The Ember

Photo by Michael Foley Photography on Foter.com

.

I do not know where the fire comes from
It is hidden, ready to burst
A piece of ember under the ashes

When the flame has died out
The ashes are left, 
Like a thick coat
Tenacious
Like a screed

It doesn’t let anything pass 
But the ember doesn’t die
It remains there
Hot
Waiting

We sometimes need so little
A tiny stimulation
To remove one by one the gray leaves
Glued
Welded
Undo the uncanny order
Of all these withering years

It sometimes takes very little
To revive
Timid
Intact
This little piece of fire
That contains the ardor and the madness of all flames 
Of all rebirths 
Of all cures

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

~~~

.

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

.

The Rightful King

‘The Crown’ – Odilon Redon, 1910 – WikiArt

.

A thought never comes alone. It appears with a container attached to it. But unfortunately, in our most habitual way to relate to experience, this container is felt to be the negligible part. And the same applies to feelings. Every appearance in the mind comes wrapped up with something that supports it. But that support is unseen, ignored, and the fleeting appearance is too often upgraded as being mind itself. Yet I think that the opposite is truer. That thought is the negligible, feeling is the dispensable. Not that they should be neglected. Far from it. For they are pointers. They are blooming flowers brought to our attention for a mission. They are flagging a message to our conscience. One that says, we — thoughts and feelings — are the negligible. We are not mind, but only temporary appearances in the mind. The mind is what matters. The container matters the most. That which we have taken to be secondary, unimportant, negligible — and that we have as a result pushed in the background — is our innermost reality. It is what needs to be raised in and as the foreground. This is the one and only entity there is, far before — and above — any fluttering thoughts or feelings which, to the mind that supports them, are no more than waves on the surface of an ocean. The container — this vast, indomitable expanse — wants to be explored, visited, admired. Cease taking a few thoughts and feelings to be you. They are not you. They only express the parts of you that are blind, unconscious, indolent. By emphasising them, we neglect all that is around them, behind them, beyond them. All that is supporting them, allowing them to be. Every objective appearance is secondary to that unmatchable presence, to whom even the body is a negligible. How could a few unruly servants think that they are the King, that they run the kingdom in place of the rightful King? But be careful here. Don’t neglect any of these unruly servants. Only remind them of their right place and rank. Invite them at your table. Make them see and understand where lies their interest. By thinking they are themselves little kings and queens, they miss an opportunity to surrender to the one who gives them food and lodging. Consciousness is our rightful King. Only give Him allegiance and contemplate His loving and all encompassing nature. He will make you to His likeness, and will send you back to life with a crown on your head. So be yourself the very subject of this majestic presence. Let Her crown you with Her very crown. And you’re not Her only subject, for everything in the kingdom of experience is Hers. Every house, every being, every tree, every expansive sea, every reflection of the sun on every crested wave, are Her subjects. And every subject subjects only one thing: Herself. So let yourself be the ultimate subject. The one that never bows to any object. Many objective appearances will mistakenly think to be subjects, but never will be, never can be. For this is a kingdom of one subject only. Nobody is meant to take the lead, except that which is the rightful King. 

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

~~~

.

Website:
Odilon Redon (Wikipedia) 

.

Ten Bulls

‘Ten Verses on Oxherding’, 1278 – Metropolitan Museum of ArtWikimedia

.

十牛图

.

Back in the 12th century, in China’s Zen tradition, appeared a series of ten drawings and their accompanying poems. They were meant to describe the ten stages on the path to enlightenment, or to the recognition of our true nature. This series is traditionally named the ‘Ten Ox Herding Pictures’ or more simply ‘Ten Bulls’, and its best known version was created by the Chinese Zen master Kuoan Shiyuan in the 12th century. The present drawings are copies of the originals by the the 15th century Japanese Zen monk and artist Tenshō Shūbun.

The bull and the herder is an old theme in the Buddhist literature of the first centuries AD, and was borrowed and developed in the tradition of Zen. Although other versions have a different number of drawings, this series with ten pictures was adopted in Japan and made famous in the West through the 1957 book ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings’, by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki. The poems have been translated and commented numerous times, as is often the case with Old Chinese, a language which lends itself to many interpretations.

