Photo by Alain Joly
Alfred K. LaMotte is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. His poetry has been a regular companion over the years and I’m happy to share here five of his poems. Most of Fred’s writings and poems have been shared in his website ‘Uradiance’, and in his ‘numerous books’. Fred is an interfaith chaplain and a college teacher of world religions and philosophy. He wrote: “Poems are maps for getting lost in your heart where everyone can find you. Poems are momentary Sabbaths when eternity breaks in. These moments can heal the world.” Fred lives with his wife Anna near Seattle WA, where he “loves to walk barefoot in wet grass at midnight, un-naming the stars.” You will find, in between his poems, some of Fred’s writings on Beauty and Creation. I hope you enjoy these few pieces and excerpts…
“Beauty unfolds in the silence between thoughts.
The dark loam of thought-free awareness
is where Words of creation spring up and cry,
‘Let there be light’.”
I don’t want to be invincible.
I want to be astonished by loss.
I want to be stunned
and defeated by wonder,
shocked into a new creation
where only dancing is allowed.
I want to fall down again and again.
How close can my head come to your toes
before it shatters into spirals of gold?
Lift me up, I’ll do
what a fountain does to sunbeams.
Step on me, I’ll be the sky.
“Creation is neither a tale of the past nor a vision of the future, but a history of this moment.
That is why, for me, meditation is the mother of poetry.”
My dear, you are never wrong.
It is your thoughts that are mistaken.
I am never wrong.
It is my thoughts that are mistaken.
When we stop believing in our thoughts,
then we can sing.
Sometimes on Winter nights
we curl into our feral selves and purr,
That is the purr that creates worlds.
And on warm afternoons
we have a picnic out there in that meadow
beyond right and wrong.
Tasting the fountain of clear sweet water
within us, we take no wine.
That is a lie.
Our eyes are cups of wine.
We become the path we follow,
answering all our questions
before they arise
just by pressing our bare feet
into cold morning dew.
Why not begin
with this breath?
“This world is so beautiful when we see it through the crystal lens of silence, without super-imposing our ideas, our stories, our past. Then a new creation shines with every breath. One atom of this body encircles the entire sky. One tear of compassion contains all the fire of our outrage. It is very important to find this tear, and weep.”
True listeners live in the heart.
They love the gossip of raindrops,
the breaking news of Spring peepers.
Say less than you mean.
Grace is the gift of subtraction.
The trembling crystal of a chickadee
proclaims the whole Godspell.
Tell as little as a willow by a pond
where the heron glides away
on the first breath of twilight.
And if you must speak, leave
a rippled stillness between yours words,
the kind of mirror where
that long-beaked huntress might pause
on one leg all the golden afternoon.
Be more like the moon between clouds,
until your silences say everything.
“Fear resists. Resistance thickens. But when we let the veils thin out, Beauty glows through the entangled opposites of this world. In Beauty, there is vast sorrow as well as joy, the angst of multitudes in the street, and the gentility of a falling leaf in the ancient forest. Gold and burgundy, sunlight and rain, commingle in the wine of Beauty.”
Can you bow
like a broken necklace
scattering your brightest tears?
To bow is the supreme
All other asanas
simply remove the stiffness
so that you can bow.
To bow is freedom.
Don’t just bow to the master,
bow to each grain of pollen
like a bee.
Bow like a thirsty lioness
drinking from a pond at sunset.
Bow to Spring
like mountain snow
becoming a stream.
Bow to the sound of a tree frog
in the jasmine vine
Bow to the fallen plums
who will show you the way
the way to split open and offer
Bow to the silence of the doe
who, after all,
is eating your roses.
Bow to the wail
of the newborn American
whose mother crossed over
the border last night.
Now, bow to your breath
and fill the hollows
of your body with the sky.
Bow so completely
that you shatter your crown
and sow the earth
“The artist does not untie the knot. She is simply the servant of wonder, recording the annals of Presence.”
The Vast Distinction
Do you understand
the vast distinction
between a Master
and a Teacher?
If you hear about a Guru
please don’t ask,
‘What does he teach?’
The Master assigns
He is a professor
His lectures consist
between the words.
Passion in the tremor
When a secret admirer
leaves a fragrant blossom
at your bedside,
Do you learn anything?
Or is there simply
a storm of sweetness
in your chest,
a deepening hollow in the
trough between heartbeats?
The Master has come too near
to be known.
Presence is a gift.
He is the gift
buried in the gift.
“That which was in the beginning, that from which the universe sprang, that which is most ancient and primordial, bubbles up from the hollow core of the present moment.”
“The Comforter does not transcend feelings, She embraces them. She absorbs them into vast tranquility. Her overflowing stillness encircles the most violent or desperate emotion, without the slightest resistance, the slightest attempt to suppress or control.
Rest effortlessly in the Comforter, just as the color blue reposes in the sky.”
“Forget philosophy. Forget religion. See the revelation of divinity in a raindrop. The final truth is the apotheosis of the commonplace, in the present moment. Finite things are just what they are – yet their Being is infinite.”
“If your heart is not a tavern where chalices of wonder pour stars and planets back and forth to bring out their bouquet, their delight, what teachings can you offer?”
“Ask a thistle seed,
‘Do you have a plan for the wind?’”
~ Alfred K. LaMotte (‘Midnight’)
Poems & excerpts by Alfred K. LaMotte
Photos by Elsebet Barner & Alain Joly
– ‘Savor Eternity One Moment at a Time’ – by Alfred K. Lamotte – (Saint Julian Press, Inc.)
– ‘Wounded Bud: Poems for Meditation’ – by Alfred K. Lamotte – (Saint Julian Press, Inc.)
– ‘The Fire of Darkness: What Burned Me Away Completely, I Became’ – by Rashani Réa and Alfred K. Lamotte – (Independently published)
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