Monday, June 30, 2014

I Have Been Covering You

I Have Been Covering You

The truth is, God 
I have been covering you.

This morning, though, it occured to me
to just speak my mind, to just be forthright, 

and to get all my complaints out there
in the open so that we might have 
some kind of public forum 
if you felt brave enough.

Are you ready?
Here is one of my major gripes: 
Why would anyone ever have 
to do anything 
to be let into their own house,

especially if it were cold outside
and they were shivering 

and they were hungry too,
and there was lots of fresh warm food inside? 

Another way of putting that is,
if someone were walking in front of me and 

unknowingly dropped something precious,
something of extraordinary value,

what kind of person would I be if I did not run
as quickly as I could and pick that up

and use all my strength to protect and safeguard
it until I could return it? 

Return it, if possible, without the person 
having a moment, a moment of worry

or pain with the thought of it being lost. 

I have fallen out of my own pocket. 
My own pocket being you, Beloved
severed from the Infinite Soul. 

Why, why, why? Why, why, why
are you not running toward us 
with all your might? 

You have stepped over a holy infant 
dying in the cold.
You have left others alone. 

I could go on tearing you apart,
as I should, but now I will give you 
a chance to speak, 
after this final thought: 

How dare you make us beg
for what you say is ours? 

Still, is not all perfect,
since all is in you? 
And what may appear, will that not 
in just a moment change, if you want. 

              It is interesting to ask why God abandoned us when we need His Word. Why does God allow suffering in this world? Pain? Misfortune? Why does he allow it to befall the weakest among us, the innocent, the downtrodden? Isn't there a point at which he should cry out "My children, my children, you have suffered enough". Still, Hafiz asks, is all not perfect because he exists? He does wondrous work through his love, wondrous work through his steadfastness. We do not have all the answers and at times that is the most challenging aspect of faith. Still, I pray that our hearts continue to love the invisible we know to be Truth.

 10,000 Reasons (2013), Matt Redman

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mecca and I Bump Heads

Mecca and I Bump Heads

If you looked close you would see
my eyes are always folded in a way,
like hands praying. 

The sun and the moon are my knees
at hours, and the sky, the sky a prayer mat.

The ocean asks me to baptize it,
when I walk along its body.
And how can I resist? 

I stopped exaggerating a couple years ago,
when God and I did wed. 

         What a beautiful poem by Hafiz...the world is our prayer mat, and we can wed God by walking along with him along the shoreline of life. MH wrote in her journal May 29, 1923 (writing of laughing with Gibran): "And when I could speak again I said, "Will you make me laugh when I meet you in Paradise? I hope you will." For I think never a time have we met - even when we were sad that he has not made me laugh and laugh, at something that the moment suggested to his flashing mind."
           Our enjoyment in another's presence is what makes relationships fulfilling.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sometimes When Visitors Come

Sometimes When Visitors Come

Sometimes when visitors come and words
have done what they can, I say,

There is a lute in the room where I rest.
Go there, please, and fetch that,
I will play you a tune that came to me 
last night when I was bowed in prayer

for I noticed this morning 
when I hummed it
some angels gathered near. 

        MH Journal Dec 26, 1922: "In all my life I've known only one woman with whom I am free intellectually and spiritually - with whom I am absolutely myself. That woman is you. I find in you all I ask of a woman - a spirit with whom my spirit takes wing - with whom I find my best self, with whom things receive a new light and new doors open - a place where my head may rest. You are the dearest person in the world to me - and you are nearer now than you have ever been. God is everything and everywhere. The most godlike thing in man is his wonder at life - at the wholeness of life - and his moments of deep love."
        I love that last line, "The most godlike thing in man is his wonder at life - at the wholeness of life - and his moments of deep love." It's true, our curiosity - our persistence to seek and question - as well as our moments of deep love are how our spirits take wings. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

What Else Can I Do For You?

What Else Can I Do For You?

"What else can I do for you," 
the sky said, and added,
"now that I have taken off
all my clothes?" 

These are some lines of value
to contemplate. 

          What else can we do for people after we are completely ourselves? We can then extend even more of ourselves, more of our inner souls, to them. We can help in the creative and spiritual matters, which go beneath and beyond "simply" lending a hand. Mary asked Gibran to design a school seal for the Cambridge School, for which she was headmistress.
          May 1, 1919: "Beloved Mary, Here is a design for the school. It is an open hand holding a rose: or rather, a rose growing in an open hand. I like the idea, and if the design is well executed it should be beautiful. I hope you and the dear girls will like it. I do not remember seeing anything like it, do you? An open hand is a beautiful symbol, and when you place a flower upon an open hand it adds much to its beauty. Thank you, Mary, for all your beauty. May God bless your hand upon which roses grow. Love from Kahlil."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sometimes I Feel

Sometimes I Feel

Sometimes I feel as if I am involved 
with the extraordinary: 

that something of my efforts - and their results  - 
are a great triumph, for both of us;

that something I have labored with 
added to a bridge, we can cross to the Beloved. 

