Poems


In My Soul

In
my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
where I kneel.

Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls
or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty
is
illumined nothing.

Where ecstasy gets poured into itself
and becomes
lost.

where the wing is fully alive
but has no mind or
body?

In
my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque
a church

That dissolve, that
dissolve in

God.

Rabia al Basri (8th century Sufi poet and mystic)


Tree of Shelter

Driven by the storm of life I have come to Thee,
      Thou eternal Tree of Shelter!
As I sit under Thy protecting boughs
My storm-pressed heart sighs with relief.
Thou hast given me my long-lost peace.
                                   -- Swami Paramananda (1884-1940)

[#] 36 (from Gitanjali)

This is my prayer to thee, my lord -- 
 strike, strike at the root of penury in 
 my heart.
     Give me the strength lightly to bear 
 my joys and sorrows.
     Give me the strength to make my 
 love fruitful in service.
     Give me the strength never to disown 
 the poor or bend my knees before 
 insolent might.
     Give me the strength to raise my 
 mind high above daily trifles.
     And give me the strength to surrender 
 my strength to thy will with love.

–Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941)


No One Shall Hinder

None shall hinder thy forward course,
For I guide thy steps.
Place thy hand in Mine and walk with Faith.
Where I am there is no ill.
Fear not, but walk forward with faith.
Light will come;
For where’er I am there is light.
My touch will kindle hope in thy heart.
I shall reside in thy soul as peace.
My love will fill thee with bliss.
Fear not, but walk forward with faith.
My hand is thy safety.

Swami Paramananda (1884-1940)


Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
       With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                     Praise Him

–Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889)


Unceasing Giver

O Thou, unasked, unceasing Giver
Thou hast given me Thy endless blessing,
Thou hast drawn me close to Thy heart,
Thy bounty runs through my life to overflowing.
Yea, tender Lord, by Thy magic charm
Thou hast driven away my past wretchedness.

Can we with all our might, offer Thee aught worthy in
Thy blessed sight?
Can we ever make our heart so free of earthly stain that
Thy light of love may shine and glow unceasingly?

Thou art ever merciful to the lowly;
We bring Thee our humble hearts.
No merit have we save our faith in
Thine infinite compassion.
Do Thou make of us Thy tools that at all hours,
in work and play
We may revolve in Thy safe-keeping.

Swami Paramananda (1884 – 1940)


Present With You

I have not come to Your door
to ask for joy or happiness

I do not ask to be bathed
in Light or immersed in bliss

I am not asking that anything in my life
or in the universe be changed

I come asking that You allow me
just to be present with You

In this moment, if only for a moment
Let me be present only with You

— Gordon Burnham


Within This Earthen Vessel

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves,
and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans
and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
and within this vessel the Eternal soundeth,
and the spring wells up.
Kabir says:
‘Listen to me, my Friend!
My beloved Lord is within.’

— Kabir (15th century poet and mystic)


Sleeplessly,

I watch over

The spring night

But no amount of guarding

Is enough to make it stay.

Izumi Shikibu (974 – 1034)