THE FULLNESS OF THINGS
we will sit for hours together
and let the scenery of life
break our hearts into
millions of tiny little pieces.
and then we will watch, astonished, as
in the space between two heartbeats,
the very same scenery
fuses those pieces back together again.
as if we’d been kissed by life.
and then we will go for a coffee,
or do the dishes,
or pick up the kids from school,
or dance in celebration
of the fullness of things,
our hearts pregnant
with bittersweet mystery.
In this presence beyond presence,
In this place that is no place at all,
In this warm embrace I call myself,
Even a ‘no’ is a secret yes,
Even resistance is deeply allowed,
Even doubt is a celebration of life.
Come, all you unloved creatures,
All you homeless waves in life’s vast ocean,
Pain, doubt, shame, guilt,
All you frightened orphans of light,
Crawl out of your hiding places,
Shuffle out of the darkness,
You are invited to a great feast.
Come, uncertainty, sit by my side,
Come, despair, drink from my cup,
Come, fear, do not be afraid of me,
I will not turn away from you,
I will not deny you a place at this table,
Now that I know the truth of myself.
I invited you here, long ago.
I have an ancient promise to keep.
Life is here to break your heart over and over again
until you realise that heartbreak is life too.
And then your heart can no longer be broken.
And you stand naked in front of life, moment by moment,
knowing that whatever happens is totally okay
even in the midst of perfect devastation,
which, of course, is devastating perfection.
This is freedom beyond the speaking of it.
THIS STRANGE PLACE
Can we meet beyond the story of us,
in the place beyond expectations,
and hold each other there?
Can we meet beyond the dream of tomorrow,
and rediscover what is here today,
so that today becomes tomorrow, effortlessly?
Haven’t we always been meeting like this,
here at the edge of the world,
where everything is possible?
This strange place seems so familiar.
SWEET, UN-TETHERABLE BIRD
Sweet, un-tetherable bird,
Half a mile up from solid ground,
Half a world away from home,
Do not fear getting lost.
You will always find me
Infinitely close to yourself,
In this half-light,
In this still gap between the flapping of wings,
In these impossible shadows we cast on the ground, unknowingly.
Lose yourself in flying,
Sweet un-tetherable half-bird,
Forget all imagined limits of flight.
Tether yourself to me,
And let us swoop in silence.
A POEM FOR NO-ONE
Who has been wearing these shoes?
Who has been walking in these footsteps?
Who eats this breakfast?
Speaks these words? Breathes? Moves as I do?
Who has known both the mountains of bliss and the valleys of total disillusionment?
Who has journeyed into the abyss and come out unbroken on the other side?
Who has suffered both the joy of pain and the pain of ecstasy?
Who has never abandoned me, throughout nirvana, samsara and those unspeakable realms of light?
Who has taken the hand of the child, the unloved one, the frightened one, the dying one?
Who is both the lover and the beloved and the imaginary gulf between them?
Who has cradled the entire universe in its arms?
Who is closer than the most intimate sensation?
Who asks these questions that cannot ever be answered, and delights in asking them anyway?
Whose music is it that I hear from dawn until dusk?
Is it You who wears these shoes?
Is it You who breathes these dying breaths?
Is it You I return to?
Is it You I never left?
Once, in pursuit of You, I ran from You.
I ran from these shoes and from the surfaces of things.
I ran from all that I judged as mere appearance.
I ran from the simple wonder of waking up in the morning to a fresh new day, not knowing what was to come.
But now, I run no more.
I can no longer seek, or escape, what I already am.
I have been gutted, turned inside out, replaced by gratitude,
and left not knowing why I ever doubted this miracle in the first place.
LOVE BEYOND LOVE
Love, knowing that the one you love may not be here tomorrow,
knowing that today may be your last day to truly meet,
knowing that you cannot know how the story ends.
For what is left in this life if you have nothing to lose?
Care, care deeply, care until it hurts, care in spite of what people say,
in spite of ridicule and rejection and being misunderstood,
care so much that you no longer care what happens to you.
Sink, sink willingly, into this bitter-sweet mystery of love,
never knowing what love is and loving anyway,
like a fool, like a fascinated child, like a madman,
like one who has forgotten how to be cynical, or how to be right.
Love until your voice trembles, and your heart pounds, and your legs shake,
and your philosophies crumble to dust, and your cleverness bows its head in shame and in reverence.
And you will be taken to the darkest places,
and your heart will be set on fire by the ones to whom you were never able to open your heart,
and you will be reminded of what you have always, secretly, known:
That in time, you will forget everything, except how to die, and how to love.