Poems for SoulClarity 2

Recently I organized a conference in Assisi where I had the opportunity to share some poems that I have learned. I was asked if I was willing to share them, unfortunately by the time I got home I had quite forgotten which ones I had recited but it reminded me that I had only posted the original twenty-three  on my original post  and since then I have learned sixteen more so here they are:

The Meadow by Kate Knapp Johnson

Half the day lost, staring

at this window. I wanted to know

just one true thing

about the soul, but I left thinking

for thought, and now –

two inches of snow have fallen

over the meadow.

Where did I go,

how long was I out looking

for you?, who would never leave me,

my withness, my here.

Gratitude to Old Teachers by Robert Bly 

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,

We place our feet where they have never been.

We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.

Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight-

We were students then-holds up our feet,

And goes on ahead of us for a mile.

Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

Wildness of God by Donna Crouch

There are no prison bars within the Soul

Nothing can contain the wildness of God

Given freely to every beating heart

Stop and listen, open your arms to the spacious silence and receive

Nothing, no one can take away that freedom

Created to fan the divine spark

Burning invisibly, deep and clean

Within the unlocked and open doors of unfettered liberty.

Extract from Daniel Ladinsky’s Love Poems from God attributed to St. Francis.

Yes I will console any creature before me

Who is not full of laughing and passion for his art and work

For laughing and passion, beauty and joy

They are our heart’s truth

All else is labour and foreign to the Soul.

Extract from Baghdad Dreaming by Rumi

Either this deep desire of mine

will be fond on this journey

or when I get home

It may be that the satisfaction I need

Depends on my going away, so that when I have gone

And come back I will find it at home.

I will search for the Friend with all of my passion

And all my energy until I learn

that I don’t need to search.

The real truth of existence is sealed,

until after too many twists of the road.

The seeker says,

“If I had known the real way it was,

I would have stopped looking around”

But that way of knowing depends

on the time spent looking.

What Can I Say from Swan by Mary Oliver

What can I say that I have not said before?

So I’ll say it again.

The leaf has a song in it.

Stone is the face of patience.

Inside the river there is an unfinishable story

and you are somewhere in it

and it will never end until all ends.

Take your busy heart to the art museum and the

chamber of commerce

but take it also to the forest.

The song you heard singing in the leaf when you

were a child

is singing still.

I am of years lived, so far, seventy-four,

and the leaf is singing still.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,

Over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

The world offers itself to your imagination,

Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over

Announcing your place
in the family of things.

There Are So Many Gifts Unopened by Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

There are so many gifts

Still unopened from your birthday,

there are so many hand-crafted presents

that have been sent to you by God.

The Beloved does not mind repeating,

“Everything I have is also yours.”

Please forgive Hafiz and the Friend

if we break into a sweet laughter

when your heart complains of being thirsty

when ages ago every cell in your soul

capsized forever into this infinite golden sea…

There are so many gifts, my dear,

still unopened from your birthday.

O, there are so many hand-crafted presents

that have been sent to your life

from God.

Before We Leave – Stephen Dunn.

Just so it’s clear—

no whining on the journey.

If you whine, you’ll get stuck

somewhere with people

like yourself. It’s an unwritten law.

Wear hiking boots. Pack food

and a change of clothes.

We go slowly. Endurance won’t

be enough, though without it

you can’t get to the place

where more of you is asked.

Expect there will be times

when you’ll be afraid.

Hold hands and tremble together

if you must but remember

each of you is alone.

Where are we going?

It’s not an issue of here or there.

And if you ever feel you can’t

take another step imagine

how you might feel to arrive,

if not wiser, a little more aware

how to inhabit the middle ground

between misery and joy.

Trudge on. In the higher regions,

where the footing is unsure,

to trudge is to survive.

Happiness is another journey,

almost over before it starts,

guaranteed to disappoint.

If you’ve come for it, say so,

you’ll get your money back.

I hope you all realize that anytime

is a fine time to laugh. Fake it,

however, and false laughter

will accompany you like a cowbell

for the rest of your days.

You’ll forever lack the seriousness

of a clown. At some point

the rocks will be jagged,

the precipice sheer. That won’t be

the abyss you’ll see looking down.

The abyss, you’ll discover

(if you’ve made it this far),

is usually nearer than that—

at the bottom of something

you’ve yet to resolve,

or posing as your confidante.

Follow me. Don’t follow me. I will

say such things, and mean both.

Waiting by David White from River Flow

…It must be we are waiting for the perfect moment.

