Toward Understanding and Harmony: One Way Forward

While looking back on previously published poetry for inclusion in (possibly) another printed collection, I ran across this one that seems appropriate, not only at the beginning of this New Year, but also for the current political climate here in the U. S.! (Who knows? Perhaps POTUS will read it and be transformed into something of a real human being! LOL) Ah, but here it is, from back in August of 2015:

So often it’s so easy to misunderstand and reprimand
When there’s really no reason for words out of season;
We assume and fume and leave no room for the benefit
Of doubt; never consider we may be wrong, agony prolong
So unnecessarily because we’ve failed to give charity
And beckon clarity for sake of peace instead of caprice
In broken harmony as we release anger and animosity
From paucity of heart; we can be so small when we should
Stand tall in character and integrity with better dignity;
And so much strife would fade in play of fife and flute
Of happier days and higher ways, in serenity and amenity;
Would not this be better than bitter rancor and soul canker?
Perhaps we begin with open ears to hear and eyes to see
In the other our true sister, brother, father, and mother
Rather than unsuspecting foe ready to deal death blow…
Oh, how suspicious we can be when we’re not free
To live and love without attrition of suspicion of ill-will!

When They Just Do Not Understand

Don’t blame or try to shame when they just don’t understand;
Yes, there are hands that will help and hands that will hurt,
And you’ve gotta be careful to guard your heart
Or they’ll tear it in parts and think they’re smart;
They don’t know what it is to be sick inside ‘cause it doesn’t
Really show all that much on the outside, so they push it aside
As if it’s really nothing, but they don’t know;
They don’t know about crying uncontrollably
While trying to get ready for the day some way;
They don’t know what it’s like when the mind just shuts down,
No, they frown and tell you to pick yourself up by the bootstraps
Even when you don’t have any bootstraps and you’re trapped;
They’ll tell you to ‘get on the ball’ even when the ball is lead
And it’s fallen on your head and put you to bed entirely unfed;
Yeah, they know a lot and maybe you thought they’d understand
But they’ve never sought understanding because they’ve had
An easy commanding of life without much demanding of them;
So they cannot understand the ghosts that haunt your psyche,
And taunt you by night like a blight that simply won’t go away;
No, they do not know so they show no compassion
As they look at your ashen face from such low base;
But you can’t blame them; this is no game, so you just move on;
Move on beyond the dull-witted and ignorant and callous . . .
Move on to the Lover who will cover you with love and dignity!

Breaking Down the Walls

piecebypiece2Angry screams and loud shouts, terrible dreams and painful bouts;
Killing looks thru piercing eyes, filling lives like hatred hives;
Hungry hearts tear apart, push the cart of division in derision
Of all charity from lack of clarity because of fear so near soul,
And we do not hear our own doom that looms on ever-close horizon;
And we dizen our skin and bones, wizened by page of age, not sage
Of wisdom of kingdom coming…
Time to break down the walls! And walk the halls of peace and love
From above! Break down the tall walls of suspicion, contrition,
Competition, admonition, inquisition along pulse-wicked partition
Of false accusation to damnation of all creation; down the wall
Before we fall…

I spy
Butterfly cry
High in blue sky

Makeshift
All too swift
Reject angel gift

Break down the walls that stall, bring us to crawl and heavy-bawl
For broken hearts and shattered lives,
Better parts sliced by steel-sharp knives;
Arise! Reach across the span and grab the hand; join earthen band
Of dust and sand; arm in arm, dispel all harm with heavenly charm,
Break down the walls of division, soul collision, and deprivation;
We are one under the sun, having begun common life without strife,
And we can return from the burn of hell with holy wedding bells
Of renewed unity of sacred community, an opportunity with impunity!
In the recesses of our collective memory, before excesses of pride,
We remember more placid stride, without oppression, suppression,
Repression, no need for confession; in recollection, no possession…

I cry
To high fly
In brighter sky

Wall
Cracking tall
Much ready to fall

We’re breaking down the walls, breaking down the walls, breaking down the walls…

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World in Harmony: Can We Do This?