What a great explorer might feel in a moment
of joy and wonder, in accomplishing the 
nearly impossible, I have known that - 
and much more. 
       What are your moments of joy and wonder? What moments lie out beyond these? On February 5, 1918 Gibran wrote to Mary: "Talking to people about poetry and reading to them gives me a great deal of real pleasure. Human beings have changed remarkably during the past three years. They are hungry for beauty, for truth, and for that other thing which lies beneath and beyond beauty and truth."
       My question to you would be what is that other thing that lies beyond beauty and truth?
       Mary wrote back on February 10, 1918: "Of course, KG, when you read and talk to people, there are doubtless countless vibrations caught now that will also echo in the years to come."

Sounds waves of "I love you more" 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Still He Lifts The Mallet

Still He Lfits The Mallet

Still he lifts the mallet,
still he may draw the sword,
still he might speak out,
for a cause he knows is right.

And the prayer of the heart

       If you ask someone where they see themselves in ten years' time, they may not know the answer. In a way, this is to be expected. But what if you rephrase the question and ask someone where they see their heart in ten years' time? Where they see their soul? To these questions they may be able to provide an answer, because the heart and soul can picture the people we love long after the places in which we met and have known them fade away. Our hearts and souls grow in a dimension different than our bodies.
       On September 3, 1920 Mary Haskell wrote in her journal: "Kahlil said "My mother was always saying little things to me when I was twelve that I'm just realizing now. When I was sixteen, she said, "Yes, you'll write like this until you are thirty-five. Then, you will write." I didn't like that and she said, "No, I didn't mean what you are thinking I meant. People will always love what you write. And I like those things, too. You've found yourself. But you'll have to live a great deal before you find that other man. And then you'll have to write what he has to say." When I said I loved "working" (editing) his manuscript better than anything else in the world, he said, "I'll bring you every line I ever write."
     At the time, Gibran did not know what we would write in the coming years, but he knew with whom he would want to share it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Haphazard Brilliant Thoughts

Haphazard Brilliant Thoughts

There are not many teachers 
in this world who can give you
as much enlightenment in one year -

as sitting all alone for three days
in your room would do. 

Stop musing for a while
and think
you are who you aren't. 

There is a ruby buried
in what I say,
grab it, and don't let it go,
'til your horizons expand. 

        Poets often bring us gems in the form of their beautiful manipulation of language. Gibran did not have much to say on other poets directly, other than he found the life of the poet to be a worthy pursuit and he had much respect for those choosing that path. Gibran once met Rabindranath Tagore, a wonderful Bengali poet who penned things such as, "Love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation. Our heart ever changes its place till it finds love, and then it has its rest. But this rest itself is an intense form of activity where utter quiescence and unceasing energy meet at the same point."
      Interestingly enough, Gibran did not feel Tagore's poems had as much power when read by the poet himself. Perhaps it is because the words had become less real and more "recitable" to Tagore. Gibran met Tagore on December 19, 1916: "I met Tagore. He is beautiful to look at it and be with, but I was disappointed with his voice. It is bodyless, and it made his poems less real to me."
       The other poet Gibran ended up commenting on in his correspondance with Mary was Blake, writing on January 25, 1918: "Blake is mighty. The voice of God and the finger of God are in what he does. And how strangely remote he seems from even the very things he does! What he writes seems so often done in a foreign language - as if he were used to another speech, and were employing this one simply because it belongs to the land he finds himself in."
      That is such a beautiful thought, that Blake was one with this world for such a short time, learned its rules, inhabited its corridors, left behind his musings, and then returned to the Great Soul from which he came. Everyone knows the famous lines from Blake's Auguries of Innocence:
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Worth a read is: 

Bengal Tiger at Night 
Photograph by Michael Nichols

Monday, June 23, 2014

It Is A Holy Woman And A Temple

It Is A Holy Woman And A Temple 

It is a holy man, a good poem, and a holy woman;
and a temple and a mosque and a shrine. 

Have you not been looking for a companion
like that? For a place of such great refuge,

where time asks nothing of you,
where you can come and go as you please,
where you can control all the rules,
because your heart knows best. 

And you don't have to give up 
any pleasures that might still be working,
adding color to your cheeks. 

There is nothing you touch 
that you hope won't fit into a puzzle you are 
seriously working on. 

I know how the eye works, 
what its primary impetus and desire is: 
to lay its gaze upon the beautiful,
and for beauty to wink back.

The eye, like every part of you,
is governed by your great 
and continual need to feel whole and able.
Able to work and learn and give and play
and love and love and love. 

      I love these words about Love, "Have you not been looking for a companion like that? For a place of such great refuge, where time asks nothing of you...where your heart knows best...where you don't have to give up any pleasures that you might still be working on...where there is nothing that won't fit into your puzzle." Souls do not know calendars or clocks, they only know how it feels to be one with another, which of course, is perhaps one of the most beautiful sentiments about love enduring past this world. And to borrow the analogy used by another, sometimes it is inconceivable that the roots of the souls should ever part, being that they are so intertwined. In Mary Haskell's journal on July 28, 1917 she wrote:  "I said to Kahlil, "You have probably never been as near to any other woman as to me." More like a flash than he ever speaks Kahlil put in, "I have never been one hundredth part as near to any human being, man or woman, as to you." He put his feet up, stretched out, and rested my head on his breast, "The essence of what is between you and me, is the most wonderful and beautiful. I have used this phrase before to express it - 'You are also here.' It is a kinship. There is also a language. It is not a matter merely of words. Sometimes you have not even begun to speak - and I am at the end of what you are saying. And I don't think this is dependent on time - on the years we have known each other. The root between us is ten years old, or more - it has been the same thing all the time - though it has developed and grown."

