Wednesday, 30 September 2009

In this Moment

You are enveloped in me.
No stone unturned I flow
Through you and beyond.
Wind breaks upon the leaves
And all is still,
The moment waiting.

A bird is singing outside my window.
Clock ticking, what are we waiting for?
Could desire fill the cracks of silence
Between a tick and a tock?
Desire, desire for what?
The moment expecting.

Desire for pleasure?
Desire for redemption?
Desire for merely satisfying desire?
Reach inside me,
The breath thickens,
The moment desiring.

What do you want from me?
What do you want to know?
Why? Why? Why?
Why do I go astray?
Silence, waiting for an answer,
The moment dangling.

But I know the answer is in you,
A million ways within this moment,
Touch and sway and course and play.
You'll find it like a rhythm dancing,
Passion that makes life continuous,
The moment flying.


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Songs of Lalla

Lalla lived in Kashmir during the first part of the 1300s. In that period, Kashmir was home to devotees of Shiva and devotees of Vishnu, to Islamic Sufis and to followers of Tantric Buddhism. Lalla's poems reflect all she learned from these, synthesized to become the expression of her own devotion in colloquial Kashmiri, rather than the Sanskrit of contemporary philosophical writing. The variety of her names reflects the wide appeal of her poems: In Hindi, she is Lal Ded (grandmother Lal); in Sanskrit, Lalleshwari (Lalla the yogini); while to Muslims, she is Lal Arifa.
Lalla was apparently from a family of Brahmins near Pampore; her poetry shows her knowledge of Sanskrit and of the Hindu scriptures. Tradition says that she left her husband after some years of an unhappy marriage to become a student of Hindu and Sufi teachers. Then she became an itinerant preacher throughout the Kashmir Valley, singing her vakhs (songs) of Shiva and of the search for truth, through an inner spirituality rather than dogma and ritual.

Not for a moment
Trusting it, I drank anyway
The wine of my song.

It gave me courage
To face and tear the darkness down
Cutting it to shreds.
Oh, poor Mind, in love
With worldly things you know will pass,
Why do you forget?
I might scatter clouds
Or drain the sea
Or cure the ill
That can’t be cured
But Mind of fool
I cannot change.
That which is sweet, first is bitter.
That which is bitter, first is sweet.
To each a choice, then it all depends.
On effort and unflagging will
To reach the city of your choice.
Siva abides in all that is, everywhere;
Then do not discriminate between
a Hindu or a Muslim.
If thou art wise, know thyself;
That is true knowledge of the Lord.
It covers your shame,
Saves you from cold,
Provides food and drink,
Needs only water and grass.
Who counselled you, O Brahmin,
To slaughter a living sheep
As a sacrifice to a lifeless stone?
I got one advice
“Transfer the attention within!”
Since then I go nude.
Straight I came and straight
I shall return not fearing Him
Who knows and loves me.
Penance breeds conceit
Pandering will get you nowhere
So be moderate.
Who slays the highway robbers three,
Greed, Lust and Pride,
And yet, in utter humility, serves
his fellow man
He truly seeks out the Lord,
disregarding as worthless ashes
all other things.
Do good to others,
For that is the real religion.
And rest when tired.
Patience to endure
The darkest hour never doubting
He will come to you.

In the last watch of the moonlit night,
remonstrating with my wayward mind,
I soothed my pain with the love of God.
Gently, gently, accosting myself,
"O Lalla, Lalla, Lalla",
I woke my Love, my Lord and Master,
Absorbed in it, my mind was cleansed.

When my mind was cleansed of impurities,
like a mirror of its dust and dirt,
I recognized the Self in me:
When I saw Him dwelling in me,
I realized that He was the Everything
and I was nothing.
For a moment I suppressed the bellows of respiration,
Lo and behold! The Lamp lit up brightly and I realized my Self!
The light within me sparkled out;
In the encompassing darkness, I seized at It and gripped It tightly.
Let go the sacred tantra rites,
Only the mantra sound remains.
And when the mantra sound departs,
Only the citta is left behind.
Then lo! the citta itself is gone,
And there is nothing left behind;
The void merges in the Void
Gently, gently, I trained my mind
to suspend its processes and thoughts.
Then (in the windless calm), the flame of the Lamp,
shining steady and bright,
Revealed my true nature unto me.
In the dark recesses of my soul
I seized upon Him and held Him fast.
Then I diffused the inner light,
And within, without, all was Light.
If you've melted your desires
in the river of time, choose
to be a recluse, or choose
a family, the village job.

