Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

What If? by Ganga White

Posted: August 22, 2014 in Poetry

What if our religion was each other?

If our practice was our life?

If prayer was our words?

What if the Temple was the Earth?

If forests were our church?

If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?

What if meditation was our relationships?

If the Teacher was life?

If wisdom was self-knowledge?

If love was the center of our being


I am being rowed through Paradise on a river of Hell.
Exquisite ghost, it is night.

The paddle is a heart; it breaks the porcelain waves.

I’m everything you lost. You won’t forgive me.
My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
There is nothing to forgive.You can’t forgive me.
I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.

There is everything to forgive. You can’t forgive me.

If only somehow you could have been mine,
what would not have been possible in the world?

To tell your tale is to heal

People like to hear
the funny
the amusing
the happy
the suspenseful

But they waver some
on the tragic
or unending
the devastating
or the horrifying

They say as an audience
Let it go
Get on with life

Little do they know
telling has nothing to do
with unforgiveness

Telling is the river on the jagged rocks
It tells and flows
and tells and flows
and tells
and flows

over the very rocks
that cut
and bent
and bruised

After a time
the blood washes away
the water flows clear

And the rocks?

Those jagged cutting edges
are smoothed, softened.

Even the sound of the waters voice
changes from crashing
to song.

The Yogi’s Solitary by Kabir

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Poetry

The yogi’s solitary

He doesn’t go on pilgrimages
Or to religious fairs
Or attend congregations
He doesn’t keep fasts
He doesn’t have a travel bag
Or utensils to cook in
Or a plate to eat from
He doesn’t carry a purse
He doesn’t rub
His body with ash

He doesn’t have an alms bowl
But ever goes hungry
At night
After his wanderings
He returns to his house
And sleeps in the courtyard

You can’t meet him
Says Kabir
He’s left the country
We’re citizens of
And he’s not coming back

Bag of Tricks by Kabir

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Poetry

Yogi man, this one’s for you.

The ones who clambered
onto boats
Drowned n mid-river.
Those who boarded no vessel
Went safely across.

The one who took
The treacherous road
Reached the city.
Those who took the highway
Got robbed.

It’s the same rope
Ties us all,
Though some appear bound
Hand and foot
And others free.

The ones who were wounded
By arrows rejoiced.
The ones who escaped
Ended up on the couch.

The blind
Had perfect vision.
Those that saw
Saw nothing at all.

Now, says Kabir,
I see the world. What a bag
of tricks it is!

Hear the Silence by Kabir

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Poetry

Except that it robs you of who you are,
What can you say about speech?
Inconceivable to live without
And impossible to live with,
Speech diminishes you.
Speak with a wise man, there’ll be
Much to learn; speak with a fool,
All you get is prattle.
Strike a half-empty pot, and it’ll make
A loud sound; strike one that is full,
Says Kabir, and hear the silence.

Bad Company by Kabir

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Poetry

Think twice before you keep
The bad company
Of someone like me.

The bitter neem that keeps
The bad company
Of a sandalwood tree
Begins to smell like sandalwood.

The piece of iron that keeps
The bad company
Of the philosopher’s stone
Turns into gold.

Waters that drain
Into the Ganges
Become the Ganges

And those who keep
The bad company
Of Rama, says Kabir,
End up

A bit like Rama.

Beware the Snares by Kabir

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Poetry

The wild bull elephant
Approaches the female
Decoyed to trap him.
He spends the rest of his days
Under the mahout’s prod.

The monkey thrusts
His arm into the narrow-necked
Pot filled with rice.
Cap on head,
Bells on ankles, he dances
At the end of a string.

The parrot alights
On a split bamboo pole
And ends up in a pet shop.

Beware the snares, says Kabir.
If the ship of Rama comes calling,
Board it at once.

Twelve Years Were by Kabir

Posted: February 9, 2014 in Poetry

Twelve years were
To childhood lost;
Twenty to youth;
Middle age took care of
All the rest.
It’s too late
To have regrets.

You built a dike,
But the stream had dried up;
You enclosed the field,
But there was no crop to save;
You ran out with the snaffle
But already the horse thief
Had gotten away.

Bedridden with a stroke,
You make a rattling sound
And wish to make amends.
You’ll leave this world, says Kabir,
Pickled clean.