A Long Time Ago (1972), Jim Croce

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pick The Lock

Pick The Lock

There are so many keys on your ring,
so many fine spiritual sayings 
you can recite,
and maybe so many pictures of 
saints in your home. 

But rarely work hard enough,
peer deep enough,
to pick the lock
of yourself. 

You should have stopped reading 
pages long ago, if not in this book,
in another,

and just done whatever it took 
to grab God and pull Him to you. 

            The long journey we go on to discover our inner selves is one of life's joys, and also a requisite for living life fully. We should constantly work to pull ourselves away from the distractions of this world in pursuit of its beauties. We should put down the sayings of acclaimed figures of the past and attempt to pen our own verse, paraphrase our own testament, "pick the lock of yourself". On October 31, 1917, Kahlil discussed the depth of our interior: "Yes, beloved Mary, we know without knowing that we know, and we unconsciously live according to something in our depth which our surfaces do not understand. The real thing in us is the presence of all that is real outside of us. Even when in doubt we are not doubting. Even when we are saying 'No' to Life, something in us cries 'Yes'. The 'No' is heard only by man, the 'Yes' by God. There are a few men - perhaps five percent - who just live their inner life all the time, despite the world about them."

"There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables 

Long Way Down (2013), Tom Odell

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pray to Your Hand

Pray to Your Hand

The foundation for insanity is laid,
and every moment it increases as the universe expands.

Too convincing for most everyone is form
to then not call it real.
And to not then be its wholehearted servant at times. 

Some balance, dear, some delicate discernment 
is required between what appears to be 
and what really is not. 

Let it often come down to this,
for the right equation 
you need to solve the big dilemma 
is just too vast for most. 

Yes, let it come down to this,
when thoughts and aspects of the Infinite
can no longer delight you: 

Pray to your hand that it reveals all the wonder
you will ever need to be satisfied. 
For it is there. 
The divine mystery is in all things. 

Post coming soon!

Friday, June 20, 2014

When The Meadows On The Body Turn Gray

When The Meadows On The Body Turn Gray

When the meadows on the body begin to turn gray,
let your eye soften toward yourself,
and those who are close.

Let anyone, anything, inside who has driven you,
let them retire or move at an easier pace.

And where you were once firm,
and might have even said to someone,
feel my muscle, or admired it yourself, 

yes, now look at the way you have become,
or will someday if you live as long as you may want. 

Many do all they can to not have to face
the candle going out. 

The wonder of my body aging, dying, is finding
another flame within, a holy eternal

sphere, that will never go out and is more beautiful
than all the form you have known - put together. 

When the fields on the body begin to turn gray
let your hand's touch upon all, soften. 

         No one likes to talk about death, and I would agree that it is a topic best avoided. I will certainly entertain anyone who wants to speak about it, but like most humans, I fear it or find it unsettling, not because I don't think it's natural (I do, no one needs to live forever), but because it represents the end of my spectrum of knowledge, it represents the unknown.
         Converesely, it is quite comforting to recognize that enduring stories - great literature or great love live on. To borrow a line from Frost, these epic and very human tales will be told "with a sigh someday ages and ages hence". Gibran did not fear death, but he did fear not having his work read anymore after his death. He was proud when The Prophet came out in October of 1923 and sent Mary the first copy before it did.
         On October 2, 1923 she wrote back: "The Prophet came today, and it did more than realize my hopes. For it seemed in its compacted form to open further new doors of desire and imagination in me, and to create about the universe in nimbus, so that I read it as the center of all things. And the text is more beautiful, nearer, more revealing, more marvelous in conveying Reality and in sweetening consciousness than ever. The English, they style, the wording, the music - is exquisite, Kahlil - just sheerly beautiful. Bless you, bless you, bless you, for saying it all, and for being such a worker that you bring that inner life into form and expression - for having energy and the patience of fire and air and water and rock. This book will be held as one of the treasures of English literature. And in our darkness we will open it to find ourselves again and the heaven and earth without ourselves. Generations will not exhaust it, but instead, generation after generation will find in the book what they would fain be - and it will be better loved as men grow riper and riper. That flame in you will be met by many more. And more still will love you as years go by, long long after your body is dust. They will find you in your work, just as God is found in his."

Don't Blink (2007), Kenny Chesney 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Find a Better Job

Find a Better Job

Now that all your worry 
has proved such an unlucrative business,
why not find a better job? 

And while you are at it,
scouting about town
and fine tuning your resume,
maybe light a candle in some church. 

        From December 18, 1920 in Mary Haskell's Journal: I asked Kahlil about his reading tour. "That is off; I can't help being glad. It was like a heavy weight on my soul. Somehow the idea of reading The Prophet from city to city, under advertisement was sacrilege to me. It is my religion, my most sacred life. I love to read it here in this studio to little groups or to certain gatherings. I should love to read it in a church. In fact, the first reading of it is to be in a church in New York. My life has a great deal of seeing people in it, just individuals, one by one, and groups as well. And I want to be so more and more. I want to live reality.  I want some day simply to live what I would say, and talk to people. I want to be a teacher. Better than to write ever so truly about fire, is to be one little live coal."
      How true this is, we all have to think about the job we want - both our visible and invisible one, both our work and our home life - our life's mission apart from monetary goals, our life's purpose apart from societal expectations. I love the last line Kahlil imparted to Mary "I want to live reality...better than to write ever so truly about fire, is to be one little live coal."

