Category Archives: Poetry

Poems relating to yoga and meditation as well as mindfulness practice

Winter poem

after two cloud-filled weeks, a day of sun

Black Pine Boughs with Snow (barefoot photos)

Life is beautiful. There’s treasure in every moment —treasure you may overlook unless you are aware of the impermanence of everything. Steve Ross

a red tail floats above

then slides into white-crusted firs

beyond field’s glare

something must have moved

just past creaky sumac husks

ribs of two deer lie together in snow

their heads buried beneath a drift

trampled all around by fox       mice

crows      dogs

and me

wind lashes my face raw

it’s so cold everything glitters

New Year Poem

late afternoon echo


tea leaves

afloat in hot water

china cups

a slate-topped table

on worn-down ground


white feather

like a word murmured

slowly lonely

floats

onto the gray slate

no more daylight

rolling over the green mountain


Frosted Oregano Flower (barefoot photos)


Bhakti Yoga, Heart Opening to the Beloved

carolyn and priscilla lasecki kieber

Death reminds me that there is really only one way to live. From the heart of love.

Returned last night from burying Mom in North Carolina. A devoted Catholic, Priscilla Lasecki Kieber embodied the heart of bhakti yoga.

Whether she was sitting on the beach, enjoying the beauty of the rolling oceanic waves, preparing cake for a crowd of company, or volunteering in a community group, I’ve always admired the way she lived beyond the fray of “talk.” From a steady and patient center, she infused her relationships with the steady gift of herself.

Her home was was filled with Madonna icons and crucifixes ~ symbols of the objects of her love. She seemed happiest when she was in church, whether at daily Mass or evening novenas. A blessed string of rosary beads were never far away from her praying hands. If she missed a Sunday service, she was heart-broken. How soon would she return to the abode of her Beloved?

Her devotion to the Divine gave her a steady stream of wisdom and strength throughout her 87 years.

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church window, Amherst NY

Friends sent me poems of comfort this morning. Here is a short stanza from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

Only when you drink from the river of

Silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain

Top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your

Limbs, then you shall truly dance.

In death, as in her long life, Mom is surely dancing with her Beloved. It is through taking small steps and opening our hearts, one kind word at a time, and refraining from one little meanness after another, that we can join her in this Blissful Tango.

Mom would have loved this video of Henri Nouwen’s sermon on THE BELOVED.


READ MORE: a lovely blog post on a bhakti workshop by one of my fav German yoginis, Lilylotuswillow: http://lilylotus.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/david-newman-workshop/#comment-312

Yoga Ethics 5, APARIGRAHA, noncovetousness

Form and Meaning Arises (carolyn grady photo)

One who perseveres on the path of noncovetousness gains deep understanding of the meaning of life. (trans. B. Bouanchaud)

I DO pray for aparigraha to blossom in my life like a spiritual flower showering me with the clarity and buoyancy of a saint. This yama, suggests I relinquish that which I hold onto. I need to lessen my grip. It’s a manner of looking at the world, myself, my relationships, and of course, my STUFF.

This late December season which holds my birthday as well as the Christmas potlatch does tend to stoke the fire of WANTING. This wanting always throws me off a bit because I’m usually  contented with life and feel the need to GET RID of stuff in life-simplifying gestures.

As I grow older, less becomes critically important for me to own/do.  The years teach me what I can do without.  When Mike’s grandmother was in her nineties, she used to tell us “less is best.”  The year we lived in a small apartment in Bombay taught the whole family how little we could live on/with—and still have a happy life. It was a blessing that I didn’t always appreciate. After I returned to the States,my life in India took on a special radiance that I slowly realized came from simplicity and a lessening of the grip STUFF has on me. This awareness also grew from a growing sense of the riches present in my life, a sense of overflowing abundance.

Nischala Joy Devi ( The Secret Power of Yoga) discusses Aparigraha in terms of “awareness of abundance, and fulfillment.”  By meditating on abundance, noncovetousness naturally disappears. When practicing lovingkindness or metta meditation, I add abundance to the fourth line of the mantra: May I live in ease and abundance. It’s part of the process of evolving away from my poverty mentality.