If you know the pure Lord within you,
you'll be That,
If you’re wise, be foolish.
If you can see, squint.
Though you can hear, sit
Dumb as an old rock.
Whatever anyone says,
Listen and agree.
This is a friendly practice,
And it leads to some truth.
I put into practice whatever I read, the unread was lost to my consciousness;
I dragged the lion down the forest by his silken mane as if he were a jackal!
I preached what I practiced, That way did knowledge dawn on me.

Intense cold makes water ice.
Then the hard ice turns to slush
and back to water, so there are three
forms of consciousness: the individual,
the world, and God, which in the sun
of True Awareness melt to one flowing:

Lalla is that.
Meditate within eternity.
Don't stay in the mind.

Your thoughts are like a child fretting
near its mother's breast, restless
and afraid, who with a little guidance,
can find the path to courage.
The soul, like the moon,
is now, and always new again.

And I have seen the ocean
continuously creating.

Since I scoured my mind
and my body, I too, Lalla,
am new, each moment new.
Dance, Lalla, with nothing on
but air. Sing, Lalla,
wearing the sky.
Look at this glowing day!
What clothes could be so beautiful,
or more sacred?
The way is difficult and very intricate.
Lalla discarded her books that told
about it, and through meditation
saw the truth that never comes
to anyone from reading words.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Haikus on Love

Here is a collection of Japanese love poetry written out in haiku form. Each one encapsulates a lovely idea. Some of these ideas are familiar, but many are not, unless of course you're Japanese!

Prince Hozumi
That rascal of Love
Whom I thought I’d had locked away
Now jumps out at me.

Kakinomoto No Hitomaro
When I gathered flowers
From the top, I was drenched with dew
By lower branches.

Kakinomoto No Hitomaro
Gossip grows like weeds
In summer grass where, with my girl,
I sleep arm in arm.

Princess Nukada
My longing heart leaps
At the wind that rattles my door
Thinking it is you.

The road is dark now.
So do not go, but stay till moonrise
That I may watch you.

Otomo No Yakamochi
Better not to meet
Than to wake from dreams and reach for
Hands that are not there.

Otomo No Yakamochi
But a little while
Together, we thought our love would
Last a thousand years.

Ono No Komachi
I wake wanting you
My breasts heave in the dark of night
And my heart burns up.

Ono No Komachi 
Doesn’t he realize
That I’m not like drifting seaweed
To take when he wants.

Should I be bitter
About one who was a stranger
Till a moment passed.

Lady Ise
"The pillow knows all",
So we slept without one, but still
My name spreads like dust.

Lady Izumi Shikibu
The pillow knows all
But it don’t know and don’t you tell
Of the dream we shared.

Yosano Akiko
Fate controls our lives
And all things end, so take my breasts
Alive in your hands.

Bunya No Asayasu
In a gust of wind
The white dew on the autumn grass
Breaks like a necklace.

Beyond the twin seas,
I long for the mountain of bliss
Untouched by the tides.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Sadness of the Moon (Charles Baudelaire)

Tonight the moon is lost in langorous reverie
Like a girl nestled in a bed of cushions, a beauty,
Who as she falls asleep, a bright hand gently rests,
Whispering its melody upon the contours of her breasts.

Floating on the satin back of a billowing avalanche
She passes out long gasping breaths, entranced,
And her eyes traverse heavenly visions of white
That blossom like jasmine flowers in the night.

When from time to time in silent contemplation deep,
She lets fall upon this world a secret tear, sorrowful,
A pious and attentive poet, enemy of sleep,

In the cup of his hand captures this prize
That reflects like a fragment of opal, iridescent,
And hides it in his heart, far from the sun's eyes.