6a00d8341bffb053ef00e54f3e16e08833-500wi[1]Can we find common ground upon which to stand, to work toward harmony and peace in this world? Can we do so without compromising dearly held beliefs and convictions? Yes, I do believe so; in fact, I earnestly believe we share more common ground spiritually and religiously than many of us might imagine. I believe we can stand on this common grounds, lock arms, and with determination move forward, and all without ceasing to be who and what we are in heart, mind and soul. And this begins with an appropriate prayer:

Then did I recognize you in mind, to be the first and the last, O Lord, Progenitor of good thought, when I apprehended you in my the eye of my soul: True creator of all that is right, the Lord over the proceedings of life![1] And so it is that you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; good to all, and your compassion is over all that you have made.[2]

The Lord is Cherisher of all Worlds – who created us, and it is God who guides us; who gives us food and drink, and when we are ill, it is he who cures us; who will cause us to die, and then to live again; and who, we have reason to hope, will forgive us our faults on the Day of Judgment.[3] Yes, but this self-same God of all says in majestic mystery:

I have no corporeal existence, but Universal Benevolence is my divine body. I have no physical power, but Uprightness is my strength. I have no religious clairvoyance beyond what is bestowed by Wisdom. I have no power of miracle other than the attainment of quiet happiness. I have no tact except the exercise of gentleness. [4]

God is love.[5] God is beautiful and loves beauty.[6] God is All-gentle to God’s servants, providing for whomsoever God will.[7] And so it is God says, “To love is to know me, my innermost nature, and the truth that I am.” [8] The Tao is immortal, the mysterious fertile mother of us all, of heaven and earth, of everything and not-thing; invisible yet ever-present, you can enjoy her forever without exhausting her.[9]

parvati3rdeye[1]God says, “I am mother and father of the world.”[10] And so we say, “You are father, mother, friend, and brother. With you as nurturer in all places, what have we to fear?”[11] We cry aloud:

O Mother of the world and humanity, advocate for the whole world! What a remarkable Mother we have! O Mother, a pillar, a refuge! O Mother, to whom all prostrate in greeting before one enters her habitation! We are justly proud of our Mother. O Mother who arrives, who arrives majestic and offers water to all![12] That breast of yours, which is inexhaustible, health-giving, by which you nurse all that is noble, containing treasure, bearing wealth, bestowed freely; lay that bare, divine Mother, for our nurture![13]

Indeed, we are the children of the Lord our God;[14] for all humans are God’s children, and those dearest to God are those who treat his children kindly.[15] For God, people of the whole world are all children of God, and so all of us equally must understand that God is our Parent.[16] So, too, all of us under the heavens; we must regard heaven as our father, earth as our mother, and all things as our brothers and sisters![17]

1400805161603[1]And so this is how we are to live: Whatever you wish that people would do to you, do so to them.[18] A woman should wander about treating all creatures as she herself would be treated.[19] Indeed, try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.[20] Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “just as I am so are they; just as they are so am I;” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.[21] This simply means, one should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.[22]

Is this really so difficult? Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and God’s love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in God and God in us, because the Everlasting One has given us the very Spirit of life and love. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and she who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because God first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his sister or brother, he is a liar; for she who does not love her brother or sister whom she has seen, cannot love God whom she has not seen.[23]

Endlessknot[1]Have benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the indolent and ill-behaved.[24] Ah! Then that do we choose, O Lord of Wisdom, O beautiful Truth, that do we think, do we speak, and do we practice, which shall be best of the actions of living ones for both worlds![25] For to the addict, nothing is like his dope; to the fish, nothing is like water; but those immersed in the love of God feel love for all things.[26]

Amen and Amen. So let it be, Everlasting and Most Benevolent One!

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[1] Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 31.8

[2] Psalm 145.8-9 (Hebrew Scriptures)

[3] Qur’an 26.77-82

[4] Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Sumiyoshi

[5] I Epistle of St. John 4.8 (Christianity)

[6] Hadith of Muslim (Islam)

[7] Qur’an 42.19

[8] Bhagavad Gita 18.55 (Hinduism)

[9] Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 6

[10] Bhagavad Gita 9.17 (Hinduism)

[11] Adi Granth, Majh M.5, p. 103 (Sikhism)

[12] Yoruba Prayer of Nigeria (African Traditional Religion)

[13] Rig Veda 1.164.49 (Hinduism)

[14] Deuteronomy 14.1 (Hebrew Scripture)

[15] Hadith of Baihaqi (Islam)

[16] Tenrikyo. Ofudesaki IV.79

[17] Oracle of the Kami of Atsuta (Shinto)

[18] Gospel of St. Matthew 7.12 (Christianity)

