need

i need to live with You day & night, my Shiva.
i need to wake up & feel You here next to me.
i need to say Your name before anything else.
i need to walk with You down the long wide hallway
& talk with You about things important to me,
like kindness, courage, endurance, respect & love.
i need to tell You what i learn from the Gita
& which part touches me the deepest & the least.
i need to show You my favorite old graveyard
& how peaceful & beautiful the silence is.
i need to walk with You outside in darkest night
& contemplate the stars & sing to them with You.
I need You to be so profoundly within me
that i cannot find who i used to be before
You revealed Your identity, my childhood friend.
i need You like air, water, sun, food & body.
i need to be Your partner, child, servant, vessel.
i need to feel You living deep down within me
as You look upon the world through my open eyes.
i need You like the body needs a beating heart,
so come, Shiva, come to me & be the rhythm
that sends the life pumping through this ready body,
wear me like a second skin, fill me with Your fire!

Shiva

i was wearing my long flannel nightgown,
almost awake in the early morning.
it was the winter of my fourteenth year
in the cold desolation of my wild soul.

You came to me. You came to be the hinge
on the opening door of my young heart.
You folded Yourself around me gently
& drew me close to You, until my breath
was Your breath & the emptiness was gone.
it was filled with Your fragrance & Your taste.
You wrapped Yourself around me, You cherished
me & Your heat melted me, melted me.

Your heat melted me, purified my heart.
You filled me up & burned the past away.
You marked me with Your transcendental love.

please forgive me

if i say that the sky is "my sky,"
i mean my experience of sky.
if i say that the sun is "my sun,"
i mean my experience of sun.
truly, sky & sun belong to all,
neither are they here for any one.
all exists in the purity of
its own essential bright beingness.

therefore, please forgive me when i call
You "my Shiva" in my devotion
to You, seated firmly in my heart.
experience of You in my life
truly is given for a blessing
& to nurture the shy tender heart
in which You dwell, freely spilling out
Your love into arteries & veins
so that You may shine Your light through me.
what am i but Your experience
of this embodied realm known through me?
such varieties of me & mine!
they fly through the clarity of sky
like leaves in turbulent autumn wind!
ah my Shiva! words fail yet again!

i am Yours alone

i’m not obedient to society.
i am restless & questioning, persistent
in pushing against the edges & borders.
i don’t identify with culture or race
or nation or gender or wealth or title.
the body appears human. the indweller
is vaster, more inclusive than named alone.

ah, Shiva! the mind can see & say a lot,
yet it all so swiftly changes & flows on.
only You can remain constant in this realm.
only You are truly present within me
when the whole construct crashes down to the ground.

the transformative cycle begins anew
in this realm of infinite variety
where i cleave to You as the only constant.
You are my magnetic north, my sun & moon.
i take up this changing role for You alone,
as Your expression of transformation. thus,
i’m not obedient to society.
i am Yours alone, Shiva, embodied here
in this shining mystery as Your blessing.

bits & pieces

now i know which things keep me from You:
warmth of hot showers, food i prefer,
wanting other people to like me.
i am very happy to get them
& quite unhappy in their absence.
by wanting some things & not others
i chop my life into bits & pieces
& i lose You in the confusion.

i will make You the strong thread that all
the bits & pieces are strung upon.
I will give You the complete garland
because i want You the most, Shiva!
without You my whole life is empty.

just as i am

You keep on limiting my experiences with people
& calling me back to You for yet deeper sadhana.
i think that i was not embodied for this human world
but rather to serve as an expression of Your outreach.
could it truly be that this inner life is my service?
that i am to cleave to You alone & simply to love?
that my presence here on this earth is to bless everything
without attachment to striving & doing & having?
am i enough for You, Shiva, just as i am, like this?

i bow to You in gratitude for all You have given.
You are my source & my refuge, dear divine companion,
& enough has been shared in all these clumsy words:
now, Shiva, my heart will speak to You in simple silence.

wild gift

a spider spoke into my ear
as i ambled under her home
in a tree at springtime twilight.
it was a small squeaky warble
with a soprano chittering.
i felt her message in my mind:
"wake up!" she exclaimed, "wake up now!"

i stopped, startled, for i had not
heard a spider speak before &
thus, came to a complete awareness.
earth had opened her heart to me
& i bowed in awed gratitude
before this wild gift that collapsed
my abstraction like a pin prick.
my heart expanded as i soared
into the wholeness of wonder
which is life, when we awaken.

