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Spiritual Poems

Spiritual Poems

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Published by: tucatula9751 on Jul 19, 2012
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Mary Oliver

that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world. determined to do the only thing you could do-determined to save the only life you could save. though their melancholy was terrible. But you didn't stop. and a wild night. . and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. You knew what you had to do.The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do. though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. But little by little. and began. as you left their voices behind. and the road full of fallen branches and stones. though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations. the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds. It was already late enough.

nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts. All night I rose and fell. the insects. grappling with a luminous doom. her pockets full of lichens and seeds. and the birds who do their work in the darkness. a stone on the river bed. as if in water. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me. . she took me back so tenderly. arranging her dark skirts.Sleeping in the Forest I thought the earth remembered me. and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better. I slept as never before.

. Meanwhile the wild geese. no matter how lonely. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. harsh and exciting over and over announcing your place in the family of things. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes. Meanwhile the world goes on. Whoever you are. over the prairies and the deep trees. calls to you like the wild geese. are heading home again. and I will tell you mine. high in the clean blue air. yours.Wild Geese You do not have to be good. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair. the world offers itself to your imagination. the mountains and the rivers.

It could float. it needs the body's world. and all the rest at night in the black branches. of course. ten toes. sweetness and tangibility. to be more than pure light that burns where no one is -so it enters us -in the morning shines from brute comfort like a stitch of lightning. Airy and shapeless thing. to be understood. in the morning in the blue branches of the world. and at night lights up the deep and wondrous drownings of the body like a star. but would rather plumb rough matter. the oceanic fluids.Poem (the spirit likes to dress up) The spirit likes to dress up like this: ten fingers. . instinct and imagination and the dark hug of time. it needs the metaphor of the body. shoulders. lime and appetite.

And if your spirit carries within it the thorn that is heavier than lead --if it's all you can do to keep on trudging --- . If it is your nature to be happy you will swim away along the soft trails for hours. your imagination alighting everywhere. Under the orange sticks of the sun the heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten themselves to the high branches --and the ponds appear like black cloth on which are painted islands of summer lilies.Morning Poem Every morning the world is created.

.there is still somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted --each pond with its blazing lilies is a prayer heard and answered lavishly. whether or not you have ever dared to be happy. every morning. whether or not you have ever dared to pray.

finally. its feet Like black leaves. all night. Biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it. its wings Like the stretching light of the river? And did you feel it. a snowbank. a bank of lilies.The Swan Did you too see it. just under the clouds A white cross Streaming across the sky. in your heart. A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings. fluting and whistling A shrill dark music . drifting.like the rain pelting the trees like a waterfall Knifing down the black ledges? And did you see it. on the black river? Did you see it in the morning. how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life? . rising into the silvery air An armful of white blossoms.

. I looked but I couldn't see anything through its dark-knit glare. it joined its two sisters in the house of hearing. last week. is the portion that lasts longest in any of us. it was only two inches long and thought: the soul might be like this so hard. Understand. man or whale. when I found on the beach the ear bone of a pilot whale that may have died hundreds of years ago. shaped like a squat spoon with a pink scoop where once. so necessary 3. in the lively swimmer's head. and where hidden.Bone 1. I am always trying to figure out what the soul is. unfolding over and over its time-ridiculing roar. Beside me the gray sea was opening and shutting its wave-doors. I thought maybe I was close to discovering something for the ear bone 2. and what shape and so. yet almost nothing.

through the pale-pink morning light. the golden sand is there at the bottom. but looking. and loving. and facts certainties and what the soul is. lest we would sift it down into fractions. softly. . and touching. nor can our hands ever catch it 4. truly I know our part is not knowing. though our eyes have never seen it. Though I play at the edges of knowing.yet don't we all know. also I believe I will never quite know. which is the way I walked on.

I saw a single cricket. . How great was its energy. Let us hope it will always be like this. it was moving the grains of the hillside this way and that way. each of us going on in our inexplicable ways building the universe. Near me. how humble its effort.Song of the Builders On a summer morning I sat down on a hillside to think about God a worthy pastime.

beautiful as a thumb curved and touching the finger. in the garden of dust? . across Asia. When the Sufi poet whirled. until at last. But the blue rain sinks. now.Where Does the Dance Begin. The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil. as he whirled. little love-ring. and a theater for more than fair winds. straight to the white feet of the trees whose mouths open. the egg. or even an education. It's frisky. then Europe. Where Does It End? Don't call this world adorable. the idea that was also there. that's not it. oh jug of breath. Doesn't the wind. or useful. slowly. was he looking outward. they shine in your own yard? Don't call this world an explanation. The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold. turning in circles. tenderly. invent the dance? Haven't the flowers moved. to the mountains so solidly there in a white-capped ring. or was he looking to the center of everything: the seed.

Wendell Berry .

if you enter singing into it as water in its descent.The Law That Marries All Things The cloud is free only to go with the wind. in its downward courses. The water is free only in its gathering together. . The rain is free only in falling. In law is rest if you love the law. in its rising into the air.