—Charles Baudelaire, translated by —okei

The original poem and several translations may be found at
I was inspired to do this by Patrick's more erudite translation
The image, like "The Star" which I used for my previous entry Silent Haikus, is another tarot card, this time "The Moon". Both this and that one are paintings by Thalia Took. "The Moon" apparently represents the beauty of the dark and the world of dreams, visions and creativity.

Today is 20/09/2009. Isn't that amazing?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Silent Haikus

Does Beauty Inspire
Dreams and Experience of Wonder
Or is it Silence?

My Soul weeps and I,
No longer smothering its cry,
Mask its tears with ink.

If I am silent,
It is because I've nought to say
And cannot hide it.

Sunshine of my Love
I choose the Day but should Night Fall
I will be your Moon.


When looking for an image, I found the above picture on the right. It's the tarot card for "The Star". I don't understand tarot cards or how they're used, but apparently "The Star" represents listening to inner wisdom, renewal and light after darkness, which fits perfectly to the theme of these haikus!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Khalil Gibran, "My Soul Preached to Me"

Meditations by the Lebanese American writer, poet and artist Khalil Gibran.

My soul preached to me and taught me to love
that which the people abhor and befriend him
whom they revile.

My soul showed me that Love prides itself not
only in the one who loves, but also in the

Ere my soul preached to me, Love was in my heart
as a tiny thread fastened between two pegs.
But now Love has become a halo whose beginning
is its end, and whose end is its beginning. It
surrounds every being and extends slowly to
embrace all that shall be.


My soul advised me and taught me to perceive the
hidden beauty of the skin, figure, and hue. She
instructed me to meditate upon that which the
people call ugly until its charm and delight

Ere my soul counselled me, I saw beauty like a
trembling torch between two columns of smoke.
Now since the smoke has vanished,
I see naught save the flame.

My soul preached to me and taught me to listen
to the voices which the tongue and the larynx
and the lips do not utter.

Ere my soul preached to me, I heard naught but
clamor and wailing. But now I eagerly attend
Silence and hear its choirs singing hymns of the
ages and the songs of the firmament announcing
the secrets of the Unseen.


My soul preached to me and instructed me to
drink the wine that cannot be pressed and cannot
be poured from cups that hands can lift or lips
can touch.

Ere my soul preached to me, my thirst was like a
dim spark hidden under the ashes that can be
extinguished by a swallow of water.
But now my longing has become my cup, my
affections my wine, and my loneliness my
intoxication; yet, in this unquenchable thirst
there is eternal joy.

My soul preached to me and taught me to touch
that which has not become incarnate; my soul
revealed to me that whatever we touch is part of
our desire. But now my fingers have turned into mist
penetrating that which is seen in the universe
and mingling with the Unseen.

My soul instructed me to inhale the scent that
no myrtle or incense emits.

Ere my soul preached to me,
I craved the scent of perfume in the
gardens or in flasks or in censers.
But now I can savor the incense that is not
burnt for offering or sacrifice. And I fill my
heart with a fragrance that has never been
wafted by the frolicsome breeze of space.

My soul preached to me and taught me to say,
"I am ready" when the Unknown and
Danger call on me.

Ere my soul preached to me, I answered no voice
save the voice of the crier whom I knew, and
walked not save upon the easy and smooth path.
Now the Unknown has become a steed that I can
mount in order to reach the Unknown; and the
plain has turned into a ladder on whose steps
I climb to the summit.

My soul spoke to me and said, "Do not
measure Time by saying, 'There was yesterday,
and there shall be tomorrow.' "

And ere my soul spoke to me, I imagined the Past
as an epoch that never returned, and the Future
as one that could never be reached.
Now I realize that the present moment contains
all time and within it is all that can be hoped
for, done, and realized.

My soul preached to me exhorting me not to limit
space by saying, "Here, there, and yonder.

Ere my soul preached to me, I felt that wherever
I walked was far from any other space.

Now I realize that wherever I am contains all
places; and the distance that I walk embraces
all distances.

