Kundalini Splendor

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Alive Together (poem by Lisel Mueller) 

Alive Together

Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard's woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pope
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master's bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrong-headed angel,
or Mary's friend.
I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah's Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who--but for endless ifs--
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

by Lisel Mueller
Notes: The astronomer Tycho Brahe ( 1546-1601) had lost part of his nose in a dueling mishap when he was young, so he made himself a false nosepiece out of metal, perhaps bronze covered in gold.
Heloise and Abelard are two of the most famous lovers in history. He was a philosopher and she a gifted scholar in twelfth century France, where he became her teacher in the house of her uncle. They became secret lovers, and she bore him a son. Her family was furious at him for what had happened, and had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he a monk. The two continued their relationship through letters to one another.
Some of the Renaissance popes did have mistresses outside the law.
The woman who sewed the stars was of course Betsy Ross who sewed the first flag for George Washington, who had false teeth.
Mary Shelley was the wife of the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, considered by some to be an overly impassioned idealist.
If we want to extend the thought of Lisel Mueller's poem, we realize that it is in fact a miracle that any of us are here "alive together" at the same time in history; in fact, statistically it is virutally impossible that any one of us got born at all (as ourselves). And, for those of us touched by Kundalini, it often seems a near impossibility that such events have occurred in our lives. Thus each of us is a living miracle, touched by Mystery in ways we cannot account for, yet "alive together."

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