How often we wish for another chance
To make a fresh beginning.
A chance to blot out our mistakes
And change failure into winning.
It does not take a new day
To make a brand new start,
It only takes a deep desire
To try with all our heart.
To live a little better
And to always be forgiving
And to add a little sunshine
To the world in which we’re living.
So never give up in despair
And think that you are through,
For there’s always a tomorrow
And the hope of starting new.
– Helen Steiner Rice
Song for Baby-O, Unborn
when you break thru
a poet here
not quite what one would choose.
I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted
but I can show you
enough to love
to break your heart
Upon this earth
Upon this earth, the land of the Victorious Ones,
Once lived a Saint, known as the second Buddha;
His fame was heard in all the Ten Directions.
To Him, the Jewel a’top the eternal Banner of Dharma
I pay homage and give offerings.
Is He not the holy Master, the great Midripa?
Upon the Lotus-seat of Midripa
My Father Guru places his reliance;
He drinks heavenly nectar
With the supreme view of Mahamudra;
He has realized the innate Truth in utter freedom.
He is the supreme one, Jetsun Marpa.
Undefiled by faults or vices,
He is the Transformation Body of Buddha.
He says: “Before Enlightenment,
All things in the outer world
Are deceptive and confusing;
Clinging to outer forms,
One is ever thus entangled.
After Enlightenment, one sees all things and objects
As but magic shadow-plays,
And all objective things
Become his helpful friends.
In the uncreated Dharmakaya all are pure;
Nothing has ever manifested
In the Realm of Ultimate Truth.”
He says: “Before Enlightenment,
The ever-running Mind-consciousness within
Is shut in a confusing blindness
Which is the source of passions, actions, and desires.
After Enlightenment, it becomes the
Self-illuminating Wisdom –
All merits and virtues spring from it.
In Ultimate Truth there is not even Wisdom;
Here one enters the Realm where Dharma is exhausted.”
The coproreal form
Is built of the Four Elements;
Before one attains Enlightenment,
All illness and all suffering come from it.
After Enlightenment, it becomes the two-in-one Body
Of Buddha clear as the cloudless firmament!
Thus rooted out are the base Samsaric clingings.
In Absolute Truth there is no body.
The malignant male and femal demons
Who create myriad troubles and obstructions,
Seem real before one has Enlightenment;
But when one realizes their nature truly,
They become Protectors of the Dharma,
And by their help and freely-given assistance
One attains to numerous accomplishments.
In Ultimate Truth there are no Buddhas and no demons;
One enters here the Realm where Dharma is exhausted.
Among all Vehicles, this ultimate teaching
Is found only in the Tantras.
It says in the Highest Division of the Tantra:
“When the various elements gather in the Nadis,
One sees the demon-forms appear.
If one knows not that they are but mind-created
Visions, and deems them to be real,
One is indeed most foolish and most stupid.”
In time past, wrapped up in clinging blindness,
I lingered in the den of confusion,
Deeming benevolent deities and malignant
Demons to be real and subsistent.
Now, through the Holy One’s grace and blessing
I realize that both Samsara and Nirvana
Are neither existent nor non-existent;
And I see all forms as Mahamudra.
Realizing the groundless nature of ignorance,
My former awareness, clouded and unstable
Like reflections of the moon in rippling water,
Becomes transparent, clear as shining crystal.
Its sun-like brilliance is free from obscuring clouds,
Its light transcends all forms of blindness,
Ignorance and confusion thus vanish without trace.
This is the truth I have experienced within.
Again, the foolish concept “demons” iself
Is groundless, void, and yet illuminating!
Oh, this indeed is marvelous and wonderful!
Distinguishing Ego from Self
All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object.
Among them all, man alone is more than an object.
Though, like objects, he has form and semblance,
He is not limited to form.
He is more.
He can attain to formlessness.
When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond “this” and “that,”
where is the comparison with another object?
Where is the conflict?
What can stand in his way?
He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place.
He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret.
His nature sinks to its root in the One.
His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.
I will weep and weep for you, O Mind;
(my Soul) The world hath caught you in its spell.
Though you cling to them with the anchor of steel,
Not even the shadow of the things you love
Will go with you when you are dead.
Why then have you forgot your own true Self ?
What Does Current Western Society Really Reflect?
In the deep dark cave,
That we claim to be our hearts,
Open to sympathy, kindness and love.
Yet these ideas reflect not the world,
We live in, grow and want to retreat.
For the biggest poverty is loneliness,
The disease of the world is depression,
From luxury and self extravagance,
The large money-makers are the callous beasts of the world,
And we strive to have their useless consumerism,
To hold off the guilt of our own self-centeredness
You would think we could tell the difference,
Yet we are too lethargic to even care,
You think you could still hold on,
To hope that a difference can be made,
In aspects of our lives that bring happiness,
Satisfaction and nationalistic pride
But in a lucky wealthy country,
Where the people have rung in the whistle,
Once proud strugglers, battlers against hardship,
Have turned into careless, wasteful,
And apathetic societies, with no urge to revise
Sometimes when things turn upside down
And inside out and look dark brown,
I rush outdoors and gaze into
The topless sky’s eternal blue,
So calm and cool, so still and deep,
With soft contented clouds like sheep.
I shade my eyes and stare and stare,
Then go back in the house, and there,
Begin to wonder and to doubt
What I was in a stew about!
– Nancy Byrd Turner
The Sun Never Says
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
Courage isn’t a brilliant dash,
A daring deed in a moment’s flash;
It isn’t an instantaneous thing
Born of despair with a sudden spring
Courage isn’t a dazzling light
That flashes and passes away from sight;
It’s a slow, unwavering, ingrained trait
With the patience to work and the strength to wait.
Courage was never designed for show;
It isn’t a thing that can come and go;
It’s written in victory and defeat
And every trial a man may meet.
It’s part of his hours, his days and his years,
Back of his smiles and behind his tears.
Courage is more than a daring deed:
It’s the breath of life and a strong man’s creed.
– Edgar Guest
Images courtesy of Rosalind Chang
Selected by Yours truly,