party.
No masks allowed,
no clothes, no edges
for the body,
and no last names.
But you and I can't go
because we're still at work
being separate.
Just wait until the Self
gets juicier than the Other
and you exude the sweetness
you've been thirsting for.
Then you'll find the invitation
in a stranger's glance, and hear
our Grandmothers' voices
in your own breath.

A Haiku By The Raven

I swallowed the sun.
My bliss embraces sorrow.
Darkness gleams for me.
~Raven

Important To Say

It is important to say
after a long Winter
that the sun does not caress
this mossy stone
without delight,

and the breeze does not ripple
a pond in the meadow
without rapture.

All night in the fern forest
trillium shine,
seeing through eyes
more ancient than ours,
and not without tears.

At first light, petals
of magnolia, filled with rain,
fall and bruise themselves

not without that peculiar sorrow
which is the soul of time.

Before I leave this place
it is important to say
that I have heard the voice
of the raven, wise
as the silence that was
already singing
when God asked for light.

I have seen the whole
blue curve of the universe
in a robin’s egg,
which I put in another poem.
Shall I repeat it again?

I want you to be astonished
by the grace of little things,
the yearning in an apple bud,
the pebble's presence.
This is why you are here,
to ask the sentient heart
of every creature,
"What are you saying?"
and to listen for the answer:

I am patience in a stone,
ardor in a peony, a whisper
of grief in scattered bones.
Stars are not cold,
loam is alive with all
your ancestors,
and the vastness of night,
even when you think you are alone,

is awake, awake
with love and tenderly
silently burning.

Seed

The seed is hollow.
Yet from this hollow space is born
the stem, the flower, the fruit.
In the fruit is a pit
that is just as hollow.
Are these two hollows
different, or one?
Does the hollow in the fruit
know more than the hollow
in the seed whence it arose?
We move from hollow to hollow,
appearing to grow, to learn,
and to acquire, yet
we ever return
to the hollow core
between breathing out
and breathing in,
transparent ayin soph
holding all possible worlds
as a drop of clear water
contains invisible grains
of dissolving sugar.
If you rest here, just
for an instant, fully awake,
you will taste
that unutterable sweetness.
You will dive into an ocean
of joy
and become the source
of flower and fruit.
Meadows, forests, mountains,
sky, sun, and stars
will appear in the tiny
empty seed
at the center of your heart,
the seed of love.
Don't try to understand.
Just be hollow.

When I Laugh

When I laugh I have no chakras.
The sun is my heart.
When I cry the moon
comes down to touch my forehead
but finds no one to kiss.
Breathing the Beloved's scent
clears my horoscope
of every planet and sign.
The astrologer is bewildered.
All he sees there is
an empty page, full of light.
Don't give me any more
esoteric books.
Grace has made me too stupid.


Painting by Mahmoud Farshchian

Open

Never try
to open a flower.
You might ruin it.
But you knew that.
Let sun, rain and breeze
have their way with
every petal.
Be patient. Watch.
The flower I speak of
is your soul.
But you knew that.
And the power by which
you already knew
is what breathes
and opens all
that is truly alive.

Drowned

You have already drowned
in the ocean of Presence.
Why keep pretending
to be thirsty?
Yes, the honey's taste
has hints of death,
a thousand bees
who perished in the flower,
too drunk to fly.
The light of seeing
fueled by the cinders
of moth wings.
The crumbled useless cocoon.
No one survives.
Have some courage.
Stay quietly where you are.

And for just a moment
become the sweetness
you've been seeking.

Don't Hesitate

The soul is the softest
form of earth, and earth
is the mother of the soul.
The purpose of every caress
is to blend her element
with fire.
Don't hesitate.
Mix soil with air
through an inhalation of wonder.
As for your tears,
mingle them with dust.
Your lover is
waiting to be created
from that fructifying mud.
Your touch
shapes the silence
of wild expectation.
Here is the Mystery:
we are two, not one.
Here is the Grace:
we meet, we dance,
we dissolve
in love.

T'Shuvah

T'shuvah, return.
Return with a gentle breath.
The Sabbath is now.
Restoration is never
in the future.
Let the vast clear silence
of this very moment
swallow your mind.

Body


I swear to you that body of yours gives proportions to your Soul somehow
to live in other spheres; I do not know how, but I know it is so." ~Walt Whitman
"I am not this body”: that is the lie.
You cannot be anything else.
Your incarnation has no edges.
It's fractals entangle the stars.
You just need to fall in love
with all your numb and nameless
invisible organs, the untouched layers
of your sacred skin.
Some people never caress
the subtlety of their molecules
or taste the succulence of their own
bones, and so believe they must
transcend their marrow to touch
God's tongue.
But every particle of you is rounded
laughter rippling the vacuum,
so vast the moon's a bindhu
in your eyebrow,
constellations pour from one
cup of your heart to the other,
and that little ayin soph, the sun,
tumbles through your lungs looking
for the unknowable silence of your name.
Down your neurons worlds swirl
tipsy with nectar, sending dawn
and evening across each synapse.
The softest wave of your anatomy
is the fabric of space itself.
Therefor glorify God in your body.
Let matter be a corridor of open gates
where lightning swims into a bee wing,
moonbeams weave bittersweet leaves
of watercress by snow-melt streams,
and comets fall into a serpent's eye.
Be the alchemy of avatars.
Don't wait for Jesus:
make dust dance and rocks sing now!
Let the asymptotes of your humanity
that Danté glimpsed, shimmering
in the void, curving Christ-ward
to approach the infinite, be crucified
at the core of every proton.
Your eyes are black holes of wonder.
Out beyond the chalice rim of night,
Andromeda kneels to drink
the wine of embodiment
from your mass-less gaze,
while here in the garden's greening
pull of gravity, you move as sap
in every stem, defiant and graceful.
Now put on your garment of loam,
woven from Radha's glances,
spun from the flute music of Shyam.