Category Archives: poetry

Dance A Round

Sema'a No. 1

Sema No. 1 – from a photograph (2014, S.Calhoun)

Paradox

Paradoxes: best wakefulness in sleep, wealth in having
nothing, a pearl necklace

fastened around an iron collar. Fire contained in boiling
water. Revenues growing from

funds flowing out. Giving is gainful employment. It brings in
money. Taking time for

ritual prayer and meditation saves time. Sweet fruit hide in
leaves. Dung becomes food

for the ground and generative power in trees. Nonexistence
contains existence. Love

encloses beauty. Brown flint and gray steel have orange
candlelight in them. Inside

fear, safety. In the black pupil of the eye, many
brilliancies. Inside

the body-cow, a handsome prince.

Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

 

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Silence

Fusciaphoto:S.Calhoun

Hey brother, why do you want me to talk?

Hey brother, why do you want me to talk?
Talk and talk and the real things get lost.

Talk and talk and things get out of hand.
Why not stop talking and think?

If you meet someone good, listen a little, speak;
If you meet someone bad, clench up like a fist.

Talking with a wise man is a great reward.
Talking with a fool? A waste.

Kabir says: A pot makes noise if it’s half full,
But fill it to the brim – no sound.

Kabir

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Doorkeepers of the Heart

DiPrima - pieces of a Song

Diane Di Prima’s poetry comes to me in volume only recently. Her poems seem to me to be either talismans holding personal events, poetic captures from distinct times and places, or, for me best of all, universal unions of human horizons and verticalities. In this latter respect, she reminds me of Rabi’a, the Sufi poetess of the 8th century

Diane Di Prima

Thank you for indulging me. I hope to voice some of my late brother Tim’s poetry, soon.

I am fully qualified to work as a doorkeeper, and for this reason:
What is inside me, I don’t let out:
What is outside me, I don’t let in.
If someone comes in, he goes right out again.
He has nothing to do with me at all.
I am a Doorkeeper of the Heart, not a lump of wet clay.

(Rabi’a Al-’Adawiyya)

Doorkeeper of the Heart. Versions of Rabia,
Translated by Charles Upton

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