Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
"The Acts Of The Apostles", by William Bronk.
The second time the flesh was harder to put on
and there was no womb to shape and soften it,
unless it were Joseph's tomb in the cut rock
that shaped, perhaps, but more misshaped to a kept
mask, as a wet shoe is hardened as it dries
to a foot shape and the print of a step, but not
to the moving muscle and bone that walking was.
What wonder then that Mary, who loved his life,
mistook him for the gardener, and humbled by love,
asked only where they had lain him that took him away.
The men, too, were uncertain they saw at first.
Thomas doubted and thrust his hand in the wounds.
There must have been some subtle difference gone
from the flesh they loved, or a difference newly come
to make a change in it. Say the change was death
that had wrought hard with it; or say the fact
this flesh appeared and disappeared without
their knowing bewildered them. They did rejoice,
but only as though their hope had stretched too far.
And Peter went back to cast his nets on the sea.
Some grief is stronger than any joy before
or after it, and life survives. It feeds
within itself on grief, not nourished then
by other food, as winter trees survive
because they do not feed. Their mouths refused,
almost, the taste of the brief return; grief seared,
they could not savor it. The time did come—
but it was afterwards, that a new joy
leafed over their grief as a tree is leafed.
It was the tree of grief that grew these leaves.
We share the movement that young birds learn
when clumsy with size, they grow to empty air
and fall, and find the empty air sustains.
So we are lofted in our downward course by the wide
void of loss through which we fall to loss
and lose again, until we too are lost
in a heavier element—the earth or sea.
We grow in stature: grief is real and loss
is for life, as long as life. Long flight,
soar freely, spiral and glide in the empty air.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Monday, August 02, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?
If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think,
"To him this must have been a familiar sight."
If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."
If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"?
And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom,
"He hears it not now, but used to notice such things"?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
BY YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Some nights I sleep with my dress on. My teeth are small and even. I don't get headaches. Since 1971 or before, I have hunted a bench where I could eat my pimento cheese in peace. If this were Tennessee and across that river, Arkansas, I'd meet you in West Memphis tonight. We could have a big time. Danger, shoulder soft. Do not lie or lean on me. I'm still trying to find a job for which a simple machine isn't better suited. I've seen people die of money. Look at Admiral Benbow. I wish like certain fishes, we came equipped with light organs. Which reminds me of a little known fact: if we were going the speed of light, this dome would be shrinking while we were gaining weight. Isn't the road crooked and steep. In this humidity, I make repairs by night. I'm not one among millions who saw Monroe's face in the moon. I go blank looking at that face. If I could afford it I'd live in hotels. I won awards in spelling and the Australian crawl. Long long ago. Grandmother married a man named Ivan. The men called him Eve. Stranger, to tell the truth, in dog years I am up there.
C. D. Wright was born in 1949 in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She is the author of numerous books of poetry and currently teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Let us bless
The imagination of the Earth,
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.
And how light knew to nurse
The growth until the face of the Earth
Brightened beneath a vision of color.
When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.
Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And hold our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.
Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.
The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed's self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.
The kindness of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
23 April 1918 – 10 May 2009
As they took him from the cross
I, the centurion, took him in my arms-
the tough lean body
of a man no longer young,
but well hung.
He was still warm.
While they prepared the tomb
I kept guard over him.
His mother and the Magdalen
had gone to fetch clean linen
to shroud his nakedness.
I was alone with him.
For the last time
I kissed his mouth. My tongue
found his, bitter with death.
I licked his wound-
the blood was harsh
For the last time
I laid my lips around the tip
of that great cock, the instrument
of our salvation, our eternal joy.
The shaft, still throbbed, anointed
with death's final ejaculation
I knew he'd had it off with other men-
with Herod's guards, with Pontius Pilate,
With John the Baptist, with Paul of Tarsus
with foxy Judas, a great kisser, with
the rest of the Twelve, together and apart.
He loved all men, body, soul and spirit. - even me.
So now I took off my uniform, and, naked,
lay together with him in his desolation,
caressing every shadow of his cooling flesh,
hugging him and trying to warm him back to life.
Slowly the fire in his thighs went out,
while I grew hotter with unearthly love.
It was the only way I knew to speak our love's proud name,
to tell him of my long devotion, my desire, my dread-
something we had never talked about. My spear, wet with blood,
his dear, broken body all open wounds,
and in each wound his side, his back,
his mouth - I came and came and came
as if each coming was my last.
And then the miracle possessed us.
I felt him enter into me, and fiercely spend
his spirit's finbal seed within my hole, my soul,
pulse upon pulse, unto the ends of the earth-
he crucified me with him into kingdom come.
-This is the passionate and blissful crucifixion
same-sex lovers suffer, patiently and gladly.