Willy Wonka had a cool job!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

He Belonged in a Morgue

He Belonged in a Morgue

He looked like he belonged in a morgue
three days ago, an old neighbor of mind.

Then a young woman moved in with him. 
They were up until 3:00 AM. 
A week later he looked better. 

Maybe there are some clues here 
to help enliven you? 

      At times, love quite literally can give life (outer body). At all times though, it can nourish the life force (inner soul). This Hafiz poem illustrates that, look at what love has done for the man who was weak (physically or spiritually, we do not know which one he meant). 
      As mentioned, yesterday, I delayed my Les Miz blog, but I find it to relevant here. Valjean's life was reinvented and reaffirmed when he promised Fantine to love her daughter, to protect her, and to "raise her to the Light". It was only when she decided to wed Marius, did he feel his task was done and he could depart this world. Of course, in loving someone fully, we do get a glimpse of Heaven before we leave to go there, or in the spoken words of the wonderful play itself "To love another person is to see the face of God."
      What follows is a wonderful passage from Les Miserables, that then relates to a story in one of Gibran's letters.
       “I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was threadbare - there were holes at his elbows; the water passed through his shoes, but the stars through his soul. Let us say in passing, to be blind and to be loved, is in fact - on this earth where nothing is complete - one of the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness. To have continually at your side a woman, a daughter, a sister, a charming being, who is there because you need her, and because she cannot do without you, to know you are indispensable to someone necessary to you, to be able at all times to measure her affection by the degree of the presence that she gives you, and to say to yourself: She dedicates all her time to me, because I possess her whole love; to see the thought if not the face; to know that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again; to be sure of the fidelity of one being in a total eclipse of the world; to imagine the rustling of her dress as the rustling of wings; and to believe that you can soar; to hear her moving to and fro, going out, coming in, talking, singing, to think that you are the cause of those steps, those words, that song; to show your personal attraction at every moment; to feel even more powerful as your infirmity increases; to become in darkness, and by reason of darkness, the star around which this angel gravitates; few joys can equal that. The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves -say rather, loved in spite of ourselves; the conviction the blind have. In their calamity, to be served is to be caressed. Are they deprived of anything? No. Light is not lost where love enters. And what a love! A love wholly founded in purity. There is no blindness where there is certainty. To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. And then it seemed to him that after descending into those depths after long groping in the blackest of this darkness, he had at last found one of these diamonds, one of these truths, and that he held it in his hand; and it blinded him to look at it." ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
    In Gibran's September 1, 1918 letter he relates a story to Mary about the time he saw blind sparrows in the Boston Public Gardens: "I saw a sparrow feed a blind sparrow in Boston - in the Public Gardens about twelve years ago. I used to go there often. I'd buy a quarter pound or half pound of enriched wheat that the Syrians prepare to feed the doves and the sparrows. One day they were feeding all around me and I noticed that one sparrow was flying off with his grain every time, instead of swallowing it down and waiting for more, as all the others did. So I watched him. He flew off about thirty feet into the grass to another sparrow who was sitting there. The waiting sparrow would, when he heard my sparrow, lift his head - with unseeing eyes and my sparrow would put the grain into his mouth and fly back for more. Carefully I moved by degrees over until I was within four or five feet of the sitting bird. He was an adult - with full wings. I waited until the all flew away. The seeing sparrow went close the blind one and shoved against his shoulder, as if he were nudging him, and then they rose with the rest. It was the most moving thing I have ever seen among animals."

Sparrows in Kowloon Park, Hong Kong
January 2008 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Courageous Dirty Work

The Courageous Dirty Work

I am glad someone thinks they are real,
real enough that they respond to names,
real enough to show up for work on time
and pay their bills. 

For what would happen to the world 
if there weren't courageous people 
like that around,

willing to do the dirty work
of thinking they exist? 

        Today my boyfriend and I went to NYC to see Les Miz, featuring the acclaimed Ramin Karimloo. As I've already blogged about, it is a tremendous and momentous play about the triumph of the human spirit - about people courageously and fully alive. We also went to FAO Schwarz, Times Square, and the American Museum of Natural History (where his first choice was seeing the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites). Since the topic of meteorites really relates to the passage in one of Mary and Gibran's letters, I'll save my musings on Les Miz for another day.
        On December 17, 1916, Mary shipped Kahlil a meteorite, writing: "It is crowded with Infinities, you will love it, as I do."
        He responded two days later on December 19, 1916: "May God bless you for your blessed letter - for every word in it and for the heavenly spirit that runs amongst the words. And may God make me worthy of it all. When the hand of Life is heavy and night songless, it is the time for love and trust. And how light the hand of life becomes and how songful the night, when one is loving and trusting all. I, too, have been through a period of childbirth, painful and creative and full of questionings. There were times when the hand of Life seemed like a mountain on my breasts. But I know now that there are wings fastened to every heavy thing. And I know also that it is the greater hunger that makes the wings motionless. O Mary, and a real meteorite, I would rather have it than anything else in the world. The meteorite, the precious meteorite, is the most wonderful thing I have ever had. It feeds my imagination and it sends my thoughts into deeper space and makes the Infinite nearer and less strange to my soul. I hold it every day and each time I bless you with all my heart. Love from Kahlil"
     That night I found a very interesting wedding ring made out of meteorites, dinosaur bones, and gold...I couldn't help but think it contained so many infinities.

