only the mind

even though i seem to be identified with the functioning of the mind,
even though i fall short in many ways & at times grope blindly in darkness,
even though i frequently sink into a bleak forgetting & yearn for help,
You do not abandon me & You stand ever-present in the heart's viewpoint.

You do not abandon me because You are the very source of who i am.
only the mind cares about abandonment & measuring up to ideals.
only the mind compares & judges, approves & condemns & sets stern values.
only the mind can turn away from You, lost in the transient storms of thought,
yet You are always available to the call of the sincere open heart.

You are available, Shiva, always standing nearby, ever supporting.
i know this as i become aware of the entrapment of the agile mind
& therefore i persevere in remaining steady, grateful for Your presence.

this small passing mote of human dust gives thanks to You, the divine source of dust
& bright stars & swirling galaxies, coming to me in a way i can grasp.
i salute You, Shiva, & rejoice in Your pure light & Your deep mystery.

the heart will hold fast

today is a time of courage when i resolutely determine
to remain alert, not to get lost in memory & mind chatter.
over & over i return to my mantra, the lifeline which You
have given me, to which i cling in the intense storms of circumstance.

i dwell in a nursing home, an imperiled place in a pandemic,
yet nonetheless You remain close when i can see beyond the surface
to the divine timing that cares less for the unit than for the whole.
remaining in an old worn body is not important. You alone
are truly essential & i shall not lose my way back home to You!

birth, death, body, spirit: the dance patterns of cosmic complexity,
& i can no longer freestyle full out but seek now to rest in You.
You are the center of the turning wheel & i will not lose focus
upon You. although passing events may obscure, the heart will hold fast.

the heart will hold fast when hands no longer find a solid place to grip.
thus today is a time of courage when i devote myself to You.
i am here for You. i do not fear the homeward journey of return
for this script has long been written as the time to merge myself in You.
the sun only sets for the earthbound & i am a child of the stars.

Your sacred warmth

i know You not by form but by Your tender presence felt within my heart.
i know You by the glow of warmth at my core, by the buoyancy within
my whole being, magnetized by & moving to You irresistibly.
i melt inside when i recall our meeting, the pure blending of essence.
i melt inside when i hear Your name, Shiva, & i overflow in these words
on paper celebrating You in all the ways & times of our union.

i am weaving threads of communion with You in this sincere poetry.
i realize repeatedly that You are central to this life, Shiva,
far more important than the cyclic comings & goings, the ups & downs,
the loves who come & the loves who go. You alone are my steady constant,
my anchor, the bond that thrills me to my existential reality.

i know You not by form but by Your tender presence felt within my heart.
my entire being is an open doorway for You to fully enter,
dissolving altogether that which appears as name & form, time & place.
beloved Shiva (i dare to speak as if i am holy Parvati),
hold me in Your sacred warmth as the gravid world travails in birthing pain.

comedy act

You taught me earlier to be serious, focussed, deeply thinking.
then, at that time, it served me well. now You teach me quirky playfulness,
which has great value in this nursing home where laughter is less common.
i am Your student of silliness, practicing my funny faces
in the mirror & with the friend You bless me with on the internet.

toilet paper -- thin, crisp & flimsy -- provides a lesson in humor,
fluttering into angular shapes at the touch of a reaching hand.
it perversely creases & crimps & pleats & twists, corkscrewing
into weirdly angular lengths, dancing gently in the drafty room.
You show me that the elemental entities of the air frolic
in the folds of the tissue, delighting in its insubstantiality.
i can almost hear them now, laughing like rowdy children running wild
without any supervision inside the playground of the bathroom.

You teach me that i do not need to take life so seriously.
the crisp & kinky toilet paper was once an irritation &
now i smile at the antics of those frisky little beings playing.
i delight in their comedy act & they like my silly faces.

a fledgling from the nest

ah Shiva! You often urge me to greater skill & patience,
to develop abilities & to ask more of myself.
You push me from my resting place like a fledgling from the nest
& i feel like i am falling, yet i find that i can fly.
Shiva! You will not take no for an answer though i try.
You will not let me quit nor run away. there is no retreat.

i cry, i sigh, i hide my face, i crawl beneath my blanket,
yet nonetheless i must emerge when the new day calls me forth
& i must push consciously against the current obstacle.
You give me this task to do & though i sag beneath the weight,
i will continue on for You have chosen me to do this
& thus i will though it is hard, for i know i grow from it.

ah Shiva! You often urge me to greater skill & patience.
i know that blessing emerges from this because it comes from You,
who help me spread wide my ragged wings to lift into the sky.

nursing home life

i see the people who live here & the people who work here
coming & going, coming & going, like a human tide.
this is nursing home life, the last stronghold of the weary form,
the final chance for deconstruction & renunciation
of body-self identification, countdown to release
the encumbrances of earthly life. i seek to use it well.

the intention is to show that it's never too late to serve
the vast Beingness interpenetrating all life & form.
names & shapes come & go, ebb & flow, yet the Nameless remains.
the Nameless comes forth to us all through the veil of name & form,
therefore Shiva has come to me even through my ignorance.
i honor this time & the One who holds me like a lover.