My soul instructed me and advised me to stay
awake while others sleep. And to surrender to
slumber when others astir.

Ere my soul preached to me, I saw not their
dreams in my sleep, neither did they observe my vision.

Now I never sail the vessel of my dreams unless
they watch me, and they never soar into the sky
of their vision unless I rejoice in their freedom.


My soul preached to me and said, "Do not be
delighted because of praise, and do not be
distressed because of blame."

Ere my soul counselled me, I doubted the worth
of my work. Now I realize the trees blossom in Spring
and bear fruit in Summer without seeking praise; and
they drop their leaves in Autumn and become
naked in Winter without fearing blame.

My soul preached to me and showed me that I am
neither more than the pygmy, nor less than the

Ere my soul preached to me, I looked upon
humanity as two men: one weak, whom I pitied,
and the other strong, whom I followed or
resisted in defiance. But now I have learned
that I was as both are and made from the same elements.
My origin is their origin, my conscience is their conscience,
my contention is their contention, and my pilgrimage
is their pilgrimage.

If they sin, I am also a sinner. If they do
well, I take pride in their well-doing. If they
rise, I rise with them. If they stay inert, I
share their slothfulness.


My soul spoke to me and said, "The lantern
which you carry is not yours, and the song that
you sing was not composed within your heart,
for even if you are a lute fastened with strings,
you are not the lute player."


My soul preached to me, my brother, and taught
me much. And your soul has preached and taught
as much to you. For you and I are one, and there
is no variance between us save that I urgently
declare that which is in my inner self, while
you keep as a secret that which is within you.
But in your secrecy there is a sort of virtue.

 Khalil Gibran, "The Vision"

When night fell and slumber draped its mantle over the face of the earth, I left my bed and walked toward the sea, saying to myself, “The sea sleeps not. And in the wakefulness of the sea is a balm for the spirit that does not rest.”
I arrived at the shore, where the mists had rolled down from the mountain peaks and enveloped the region the way a grey veil cloaks the face of a beautiful girl. I stood staring at the armies of waves, listening to their jubilant shouts, contemplating the eternal, clandestine powers that lay behind them—the powers that race with storms, rage alongside volcanoes, smile with the mouths of roses, and lilt with brooks.
After a little while I looked around to find three apparitions sitting on a nearby boulder, the mists concealing yet not concealing them. I walked slowly toward them, as if some force in their being attracted me and subdued my will.
When I had come within a few footsteps of them, I halted and stood staring at them fixedly, as though sorcery pervaded that place, blunting my determination and awakening the imagination latent in my spirit.
At that very moment one of the three arose and, in a voice that seemed to issue from the depths of the sea, he said, “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit. Love without beauty is like flowers without fragrance and fruit without seeds.... Life, love, and beauty—three persons in one substance, independent, absolute, accepting no change or separation.” Having spoken these words, he sat down again in the same place.
The second phantom stood and, in a voice like the roar of floodwaters, he said, “Life without rebellion is like the seasons without spring. Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert.... Life, rebellion, and truth—three persons in one substance, accepting no separation or alteration.”
The third phantom now gained his feet and, in a voice like a thunderclap, he said, “Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit.... Life, liberty, and thought—three persons in one substance, eternal, never-ending, and unceasing.”
All three apparitions now arose, and with horrifying voices they said unanimously, “Love and what generates it. Rebellion and what creates it. Liberty and what nourishes it. Three manifestations of God. And God is the conscience of the rational world.”
A silence fell then, replete with the rustling of unseen wings and the trembling of ethereal bodies. I closed my eyes, listening to the echo of the words I had heard. When I opened them and looked again, I saw only the sea, wrapped in a shroud of mist. I drew near to the boulder where the three apparitions had been sitting, but I saw naught save a column of incense spiraling towards heaven.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Short Poem about Everything & Nothing

Everything and nothing mingle.
They dance the dance of life.
Everything turns on each beat
And nothing, though having nothing,
Nothing to offer everything,
Lets everything in—
Everything is swallowed up into nothing
And nothing becomes everything.