It must be under all the struggle we want to go on.

It must be, that deep down, we are creatures getting ready for when we are needed.

It must be that waiting for the listening ear or the appreciative word,

for the right woman or the right man or the right moment just to ourselves,

we are getting ready just to be ready and nothing else.

The way that everything unbeknownst to us is preparing to meet us too.

Just on the other side of the door someone is about to knock

and our life is just about to change

and finally after all these years rehearsing behind the curtain,

we might just be ready to go on.

Break by Doriane Laux

We put the puzzle together piece

by piece, loving how one curved

notch fits so sweetly with another.

A yellow smudge becomes

the brush of a broom, and two blue arms

fill in the last of the sky.

We patch together porch swings and autumn

trees, matching gold to gold. We hold

the eyes of deer in our palms, a pair

of brown shoes. We do this as the child

circles her room, impatient

with her blossoming, tired

of the neat house, the made bed,

the good food. We let her brood

as we shuffle through the pieces,

setting each one into place with a satisfied

tap, our backs turned for a few hours

to a world that is crumbling, a sky

that is falling, the pieces

we are required to return to.

Only One Ruler by Hafiz  

The sky

Is a suspended blue ocean.

The stars are the fish

That swim.

The planets are the white whales

I sometimes hitch a ride on,

And the sun and all light

Have forever fused themselves

Into my heart and upon

My skin.

There is only one rule

On this Wild Playground,

For every sign Hafiz has ever seen

Reads the same.

They all say,

“Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,

In the Beloved’s Divine Game

O, in the Beloved’s

Wonderful Game.”

A Grain Of Sand by Robert William Service

If starry space no limit knows

And sun succeeds to sun,

There is no reason to suppose

Our earth the only one.

‘Mid countless constellations cast

A million worlds may be,

With each a God to bless or blast

And steer to destiny.

Just think! A million gods or so

To guide each vital stream,

With over all to boss the show

A Deity supreme.

Such magnitudes oppress my mind;

From cosmic space it swings;

So ultimately glad to find

Relief in little things. j

For look! Within my hollow hand,

While round the earth careens,

I hold a single grain of sand

And wonder what it means.

Ah! If I had the eyes to see,

And brain to understand,

I think Life’s mystery might be

Solved in this grain of sand.

To Build a Swing by Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

You carry

All the ingredients

To turn your life into a nightmare

Don’t mix them!

You have all the genius

To build a swing in your backyard

For God.

That sounds

Like a hell lot more fun.

Let’s start laughing, drawing blueprints,

Gathering our talented friends.

I will help you

With my divine lyre and drum.

Hafiz will sing a thousand words

You can take into your hands,

Like golden saws,

Silver hammers,

Polished teakwood,

Strong silk rope.

You carry all the ingredients

To turn your existence into joy,

Mix them, mix them.

It’s a Beautiful Time to be Alive by Em Claire

It’s a beautiful time to be alive.

And the long walk home is peopled –

We are everywhere.

Yet the struggle to surrender is where we often walk alone.

So the next time you fall

Look to either side where you lie

and take the hand of your dear Brother or Sister

whose own face is muddied.

We can rise together,

even if we fall alone –

for its a beautiful time to be alive

even on this long walk home.

Doors of Perception by William Blake (from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)

If the doors of perception were cleansed

Every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.

For man has closed himself up,

Till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

From Auguries of Innocence By William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

No man is an Island by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.




5 Responses to Poems for SoulClarity 2

  1. wcwaccess says:

    Thank you for sharing all the poems Trevor.

  2. Lynn Marttila says:

    Thank you Trevor for taking the time to send us these. It was an inspiration to hear you reciting those that you did at Assisi!! I enjoyed them all and congratulations on an organizational job well done from the beginning to the end! Greatly appreciated. We are only returning home now having travelled on from Assisi days!

  3. quanyinlyn says:

    Thanks dear heart and once again THANKS for a fantastic International Gathering and for putting up with me and for the sweet check. I came back to US early from my trip to support my son in his divorce.

    Love Q

    Sent from my iPhone Quan Yin Lynne Williams, MD 624 E. 22nd Ave Spokane, WA 99203 509/710-0715 (texts fine)


  4. Julia Brown says:

    Thank you Trevor for sharing these poems, some of which you recited so beautifully in Assisi!


  5. Lidwien Baten says:

    Thanks Trevor, a beautiful reminder of the mornings in Assisi.

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