When Death Comes – A Poem by Mary Oliver

March 18, 2011

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

Ya Haqq!


What is left behind when we die

June 7, 2010

What is left behind when we die
but bone and dust

And kindness given and love
shared

From which other kindnesses
are born

And love expands from us
exponentially

Each death a gift of love
to the living

Life evolving in spirit as well
as matter

Which is as God intends
after all

- Irving Karchmar,  © June 2010


“And your very flesh shall be a great poem”

May 14, 2010

Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others…
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

– Walt Whitman


The Open Heart of Lao Tzu

April 18, 2010

A sound man’s heart is not shut within itself
But is open to other people’s hearts:
I find good people good,
And I find bad people good
If l am good enough;
I trust men of their word,
And I trust liars
If I am true enough;
I feel the heartbeats of others
Above my own
If I am enough of a father,
Enough of a son.

- Lao Tzu


Thanks Giving 2009

November 20, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Thanksgiving is almost here in the US, and with Eid al-Adha the next day it will soon be a time of giving thanks, of gratitude to the Creator. Before every meal, Sufis say “Bismillah!” This is their way of saying Grace, of being grateful. Yet every human being who follows a spiritual path has their own way of being gracious, whose origin is Grace; the giving of thanks to God.

Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.

One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!

Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty;

The bounty is its shell,

For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.

Abundance alone brings heedlessness,

Thanksgiving gives birth to alertness.

The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,

And you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.

Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,

And you will be freed from hunger and begging.

- Rumi

“With mealtime prayer we offer thanksgiving to the Source of all sustenance. Prayer is a means by which the reins of hunger and the senses are taken by the spirit and intellect. The offering of a mealtime blessing elevates eating from a mechanical activity to conscious participation in the chain of being. It is an acknowledgment of the fact that in eating any organism, we are sharing in the sacrifice it has made to sustain us.”

Gratitude is an eagle, blessings a fine plump partridge
only gratitude wins the reward of blessing.
Give thanks to Him alone who buys
your words in the bazaar of Paradise.

- Nasir-i Khusraw

Excerpt from Serving the Guest – A Sufi Cookbook

Ya Haqq!

 

 


Two Favorites for Poetry Monday

October 5, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

For the occasional Poetry Monday, here are two old favorites.

Atlas

i am used to the heft of it
sitting against my rib,
used to the ridges of forest,
used to the way my thumb
slips into the sea as i pull
it tight; something is sweet
in the thick odor of flesh
burning and sweating and bearing young.
i have learned to carry it
the way a poor man learns
to carry everything.

- Lucille Clifton

I have always known
that at last I would
take this road, but yesterday
I did not know that it would be today.

- Narihira (9th century Japan), translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Ya Haqq!


A Lesson of Sultan Bahu

September 21, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

My Master taught me a lesson:
“Any moment you are negligent
in remembrance of God
is a moment spent in denial of God.”

- Sultan Bahu, from Death Before Dying — The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu, by Jamal J. Elias

Ya Haqq!


Word

May 24, 2009

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

- by Madeleine L’Engle

(with thanks to Brother Darrell Grizzle’s Wild Faith blog for leading the way)

Ya Haqq!


100 Days of Barack Obama – I, too, sing America

April 26, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

On Wednesday, April 29, 2009, President Barack Obama will have been the leader of the free world for 100 days. To commemorate the occasion, here is a poem dedicated with love that always makes me think of him.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

- Langston Hughes, 1945
Ya Haqq!


Happy Easter!!!

April 11, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Everyone has eaten and fallen asleep. The house is empty. We walk out to the garden to let the apple meet the peach, to carry messages between rose and jasmine.

Spring is Christ,
Raising martyred plants from their shrouds.
Their mouths open in gratitude, wanting to be kissed.
The glow of the rose and the tulip means a lamp is inside.
A leaf trembles. I tremble in the wind-beauty like silk from Turkestan.
The censer fans into flame.

This wind is the Holy Spirit.
The trees are Mary.
Watch how husband and wife play subtle games with their hands.
Cloudy pearls from Aden are thrown across the lovers,
as is the marriage custom.

The scent of Joseph’s shirt comes to Jacob.
A red carnelian of Yemeni laughter is heard
by Muhammad in Mecca.

We talk about this and that. There’s no rest except on these branching moments.

- Jalaluddin Rumi (from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks)

Ya Haqq!


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