The main contribution of this version is that the series doesn’t end with the awakened state, shown by a mere circle representing emptiness, but with two more drawings where the realisation of truth is taken further into the realm of form, or everyday life. As the Zen master Jitoku Ki said: “Every worldly affair is a Buddhist work, And wherever he goes he finds his home air; Like a gem he stands out even in the mud, Like pure gold he shines even in the furnace.”

.

Form is not different from emptiness, 
and emptiness is not different from form.
Form itself is emptiness, 
and emptiness itself is form
.”
~ Heart Sutra

.

Taste the poetry and evocative power of these old poems and drawings… (READ MORE…)

.

The Pond

Photo by sheldon0531 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

.

Is it the morning dew,
Or the remains of a summer rain?
We guess a sun deep in the chlorophyll;
It shines as you see in children’s drawings 
With all its regular rays 
Arranged, brightly shining

The pearls are on display, fine or replete
Protected on the surface of the pond.
Emerald bubbles or golden balls flowing by 
Like small, distant herds carried by the waters;
The wandering foam,
The giant reflections that shimmer

Deployed like antennas
Water lilies have other games
Other functions and other hidden links
With the peaceful waters, the sunshine, the impalpable ether
The deep nights, the shoals of stars
The whims of the moon

A world of connections
Subtle balances settled from the bottom of ages;
There are millions,
Of these intelligent immensities
Of these stories everywhere at work
These invisible rounds, these intimate marriages

And you are part of it
Only you do not know that well
Until one day, gazing at the water lilies 
They might invite you into the dance
And you may find yourself to be
Not the pond, nor the moon, or the sun

Not the water bubbles, nor the stars in the night
But the very fabric of it all, what holds them together;
The rhythm of the dance itself
And above all, the thin subtlety 
That is at the origin of such alliances
That makes them thrive and rejoice

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

~~~

.

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

.

The Seagull

Photo by MaxNegro on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

.

It stopped my line of thoughts:
A simple seagull
Flying through the courtyard,
Both wings elegantly spread

It taught me of pure grace
And effortlessness,
And brought within its trail 
The simple taste
Of bliss — of what is given 
Down here
Not to a deserving one
Or any special being
But to only a bird passing by
In the nonchalance of a fleeting moment;
Almost non existing,
A ghost within a ghost

It taught me of the ease of being
And the silence contained
In a movement unfettered.
Could I ever feel such joy?
Could I ever be brought down
To my knees
And let myself drift
In the same infinite gift
Of being.
Could I too spread my wings
And be given
Such a splendid death

It taught me of flow and pride
And of oneness too,
Of how the bird — any bird
Any small creature,
Is but a king in its kingdom,
And how a glance
Though caught elusively
Immediately raised me
To the rank of prince,
And made me feel
My own seagull reality,
My own soaring into the sky

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

~~~.

.

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

.

Chalices of Wonder

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’.

.

~~~

.

Invincible 

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
.”

~

[…]

Discover the poetry and wisdom of Alfred K. LaMotte… (READ MORE…)

.

The Starry Night

‘The Starry Night’ – Vincent Van Gogh, 1889 – WikiArt

.

Van Gogh was depressed
A lonely heart in an asylum,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.
He said ‘The night is so alive
And more richly coloured 
Than day.’
The flame of his pain
Became a dark cypress
That rose on to the skies.
The grim is found in the defined;
The light and the spacious,
Say the precious — in airy sky.
There is a wide expanse
Below Van Gogh’s window,
An even larger one shining
Behind the iron bars of mind.
The darkest mood embraced
Turns into soft and tender mist;
Let it clear up, reveal a sky
Lit up by countless twinkling stars.
There is no mind, no gloom inside
That doesn’t rest on happy ground,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.
There is peaceful living under heaven
In a village with some shiny windows 
But more is meant in illumination.
Among the shadows, the murky
Does run a light so clear and vast,
Whirlpools of joy, luminous streams,
A saraband of radiant beings.
Even the quieter moon bragged 
And clothed itself in gleaming apparel;
There is glory in a silent night
And fireworks concealed
In the obscure.
There is a sea 
Beneath the hectic waves
And an eternity
Amongst the fainted lights of day,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.

.

~~~

Poem by Alain Joly

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

~~~

.

Websites:
Vincent Van Gogh (Wikipedia)
The Starry Night (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

.