Link to buy from JewelryByJohan

Monday, June 16, 2014

A White Dove Heading East

A White Dove Heading East

A sailor lost for days at sea 
in a boat all alone 
spots a white dove heading east
at dawn,

and for a moment her sight 
becomes his.

Things like that can happen;
your soul can enter another 
- that fully. 

Land, land! He cried within,
and then even tasted the Earth in a way
for a blessed second, 
and so felt saved. 

         I love the imagery of this poem, that we can be saved just by envisioning another's soul. Do you think any of the great poets or artists ever imagined themselves as the souls of their superiors? Or of God himself? It certainly is fascinating to contemplate just how "complete" the inner-life can become.
         Mary and Gibran discussed such a thing in his January 6, 1916 letter: "I have been thinking of writing, of giving forms, to the one thought that changed my inner-life - God and the Earth and the soul of man. A voice is shaping itself in my soul and I am waiting for words. My one desire now is to find the right form, the right garment that would cling to human ears. The world is hungry, Mary; and if this thing is bread it will find a place in the heart of the world, and if it is not bread, it will at least make the hunger of the world deeper and higher. It is beautiful to speak of God to man. We cannot fully understand the nature of God because we are not God, but we can make ready our consciousness to understand, and grow through, the visible expressions of God."

Dove released after a wedding ceremony
Wrightsville Beach, June 14, 2013

Sunday, June 15, 2014

When The Sun Conceived a Man

When The Sun Conceived a Man

What could I say about that day 
when the Sun conceived a man,
gave birth to itself as Reality and Truth? 

What could all speech in creation 
ever say about that resplendent morning 
when the eternal One let his face 
and body appear by grace in form? 

God is the luminous root of all in existence,
independent of space and time's novice dance 
across only a single string of the infinite. 

Today I carry gifts from the fish, beasts, birds, 
angels. I carry from the rivers, seas, fields, stars,
and from every soul -
and every soul that will ever be. 

God, let us know what you first saw 
that made you want to do this,
create a human heart. 

           What makes parents want to conceive a human heart? And then nourish it, watch it grow, develop, and eventually take wings of a separate spring of life for which to fly by? If they do it right, you really are an amalgam of everything they've given you, shown you, imparted to you - their wisdom, laughter, and love. You're a sum of the things they love most, and the parts of everything that through their love and encouragement you found on your own. I know that because of my father I'm a well-rounded individual, I love poetry, I appreciate depth, I hunt for beauty, I value health, I welcome music and laughter and song-birds. Over the years my dad and I have taken a tremendous liking to the poet Rumi and this past month he decided to create a "Rumi Garden", the inaugural stone is below, and I happen to think that it's oddly synonymous with having children, as isn't that an act of planting love?

            Gibran wrote a parable on May 10, 1916 that I think my dad (and any great one) would appreciate:
"In the shadow of the temple my friend and I saw a blind man sitting alone.
My friend said to me, "Behold the wisest man of our land."
I left my friend and approached the wise man and greeted him. Then we conversed.
After a while I said, "Forgive my question; but since when hast thou been blind?"
"From birth," he answered.
"I'm an astronomer." 
Then he placed his hand upon his breast saying, "I watch these suns and moons and stars."

         Today, I say a lifetime of thanks to the first man who showed me the suns and moons and stars within myself. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you! <3 

Father and Daughter (2007), Paul Simon 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ingredients From All Thoughts

Ingredients From All Thoughts

There is a part of you that moves through everything 
the East, the West, representative of the North, 
delegate of the South,
they are a part of your every hour. 

Ingredients from all thought and realms, 
and time - past, present, and future - are in you. 
A few words from each of the great prophets 
brought to mind every day
would help all you planted reach its potential,
and will help distill your extraordinary worth.

Service to others will help you
become death to a voice inside of you
that does not believe in happiness. 
Then you will become that, 
which the unlit wick 
goes to for light. 

         It's a beautiful thought to understand - that we are connected to everything and a part of everything, that the thread of the infinite (past, present, and future) is weaved into the fabric of our being. That we are the sum of everything that came before us, and everything that our being in the world has affected. I love the concluding line: "Become that, which the unlit wick goes to for light." Who brings you light in your life?
        Kahlil Gibran on May 23, 1915: "When we meet we shall surely speak fully of it - not as something new, but as an old thing newly realized. I have always thought, Mary, that a Revelation is simply the discovery of an element in us, in our Greatest Self, the self that knows what we do not know, and what we call growth is nothing but knowledge of that larger self."

Photograph: Laurent Laveder (2006) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tremendously More True

Tremendously More True

She had a dream that told her
she was going to pass from this world. 

And on the day before, she still felt well,
but believed that these were her last hours,
so she went into her garden as she always had,
and never more beautiful did the world look,
never more a part of everything she now knew she was. 

She became absolutely certain that 
something tremendously more true
awaited our knowing. 

That night she merged into a brilliant sky,
one that she discovered her soul had always,
had always been holding in its hand. 