You sent me that spider, my love,
another of Your reminders.
that tiny modulated tone
alerted me to awareness
of the unseen world i wander
as i return to You, Shiva.

this holy dance

when You came to me at first, Shiva,
i was newly mature in body
& yet a child in my mind & heart.
You were beautiful & good & kind
& You revealed that You loved me &
that i was good & perfect at heart,
& You held me within Your own heart,
so very close that i became love.
i melted into endless vast love,
wanted it like oxygen & light --
to be enfolded & suspended
in goodness, beauty & gentleness!
transcendent, divine, all-pervading!

when You came to me at first, Shiva,
i was tender & raw in this world,
betrayed & broken down to sorrow.
therefore i returned from our union
in amazed disbelief that such love
could ever be mine. i turned away.

i turned away from Your light & love
in shame at my own disordered life,
undeserving of pure divine love.
i plunged down a precipitous path
in thoughtless, careless exploration.
i would descend to the depths; i chose
to discern the domain of darkness.
i shut You out in raging despair,
throwing myself away to the world,
a boulder rolling down a mountain.

i could not bear the weight of Your light.
thus darkness swallowed me entirely
& i wallowed in grey shame & pain
while the universe wheeled around me
in ecstatic song, calling my name.

calling my name again & again,
tapping me on the head, sending me
visions of You loving me, Shiva,
until i slowly lifted my face
to see You offer a love letter.
i accepted it, took it to heart,
soaked up Your love like dry ground in rain
& moved forward from the shadowland.
You set me free when i was able
to accept such glorious freedom.

i no longer turn away, Shiva.
You are my doorway, sun, moon & stars.
i open to You in devotion.
You're a patient lover, i am shy.
i am divinely touched & entered.
Here i am, as an open window,
as a portal to deep mystery,
forever changed by what i have known.

i am an old woman writing this.
i confess that i want You so much
i secretly call You "my Shiva."
You will come for me at body's death.
i aim to yield & melt into You
like egg & sperm in divine rapture.
everything temporal & human
dissolves in this ultimate union.

hold me in Your embrace, my Shiva,
gliding in this holy dance with me,
eternal lover & companion!
whirl me & turn me & take me home!

the point

events & worldly circumstances
wheel fast around me & i wonder,
am i turning too or watching it?
swiftly changing, the whirling blur is
too fleet to discern faces & forms,
only movement, the great dance of life.

shifting my gaze inward: constancy,
here, the point the wheel revolves around.
here is the steady living presence --
Lord Shiva, You populate my heart!
other loves are reflections of You,
all constantly pointing back to You.
this is my inner knowingness now.
this is my comfort & nourishment.
Your ceaseless companionship teaches
what is real, good, true & beautiful.
Let the world rush in its spurt of speed --
i cleave now to the Auspicious One.
Shiva, i am devoted to You!

a lump of coal

i was a lump of coal when first we met.
i was thirteen, just reaching to see
beyond the family walls. You were
my friend from another dimension,
my secret companion in wonder.

through these many years You pressed upon me,
impelling me inward & slowly
increasing Your pressure until i
became strong, bright, able to endure.
my darkness slowly changed to clear light.

You then carefully cut & faceted
the diamond You made of the coal
of my heart until, in my elderhood,
i became a rainbow & gave hope
& encouragement to those near me.
You never relented nor gave up
on me, continually shaped me.

now i can sit in darkness & yet shine
with light, for You have filled me with Your
downpouring loving light, Lord Shiva.
You have made me a diamond in
Your hidden treasure box, a fragment
of Your own majesty & glory.

i am a star in Your celestial
constellation; i am a blessing in
Your gift basket for humanity.
thank You, Lord Shiva, for the darkness
that makes the light irresistible.

i missed our tryst

i missed our tryst this morning.
my mala lays cold, untouched.
the heart stutters in sorrow,
the mind shrinks back in dismay.
i call to You in longing,
confess my unconsciousness.
Shiva! the world dragged me off
to myriad diversions
& i forgot! i forgot
that i am betrothed, in love,
that i am pledged to You now.

i missed our tryst this morning.
i turned my back on our love,
lost in this transient world,
forgetting my vow, unstrung
like a broken old guitar
that yearns for music again.

i missed our tryst this morning
yet now i am here, renewed,
mala held close to my heart,
Your sweet love cleansing my soul,
patiently calling me home.

messages of love

in the hot desert aridity,
in the whipping cold wind of the plains,
in the darkness & in the sunlight,
You are present, Shiva, You are here.
i sometimes forget, oh, i forget!
You do not forget me, not ever!

i reach back in my mind through the years
to the young girl who sought her true self.
i call out encouragement to her.
i tell her that the story ends well,
that it is good to be curious,
to question, to search & inquire,
that she really is completely loved.

You, Lord Shiva, do the same for me.
You keep sending messages of love.
my scrapbooks are filled with evidence
of Your presence, power and grace.
soon i will put down my storybook
& look You in the face & thank You.