A Just-Finishing Candle
by Jelaluddin Balkhi (a.k.a. Rumi, Persian poet, dervish and spiritual teacher, circa 1246 CE… translation by Coleman Barks)
A candle is made to become entirely flame.
In that annihilating moment
it has no shadow.
It is nothing but a tongue of light
describing a refuge.
Look at this
just-finishing candle stub
as someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,
the pride and the shame
we claim from those.
— — — — —
Kundalini Sunrise by Mark Nielsen
“Light comes at you sideways, enfolds you like a gown” –singer Bruce Cockburn, song: Open (see below)
My daring darling,
let us take our inner children for a morning walk
and feel the dew of a new day
between our toes.
Yes, I do see
how the people of this world continue on
with their bloody business:
buying and selling their wares,
buying and selling their souls,
or selling you out,
in a corporate atrium or
a secret corner of Cubicleville.
They expect you to look the other way,
to swallow your pain and your pride,
to conspire with their destructive plans
(while these deeds done in the dark
cost everyone involved
a pound of flesh,
and two gallons of tears.)
But you won’t do
what the Weekend Warrior
or the drones of risk management
are asking of you.
For they do not know this:
“Risk” is our ancestral tribal name.
We bend with the Mightiest of Winds
but do not break,
for we are braided together
and strengthen each other.
Try as they might,
they cannot buy
or take from us
any part of ourselves worth owning
(or at least nothing that we
do not freely offer to them–
from a position of strength, and concern for
The Family of Man).
You and I drink from a different well,
one which the drones, merchants and soldiers
Offer them your water,
but if they refuse
(and some surely will)
then shake the dust off your holy feet,
and walk away
without the pollution of shame or guilt.
You have done what you can.
So do not let their darkness
overshadow your sacred Inner Light.
Give them your time
–but only some–
and keep your heart intact
for the sake of our tribe.
Our souls are
Under New Ownership.
Each bless’ed morning
they are given back to us,
free of charge.
We take our walk in the sun
and pick them up off the ground,
like manna in this barren desert.
We dust off our souls,
and though they are not
naive or new anymore,
they are tough,
and still contain
all we will ever need.
This altogether different rapture
Is always within our reach.
Though at times in
our fuzzy, funky, anxious headspace
it is hard to reach with my heart’s hand
through the veil,
and take hold of the Love without crushing it.
you with the delicate touch,
hold this for me.
I will be back for it in a few minutes.
Then we will go home
and have some breakfast.
— — — — — — — — —
The phrase “Kundalini sunrise” is borrowed from the 2001 Bruce Cockburn song Open, from the album “You’ve Never Seen Everything”. For lyrics to that song, which partly inspired the above poem, go to The Cockburn Project.
“What I see happening in the face of all this darkness is something new in human spirituality, openness, some sense of our common destiny. We’ve got to keep nudging ourselves in the direction of good and respect for each other.”
— from Bruce Cockburn’s bio on Rounder Records.