          Is it possible to stay courageous in the face of death? Is it ever possible to make peace with the idea that you are dying? Worse, that you are dying soon? If so, if it is possible to see more beauty in the world when your moments are limited, like the woman in this poem? If so, why do we not live this way all the time? In Gibran's words: "If all the other inhabitants of the earth, for instance, believed that the individual soul perishes with death it would move me not an atom to agree with them, because I know my soul won't perish. It is with the soul that we live,  for the soul never loses its path."

When I Get Where I'm Going (2005), Brad Paisley

Thursday, June 12, 2014

At The Nile's End

At The Nile's End

We are at the Nile's end,
we are carrying particles from every continent,
creature and age. 

I only hear these words from God
where we are all now trying to embrace
the clear sky ocean,

Dear ones, come. Please,
my dear ones come. 

           Can we carry all particles within us? Can we speak to all facets of time? Of distance? Across continents? And oceans? And varying opportunities? Is there such a thing as the "World Heart", that a great many poets have sought to explain?
           Something that I've enjoyed while reading the coorespondances between Mary Haskell and Kahlil Gibran is the glimpse of history it gives. Both Mary and Gibran lived through the invention of the telephone in the late 19th century, and on October 6, 1915, Gibran discussed it in his letter: "Yes, talking by wireless over long distances is indeed mighty. It is an enlargement of the soul of man. But man had always talked by wireless - a different wireless which transferred all the real messages from one part of the Earth to another. And the subconscious of man always acted according to these messages. A world-deed that happened in India became known to the soul of Egyptians. And what the soul knows is often unknown to the man who has a soul. We are infinitely more than we think."

The Bell Telephone Memorial, Ontario, Canada 
Man, discovering his power to transmit sound through space, 
as well as Knowledge, Joy, and Sorrow. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

God Courts Us

God Courts Us

God courts us with the beauty 
of this world. 

The Beloved courts us with music,
and any touch that quiets,

or can excite a heart 
to such an extent
it will look like a radiant applause. 

            Throughout our lives, beauty is often illuminated in various forms - spoken word, written verse, through kindness and love, through rainbows and butterflies. Poets have frequently been ones to show us this Truth. As Kahlil wrote on July 17, 1915: "The Spirit of this world is ever changing and ever growing. The saints and sages of the past ages were seldom in the presence of the God of this world, because they never gave themselves to life but simply gazed at it. The great poets of the past were always one with Life. They did not seek a point in it nor did they wish to find its secrets. They simply allowed their souls to be governed, moved, played upon by it. And by doing this, he discovers the world not only for himself, but also for those who possess a natural willingness to listen to him. Your last letter, Mary, is the most wonderful I have received. It is an expression of this sacred desire to find this world and behold it naked; and that is the soul of the poetry of Life. Poets are not merely those who write poetry, but those whose hearts are full of the spirit of Life, like you. I am not working much these days, but somehow one's dreams are always active, growing fast and well."

"Hand of God" NASA 2014 
(NASA's NuSTAR spacecraft has imaged the structure in high-energy X-rays for the first time, shown in blue. Lower-energy X-ray light previously detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in green and red.) 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Saddle On Every Particle of Space

A Saddle On Every Particle of Space

Most are still a leaf spinning 
between heaven and earth

Try to settle on the ground
and come to know 
its astounding wonder 
and sing to us 
from your perspective. 

Put a saddle on ever particle of space
and ride
and just keep going. 

       Gibran spoke of space too, in a December 9, 1915 to Mary: "Thank you a thousand times for these wonderful books. They are just what I want. I have never been so interested in a subject as I am now in Astronomy. It is the proper study of man. Human beings are local and their vision is so limited that they all need Astronomy to raise them beyond their tribe, race, and country. When the collective minds of this planet become conscious of other worlds and other spheres, their local interests, which are behind all wars and all human difficulties, would be no more.
      And your letters, your sweet and dear letters - when I read them, and sometimes I read them as if they were written to someone else, I feel like a plant growing in light. I forget my own shadows. When one works from the heart, one is eternal, and as you say, yesterday is a thousand years away. Do you think, Mary, that someday I shall be like the man to whom these letters are written? I want to, with all my heart and soul."

The Witch's Broom by Robert Franke

Monday, June 9, 2014

An Apple Tree Was Concerned

An Apple Tree Was Concerned

An apple tree was concerned 
about a late frost and losing its gifts 
that would help feed a poor family close by. 

Can't the clouds be generous with what falls from them? 
Can't the sun ration itself with precision? 

They can speak, trees, 
they can say the sweetest things

but it takes special ears to hear them,
ears that have listened to people
with great care. 

             To listen with great care is one of the tenants of a successful relationship. We like to think ourselves infallible to such commonalities ('Listening? Why, of course!' we say), but do we ever stop to think about why communication is so necessary? It is because silence, though it can be comforting, can also be cruel. To remain silent about things affecting the heart, though will keep you from being confrontational, will also keep you from being fulfilled. As I've been reading through Kahlil and Mary's letters, I began to think their love and understanding of each other were perfect. Conversely, they wrote about their largest which they recounted the past and how it had taken both a long time to express the love that they felt...and this had caused the other pain. Sure, they spoke of friendship, of affection, but never the deep romantic love (that we presume needs sex and physical closeness to attain). This hurt them both, equally so, for they knew their truth (that one can have romance without sex, that one can be in love without kissing), but this fear, of revealing something uncommon kept them both from doing so. Eventually, of course, they began openly professing their love, but never did they discuss the years of not doing so. That was, until, April of 1915 when they stayed up until 4:15 AM (according to Mary's journal) doing precisely that.