A poem from my collection Barefoot & Upside Down:

the crumbling bark café

beneath an overcast sky

I lean against a tamarack

and spy the red-shouldered

hawk’s eyes on me

there is nowhere to hide

from her keen sight

we both keep still and watch and breathe

eventually her mate circles and cries

I feel so big and my body

growing earthen

overhead the clouds fly like planes

two red-breasted nuthatches in a dead jack pine

poke their beaks in decaying wood

it’s lunch at the crumbling bark café

I imbibe the tender wind

the moist air

splash in the ditch singing in overflow mode

wonder if I’ll see the garter snakes this year

a ball of glorious reptilian copulation

surprised me once before

seeking the specials du jour

I find a young sapsucker

tapping holes on a cottonwood bole

a chestnut-sided warbler intently feeding

in the old sap wells where insects

swarm to sugar

and a female oriole

so sophisticated  in yellow and black

explores hole to hole along a horizontal ring

slipping her slit tongue again and again

my belly growls

why do I never have enough?

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Bernard Bouanchaud takes us deep into the heart of this Yama: ” When the mind no longer worries about acquiring and keeping goods, we understand where we come from, where we are, and where we are going. We discover the meaning of existence….”

fall dandelion haiku

I am tackling the NANOWRIMO challenge this month, so blog posting has taken a back seat, I am sorry to say to my loyal readers and friends. However, what a great time to begin a haiku-post tradition expanding Laughing Yogini’s Poetry tradition? 

There is a great tradition of linking haiku and meditation, particularly zen practice ~ look for a post on that topic AFTER November. Photo coming to this page soon.

In the meanwhile, I recommend you check out Mahala’s Friday Flowers. How I could ever have the audacity to post any of my flower pics after seeing her incredible PHOTOGRAPHIC  MEDITATIONS is something I may figure out in the next life.

Enjoy!


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single dandelion

chilly autumn morning breaks

monotonous green

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ripeness

What is it that I am waiting for? Why do I think I am not good enough or strong enough or smart enough or beautiful enough or kind enough? Why is the ripeness, the fullness of my existence so difficult to accept?

Why do I think someone is more ~ or less ~ then my self? Why do I not see the wholeness in the world around me?

Why is union so elusive?

There is a beauty and joy as the trees in the northeastern US give up their leaves every fall. The world ripens. My prayer is that I may accept and be grateful for the ripeness that is me ~ that is you. However momentary that may be.

Here is a video produced by A Network for Grateful Living (ANG*L) of Poet Jane Hirshfield performing at the Poetry of Gratefulness event at the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA, February 3, 2008. I recommend a visit to: http://www.gratefulness.org…a non-profit organization dedicated to the practice of gratitude. You may want to check out some of the other very worthwhile videos while you’re there!


change

Panterra fairy

Studio Panterra garden fairy (ckg photo)

What is certain in this life?

CHANGE. Only change.

If I am filled with utter happiness, I can sure that at some point, I will no longer enjoy the feeling.

If I am crying my eyes and heart in grief, I know too that that sadness will not last.

You will not last. I will not last.

The stress of this moment will not last, neither will the relaxation.

We are constantly shifting energy in a decaying body thinking fleeting thoughts and feeling a constant flow of emotion.

Whew! There’s something to observe during your next asana practice.

In the meanwhile, here’s a poem:

autumn storm

sliding on

a leafy

mess

underfoot

touching

whirlwinds

of leaves

crisp curled

past lives

living

my sky

so much

like yours

endless too

charged sun-

light’s warmth

& frisson

drew us

towards

the cronk

cronk cronk

of geese

instinctual

flight

and call

what happened

to us

unsettled

milkweed

seedpods

shatter

scattering

embryos

my life

and yours

flying

apart

the skyscape

darkens

every

shade of gray

sleet

needles

blow

Unstopped poem

from the collection, BAREFOOT & UPSIDE DOWN:

This place spreads

Without intellect,

Or sincerity.

Trees bust boundaries with the sky;

In the valley, wildflowers dangle

Everywhere, simple animals skitter.

Visual harmonies break,

Create a palette of incongruous

And unknown mores.

The sky keeps

Claiming sight as it drifts.

Nothing is still.

Nothing tells me

Anything of truth or untruth.

I have no sense if the clouds are clouds;

If a storm is approaching or departing;

If I’m in the aftermath of a bizarre

Spree of nature or if I am nature

with arms of reaching tree limbs

and shiny dark petals for eyes.


So, this is what I do

I spread my arms

And twirl.

Eyeing clouds, like butterflies, flitting

I collapse on spongy ground

My guts begin to split

And liquid laughter pours

From a cold and rushing spring.

 

Dangling Sunny Seeds (barefoot photos)