[19] Sutrakritanga 1.11.33 (Jainism)

[20] Mencius VII.A.4 (Confucianism)

[21] Sutta Nipata 705 (Buddhism)

[22] Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8 (Hinduism)

[23] I Epistle of St. John 4.7-8, 12-13, 18-20 (Christianity)

[24] Tattvarthasutra 7.11 (Jainism)

[25] Avesta, Yasna 35.3 (Zoroastrianism)

[26] Adi Granth, Wadhans, M.1, p. 557 (Sikhism)

Late Evening Walk, Surprise at Home

Only the deep reddish glow of the setting sun remained on the horizon now, beckoning forth Luna and her train of stars to sing in the night sky, shedding forth subdued light from the vault of heaven, speaking peace to the troubled world they served. The now-gentle breeze seemed to repeat the same tune in perfect harmony with an unseen celestial choir, as life flowed on with such variety and yet so much the same. Astonishing diversity in incomprehensible unity, all moving toward the one grand ocean of clear and free wholeness in mystic communion.

Effete purposely walked slowly, for the first time admiring the street lights and the newly restored sidewalks nicely bordered with freshly planted golden lotuses and dale’s strain, which tugged at her heart to become involved in the Splinterbit Beautification Committee; after all, as the environmentalist, Luther Burbank, said, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Touché! And certainly Blue would understand and appreciate this.

“The flowers are exquisitely beautiful, aren’t they?” she queried.

“My, oh my, yes; one of the very real tangible manifestations of the intangible Form of Divine Beauty.” Blue pushed passed mere appreciation – again – into the more intellectual … but Effete didn’t mind at all. She enjoyed hearing … no, really and truly listening to the heart and soul of this man. This was simply Blue Poorman, through and through; who and what he was, no more, no less; and for all of that to be admired, appreciated, and valued. “Intuitively we know… we sense and deeply appreciate the icons of Beauty in all their myriad forms.”

Rue and Bane were running back and forth along the sidewalk, making Effete wonder just how much more energy they could possibly have, but it only made her smile all the more. Best of all, it didn’t seem to disturb Blue one bit. He liked the boys and they liked him, and they all got along swimmingly well. They were icons of beauty, invaluable soul treasures, and yet they had no idea just how they were so fundamentally important. She was thankful beyond words for the liberty they now enjoyed and the opportunities they had now.

“And what about Fen?” Effete asked abruptly. “What kind of icon is he? An icon of ugliness … at least I hope you would say.”

“Well, methinks you already know what my answer is, Effete. Ugliness, according to my perspective, is the depravation or absence of Beauty, just as bad – or in older parlance, sin – is the perversion of absence of good.” Blue then placed his hand in Effete’s without even thinking about it. She was surprised, to say the least, but elated. “Somewhere along the line, I can only guess, Fen made the decision, consciously or not – or, perhaps a combination of both – to warp whatever good was resident within him and within his reach. I don’t really know if Fen ever possessed an authentic understanding and appreciation for Beauty. He may very well have eradicated so much goodness in his life so early that he never had an opportunity to mature an appreciation for the aesthetic.” Blue paused, glanced at Effete with tenderness, and then continued. “Of course, he became, as he still is, an icon of the Ugly.”

“I know I’ve listened carefully, and I’ve tried to understand as best I can, but you’ll have to excuse me because I’m a bit rusty where intellectual/academic matters are concerned.” Effete squeezed Blue’s hand and guided him down a side road to make the walk home longer. He didn’t mind at all … and neither did the boys. They were close enough now; they could go on to Lucent’s if they wanted to anyway. “I think you equate Beauty, with a capital ‘B,’ with God, so do you see the Ugly, capital ‘U,’ as the devil, Satan, the Destroyer?”

“Very interesting that you should add the one descriptive of ‘Destroyer’ to the list of names and titles attributed to the Evil One – the Father of Lies, Lucifer, Rahu, Kroni, Satanael, Mara – but in this case the ‘Destroyer’ is very appropriate. And the simple answer to your question is, ‘yes.’ This personification of Evil is both Liar and Destroyer, who cannot create but only warp, pervert, undo, and steal.” Blue slowed his pace, as did Effete, and he looked at her intently. “Satanael … Mara … the Destroyer hates, absolutely hates, beauty and, if I may be so bold, this is at least an important part of the reason you, Effete, have suffered so much.”

