Monday, January 25, 2016

Work in the invisible

Something from Rumi's (1207-1273) Masnavi, Book III, lines 3077-3109 and one other segment, in somewhat loose translation as always. 
For everyone who fights for hope.

Two Face : David Sanford

The prophets
have wondered to themselves,
"How long
should we keep pounding 
this cold iron?
How long
do we have to whisper 
into an empty cage?"

So don't be timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain
whether the vessel will sink
or reach the harbor.

Just don't 

be one of those merchants
who won't risk the ocean!
This is much more important
than losing or making money!

This is your connection to God.
You must set fire to have light.

Think of the fear and the hope
you have about your livelihood.
They make you go to work
diligently each day.

Now consider what
the prophets have done.

Abraham wore fire
for an anklet.
Moses spoke to the sea.
David molded iron.
Solomon rode the wind.

Work in the invisible world
at least as hard
as you do in the visible.

Be companions 
with the prophets
so that no one knows.

You can't imagine 
what profit will come!
When one of those generous ones
invites you into his fire,
go quickly!

Don't say,
"But will it burn me?
Will it hurt?"

Move around the center
as pilgrims wind the Kaaba.

Being still
is how one clay clod
sticks to another in sleep,
while movement wakes us up
and unlocks
new blessings.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Breathe on this sleeping fire

Dean's Blue Hole .

When you walk out the door,
all the spirits of the invisible world
gather around you like a great cloak
that flows back to the beginning of your days.

You walk away
but they do not.
They love you because
you were a knit-together marvel from the first;
they heard of your miraculous frame
growing around you in your mother
and sent gifts to feed you
as you became yourself.

You leave the book of your days behind
yet its words rise up in your absence
and tell the story you can't see anymore.
They call forth phantom thoughts
to lay themselves down on the page
and wait for you to want them again.

You abandon desire
yet desire lives
in this host that surrounds you
and fights for you
even as you slumber in your tent.
You thought you let it go at the edge of that cliff,
yet it swam the river below
and tracked you day and night
and even now,
lays merciful traps in your path.

It shadows your escape boat across the sea,
lulling storms to sleep and singing them awake
so you might see the wind and the waves
and know how alive you are
and how always close to death.

You abandon your own reflection,
yet you are you
whether you believe your past hunger or not.
Still you are seen.
Still you are known
by every last creature who's crossed your path,
every invisible ray of sun
that's touched your shifting face
day after mist-burned day;
by every dream and portent
you forgot upon waking.

Creation speaks for you
even when you think you have nothing to say.
And all heaven plunges its oars
into the water
that carries you home,
to the place from which you exiled yourself
but that never gave up
waiting for your return.

So when you finally hit the wall
you can't walk through,
go back to the footprint behind you.
Let the wet earth embrace your backwards steps,
let your body be drawn.

Go back to your
hidden country.
If you face south,
head north.
If you ran east,
let the west wind pull you back
with cords of lovingkindness.

Go back to the dark
heart of this mountain,
where you once searched
for gold and riddles and hidden springs.

Go back to the cave
where your heart still lives
and take it back.
Stand back and see
this cave as it is,
this vast cave in the heart of God.

Say the true names of things again,
knowing what is—
not idea or form or creed or mantra—
just the name that is
and breathe again.

You named these things;
these things named you.
You have always been seen.
You have always been known.