one more time

need is honed by the whetted knives of appetite & truly, Shiva,
i hunger for You. gone are home & husband: only You remain to
feel my need & only You, my panacea, can satisfy it.

after the hard fall from grace comes humility. after the blessing
of divine presence comes also humility, for what on earth can
long endure? i am like an autumn butterfly floating in the wind
as if a bright & tattered fallen leaf spiraling in circles not
of my own choosing. i am being carried home, Shiva, on this long
journey of return to You, yet another weary old butterfly
coasting on worn ragged wings & deeply rooted instinct
as the days grow shorter & cooler & the nights fall even colder.

the crisp clear nights are overseen by orion & the pleiades,
who make their promises & work their spell upon my stuttering heart.
i am promised to You, Shiva, carried & cloistered by messengers
who are following Your firm command. my life is not my own. even
my need & appetite do not originate with me but come as
endowments, strange puzzles concealing Your calling card & messages
written in subtle sensory glyphs which You have taught me how to read.
they say, "wear it out, burn it up, let it go & seek Me everywhere
as we play hide & seek in this burning ground of purification
called daily life on planet earth. I will carry you home at the end."

"are we home yet, Shiva?" i ask Him like a child, again & again,
& we giggle & play tag in body after body one more time.

shared in the light

after the festive gala celebration comes the thorough clean-up.
after the inmost insight comes steady determined application.
after the fall from grace & light comes the humility to struggle
from the shattered scattered rubble & resolutely rise up again:
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

after the sincere sadhana comes the fading of maya's mirage
in Shiva's pervasive light. He is kneading the soul as if it is
bread being carefully prepared for baking. He is working His light
deep into the cells that i may also be a light unto the world.

wherever i am, Shiva declares it a temple & i bow humbly.
i pray for the trees & the birds & for the young of all who are born
to bless this sad besieged world with the nectar of their sweet purity.
this is the time when abundant blessings are needed everywhere, for
what is learned from the darkness is to be gathered & shared in the light.

the intimacy of night

Shiva, You are the purity of light that sweeps across the psyche.
You set forth that which i now need to know for dispelling the shadows
falling over the vision, darkening, distorting & deadening.

You encapsulate me, holding me in the purity of Your light
as if i am an infant clasped in the mother's arms & suckled at
her soft breast. Shiva, Your fragrance is so sweet that i am dissolving
in it, becoming sweetness, emitting light like a beacon for lost
travelers, or like a campfire kept burning through the night to hearten.

Shiva, You are the intimacy of night, smoothing all the wrinkles
  & rough edges that tell of a long arduous journey, soothing the
hungering heart with Your calm touch. the very atoms of You & i
embrace & intermingle in communion that words cannot reveal.

ah, but words can point the way & they can comfort & strengthen also,
until the silence grows so deep that it muffles & floods all else but
the purity of light & the long slow intimacy of the night.

the mines of maya

we are at work in the mines of maya, clearing & refining,
opening space for light to shine. we need that light in this mine.

that which is dark & jagged, we polish, smooth & purify.
we ourselves are being refined in this manner by the gods
who, in their turn, are also being refined & clarified
for the refulgence of light, the renewal we want to feel.

oh how we fly when we can & how we crawl when we must!
the dense events of life can weigh us down with added gravity
& subsequent immobility. we are at work in the
mines of maya, cleaning, digging out the darkness to find the
subtle veins of light concealed in all things, yet accessible.
light is hidden everywhere, Shiva, for You gave us this gift:
the light that calls us home, the yearning in our hearts for Your grace.

the fruitful darkness

soft upon the senses darkness descends, gently pressing,
inviting acceptance, surrender. this is the fruitful
darkness of gestation where borders blur & numinous
exchange can happen spontaneously. words are too slow
for this subtle realm, too angular, sharp & hard. like knives
carving water, they give motion mimicking meaning, yet
little is clear & nothing enduring remains for long.
the gentle fruitful darkness is like a womb, allowing
growth of life without disturbance, nurturing & holding
it in the divinely provided secure protection.

i come from that darkness to You, Shiva, called forth by the
sacred mystery of Your summons, alluring as the
glow of a night-blooming blossom in the pale new moonlight.
soft upon the senses, darkness deepens, gently pressing,
hinting of surrender to the fullness of gestation.
this is where we touch, far beyond borders or worlds. this is
where words are put aside & communion of pure essence
reaches forth, heart to heart. this is all i know, Shiva: the
slow unveiling of the wordless, the advent of light born
of the fruitful darkness, the abundant mother of form.

like blossoms to the sun

the rolling fullness of the rising sun reflects anew
in the rainbow glint of a dewdrop on the tip of a
sharp blade of tender grass innocently offering itself.

the final lilting call of the whippoorwill fades into
the morning songs of the wood thrush & summer tanager;
the sky brightens slowly, becoming a rose-gold temple.

the morning brings divine opportunity to offer
heartfelt gratitude for the simple gift of awareness.

yes Shiva, tempt us with Your divine magnetic beauty
as You shape Yourself into these many earthly delights!
we shall gladly dance with You in the sweet glory of this
timeless transparent increasingly radiant gold light.

the rolling fullness of the rising sun reflects anew
in our swirling turning rhythmic holy dance, dear Shiva
of hidden charms & endless unfolding transformation.
like the whippoorwill, our voices are silent in the soft
downpouring light as our hearts lift like blossoms to the sun.

