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the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds. . though their melancholy was terrible. determined to do the only thing you could do-determined to save the only life you could save. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. It was already late enough. and a wild night. 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. and the road full of fallen branches and stones. and began. that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world. as you left their voices behind. though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations.The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do. and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own. But little by little. You knew what you had to do.
I slept as never before. nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts. as if in water. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me. . she took me back so tenderly. her pockets full of lichens and seeds. and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. the insects.Sleeping in the Forest I thought the earth remembered me. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better. a stone on the river bed. All night I rose and fell. grappling with a luminous doom. and the birds who do their work in the darkness. arranging her dark skirts.
harsh and exciting over and over announcing your place in the family of things. no matter how lonely. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. the world offers itself to your imagination. are heading home again. over the prairies and the deep trees. the mountains and the rivers. Whoever you are. . Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes. yours. and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the wild geese. Meanwhile the world goes on. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. high in the clean blue air. Tell me about despair. calls to you like the wild geese.Wild Geese You do not have to be good.
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. it needs the metaphor of the body. but would rather plumb rough matter. ten toes. to be understood.Poem (the spirit likes to dress up) The spirit likes to dress up like this: ten fingers. . the oceanic fluids. and at night lights up the deep and wondrous drownings of the body like a star. and all the rest at night in the black branches. in the morning in the blue branches of the world. lime and appetite. instinct and imagination and the dark hug of time. it needs the body's world. It could float. shoulders. of course.
Morning Poem Every morning the world is created. If it is your nature to be happy you will swim away along the soft trails for hours. 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 --- . 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. your imagination alighting everywhere.
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. every morning. whether or not you have ever dared to pray. . whether or not you have ever dared to be happy.
just under the clouds A white cross Streaming across the sky. its wings Like the stretching light of the river? And did you feel it. how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life? . a snowbank. its feet Like black leaves. a bank of lilies. in your heart. all night. fluting and whistling A shrill dark music . on the black river? Did you see it in the morning. A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings. rising into the silvery air An armful of white blossoms. finally. Biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it. drifting.like the rain pelting the trees like a waterfall Knifing down the black ledges? And did you see it.The Swan Did you too see it.
Bone 1. I am always trying to figure out what the soul is. is the portion that lasts longest in any of us. I looked but I couldn't see anything through its dark-knit glare. Understand. Beside me the gray sea was opening and shutting its wave-doors. . shaped like a squat spoon with a pink scoop where once. man or whale. yet almost nothing. and where hidden. in the lively swimmer's head. unfolding over and over its time-ridiculing roar. so necessary 3. I thought maybe I was close to discovering something for the ear bone 2. and what shape and so. it was only two inches long and thought: the soul might be like this so hard. last week. it joined its two sisters in the house of hearing. when I found on the beach the ear bone of a pilot whale that may have died hundreds of years ago.
yet don't we all know. . nor can our hands ever catch it 4. softly. Though I play at the edges of knowing. lest we would sift it down into fractions. and loving. through the pale-pink morning light. and facts certainties and what the soul is. which is the way I walked on. but looking. truly I know our part is not knowing. though our eyes have never seen it. the golden sand is there at the bottom. also I believe I will never quite know. and touching.
Let us hope it will always be like this. each of us going on in our inexplicable ways building the universe. how humble its effort. I saw a single cricket. How great was its energy.Song of the Builders On a summer morning I sat down on a hillside to think about God a worthy pastime. Near me. . it was moving the grains of the hillside this way and that way.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold. was he looking outward. and a theater for more than fair winds. When the Sufi poet whirled.Where Does the Dance Begin. or was he looking to the center of everything: the seed. or even an education. straight to the white feet of the trees whose mouths open. Where Does It End? Don't call this world adorable. invent the dance? Haven't the flowers moved. to the mountains so solidly there in a white-capped ring. It's frisky. the idea that was also there. slowly. Doesn't the wind. they shine in your own yard? Don't call this world an explanation. across Asia. as he whirled. But the blue rain sinks. until at last. in the garden of dust? . turning in circles. that's not it. then Europe. tenderly. little love-ring. the egg. now. The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil. beautiful as a thumb curved and touching the finger. or useful. oh jug of breath.
Wendell Berry .
.The Law That Marries All Things The cloud is free only to go with the wind. The water is free only in its gathering together. In law is rest if you love the law. in its rising into the air. if you enter singing into it as water in its descent. The rain is free only in falling. in its downward courses.
none became any wise One who reads the words of Love. realize if you can Kabir in the market place. wishes welfare of all Neither friendship nor enmity with anyone at all Reading books everyone died. nor the visitor goês unfed In vain in the eminence. suffice to envelop my clan I should not suffer cravings. just like a date tree No shade for travelers. Kabir laments In the duel of wheels. giving the listener joy Slowly slowly O mind. fruit arrives only in its season Give so much O God. only becomes wise In anguish everyone prays to Him. when will the work be done Speak such words sans ego’s ploy Body remains composed. today’s work anon If the moment is lost. in joy does none To one who prays in happiness. how sorrow can come . met not a single one When searched myself. “I” found the wisked one Tomorrow’s work do today. nothing stays intact. fire in flint stone Your heart sits the Divine. frui tis hard to reach Like seed contains the oil. everything in own pace happens Gardner may water a hundred buckets. searching for the wicked.Dohas (Couplets) I Looking at the grinding stones.
and stand firm in that which you are. Think about it carefully! Don't go off somewhere else! Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts ofimaginary things. Be strong then. and no boatman. there you have a solid place for your feet. no bank. and no road. and no boat.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 enter into your own body. no time. and no one to pull it. There is no ground. Do you see anyone moving about on that bank. There is no tow rope either. 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. no sky.
falling back. . will you give me a hint how to tell them apart? Because someone has made up the word'wave. That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes.I have been thinking I have been thinking of the difference between water and the waves on it. water's still water. Rising.' do I have to distinguish itfrom water? There is a Secret One inside us. the planets in all the galaxies pass through his hands like beads. it is water.
