Ten years ago.....
I turned my face for a moment
and it became my life.
Sometimes I go about pitying myself,
and all along
my soul is being blown by great winds across the sky.
I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not as a comment on my life.
In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively
by constantly greater beings.
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt--marvelous error!--
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart
It was fiery because it gave warmth
as if from a hearth
and it was sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
This thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, but only
seekers find it.
Abu Yazid Al-Bistami
You see, I am alive.
You see, I stand in good relation to the earth.
You see, I stand in good relation to the gods.
You see, I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful.
You see, I stand in good relation to you.
You see, I am alive, I am alive.
N. Scott Momaday
When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
D. H. Lawrence
Mankind owns four things
that are no good at sea:
rudder, anchor, oars
and the fear of going down.
The Holy Longing
Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love making
sweeps you forward.
Distance does not make you falter
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most
difficult task of all....,
the work for which all other work is but preparation. It is a
inducement to the individual to ripen...a great claim upon us,
something that chooses us out and calls us to vast things.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back,
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas
and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
than Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that
would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues
from the decision, raising in one's favor
all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
William H. Murray
Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into the experience while you are alive!
Think....and think....while you are alive.
What you call salvation belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your ropes while you are alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten-
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will
have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound.
Kabir says this: When the guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.
I will not live an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid, more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we'll meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Old Celtic Verse
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
The Tao Te Ching
The Spiritual Canticle
Forever at his door
I gave my heart and soul. My fortune too.
I've no flock any more,
No other work in view.
My occupation: love. It's all I do.
John of the Cross
Pelted By Beauty
The power of love received in the body:
this was the Festival!
how we stood and faced one another
and we took hands
and the love came.
And all the flowers swarmed about our heads:
deep deep the sting goes.
Let love be welcomed the moment it seeks us.
A Wizard of Earth Sea
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life,
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky.
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Heart of Hercules
Lying under the stars in the summer night
Late while the autumn constellations climb the sky
as the cluster of Hercules falls down the west
I put the telescope by......
my body is asleep only my eyes and brain are awake
the stars stand around me like gold eyes
I can no longer tell where I begin and leave off
the faint breeze in the dark pines and the
the tipping earth
the swarming stars have an eye that sees itself.
In the dark of the moon,
In the flying snow, in the dead of winter
War spreading, families dying, the world in danger
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.
Holy Woman Poem
When the wind blows
that is my medicine
When it rains
that is my medicine
When it hails
that is my medicine
When it becomes clear after a storm
that is my medicine
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Some Questions You Might Ask
Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl?
Who has it, and who doesn't?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love
what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting---
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Now I Become Myself
Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places,
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"hurry, you will be dead before -----"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
or the end of the poem, is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!.....
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the Sun!
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
Lay yourself on the slab of openness
and wait for the knife of my beauty
to gash you so deep with the Beloved's radience
that you can never recover.
A Sleep of Prisoners
The human heart can go the lengths of God
Cold and dark we may be......
But this is no winter now.
The frozen misery of centuries cracks, begins to thaw.
The thunder is the thunder of the flows, the thaw, the flood,
the upstart spring.
Thank God our time is now.
When wrong comes up to face us everywhere, never to leave us.
The longest stride of soul folk ever took.
Affairs are now soul sized, the enterprise is exploration into
But what are you waiting for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake.
But will you wake? For pity's sake.
It is night and the full moon
reaches through the branches
of the pines.
Two thousand miles away,
the summer grass grows on my
as it does on my mother's,
and my father burns the few letters
that might have explained
who she was.
Here I sit, silent, listening...
to my heart, to the wind,
to the stars, half drowned
in the moon's monic light...
My father's silence, my sister's murder,
my mother's death-
these are what I think of
under the full moon...
My body no longer wanting anything but peace, healing-the quiet
that I have come so far for
the moon, these mountains, this silence.
Doug Warrick (August 1995)