Kundalini Splendor

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Poem by Mirabai and Poem in Response 

A Poem by Mirabai

Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.
If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts
then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came
from the womb!
If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves
then the goats would surely get to the Holy One before us!
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.
Mirabai says, "The heat of midnight tears will bring you to God."

(tr. Robert Bly)

Mirabai was a famed poet/saint who lived in India from 1498 to 1550. She was known for her defiance of convention. Born a princess, she rejected marriage to devote herself fully to "the Dark One," her beloved Krishna. Of her naked state, she said, "Mira wears only the color of God.

In Ancient Times

They let Rumi and Mirabai
get away with it.
But of course they lived
in Ancient Times,
when the God and Goddess
were still alive
and you weren’t thought
to be crazy
if you consorted with them
or took off your clothes
and went dancing
along the roads
in heady celebration.

Even if you put
your feelings into poem,
that was o.k. too.
People hungry for god
made the verses into songs,
sang them around
the campfire
at night.

Now, of course,
everything must be
draped in disguise.
You can hint about such
but it is not allowed
to strip in public
or say them outright.
Today's insistent audience
wants a more complex,
more sophisticated
where you never get too close to
your subject
but write from a safe angle,
a more distanced,
more oblique perspective,
never making a full commitment
to anything for sure,
much less indulge in private revelation
about topic so intimate,
so closely woven into who you are,
unless it is an
occasional lament
for the loss of connection
with something vague
but seemingly larger
than yourself.
Everyone understands the protocol
though of course
it isn't written down anywhere.

Yet Rumi and Mirabai
still speak to some of us
and we still listen,
those of us who aren’t afraid
to keep the inner channels open,
despite what the critics say.
And if we too write such poems
we can always say them
to one other, or
whisper down a well.

Dorothy Walters
October 20, 2008

(Image from Source, but not of Mirabai)

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