O My heart! O MY heart! the Supreme Spirit. The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within.Are you looking for me? Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves. you will not find me in the stupas. you will see meinstantly -you will find me in the tiniest house of time. not in legs windingaround your own neck. My shoulder is against yours. Poem 13 . is near you: wake. my Friend! My beloved Lord is within. and within it is the Creator: Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars. And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth. tell me.' . You have slept for unnumbered ages. nor in synagogues. what is God? He is the breath inside the breath. When you really look for me. the great Master. nor in cathedrals: not in masses. Kabîr says: 'Listen to me. nor kirtans. not in Indian shrine rooms. and the spring wells up. this morning will you not wake? Poem 3 . nor in eating nothing butvegetables. oh wake! Run to the feet of your Beloved: for your Lord stands near to your head. Kabir says: Student.
' . and you have set up a stone to worship. therefore the Yogi says that his home is far away. O blind one! and you cannot see them. Your Lord is near: yet you are climbing the palm-tree to seek Him. Yoga and the telling of beads. and you shall see: and the fetters of death will fall from you. virtue and vice-these are naught to Him. Because he lives in solitude. yet dead. There is nothing to say or to hear. Kabîr says: 'I may never express how sweet my Lord is. One day your eyes shall suddenly be opened. who shall never die again. there is nothing to do: it is he who is living.Poem 15 LAMPS burn in every house. The Brahman priest goes from house to house and initiates people into faith: Alas! the true fountain of life is beside you.
May Sarton .
the pursued. All fuses now. my time. Grows in me to become the song. "Hurry. can give. My work.Now I Become Myself Now I become myself. many years and places. Falls but does not exhaust the root. detached. who madly ran. falls into place From wish to action. stand still. 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. It's taken Time. the shadow of a word As thought shapes the shaper Falls heavy on the page. in this single hour I live All of myself and do not move. So all the poem is. word to silence. Now there is time and Time is young. Made so and rooted by love. O. as if Time were there. As slowly as the ripening fruit Fertile. is heard. Worn other people's faces. and stop the sun! . Run madly. to be here. Stand still. and always spent. crying a warning. Terribly old. I. my face Gathered into one intense Gesture of growing like a plant. my love. Feel my own weight and density! The black shadow on the paper Is my hand. I have been dissolved and shaken.
The built-in destroyer. Kali is there to do her sovereign workOr else the living child will be stillborn. Every birth is bloody. the fierce powerErupting injuries.(From) The Invocation to Kali There are times whenI think only of killing The voracious animalwho is my perpetual shame. open-eyed. She moves through the blood to poison gentleness.Wakes us like a scourge. the destroyer. in the terrible place.I am the cage where poetryPaces and roars. but it is sheHeld down. self-inflicted blight.She keeps us from being what we long to be. The machine grates.She cannot be cast out (she is here for good)Nor battled . to atoneFor what we fear most and have not dared to face: Kali. who bloodies with her claws. We must stay. lurking at night. Something gets torn. Wakes in the dark and takes away our sleep.Every creation is born out of the dark. The violent oneWhose raging demands Break down peace and shelterLike a peacock's scream.We may hold her like a lunatic. the savage goddess. shrieking alarms? Kali among her skulls must have her hour. grates. The beastIs the god.It is time for the invocation.What is it in us we have not mastered yet?What Hell have we made of the subtle weavingOf nerve with brain. whatever we are. that all centers tear?We live in a dark complex of rage and grieving.The kingdom of Kali is within us deep. cannot be overthrown.There are times whenI think only of how to do awayWith this brute powerThat cannot be tamed.Tenderness withers under her iron laws.How then to set her free or come to termsWith the volcano itself. How murder the god?How live with the terrible god?The Kingdom of KaliAnguish is always there. the creeping sweatAs rage is remembered.
Help us to bring darkness into the light. aching love.You. or killed.Heaven must still be balanced against her. destruction. Awesome power.There will be no child. Kali.To lift out the pain. .Help us to be the always hopefulGardeners of the spiritWho know that without darknessNothing comes to birth As without lightNothing flowers.Where it can be seen for what it is—The balance-wheel for our vulnerable. the dark one. receive our homage. the destroyer. and no wine.Within the act of creation. Crude power that forges a balanceBetween hate and love.And until she.Bear the roots in mind. has been blest.Put the wild hunger where it belongs.to the end. the anger. jailed. be with us. no flower.Violence.It is time for the invocation:Kali. Who wins that war?She cannot be forgotten.Out of destruction she comes to wrestThe juice from the cactus its harsh spine.
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