“The sea yields us once more to these shores. We are but another wave of her waves. She sends us forth to sound her speech, but how shall we do so unless we break the symmetry of our heart on rock and sand?
“For this is the law of mariners and the sea: If you would freedom, you must needs turn to mist. The formless is for ever seeking form, even as the countless nebulae would become suns and moons; and we who have sought much and return now to this isle, rigid moulds, we must become mist once more and learn of the beginning. And what is there that shall live and rise unto the heights except it be broken unto passion and freedom?
“For ever shall we be in quest of the shores, that we may sing and be heard. But what of the wave that breaks where no ear shall hear? It is the unheard in us that nurses our deeper sorrow. Yet it is also the unheard which carves our soul to form and fashion our destiny.”
— Gibran Khalil Gibran, The Garden of the Prophet
‘I live in my own world. Not a soul has wandered through my land in a long, long time, longer than I can remember. And so, I have forgotten people and their faces, their language is now undecipherable for me, and their customs, alien. Thus I live, without a human touch, unable to reach into anyone and no one able to reach into me. Thus I live, a poet whose wine is drank by none, whose hymns are sang by the passing wind.
Thus read the paper found in a cabin deep in the woods. The readers were workers, their machines tearing through the woods like laborious ants and transforming it into another of mankind’s great cities, a testimony to the refined state which civilization achieved. Thus read the paper, and then was thrown onto the ground to become part of the city’s cemented foundations.
O the romanticism that folded me in nature’s arms as one of its green leaves! O how beautiful and pure that love! How it overflowed with a dream of endless possibilities! Oblivious of death, awakened to life as though it were an ocean with neither beginning nor end, how my petals unfolded, laughing, as though I were a flower welcoming the morning sun! hungering to drink from her boundless flow! How beautiful was life! and her breasts which folded me!—A toast to childhood and new beginnings!
“As if the whole of life and the entirety of existence are contained in your body, that is how I love you,” he whispered in her ear. “I love you with a love greater than life itself, perpetually seeping through the seams of existence to bind it in the deepest unity. And at each moment this love tears me, from the inside out breaks me, opens me ever wider into you, into the ocean of your womb. This love, a moment of perfect stillness in which the entire vivacity and generative force of the universe are contained. This love, my heart smashed like a pearl on your altar, then offered to your lips. This love…”
I asked the beloved for a gift. She planted a thorn in my palm. Of pain, disappointment, and betrayal I wept. Months lapsed into years as the thorn deeper and deeper clang, inflaming my hand and heart with pain and grief, unfolding roots into my bloodstream to drink. One night, leaning over me as I slept, the beloved kissed my forehead. Her kiss felt like a spring fountain bursting cool and fresh at the top of my head. At dawn I woke up and lo, the thorn was in full bloom.
As the first rays of the sun broke out over the hills and mountains, a voice rose up from his heart, burning and clear, and surging in white waves it spilled to his journal,
‘You wholeheartedly and finally and after a long struggle embrace a path only to discover that, despite the vehemence of your passion, because of it, you are no longer on that path and have stepped out and moved beyond it. You discover that you needed to embrace it, to give in to it completely, “unconditionally,” to live it out down to your deepest marrow and let its songs sing your days and nights for you to let it go and overcome it — for you to overcome yourself! for you to flow into yourself!
‘Into yourself you were always flowing!
‘Now gaze up and lift your head, for ahead of you, in the distance, your goal is shimmering still, now more brilliant than ever, luring you like a woman dressed in her finest garments, breathing towards you her warmest scents. Let your eyes fall upon her like the morning sun now rising falls upon the world — blissful in her abundance, joyful in her resolve.
‘Come along now my failures and victories, up ahead new failures and victories await, another war and overcoming.
An old friend knocked on his door in a dream, and entering to sit by the edge of his bed where moonlight and nymph sang and danced, he asked, ‘What fruit and seed have you got to show for your way and path, your earth and field?
‘His calm eyes staring back, the hermit took a handful of breaths from his chest and offered his open hand, empty and bare.
Wandering through a pine forest one early morn, his thoughts fluttering with the birdsongs, bathing in the clear, bright air, he came upon a high cliff, and as his gaze relaxed, stretching unto the far horizon ahead, his being spoke,
‘I began to write poetry only after a life that laid deeply dormant within me began to wake. My poetry is the tree rings widening with the pulse of her awakening, a telluric power that speaks and speaks ever more certainly, the records of a time stepping out of its own bounds and into…
What if the most sublime music ever played breathed through the flute of a shepherd a thousand, thousand years ago, covering the wooded mountains and ancient hills like gilded clouds at the moment of twilight, like the beloved’s breath at dawn weaving the garden into life?
What if that music is still hovering all around us like an all-embracing breath, and if we fall really, really silent, and listen, if we open up and receive the world into our flesh, or simply glide like gurgling water into hers, we can breathe it in again and again, quivering like a leaf above autumn’s lake?