it is forever You

i meander through the field in the misty coolness of spring,
in the flowering, green, birdsong morning of a new day.

everything is rising up to worship the sun: the mist, trees, birds,
flowers, the very air, my heart, all reaching toward the sun.
all rises up to You, Shiva, who touches as the sun with
warm light rays on chill skin & blesses with down-rushing sweet love.
it is forever You behind another's face, closer than
my own heartbeat & deeper, more dear. i celebrate You
as i meander through the field in the misty spring coolness.

like darkness into dawn

i was blind for much of my life, Shiva:
blind to Your presence & power, to You
as the essence & core of all things &
beings. i was unaware & drifting.

i was blind to all but the surface. the
superficial outer aspect lulled me
to sleep in a deep hypnotic dreaming
that was decades in length & deadening.

yet night turns to day inevitably,
thus i finally awaken when You
relentlessly thrust me forth from my rut.
it was furnished with my favorite things,
though i chafed at its narrow restrictions.

now my sight returns & i see the truth
of Your presence. there's no escaping it.
now that i see Your ubiquity, my
heart frees the old bolts that held the door closed.

my heart is vowed & pledged to You, Shiva.
although i am a late bloomer, You wait
until my blossom is full wide open.
now i am here before You, patiently
offering it to You in tender love.

i'm blinded by the outer no longer,
coming to You stripped of worldly dowry.
i am transparent to Your ceaseless light,
rainbows shining wherever You touch me,
words dissolving like darkness into dawn.

when the sky splits open

when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
through the broken clouds, i see You, Shiva.
You have no form, yet Your presence is strong.

may the heart be touched & blessings kindled.
may sweetness be released to permeate
all who dwell in deep appreciation
of the sheer wonder of sky overhead
& breath in the warm animal body.
may we bow to Your fragrant presence here,
Shiva. You make beauty from brokenness
& angels from the most humble among us.

when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
golden honey through the clouds, i see You
turning toward this fierce realm. i mirror
You, shining light out freely to the world.
this light is Your own, recycled through me,
giving form to the formless, love to all.

invisible ashes

what wind unsettles the roots of my hair now?
what fire flickers in this enveloping night?
i cry to the origin of wind & fire:
Lift me higher, wind, so that i can see more.
give more light, i beg fire, that i may see truth.

the wind wraps me in its fist & flings me far,
shreds my deep certainties & my doubts to dust.
the fire burns the dust to ashes, grey & thick.
i am clothed in ashes, covered head to foot,
though this is not visible to most people.

the world does not know that the fire yet flickers,
hidden hot in the recesses of the heart.
i feed it with the focussed attention of
the pure rapt child who has just discovered a
butterfly rising from dark concealment up
into sunshine, wings glowing bright as embers.

what wind unsettles the roots of my hair now?
it is You, Shiva, You as wind, as fire, as
a suddenly revealed direct perception.
You are the light & darkness, fully filling
my awareness until You are so vast that
You seem like a field of endless galaxies.

were i not clothed in invisible ashes,
no one could see me through the resplendent light
of Your presence holding my atoms in place:
Shiva, lord of my heart & essence of all.

darkness melting into dawn

You shake me like a garment in the wind
& the vasanas fly away like dust.
i shiver, stripped down to my bare essence,
yet rejoice when i see You at the heart
of each unsettling disturbance & change.

You hold me in my rawness, respectful
& close & wrap Your light full around me.
the world fades into moving shadows,
brushed aside by the swift sweep of Your hand,
& still You hold me close to You, Shiva.

You strip the ancient karmic mask from me
that conceals my true effulgent nature.
You face me in Your solar radiance
& all-pervading positive regard.
You tell me i am Yours, marked with Your sign.

this harsh human life is no loss, Shiva,
not in the face of such noble blessing.
the temporal moving shadows recede,
flickering at the edge of awareness
like distant darkness melting into dawn.
& still You hold me close to You, Shiva.

carry us forward

the pandemic is shaking out the hidden scorpions
in the global drama of this divine culling event.
it brings to view the cloaked & veiled shadow influences
that disrupt cooperation & sincere tolerance,
that negate inspiration, inclusiveness & kindness.
they drain the joyousness from the rising innocent day.

Shiva, You reveal to me how this great cosmic drama
of maya creates a stage & a playbill, a menu,
a compelling urge to act in the world as we are called.
our cosmic dharma as jiva is to cling to the light.
we have seen the dark. the cycles are turning, shifting now
by cosmic rhythmic decree & we are the advancing
edge. nature's cadences prevail throughout the galaxies.

dear Shiva, carry us forward in this dharma of change.
the darkness has exhausted the days of its dominance.
the wheel of evolution turns & the dawning of light
is now globally drawing near. the kali yuga wanes.
dear Shiva, carry us forward in this dharma of change.
hold us in Your heart & show us what is real, true & good.
 

the lamp shares its light

when these poems are written, it is as if we are conversing
& You are revealing luminous & precious inner treasure.
it forges a connection & creates a continuing flow
from You to me, cascading out to all the people who see this.
thus it is a conduit of blessing that moves through me & out
into the world like an outpouring deep into cloistered chambers,
opening the closed doors & windows, lighting lamps & making tea,
settling into human life with no prejudice or reluctance.
it is as if we are conversing when these poems are written,
Shiva, & sharing our communion just as the lamp shares its light.