Monday, April 4, 2011

The Music We Are

Did you hear that winter’s over?
The basil and the carnations cannot control their
The nightingale, back from his wandering,
has been made singing master over the birds.
The trees reach out their congratulations.
The soul goes dancing through the king’s doorway.
Anemones blush because they have seen the rose naked.

Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the courtroom,
and several December thieves steal away,
Last year’s miracles will soon be forgotten.
New creatures whirl in from non-existence,
galaxies scattered around their feet.
Have you met them?
Do you hear the bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle?
A single narcissus flower has been appointed
Inspector of Kingdoms.

A feast is set.
Listen: the wind is pouring wine!
Love used to hide inside images: no more!
The orchard hangs out its lanterns.
The dead come stumbling by in shrouds.

Nothing can stay bound or be imprisoned.
You say, “End this poem here,
and wait for what’s next.”
I will.
Poems are rough notations for the music we are.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Your grief for what you've lost holds a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expand
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

my dad died on February 4th. I meditated and read Rumi all night. It was very helpful. I'll be back later with more but that is it for now. I miss him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Love Dogs

Love Dogs

One night a man was crying,
            "Allah, Allah!"
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
         "So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?"
The man had no answer for that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage,
            "Why did you stop praising?"
“Because I've never heard anything back."
"This longing you express 
is the return message."

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Guest House

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

For many reasons I wish to contemplate this poem right now. I think it was the first Rumi poem I read - it is definitely one that gets attention in the world I run around in.  The more I contemplate these poems the more I realize that each one could be one - that I could spend all year contemplating one and it would be the same as spending all year contemplating eight hundred. Do you understand?
I am grateful for whoever comes - scared, sad, screwed-up and grateful. Come away. You will anyway.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Sunrise Ruby

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She asks, "Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth."

He says, "There's nothing left of me.
I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight."

This how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.

Contemplation - I have sat with this poem many times over the past two weeks. I have read it to friends, my lover and the people who come to me for counsel. The first time I read it, I was on my cushion and it brought instant relief and joy to my heart. Here are the phrases that do this - Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. The joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All Rivers at Once contemplated

As if that were it. As if I could read it several times and then I would be done with it.
I want to share with all my readers - what it is nobody? Well then, nobody - sit down! I want to share with you that this process is all I wanted and more. I'm loving it. Rumi has entered my dreaming world. His words shine on my interactions in the world. I am quoting him in my therapy practice and to my beloved.

This poem - All Rivers at Once

Don't unstring the bow - Yes! Don't even think of stopping the hunt. You who are weary of chasing after what? Longing, the other, true love. To find love you must use this special four-feathered arrow. You haven't used it yet? Why not?! All that I am is decisive, clear, strong. Or comforting like a hat you pull down over your ears, a bit of a constriction like draw-strings around your chest. How do you find what you are longing for? With love which is gratitude. Because dear heart - I am already here - in you - hidden in your chest with laughter, with compassion. Love is both the searched for and what is created with the searched for - love is the hands and feet and the sprouting-bed.  All at once - the riverwater moving in all rivers at once. The truth that lives in the beloved - in the other that is not other. At once.

Friday, January 14, 2011

All Rivers at Once

All Rivers at Once

Don't unstring the bow,
I am your four-feathered arrow
that has not been used yet.

I am a strong knifeblade word,
not some if or maybe,
dissolving in air.

I am sunlight slicing the dark.
Who made this night?
A forge deep in the earth-mud.

What is the body?

What is love?

What is hidden
in our chests?

What else?

Let the beloved be a hat pulled down firmly on my head.
Or drawstrings pulled and tied around my chest.

Someone asks, How does love have hands and feet?
]Love is the sprouting-bed for hands and feet!

Your father and mother were playing love games,
They came together, and you appeared!

Don't ask what love can make or do!
Look at the colours of the world.

The riverwater moving in all rivers at once.
The truth that lives in Shams' face.

I'm not finished with The King etc... but I needed a break! This poem speaks to me in a thousand and one voices and all the voices say the same thing.  When we strip everything else away, love is what is important.