Now it was Effete’s turn to blush. They had come to a dead stop and were simply looking at each other. “Hey, mom, we’re going on home, o.k.?” Bane’s voice carried down the sidewalk about 20 feet or so. “That’s fine, honey. You guys just stay together, and … I’ll be home shortly, o.k.? Tell everyone there’s no need to worry about me, o.k.?” The boys both laughed, and Rue answered, “Well, we know that; you’re with Blue!” Then they ran off, and both Effete and Blue looked down, slightly embarrassed, and chuckled.

“You are, indeed, very kind and overly gracious, Blue Poorman,” Effete practically whispered. “If you only realized just what a mess I am right now… I’m certainly no angel, and at best an horribly tarnished icon of Beauty… So much poison has been poured into my system, Blue, that I’m finding it extremely difficult to believe in the God of Beauty and Goodness… If you knew me really well, you probably wouldn’t like me at all.”

“Effete, listen,” and now Blue took both her hands, “I would be insane to think that you could possibly be an unrestrained, happy, go-lucky lady right now.” He kind of chuckled. “You have been terribly, tremendously wounded physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually and spiritually… How can you possibly recover and heal from that overnight? Or even in a few weeks, or months? I know this, of course, but may I say to you something very important?” Effete nodded with tears in her eyes. “The emanation of Beauty and Goodness that I see and sense in you is as divine as the song first sung by the stars in the first night sky eons ago. I’m not talking about some distant God when I’m talking to you – the God of philosophy, the God of theology, the God of silly intellectual debates – I am talking about the real and living God within you, who overflows your whole self and shines as brilliantly as the noonday sun. I am talking about the manifestation of Beauty and Goodness in Effete Mann, right here and right now, in this moment I’m so privileged to share with you.”

Now Effete had to wipe her eyes, but surprisingly Blue was ready with a clean, white handkerchief. Had he planned on her crying? Or maybe he thought he’d need it for the walk back home. He certainly had filled plenty of handkerchiefs with his own tears plenty of times. Not this night, though; this night the soft, white cloth was for beloved Effete.

“How can I possibly argue with you, Blue Poorman? You are as debonair and elegant as you are intelligent,” Effete laughed while she continued mopping her eyes. “My heavens, you’ve certainly turned this wonderfully mystic, enchanting day into something completely beyond my wildest imagination. I don’t have words to describe just how much you’ve turned my whole world upside down, and inside out in the short space of one late evening. And to properly thank you is impossible.”

“Your tears of gratitude are more than enough, but accepting the truth of what I’ve said would be even more deeply cherished.” Blue wanted more than anything in the world to take Effete back with him, to hug her and hold her and lavish her with all the love in possession of his soul, but he knew they had to be on their way to Lucent Keener’s home. Folks there would bound to get worried eventually, despite what the boys had said, so Blue began walking again with Effete by his side … this time with one definite destination ahead.

“Well, you most assuredly are a personification of kindness, gentleness, all-round goodness, and beauty, Blue, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

“Thank you, Effete,” Blue responded rather shyly. “I don’t know what else to say, except thank you. Coming from you, that means more to me than I can express in words; it really does. And that is my goal in life … and much of what I try to explain in my book, now with the very helpful illustrations of Able.” He smiled.

“Say, how is the book coming along? I haven’t heard in awhile.”

“Actually, it’s complete and now in the hands of a mid-sized publishing company, Semen Frank Publishing, who immediately requested the whole work after reading my précis, so … we shall see.”

“That’s wonderful, Blue!” Effete exclaimed as they reached the door. Before she could say anymore, though, Lucent was standing in front of her with an obvious look of mixed emotions on her face. “I hope I’m not in trouble for … being too late, maybe?”

“Hardly,” Lucent replied in monotone. “And hello, Blue, come on in.”

They both did, but didn’t get far before Lucent sprung the news on them. “I can hardly bring myself to say I’ve got ‘bad news,’ but then the professional nurse in me seems to militate against saying ‘good news,’ either. Besides, we don’t know what a monkey wrench this might throw into the works, but…”

“O.k. But what?” Effete was anxious for her to just spit it out.

“We just got a call about an half-hour to forty minutes ago informing us that Fen Sloughheart is now comatose.” She paused to let the news settle somewhat. “At this point, at least, it doesn’t look as if he’s going to make it.”

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