Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Poems’




soft breeze warm sunshine

the same calm

even the withered trees

on the dark cliff

are blossoming

I tried to find

where Subhuti*


but suddenly in the shadow

of mist and fog

the path split a thousand ways.

~ Muso Soseki ~
Music of the Sky: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry

*Subhūti was one of the Ten Great Śrāvakas of Śākyamuni Buddha, and foremost in the understanding of emptiness.

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Yup, it could have been a haiku.  I tried, before I scrapped it all and wrote this instead …once again on the subject of spring and hope and optimism, and not just for a weather pattern.

rain flowers streaked the veined grass
while she smiled daisies
overhead a rainbow’s untrimmable light
and still, she smiled daisies
I want to contain her, bottle her
and then release her everywhere
No, she says, I am everywhere
when you look at the heart of a lotus petal
there you will find me and you.
Did you want to contain that?
No, I answer.
I ask only for reverence, wonder, curiosity, and hope,
dear precious hope
to perpetually bubble up until it spills
into ever-wideneing circles of rainbows.
Then I want to go to the highest skies and ask the rainbows:
I bid you please share your sage wisdom with me
Ah, they say, be here, silent, smiling daisies,
you’re closer now than you’ve ever been.

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Flowers of ice
hide the heavens
no more blue sky
a silver dust
buries all the fields
and sinks the green mountains
Once the sun
comes out on the one
even the cold
that pierces to the bone
is a joy.

~Muso Soseki~
Music of the Sky: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry

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No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every little thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire.

What disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous

Silence and winter
have led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

We speak
only with the voices of those
we can hear ourselves
and the body has a voice
only for that portion
of the body of the world
it has learned to perceive.

in the tumult
of the night
I hear the walnut
above the child’s swing
its dark limbs
in the wind
and the rain now
come to
beat against my window
and somewhere
in this cold night
of wind and stars
the first whispered
opening of
those hidden
and invisible springs
that uncoil
in the still summer air
each yet
to be imagined

~David Whyte~
River Flow: New and Selected Poems

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Recently I was gifted an audio of David Whyte’s spoken poetry set to music, and I adored it.  I realized among all the poetry books I own, I had none of his, so I ordered one.  It’s so hard to choose one poem, so I may post more of his poems in the near future.

As I write, Panhala, a poetry group I have subscribed to for years is on sabbatical and it may be permanent, so I may have to fill my cup (and perhaps, yours) with the swell of the human heart spilling out onto these pages.

Inside this sitting here: ---
this mind pulling knees up
           close to the chest
           with tense hands.

Inside this
movement of anxiety for the body
and its worries of money
and its teeth grinning falsely
to the solution of all things surrounding

is the seed
and the hands pressing down into the soil
and the dreams of generation
in the seed about to wake.

Tonight I will sleep with my worries
through dreams dark with soil
and the heavy cataclysm of the spade
turning earth round me
not speaking of air
or light fused with greenness
but of darkness
and the first leaves
like hands in prayer
clasped inside the seed.

~David Whyte~
River Flow: New and Selected Poems

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That Which Holds All


Because she wanted everyone to feel included

in her prayer,

she said right at the beginning

several names for the Holy:

Spirit, she said, Holy One, Mystery, God

but then thinking these weren’t enough ways of addressing

that which cannot be fully addressed, she added

particularities, saying, Spirit of Life, Spirit of Love

Ancient Holy One, Mystery We Will Not Ever Fully Know,

Gracious God and also Spirit of This Earth,

God of Sarah, Gaia, Thou

and then, tongue loosened, she fell to naming

superlatives as well: Most Creative One,

Greatest Source, Closest Hope—-

even though superlatives for the Sacred seemed to her

probably redundant, but then she couldn’t stop:

One Who Made the Stars, she said, although she knew

technically a number of those present didn’t believe

the stars had been made by anyone or thing

but just luckily happened.

One Who Is an Entire Ocean of Compassion,

she said, and no one laughed.

That Which Has Been Present Since Before the Beginning,

she said, and the room was silent.

Then, although she hadn’t imagined it this way,

others began to offer names:

Peace, said one.

One My Mother Knew, said another.

Ancestor, said a third.



Breath, said one near the back.


That Which Holds All.

A child said, Water.

Someone said, Kuan Yin.

Then: Womb.


Great Kindness.

Great Eagle.

Eternal Stillness.

And then, there wasn’t any need to say the things

she’d thought would be important to say,

and everyone sat hushed, until someone said


Nancy Shaffer
Instructions in Joy: Meditations

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Image Locale

in your laughter and your tears

I Am there

this shining dream you are having

I Am there

certain your failure is immense

I Am there

tangled in sheets of half sleep

I Am there

feeling trapped and frightened

I Am there

your sun goes down slowly

wondering, was I enough?

life disentangles from the flesh and pools around your feet

the streets hold nothing for you now

a final languid breath

your earth grows quiet

a turn of the page

Remember this:

I Am there


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Open Book


read me the story, if I ever forget
about how precious life is
how temporary
how I want to fill each moment
knowing it’s sacred
it’s a gift
absolutely beyond all gifts
read me the story
how I came here unafraid, innocent and eager
how I threw my arms around life
rubbed my face in the deliciousness of all of it
left my prints wherever I went
and wept filled with the gratitude for it all

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Artist: Freydoon Rassouli


The Island


Islands of bliss and everlasting youth,
Floating like flowers on an endless sea
And never touched by sorrows from this world:
Such happy islands thou wilt never see.

Behold: what thou hast dreamt of may be real,
It is not elsewhere, it is what thou art
If thou rememb’rest God; then thou wilt find
The golden island in thy deepest heart.

The singing of a flute came from the sea;
The waters vanished, and the flute was me.

~Frithjof Schuon~
Music of the Sky
An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry

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