Kahlil on April 18, 1915: "In speaking about the past, we always make the present and the future more clear and solid. For a long time I had a black fear of unveiling the past; a fear caused by my lack of directness and frankness. How infinitely better it would have been if I had had the courage to speak of pain. I suffered in silence - and silence sometimes is apt to make suffering deeper - because silence itself is deep. It is more comfortable for most people not to speak; as a rule they make a mess of things when they think aloud. Though you must love the silence that understanding creates."

This "large" fight, about who had really lacked the strength to show affection, continued for a month, resolving slowly and seeming to be at peace when on August 2, 1915 Gibran wrote: "All is well now, beloved Mary, all is well, and though it is hard to divorce ourselves absolutely from the past, we should not dwell in it. You know, Mary, that each and every human relation is divided into season of thoughts and feelings and conduct. The past five years were a season in our friendship. Now, after this discussion, we are at the beginning of a new season. And who can say, 'This season is good and that season is bad?' All seasons are natural and necessary to life. Death itself is a part of life. Though I have died many times during the past five years, the marks of death are not upon me and my heart is without bitterness. May God bless you, love and love and love."

Somebody's Baby (1982), Jackson Browne

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Small Table of Time and Space

The Small Table of Time and Space

I am a Golden Compass -
watch me whirl. 

To the east and to the west,
to the north and to the south,
in all directions I will turn your course
toward laughter and unity. 

To everywhere I will deliver enlightenment 
illustrious strands of lyrics and truth.

Watch me whirl into nothingness - 
your fears and darkness. 

I am a Holy instrument always tuned by God. 
I live beyond every dimension. 

I gaze at everything with brilliant, clear eyes, 
my only duty that remains 
to this world 
is from every direction
to forever serve you Hope. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Shield You Hold

The Shield You Hold

There is a shield you may still hold
because of some many battles. 

I guess another conflict could begin any moment;
so maybe lugging it about could be of some use;
or is it just an undermining habit? 

Does not it get heavy, so much so that you
sometimes struggle by noontime? 

And then do wonder, with your insecurities so intact
about casting darkness as fears can 
shadows even if the sun is out.

But God is really all around 
in the middle of beautiful day or night 

Yet, how amazing that a small illusion 
when clung to
can hide
the stupendous fact of omniscient Light. 

         Haven't we all felt the desire to see the person we love? Just see them? Be with them? Take in their light? In their presence we can let down the shield we hold, we can put down our sword. We all carry a burden through this world, unique to the one who bears its weight. Yet, it is through loving another that we have our load lessened, or even, how we willingly (and sometimes, dare I say, longingly) carry another's.
         I used to see my boyfriend every Thursday, I no longer do for various reasons, but I felt so escatic when I learned that Gibran and Mary had a similar tradition/schedule in the early years of their relationship. She would come down from Boston on Thursday nights and stay in New York through Sunday morning. He wrote to her on November 26, 1911, "And Thursday will come like all the things we really desire. O I have a million things to say to you. But Thursday is coming and the joy of Thursday is here even now."As I sit writing this, I know that the words of Whitman, Rumi, Rilke, Hafiz, and Gibran...the words along the lines of "I'll be reading this with you", "I'll be whispering into your ear", "look up, and I'll be there" were true...because over 100 years later, I can say with certainty that I've felt the "joy of Thursday".
        Listen to this wonderful song by singer-songwriter, Jake Bugg. He sings of love, the thing "as simple as this" that brings so much light into our world.

Simple As This (2013), Jake Bugg

Friday, June 6, 2014

We Are Like Lutes

We Are Like Lutes

We are like lutes once held by God,
being away from His warm body
fully explains our constant yearning. 

         Humans do have a yearning for the intangible - the force that connects us to a spiritual place, the pull that drives us towards experiences that fulfill our souls, the essence that allows us to find beauty. Poets seem to give us glimpses of such an invisible thread, instrument, or feeling. Mary perfectly described this in her July 19, 1914 letter: "A woman suffers to bear one child and feed it. You bear many children - and you feed the World Heart, beloved Kahlil. You sow your heart, beloved Kahlil - you withhold nothing - but many, many hearts shall come up to you for ages from that seed. Whenever life burns deep for centuries you shall meet it and it will love you."
      What a beautitful concluding line!

Same Old Lang Syne (1981), Dan Fogelberg

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Energy In Sounds

Energy In Sounds

As many times as a parrot might say 
any number things, 
will that make them true for the bird? 

So it is with many uttertances 
about spiritual matters from people

Harness speech; let it become 
a windmill that can grind a harvest. 

There is a pristine energy in sounds 
that come from certain depths 
that can help split the atom

if you can control them perfectly,
which would mean your words cease to harm,
and always uplift, or at least comfort. 

      It's true that there is great energy in sounds! Gibran once said, "When we cease to believe the idea we no longer perceive it; we kill it and its death kills us." It is belief in oneself and others that lights the fires that sustain this world. I thought of both the "energy in sounds" and the energy in self-belief when I listened to this story of Tim Doner, a hyper-polyglot (someone who speaks over ten languages). In the video, he reveals he did not start learning new languages until he was 13, but that once he decided to start, he never wanted to stop, as they unlocked and unveiled to him old mysteries and new beauties.