He is here & i will go with Him when the tide rushes out.
names & shapes come & go, ebb & flow, yet the Nameless remains.

touch me now

You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly,
shedding the dense outer form, progressively dropping
identifiers until only beingness remains.
i know You in this world by Your energy signature
absorbed in our formless unions, which continue to bless.

You touch me now as i, in my elderhood, freely yield
myself to You who have blessed this life inexplicably,
enduringly, persistently, for i am slow to wake.
You have remained with me throughout my ignorance, Shiva.
You are the one constant in all this shifting flow of life.
i embrace You in deep devotion & dedication.
absolve me of my ignorance, enfold me in Your love.
You meet me formlessly as i reach to You inwardly.

this burning moment

as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i am
inviting You to be near me, to touch me with Your grace,
with Your compassionate way of revealing ageless truths
as if they had grown & blossomed deep within heart & mind
& only now could reveal their shining fragrant presence.

as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i find
myself feeling as if i sit by a wood-burning stove
enjoying the heat as wood is sacrificed to the fire.
we all burn with this indescribable divine flame.
it consumes our errors, making ashes of our mistakes.

as i write these words to You on paper, Shiva, i am
asking You to come so close that i lose myself in You,
so close that the meaning of the words "You" & "i" dissolves.
there is no more writing, no more words, no "i" & no "You"--
only now exists, only life, just this burning moment.

love’s nature

i am foolish to speak of You for what can words say of You?
i long to commune soul to soul as we did when You first came
to me years ago. You ignited the flame of love, made it burn.
it has been a beacon throughout the storms & clashes of life.
You marked me for Yourself & i also have vowed my service
from a deep well of recognition & heartfelt commitment.
without You, i am a shadow falling flat upon dark earth.
with You, i am sky, galaxies, dimensions beyond telling.
i am foolish to speak of You, yet i do this very thing!
it is love's nature to be the profoundest of contagions!

thinking of You

i don't get myself in trouble when i am thinking of You.
i am trouble on two feet when i am thinking of myself
& my history, struggles, desires & high priorities.
since i am unable to stop thinking, it's best to think of You,
so i write this poem for You to demonstrate to myself
that i want my focus on You, not the temporary drama.
i don't get myself in trouble when i am thinking of You.

like a great bird

i am like a great bird spreading wide wings open full,
swiftly lifting up into the eager energy
of the new morning sky, aiming at the brightest light.
like an arrow tunneling through the air to the sun
is the pull of my heart to the fire of Your presence.
there is no other for me, Shiva. my heart is Yours.

compelled by love, like a fragment of pure forged iron
to a magnet, i move toward that which calls to me.
i rush to respond & embrace my deep destiny.

it feels like coming home after a lengthy journey,
like losing who i thought i was, finding who i am.
as the old ties are tearing apart, falling away,
i rise like a great bird spreading wide wings open full,
like an arrow tunneling through the air to the sun.
there is no other for me, Shiva. my heart is Yours.

i have little to show

it's all interior, nothing much that comes to action --
a certain peace, a quiet calm, an acceptance of now.
i have little to show to the world, Shiva, few good deeds
or great service. just a subtle subjective shift, a deep
bond with You, whom i feel abiding now within my heart.

even this becomes dim & murky when the world looms large.
this is a long grim struggle, Shiva, just to hold steady.
i tire. i sag. i observe the fading of memory.
the mind is such a rebel, refusing obedience.
i am bereft, adrift, undone, hard-pressed as a person.
the old costume was cast off long ago. i have none now.

i have only You, Shiva, Your tender inner presence.
all in all, a pretty good trade for who i thought i was.
You guide me from within & weave Your presence through the day.
You are real, constant, unchanging, ever-present, central.
all in all, a pretty good trade for who i thought i was!

stories

after i tell You my stories, Shiva -- the old ones,
the stories told to me, about me -- they fade away.
in their place are the new stories, emerging now that
i am ready to receive my true place in this life.

the new stories are about You, Shiva, how we met
& how You continued coming to me in spite of
my blind ignorance & grievous errors of thought.
it helps me to live in this world, being aware that
You are now, & always have been, central in my life.
without knowing Your name i have known Your warm presence
& ever sought to be near You in my heart & mind.

dear Shiva, i am entirely swept away by You.
You cause my heart to open & You bless me with love.
in this world of maya i have been given a shield
of protection by You & my life is devoted
to You & what You may want of me in this dream realm.
i do my duty to You here until You take me
beyond all the stories, beyond the form, into You.