They inflict these loving injuries of joy and grace
one upon the other, till they dies of lust and pain
within the horny paradise of one another's limbs,
with one voice cry to heaven in a last divine release.
Then lie long together, peacefully entwined, with hope
of resurrection, as we did, on that green hill far away.
But before we rose again, they came and took him from me.
They knew not what we had done, but felt
no shame or anger. Rather they were glad for us,
and blessed us, as would he, who loved all men.
And after three long, lonely days, like years,
in which I roamed the gardens of my grief
seeking for him, my one friend who had gone from me,
he rose from sleep, at dawn, and showed himself to me before
all others. And took me to him with
the love that now forever dares to speak its name.
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
by John Updike. Reprinted by permission of
Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House Inc
On Easter and Updike
by David E. Anderson
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
in my eyes
and on my skin
the warmth of a star, so strange
can barely comprehend it:
I'll lift my face to it, and then
I lift my face,
and don't even know how
this is done. And
alive) is turning
into something else
as at the heart
of some annihilating
or is it creating
that's burning, unseeably, always
burning at such speeds
as eyes cannot
detect, just try
to observe your own face
in the mirror, or
is it beginning
to be born?
~ Franz Wright ~
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have been warned that 'All things bright and beautiful' will not necessarily strike my readers as nostalgically as it does me. It is an Anglican hymn for children written by Mrs. C. F. Alexander in 1848, comfortably extolling the beauties of nature (and, in one verse, the political status quo) with the refrain, 'The Lord Gog made them all'. It is the subject of a splendid parody written by Eric Idle and sung by the Monty Python team:
All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid Wings.
All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all.
Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!
All Thing scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
"All the old bindings are broken. Cosmological centers
now are anywhere and everywhere. The earth is a heavenly
body, most beautiful of all, and all poetry now is archaic
that fails to match the wonder of this view."
- Joseph Campbell, *Myths to Live By*
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts
and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical
delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for
us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from
the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true
value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure
and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity
is to survive.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Dear God, This is my record of eternal gratitude to You.
You gave me birth in a most respected Hindu family, but not high enough in social status to make me proud.
You gave me a physical form well-admired for its perfection, but it was small enough to keep me humble.
You gave me education high enough to be most useful in life, but not high enough to make me proud.
You gave me success in sports high enough to be satisfied, but not proud.
You gave me a career in which You took me high enough to be admired, but not high enough to make me arrogant.
You gave me a wife and family for which I have always been eternally grateful, but You did not spare me some grief to remind me not to forget what life is all about, and to be always grateful for what I do have.
You did not forget to place an adequate number of temptations in my way so that I may not be too critical of others who have to face their own temptations.
I am now 84, and perhaps the only wish that remains is that the long life You have given me will not carry a burden at the end. But in that case, I know You will also give me the necessary courage to go with it.
You gave me a lot to show me how little is needed to be content and how much could be given away.
And, undoubtedly, the most important of all - as if the bounty You have showered on me were not enough - You crowned Your achievement by using this psychosomatic apparatus to convey to the world the most important message of Advaita. Truly I am blessed. Or, indeed, my Beloved, have You not blessed Yourself?!
Finally, it occurs to me, if You were to design for Yourself a life in phenomenality, could it have been much different from this one?
And, for this thought, no tears are enough to wash Your Noumenal feet.
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Saturday, September 12, 2009
We are neither different nor separate from Consciousness, and for that very reason we cannot 'apprehend' it. Nor can we 'integrate' with it because we have never been other than it. Consciousness can never be understood in relative terms. Therefore, there is nothing to be 'done' about it. All is Consciousness and we are That.
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.
As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.
The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be---
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a barTo any watch they keep?
Thanks to Andrew Sullivan
--Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"If the universe is alive, if solar systems are alive, if galaxies are alive, if planets are alive, are they conscious? Or are they alive but unconscious, in the same way that perhaps a worm or a bacterium might be alive but unconscious? And is the kind of life that may exist in the cosmos more conscious than ourselves, or do we have to assume it's a great deal less conscious than ourselves? Are we the smartest beings in the universe? Now the usual answer of science is yes. I think that's a very improbable assumption."
Rupert Sheldrake "Physics of Angels"
Sunday, August 23, 2009
10. Then, addressing Nidagha, Ribhu said: I shall tell you
about the definition of the Self, which is not available in
all the triad of time--past, present, and future--
11. ever the most secret of the secret, by summarizing
what has been expounded by Siva. There is nothing that
can be talked of as non-Self, neither the mind as the
non-Self, nor the world as the non-Self. Be of the certitude
that there is nothing that is non-Self.
12. By the absence of all sankalpas, by the elimination
of all forms, by the conviction of there being only Brahman,
be of the certitude that there is not anything that is non- Self.