Tim Doner - Teen Who Speaks Over 20 Languages
THNKR 2013 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

If I Did Not Know Your Name

If I Did Not Know Your Name

What is a mere few years, centuries, 
or millenniums between us?
I should be able to follow
any contemporary language. 

I have heard every word 
anyone has ever spoken.
Past, present, and future.

Limits don't exist.
All knowledge is there 
and not there, simultaneously. 

If I did not know your name, 
you whose face is close to what I have written,
I would doubt my own existence 

for we are surrounded by a brilliant splendor
even I can hardly believe is true. 

        In today's post I wanted to briefly mention the Kahlil Gibran memorial in Washington, DC. It's a quiet oasis in the Massachusetts Avenue area, the memorial circles around an alcove with benches for people to sit. If you look at the picture below, you can understand, in just a few words, what Gibran left to this world.

The Gibran Memorial in Washington, DC
Pictures by Gordon Kray

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

There is a bird of paradise, Huma,
that comes close to Earth, 
but never touches the ground.

Sometimes it so nears 
one has a chance to leap up and touch it. 

Those who have received its blessing,
from knowing its body firsthand,
all have something in common: 
Their minds are not weighted down. 

       On August 7, 1914 Gibran concluded his letter: "Now I am going to reread your last letter. It was full of voices and wings. Two kisses for your blessed hands and two for your bright eyes, your Kahlil". In her follow-up letter Mary spoke of wings in a different sense. I've noticed that poets and the poetically inclined often speak of wings, birds, or soaring in some sense at least once.
      The August 16, 1914 letter said: "Sometimes I feel as if I had little sturdy wings and you great sweeping ones, and that often when you open yours and I lay my little ones to them, I know their whole mightiness as we fly. And we fly to so many places I could not reach alone; and my heart fills every feather of your great wings, and goes out with your heart to God. With you, so much has come to me! You know how the sun is not just his fireball, but all his light and heat and how the flower is not petals only, but its fragrance too. So You and Your whole scope have more fused in me - and as on earth I am "in the sun", so here I am with you - am anywhere with you - more actually than before."
     Isn't that what love is? - "we fly to so many place I could not reach alone".

I Want To Hold Your Hand (1964), The Beatles

Monday, June 2, 2014

What Is Holy

What Is Holy

Sound said to me, "I want to be holy." 
And I replied, "Dear, what is the problem?
You already are." 

Then sound quipped back, 
"What do you mean?" 

Well, the wind speaks, does it not? 
And what of the refrain of geese? 
And what of the rooster at dawn? 

And the chorus from the sea and the rain? 
And the thunder? 
Is not all a part of God? 

           There is a wonderful line from Rumi that goes, "Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it." So it is with religion and love, whatever (or whoever) introduces you to the beauty of your own soul is Truth, goodness, worth. When Gibran did not want Mary to pay for him to accompany her on a Bermuda vacation (he was broke), she explained that money is only one of many acts that reinforce love, the others like time, service, gratitude, etc. we more comfortably accept, but she writes: "Everything you ever did, or said, or looked, or were, that showed me you loved me, gave me pleasure. And you must let everything I do because I love you give you pleasure too."

Great graphic illustration of Gibran's message on "what is Holy"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Selling Your Art

Selling Your Art

At the very least you are a vital cell
in a cosmic holy body. 

And everyone works so hard,
no matter what they do. 

There is no place for you to go
but onward to a greater freedom.

The poor man rarely parties 
because of so many cares.
We should put an end to that. 

Knowledge can be pawned for a good sum.
Find some truth and mix it with your talents. 

If you can get the right balance 
shops will start selling your art.

And maybe even a masterpiece you will become,
your every gesture. 

        Kahlil Gibran wrote to Mary Haskell with a concern that he was no longer deriving as much enjoyment from his past works because his mind was intent on a constant yearning towards the future - in which, he presumed, his real destiny would be fulfilled. On January 28, 1915: "It used to give me pleasure to hear people praising my work - but now I am strangely saddened by praise, because praise reminds me of things not yet done - and somehow I want to be loved for what I have not done yet. If plants are certain of a coming spring, through which they will come out of themselves, why cannot I, a human plant, be certain of a spring to come, in which I will be able to fulfill myself? Perhaps my spring is not in this life, Mary."
       After Kahlil expressed doubt in his work and progress to his goals, Mary sent the most beautiful reply dated February 2, 1915: "I am always with you coming self, Kahlil. To what you say of loving what is not yet realized, my whole being says "Yes". The future of each thing is like the plan of a building; the part built so far in the past - and the present is the bricks now being laid. Is it chiefly the bricks that we love when we say we love the building? Life is a never-ending building. What-To-Love is a fundamentally human problem. And if we have this solution - Love what may Be - we see that this is the way Reality loves - and that there is no other loving that lasts or understands. It is the Future I love in these things of yours hanging here. But you know, Kahlil, it is the Future, that unlimited something - in a picture of anything, or a person, that makes it beautiful."
       Today my sister graduated high school, so a huge congrats! I hope she "finds some truth and mixes it with her talents", I hope she remembers the pursuit of the Ideal (not necessarily the Real) is a way to find beauty in life, and I hope she knows she will always be loved! Congratulations, Emery! 

Pomp and Circumstance, March No.1, Elgar