i believe

I believe in the sun
though it is late in rising.

I believe in love
though it is absent.

I believe in God
though He is silent.

-anonymous holocaust survivor – cologne, germany

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tasty rumi

Raw, Well-Cooked and Burnt

You ask, Why do you cry?
with such sweetness all around?

I weep as I make the honey,
wearing the shirt of a bee,
and I refuse to share this suffering.

I play the sky’s harp.
I curl around my treasure like a snake.

You say, What is this “I” business?
Friend, I’ve been a long time away from that.

What you see here is your own reflection.
I am still raw, and at the same time
well-cooked, and burnt to a crisp.

No one can tell if I’m laughing
or weeping. I wonder myself.
How can I be separated and yet in union?

Rumi

time

I read the poem/prayer below at my Gradma’s memorial service yesterday (yes, the picture is of her). It wasn’t an easy task, but I managed to get through it ok. It was only the last sentence about savouring each moment that got me choked up – it still chokes me up as I write this now.

The reading is by Community of Christ author/poet/mystic Danny Belrose from his 2004 book Let the Spirit Breathe. I took some poetic license and changed all of the “I”s at the end to “we” for the group that was gathered. I’ll print it here as it was written, try reading it to yourself with “we” instead of “I” to see how it goes.

Time

I’m thinking about time, God.
Past and future – dying and birthing within a constant now.
Time, a precious gift constantly slipping away – enfolding our fleeting edges
of mortality, pressing us to make the most of that which is.
Sweep-second hands whisper,
“Tomorrow holds no promise, drink deeply now;
the grains of sand slip quickly!”

Time – a gift you never need, God.
Unfettered by its ticking walls
– you have not been nor will be but ARE.

What is time? A measurement of events?
A sequence of happenings?
A continuum of space, light, gravity?
Is it linear? Can it be bent, folded, revisited?
How difficult to devine, how demanding, how unforgiving!
A split second and lives are irrevocably changed.
A heartbeat and seeming unimportant acts
converge, steering fate – shaping lives,
living rooms, and nations.

How much time do we have to discover
who we are, where we are,
and where we should be?
For time is too priceless to spill and squander,
too fleeting, too precious,
too pregnant to leave childless!

Dear God, may I make all seasons springtime.
May I birth its pains and passions slowly,
squeezing out its childhood, taking time to dance and sing,
to give and take, to share one’s love, one’s life.
Time to heal and harvest, time to remember and rejoice.
Time to forgive, to forget, to move on,
to promise once again
-to dream and live the dream.

May I fill each year, each day,
each minute with abundant living.
May I walk in the present – not in the past.
May I plan for tomorrow and live for today!
May I stretch each waking moment
-wring each sweeping second dry
drop by precious drop and drink deeply
while it is yet day.

no room for form

On the night when you cross the street
from your shop and your house to the cemetary,

you will hear me hailing you from inside
the open grave, and you will realize
how we have always been together.

I am the clear consciousness-core
of your being, the same in ecstasy
as in self-hating fatigue.

That night, when you escape the fear of snakebite
and all irritation with the ants
you will hear my familiar voice,
see the candle being lit,
smell the incense, the surprise meal
fixed by the lover inside all your other lovers.

This heart-tumult is my signal
to you igniting in the tomb.
So don’t fuss with the shroud
and the graveyard road dust.

Those get ripped open and washed away
in the music of our finally meeting.

And don’t look for me in a human shape.
I am inside your looking. No room
for form with love this strong.

-Rumi

wrathful devotion

by Jennifer Welwood

You gave me a heart that ignites
In the passionate knowing of you,
And having burned in that heat
Is not drawn to lesser fires.

You gave me a mind that expands
To encounter your vastness,
And finds in those fathomless depths
Its own luminous nature.

You gave me a soul that won’t rest
With any barrier to you,
Be it heavy and dense
Or gossamer as a veil.

You gave me an old structure
Made up of my history;
It is heavy and dense,
It is gossamer as a veil.

I meet it, allow it, explore it
And still it grinds on,
A machine that relentlessly churns out
Old patterns and tendencies.

I embrace it, dissolve it, release it —
Still it keeps reincarnating,
Rising up from some ancient template
Held deep in my bones.

I don’t begrudge you your sense of humor,
Beloved trickster,
But I do wonder, now and then,
What you have in mind.

Did you make me to realize a freedom
I can’t fully embody?
Do my heart and soul burn for a truth
That I can’t fully live?

I commune with you in the heavens —
It’s not hard to find you there;
But I need you down here,
In the marrow of my bones.

You can’t turn away now — stay here;
I will have this out with you.
You started something with me,
And now I want it finished.
Yes — I will wrestle with you on this one,
Beloved torturer;
I will wrestle you all the way down
To the very ground

And not rest till I stand
With the soles of my feet upon you,
And not rest till I feel you infuse
My every cell.

manic screaming

We should make all spiritual talk
Simple today:

God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:

Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price.

– Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, I Heard God Laughing