Kabir .

wishes welfare of all Neither friendship nor enmity with anyone at all Reading books everyone died. frui tis hard to reach Like seed contains the oil. when will the work be done Speak such words sans ego’s ploy Body remains composed. none became any wise One who reads the words of Love. suffice to envelop my clan I should not suffer cravings. giving the listener joy Slowly slowly O mind. nor the visitor goês unfed In vain in the eminence.Dohas (Couplets) I Looking at the grinding stones. fruit arrives only in its season Give so much O God. met not a single one When searched myself. Kabir laments In the duel of wheels. nothing stays intact. “I” found the wisked one Tomorrow’s work do today. how sorrow can come . realize if you can Kabir in the market place. fire in flint stone Your heart sits the Divine. everything in own pace happens Gardner may water a hundred buckets. only becomes wise In anguish everyone prays to Him. searching for the wicked. just like a date tree No shade for travelers. in joy does none To one who prays in happiness. today’s work anon If the moment is lost.

and no one to pull it. no bank. There is no tow rope either. there you have a solid place for your feet. Do you see anyone moving about on that bank. . and no road. There is no ground. or nesting? There is no river at all. no ford! And there is no body. and no mind! Do you believe there is some place that will make thesoul less thirsty? In that great absence you will find nothing.I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me I said to the wanting-creature inside me: What is this river you want to cross? There are no travelers on the river-road. and no boatman. and enter into your own body. no sky. and no boat. Think about it carefully! Don't go off somewhere else! Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts ofimaginary things. Be strong then. and stand firm in that which you are. no time.

I have been thinking I have been thinking of the difference between water and the waves on it. . it is water. Rising. falling back. That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes. the planets in all the galaxies pass through his hands like beads. water's still water. will you give me a hint how to tell them apart? Because someone has made up the word'wave.' do I have to distinguish itfrom water? There is a Secret One inside us.

Kabir says: Student.O My heart! O MY heart! the Supreme Spirit. my Friend! My beloved Lord is within. is near you: wake.Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves.' . you will see meinstantly -you will find me in the tiniest house of time. you will not find me in the stupas. nor in cathedrals: not in masses. When you really look for me. and the spring wells up. And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth. not in legs windingaround your own neck. Kabîr says: 'Listen to me. tell me. nor kirtans. not in Indian shrine rooms. and within it is the Creator: Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars. oh wake! Run to the feet of your Beloved: for your Lord stands near to your head. this morning will you not wake? Poem 3 . nor in synagogues. the great Master. nor in eating nothing butvegetables. You have slept for unnumbered ages. My shoulder is against yours. The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within. Poem 13 .Are you looking for me? Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. what is God? He is the breath inside the breath.

who shall never die again. The Brahman priest goes from house to house and initiates people into faith: Alas! the true fountain of life is beside you. and you shall see: and the fetters of death will fall from you. Kabîr says: 'I may never express how sweet my Lord is.' . There is nothing to say or to hear. therefore the Yogi says that his home is far away. yet dead. Because he lives in solitude. Your Lord is near: yet you are climbing the palm-tree to seek Him. virtue and vice-these are naught to Him. O blind one! and you cannot see them. One day your eyes shall suddenly be opened.Poem 15 LAMPS burn in every house. there is nothing to do: it is he who is living. Yoga and the telling of beads. and you have set up a stone to worship.

May Sarton .

Worn other people's faces. I have been dissolved and shaken. can give. Feel my own weight and density! The black shadow on the paper Is my hand. I. is heard. Stand still.Now I Become Myself Now I become myself. stand still. O. Terribly old. 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. "Hurry. Grows in me to become the song. many years and places. word to silence. detached. Run madly. So all the poem is. to be here. crying a warning. in this single hour I live All of myself and do not move. Now there is time and Time is young. and always spent. It's taken Time. my face Gathered into one intense Gesture of growing like a plant. My work. and stop the sun! . Falls but does not exhaust the root. Made so and rooted by love. my time. the pursued. the shadow of a word As thought shapes the shaper Falls heavy on the page. As slowly as the ripening fruit Fertile. All fuses now. my love. as if Time were there. falls into place From wish to action. who madly ran.

I am the cage where poetryPaces and roars. but it is sheHeld down. The violent oneWhose raging demands Break down peace and shelterLike a peacock's scream. who bloodies with her claws. to atoneFor what we fear most and have not dared to face: Kali. Every birth is bloody. How murder the god?How live with the terrible god?The Kingdom of KaliAnguish is always there. The built-in destroyer. The machine grates. that all centers tear?We live in a dark complex of rage and grieving.(From) The Invocation to Kali There are times whenI think only of killing The voracious animalwho is my perpetual shame. She moves through the blood to poison gentleness. whatever we are.What is it in us we have not mastered yet?What Hell have we made of the subtle weavingOf nerve with brain. cannot be overthrown. lurking at night. We must stay.How then to set her free or come to termsWith the volcano itself.There are times whenI think only of how to do awayWith this brute powerThat cannot be tamed.Wakes us like a scourge. the destroyer. The beastIs the god. grates.We may hold her like a lunatic. open-eyed. Kali is there to do her sovereign workOr else the living child will be stillborn. self-inflicted blight. the creeping sweatAs rage is remembered. Something gets torn.Tenderness withers under her iron laws.She keeps us from being what we long to be. in the terrible place.She cannot be cast out (she is here for good)Nor battled . shrieking alarms? Kali among her skulls must have her hour.Every creation is born out of the dark. Wakes in the dark and takes away our sleep. the savage goddess.The kingdom of Kali is within us deep. the fierce powerErupting injuries.It is time for the invocation.

Where it can be seen for what it is—The balance-wheel for our vulnerable.Within the act of creation. Awesome power. .Help us to bring darkness into the light. the dark one. be with us. jailed. and no wine. the anger.There will be no child. destruction. or killed.Heaven must still be balanced against her. no flower.Violence. Who wins that war?She cannot be forgotten.Help us to be the always hopefulGardeners of the spiritWho know that without darknessNothing comes to birth As without lightNothing flowers.And until she. Kali. aching love.You.Bear the roots in mind.It is time for the invocation:Kali.To lift out the pain.Put the wild hunger where it belongs. Crude power that forges a balanceBetween hate and love.Out of destruction she comes to wrestThe juice from the cactus its harsh spine. has been blest. the destroyer. receive our homage.to the end.

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