The discipline of the flower is opening up to the light. That is my discipline too, as a poet, a lover, and a man. Man is conscious depth; his discipline is opening and giving his life direction through the sea of light.
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There is a friend to whom you come closer even when you go into a different or even an opposite direction. Such friendship, what is its touchstone: a mutual commitment to the growth of the heart.
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We do not simply stumble upon new books; they stumble upon us and call us out too. It is a meeting, and the space of the meeting (depending on its depth) spills out back and forth throughout our life, reshaping, transforming, metamorphosing, down into the cradle of our birth and up into the darkness of our tomb.
* * *
The poet, today, is an outcast destined to live in the shadow of a socially unjustifiable existence. The intellectual atmosphere of his time renders him mistrustful even towards the sacred fountain of his inspiration. And so he finds himself in the peculiar position where he cannot turn away from poetry nor completely give in and surrender to it — he does not believe in his own existence. He suffers, and his suffering is incommunicable. He suffers in silence. Yet this silence and suffering are preparing something in him too; even now, something is rising out of him. This intuition alone makes his existence bearable, and fills him with the awe of being a poet. He will go unseen like a flower on the wind. But poetry, her, the midwife of the heart, has already taken something out of him and planted in the garden of eternity. He will go unseen, but the poem shall survive.
from the mist at dawn…
the voice of a poet who
in the autumn grass
vanished long ago
With the poem the poets barter their way into eternity, and that is all the poets have ever done, consciously or not. But then again, eternity is the intuition for which the poem is the medium and conductor, the activity through which eternity expands inside the poet’s heart. So a moment comes where every poet wonders if the poem is in fact more than a poem, a poetry that goes beyond poetry and overflows into life, under and inside the very marrow of life. The poet intuits eternity as a force of life, or, rather, life as an expression of eternity. The poet, then, driven as if by instinct, wants his life lived in harmony with the eternal, as he begins to experience the true opening of the heart. His relationship with life or what life is for him must now come from his openness to eternity, from his intuition of the absolute. He wants to live the eternal as he relates to life. He glorifies being inasmuch as he feels that that is a state of flowering inside the eternal; being, for him, is a state of absolute openness, of total transparency and a life taken over by the eternal. So the images come of the moth and the flame, of the whirling dervish, the ocean, and the boundless sky, and underneath it all, the silence of God, the eternal.
Writing is an upstream hike,
following the river into its birthwomb,
but neither is the longing quelled
nor the birthwomb found,
and so the ache continues,
flourishing in the heart
like silence caught in a sea of fog,
like the billowing kiss of the infinite sky.
Of writing I speak as a Sufi and a lover; writing as the gateway of love.
What is a poet?—a being who knows the secret name of the sun but cannot give it in its entirety to the world. As a result he suffers, and his suffering is baptized as poetry.
Woman, by virtue of being woman, casts a light upon the world — and we poets, aware and ravished by the sacredness of her ray, find our hearts burning and our words rising like smoke from within the burning. And what do all poets hope for?—well, their life at its deepest root aches to get to the source of her light, to travel her white stream upward and back into the source, the core. This, poets with a fine intuition know can only be achieved through and with a single woman. Women are many but woman, in a sense, is one. The woman the poet loves, writes his heart to, and in whose light he lives is one and provides him with the highest possible unification of life. Through her he asserts himself and reaches his peak and harmonizes his strength; through her he becomes more than a poet, he becomes a man, and, dare I say, achieves his freedom and independence of women. He finds his calling in the arms of the greatest woman of all — life. What woman entices him from now on?—the woman whose light is so ravishing that, in her presence, he feels that the physical world cannot contain him anymore. You, my love, are such a woman.
In my solitude I live,
The mortal wound which the knife
Of dame poetry did give
Bleeds a sea around my isle.
‘Who would venture into me?’
In starry nights and lone dawns
My waves in rattling chains sing
The clutch of infinity.
What am I? An adventure
Though a prisoner I be,
And the dungeon holding me
Burns aquiver with dawn-light.
Unfree thoroughly, and yet,
You tears, you fire, I do bless,
And pray the ache in my chest
Spread you wider poetry.