13. In the absence of mind, there is no thinking; in the
absence of the body, there is no aging. With the conviction
of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there
is no non-Self.
14. Because of the absence of feet, there is no walking;
because of the absence of hands, there is no work. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there
is no non-Self.
15. Because of the absence of Brahma, the Creator, there is
no world; in the absence thereof, there is no Hari, the
sustainer. There being only Brahman alone, be of the
certitude that there is no non-Self.
16. In the absence of aging, there is no death; nor is there
the world or the Vedas or the gods. There being only
Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non- Self.
17. There is no dharma (righteous conduct), no purity, no
[concept of] truth, no fear. There being only Brahman
alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
18. Because there is no decay, there is no movement.
Because there is no decay, there is no insentience. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is
19. The Guru, indeed, does not exist; truly, there is no
disciple. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude
that there is no non-Self.
20. There being nothing that is the first, there is nothing
that is the second; there being no second, there is nothing
as the first. If there is the concept of truth, something as
nontruth will also arise.
21. If there be any concept of nontruth, a concept of truth
will also arise, with it. If there is inauspiciousness, know
that thereis a notion of auspiciousness. Likewise, if there is
auspiciousness, there will be inauspiciousness.
22. If you think of fearlessness, fear is postulated; fear is
concomitant with fearlessness. There being only Brahman
alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
23. If there is bondage, there is liberation; in the absence
of bondage, there is no liberation. If there is death, there
is birth; in the absence of birth, there is no death either.
24. If there is "you," there is" I;" if there is no "you," there
is no "I." If there is "this," there is "that;" in the absence
of "that," there is no "this" either.
25. "If it is there" implies something not being there; "it is
not there" implies something being there. If there is an
effect, there is some cause; in the absence of effect, there
is no cause.
26. If there is duality, there is (a concept of) nonduality; in
the absence of duality, there is no (concept of) nonduality
either. If there is something to be "seen," a seer is also
there; in the absence of anything to see, there is no seer
at all either.
27. If there is an interior, there surely is an exterior; if
there be no interior, there is also no exterior. If there be
(a concept of) completeness, it implies something of
28. If there is a little that can be thought of, it becomes
all in no time; if there is not a little--nothing whatsoever
of anything at anytime--nothing arises.
29. Therefore, all this does not exist in the least at any
time: neither you nor I, neither this nor that. There being
only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no
30. There is nothing by way of example in this world, nor
is there anything for which an example is to be given. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is
31. There is no mind to think, "I am the Supreme Brahman,"
"This universe is only Brahman alone," "You are also only
32. I am Consciousness, and there is no non-Self. Be of this
certitude. Thus, in brief, the definition of the Self has been
told to you.
33. By hearing this once, one becomes Brahman oneself.
- Excerpt from the Ribhu Gita, translated from the original Sanskrit
by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy and Master Nome
Friday, August 21, 2009
you pretend that what isn't, somehow, is far superior to what
is. Although this belief keeps you focused on a never-ending
journey towards happiness, enlightenment, etc., it also
guarantees that you will never reach a point of permanent
satisfaction and peace. Why? Because this whole notion of
being on a `journey-to-fulfillment' is actually the secret
method that the desperate ego uses in order to survive in
the face of personal annihilation by Consciousness.
making the `journey,' it can continue to avoid disappearing
entirely in the blinding realization of the true identity of the
mystic `traveler.' This frenzied activity around pursuing
enlightenment helps the ego to maintain a sense of personal
doership. When what is not present is perceived as better
than what is present, the precious reality contained in this
very moment is inwardly resisted. However, Consciousness
has no opposite, it's the only thing that's present, and it can
never really change into `what isn't.'
else is better,' the ego hopes to survive by enthusiastically
pursuing the disowned `other.' Of course, the cosmic joke, is
that the ego is caught on a selfgenerated treadmill because it
already `is' what it is looking for.
from being exposed as the phantom it truly is. As long as the
search continues unabated, the searcher is validated as being
separate from the very thing that he is searching for.
because we already are who we are running from, and we
already are where we are running to.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
All of us are apprenticed to the same teacher
that the religious institutions originally worked
with: reality. Reality-insight says ... master
the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-
pity. It is as hard to get the children herded
into the car pool and down the road to the bus
as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on
a cold morning. One move is not better than the
other, each can be quite boring, and they both
have the virtuous quality of repetition.
Repetition and ritual and their good results
come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping
noses, going to meetings, picking up around the
house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick-don't
let yourself think these are distracting you from
your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores
is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape
from so that we may do our "practice" which will
put us on a "path"-it is our path.
- GARY SNYDER, 'The Practice of the Wild'