like a tortoise in my carapace, weary & wary of all, i lumber along my careful way, protecting my wound & scars. i stay to the corners & edges, i keep my back to the wall. You roll me over with no warning, Your power descends on me. Like the ill, i look through leaden eyes, like the dead, i don't resist. You strike me once & You strike me twice, You urge me now to come forth. You release me from my old burden, You illuminate my night. You strip the bandage away from me & make my wound a doorway opening into my guarded heart where You radiate Your light. You gather me up into Your arms, Your heat is melting my heart. You nourish me & illumine me, You bathe me in Your esteem. You are my home, i am not alone, You are my true destiny.
i am 82, living in a nursing home and deepening my spiritual life as is appropriate as one ages. i am a student of the Sanatana Dharma and a devotee of Lord Shiva.
only the heart
You reached out to me & cut me free but my back was to the door. i raged against my imprisonment & fervently did implore for meaning, purpose, reality beyond daily emptiness. i called You, sought You, begged You to come, my yearning was bottomless. You were there yet i was unaware for my eyes & ears were sealed. looking back now in my elderhood i see the pattern revealed. You did come to me, repeatedly, You were not ever concealed -- only the heart can perceive the real & only the heart can feel.
i let it go. i let it go.
i left it all behind.
i shed the skin i wandered in
& lost some of my mind.
i stumble, stripped of who i was
& stagger in a daze.
You come! You look into my eyes
& set my heart ablaze.
You glow like rainbow mist in sun,
Your fragrance i inhale.
You lift me up, You hold me close!
now falls my final veil.
i will not dance the charted steps, i will not wear the veil. i turn from phoney flowers, i only seek the real. i am not a proper puppet, the strings are mostly cut. long ago i shunned the wide way to try the obscure rut. i have no regrets or sorrows or things i wish i'd done. i rest now in Lord Shiva's arms, the many returning to One.
You are the distant thunder in the far hills of my mind. i see Your face in the clouds & i leave my tasks behind. i pray for Your healing rain, i plead with my voice & eyes. sprout my seeds that they may grow, touch me with Your warm sunrise, enter me with Your pure glow.
the play of dreams
i sold my mind for a few kind words & gave my body away, yet they could not really get to me for i hid behind the play. the passing people, their undreamed dreams, went by like shadow & dust. i grimly witnessed the storyline, i did what i knew i must. i turned my back on the human world. i wandered my blinded way & fell into a vast emptiness, night after night with no day. i cried for light & i begged for it yet turned away my head from every single kind offering of sustenance, & i fled. i could run, i could not hide from it & i could not veer away. i faced it all, i embraced the act, my part within the play. then i was dismembered with a knife & speared by a holy word. i bled my sadness, i bled my fear & i threw away my sword. i looked away from the play of dreams & long sought for something real, where heart & mind might find their true home, where then i could laugh & feel. many years have plodded past since then & much was explored & seen. i was not touched. though the lines were there, still i remained in between. until You came & that changed it all for You brought the world alive. You took my weary old cardboard life, the play, the dream, final dive -- You turned me around & upside down & also inside & out. You revealed the real within the fake & You took away my doubt. i sing now the song my heart calls forth in sweet tones like colors pure. the real is living within my soul, the rest I can now endure.
the mirror is covered with dust & age is devouring the mind. my heart hungers for Lord Shiva; He shines like a sunrise to me. i open in His warm sweet light like rose petals from the tight bud. He is first & middle & last, the only focus that matters as the body nibbles at time. leaving the mirror behind me, i return the dust to the earth & face into the mystery as i hear His song calling me. He comes, He comes, my Lord Shiva! He is radiant with blessing! He sings me home, my heart is His. i cling to Him, my timeless Friend to whom i am betrothed: my Love!
when i could not
i looked through the eyes of the damned,
i looked through the eyes of the cursed.
i wallowed in sorrow & smut,
swallowed by dark ruminations
that laid me down flat like roadkill.
yet still Lord Shiva approached me,
He opened His circle to me.
i turned away, my face covered,
& hid in the shadows of shame.
He gave me full rein to destroy
so i tore the script of the world,
shredded the judgements of others,
moved from the careful & cautious,
plunged into the mystery bright.
it burned away the deep darkness.
it left me with nothing to hide.
He came like a storm in springtime.
i lay spread like dry earth below.
He was the downpour that drenched me
& pulled out the sprout from the seed.
He opened His arms, He claimed me,
He held me like music & art.
I am His drum, His brush & paint,
i am His words, His wordlessness.
i now celebrate Lord Shiva,
Who took me in & judged me not
& cared for me when i could not.
i knew i was not lost
i knew i was not lost though they told me i was. i knew that i was blessed though they said i was cursed. i lived my days with them essentially unseen, courting the mystery ceaselessly calling me, utmost magnet of love attracting constantly. i am aware of You -- i feel You in my heart & in my brain & bones. You stroke me with soft wind, You sway in the shadows & You blaze in the sun. You call me from hiding & stand me before You, naked in my yearning, stripped of human learning. i am Yours, returning, open like a plowed field ready to receive seed. I knew I was not lost. I knew that i was blessed. I knew that it was You who comes to me at last.
my chair cradles & cuddles, easing the body & breath, a molecular lover, vehicle & companion on the journey to Shiva, He to whom i am betrothed. i am urged by the marrow deep within my very bones. He made me. He owns me. He has me now forever. i am made of His substance. i hear His call, i respond. my chair like an animal strains toward Him, wanting Him. everything wants Him now. all else is meaningless, dry, a dream to awaken from. Lord Shiva lives in my heart!
why i am sharing this nontraditional spiritual journey
- to encourage anyone, anywhere, in their exploration of the spiritual path that calls to them even if others don’t understand. you are not alone.
- to inform other seekers that the regular writing of poetry about the relationship with your Deity of choice can enrich life tremendously. the same is true about painting and drawing images of the Deity of your choice. it can bring the relationship alive & facilitate deeper communion.
- to demonstrate that sincerity & devotion in this approach to the spiritual is fundamental & more essential than talent or skill in writing or art.
- to urge especially those who are in the latter years of life to deepen the focus on the nonphysical spiritual realm. poetry & art can help greatly with this.
- to express & fulfill my dedication & devotion to Shiva, who has shown me all that i have painted & written about. He began with the nonverbal intuitive paintings, continued with the verbal expressive poetry & now moves to the global cyber realm. this is my service to Shiva, the Deity of choice who guides my life. (essentially this is my sadhana journal & all the images are from my camera unless otherwise noted. all the poetry is syllabic: same number of syllables in each line.) may you be inspired & energized in your own explorations & journey! namaste!