October 6, 2014
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
“I lost my way, I forgot to call on your name. The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory. But you are here. You have always been here. The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place. Blessed is the one who waits in the travellers heart for his turning.”
—Leonard Cohen (from his classic book of contemporary psalms “The Book of Mercy”)
June 17, 2014
Love? I will tell thee what it is to love!
It is to build with human thoughts a shrine,
Where Hope sits brooding like a beauteous dove;
Where Time seems young, and Life a thing divine.
All tastes, all pleasures, all desires combine
To consecrate this sanctuary of bliss.
Above, the stars in cloudless beauty shine;
Around, the streams their flowery margins kiss;
And if there’s heaven on earth, that heaven is surely this.
Yes, this is love, the steadfast and the true,
The immortal glory which hath never set;
The best, the brightest boon the heart e’er knew:
Of all life’s sweets the very sweetest yet!
O’ who but can recall the eve they met
To breathe, in some green walk, their first young vow?
While summer flowers with moonlight dews were wet,
And winds sighed soft around the mountain’s brow,
And all was rapture then which is but memory now!
– Charles Swain
January 23, 2014
Let the snake wait under
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
— through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent.
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
– William Carlos Williams
May 21, 2013
I have given up religion
and follow only Love
Mullahs, Priests and Rabbis
Imams, Buddhists, Zoroastrians,
All laugh at my naivete
But my ears hear only You
Beards and robes and cassocks
outward signs of piety
Mean nothing, are worthless
without a heart of love
Heaven and hell are empty
tales to frighten children
Only to You do we return
home at last, home at last
Good and evil counterbalance
men and women, all that live
drops falling into the Ocean
Home at last, home at last
- Irving Karchmar, 2013
March 5, 2013
Love is the poetry of life
Gratitude its prose
Kindness the sentences
In patience composed
Prayer is the syntax
As Heaven knows
Be silent then, or
As the moon does
As the river flows
As each breath
Of our life goes
And each day
Of loving kindness
Is better than
The one before
And life itself
Becomes a poem
Until our last breath
And the farther shore
– Irving Karchmar, 2013
February 5, 2013
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
Listen, O dearly beloved!
I am the reality of the world, the center of the circumference,
I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the
object of my perception.
If then you perceive me, you perceive yourself.
But you cannot perceive me through yourself,
It is through my eyes that you see me and see yourself,
Through your eyes you cannot see me.
I have called you so often and you have not heard me
I have shown myself to you so often and you have not
I have made myself fragrance so often, and you have
not smelled me.
I am the savor of food, and you have not tasted me.
Why can you not reach me through the object you touch
Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see me? Why do you not hear me?
Why? Why? Why?
– Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi
Note: The above is not really a poem as originally written in Arabic, but part of a chapter from ibn Arabi’s Kitab al-Tajalliyat (The Book of Theophanies). However, since it was translated in the form of a poem by Henry Corbin in Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi, it has become justly famous.
September 12, 2012
O Pilgrim, seek Me not
In the desert places
The ruined hills
The crumbling walls
Of ancient wailing
I am gone from
The city of violence
The streets of fear
The houses of anger
Look, look here!
On the Path of Love
Here is the City of David
The Temple of Solomon
Where the seeker dwells
The soul’s delight
Of the heart
– Irving Karchmar, ©1997