SEVEN PRAYERS WRITTEN IN THE SPRING OF 1974

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I WILL LEAN INTO YOUR VOICE

I will drink your voice as a willow drinks the wind.
The terror of your nails!
The meat of your presence!

The seed bull enters his herd with a trumpet!
Grackles fly out of maple trees, shaking their limbs as if in a seizure.
The magnificent Eye that sees all creatures afloat in Itself
sees me!

I want to run my hand over the nylon covering your void.

Let me call your name.

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Lord Krishna Bewilders Brahma

PRAISING KRSNA

Standing on a lake, playing his flute,
golden dhoti waving, giving birth to wheat fields in the air.
Worlds, men and women tangled with stars
are streaming from the flute!

He speaks his own name and universes leap into being.
He keeps quiet and everything is gathered back into Being.
He stops playing and eats a mango.

Over a sourceless, sounding lake he walks
every footstep leaving a child waking up in the water
of the Mother’s womb.

We are praising you Krsna,
praising you Krsna,
Krsna!

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Photo of bee taken on the road to the White Salmon River.

Photo of bee taken on the road to the White Salmon River.

I LOOK IN THE INFINITE DIRECTIONS OF THE EYE

I look in the infinite directions of the Eye.
See your face upon the Earth,
the circle of your mouth,
your teeth like white geese whose beaks point toward the sun.
Hear a caravan of wind, a shipment of breezes,
thunder carrying your Voice over the farms.
You are the Ark and the flood that lifts the Ark.

I am calling you like a young tree frog calls for his mate in the night.
I am calling like a cricket to the moon.

I want to be stripped of limitation, forced full of lights.
I want to be a raining presence of affection,
to stand naked before you
and give myself wholly to the river off your glance.

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PRAYING IN A HORSE PASTURE NEAR MIDNIGHT

I enter through a wound
going down into the world
where fire walks, embodied in blood.

I walk into the fire and I burn
upside down in a suit of ashes.

Near midnight
I drink words from a broken cistern,
words and ashes mixed together.

I want the earth never to have existed!
I want colors going back into light!
I am afraid of little breezes touching my arm!
See wings made of moon light beating in the dark!

Something in me wants the iris to float out of my eyes,
wants me to be old, to surrender to the sky,
give up to the floating scenery I am described by.
I want that too!
I want to disappear, become all this.
I want to be with you and to know you.

Come down to this pasture where long eared donkeys bray.
Come down from the tower of the trees
or bring me up.

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HEARING TREE FOGS IN THE RAIN

Hearing tree frogs in rain, I draw back the curtains,
let their clear syllables fall across my boots.

Last night we slept together touching ankles.
Now I stand at this window
holding in my hands the green light of cedars.

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bee in flight on the road to the White Salmon River

bee in flight on the road to the White Salmon River

I SPEAK OF THE NEW BIRTH!

I speak through a cylinder of foam
birds raging in my throat.
A season of nails falls from my hands,
my feet.
The sky slides into my shoulders.

I am not this, I am not that!
The hundred angles of my smile attach to light.
I speak of the new birth!
Nothing is tangled.
The star is a star after all.
The coil is a river and the river is my self.

Watch for me, where I fly in the body of an oriole,
an answer without a question!

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PRAYING BY A CATTLE TANK

I want to be touched by the nameless Presence.
I want my lips to be leaves of fire!
But there are flies on the surface of the cattle tank.
A mare with a belly like a church house has come down
to drink the water.
From where I sit, I  see
the jawbone of a cow that bloated in winter and died.
See a blue jay, everything eaten but its feathers!

I hold my hands up against the land, the sky, oak trees
without end.

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GO TO HER

…I brought him to my Mother’s house
to the bedchamber of the one who conceived me.

Song of Soloman 3:4

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Go to her.

Leave the flesh waving behind
as if it were an acre of maize.
Float out to Her, calling her name.
Your voice is a morning glory opening in the throat,
the name forming on your tongue
one thousand syllables of falling water.
We are drawn from our Mother’s well
fed by Her spring, hidden until sung for
in the folds of Her.

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THE RUDRA GAYATRI MANTRA

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for Baba Shiva Rudra Balayogi, who taught me this Mantra

May the Divine consider my prayers that all eruptions of thought subside, that the mind relax into the heart, and the heart be conscious of Itself.

 

I know nothing.

Thoughts come and I believe in them and I love them.

In that loss of attention a world is born

in which every flower has a name unknown to itself,

in which every moment has a Mother and a Father,

a beginning and an end that are so close together they are

essentially the same.

 

Between the Mother and the Father is a snow melt river

boiling through a narrow gorge.

Along that river a billion lives are lived,

a billion blessings, a billion curses.

To find the quiet that was never lost, I walk into a desert,

try to dig down through rock and bone to the river underground

but that river is a river of blood.

No one wants to drink from it or see it come open into the light

of day.

We want to know it and be known by it only in the dark,

when artificial light fails us and doors are all closed

inward.

 

When the mind comes back to itself there is unheard applause.

There is rejoicing that leads by a red dirt road

back to the Quiet.

At the end of that road is no imagined home, no one weeping

for our return.

There is the space  between thoughts,  a sky with no

end to it.Visit post

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THREE UNRELATED VIEWS OF THE BODY AT THE BEGINNING OF 1982

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The happy body

 

In the tiniest cells of my body, I am jumping up and down!

In the bright atoms I am crouching

like a  brilliant parakeet with wings tightly folded

but ready and bristling with happiness!

 

 

The wounded body

 

Like a priest called to an accident, I kneel over bodies.

I pray for the blood of little girls shot dead in El Salvador

to come back, come back…

but you know it won’t.

Adolescent soldiers aim in the dark at the shrieks of wounded babies!

Old men are chased around trees by helicopters

made in New Jersey.

 

 

The drowned body

 

When the body stops struggling

it rises and floats.

It goes where the river goes.

Not shouting, not weeping, not praying, not singing.

Little boys point to it, on its way into the Gulf.

 

 

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LINES WRITTEN BY A MAN IN HIS THIRTIES

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The body starts falling away.
Begins the long process of leaving me behind,
a wife happier alone.

Everything my eyes see will die.
Everything these hands take hold is torn from them.
Tomorrow the world will say, “Get out.”

Still I am carried into the valley between Carol’s breasts
where a salty stream of sweat is washing me.

I wade in that water to the dripping cave between her thighs.
A sincere opening leads inward to a fire that eats my body for food.

I am happy here, all bones now
one flake of ash smeared on my throat as ornament.

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