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The Poetry of Presence

yagryagr Veteran
edited November 2021 in Arts & Writings

If there are no objections, I thought that perhaps a poetry thread might be of interest. I've only very recently been introduced to poetry. I've been around it, of course, but it was like a sales-person who I've frequently seen in the offices where I work but I never had any interaction with them and didn't even know their name until a few months ago. My first few dates with poetry have gone well and I'm enjoying making its acquaintance. The thread title is actually an anthology of Zen poems. I don't yet have a copy, but the Zen master where I attend morning meditation has read out out of it many times. So, if you find a poem that you enjoy and think we might too, feel free to add it.

I am

standing in the eye of the primordial forest;
dew-soaked grass crushed beneath bare feet;
the touch of clover flowerheads tickling toes.
Yet, I am neither grass nor clover flowers.

I am

breathing slowly, deeply; inhaling all the wonder;
the scent of wildflowers, damp moss and conifers;
permeating my body and saturating the stillness within.
Yet, I am not wildflower, damp moss or tree.

I am

teased by the swirling upon my tongue as it settles;
tasting the last vestiges of heavy, mist-laden smoke;
bringing moist hints of earthiness and terpenes.
Yet, I am neither the earth nor the majestic pines.

I am

ever-present consciousness filling with nature’s harmony;
a symphony of soft birdsong and distant rushing waters;
accompanied by the verdant forest’s more subtle melodies.
Yet, I am neither birdsong nor the distant rushing river.

I am

opening lids warmed by the rising sun to greet the day;
a rich palette of yellows, purples and greens materialize;
revealing the kaleidoscopic masterpiece on visual canvas.
Yet, I remain aware that I am not a yellow, purple or green.

I am

filled with awe and wonder; mind completely overwhelmed;
until the thought, “I am blessed,” follows “I am undeserving”;
awareness recedes as the echoes of mind obscure the stillness;
and I foolishly believe myself to be blessed and undeserving.



  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited November 2021

    Great idea @yagr ! Love a good limerick! =)

  • Tee Hee!

    There I was in the Tavern/pub/bar drinking wine and ambrosia …

    bee cause
    I am a yam - not
    Yakking about silence
    cracked yokes
    of the mourning, noone and knight

    … and now back to the zennith limericks …

  • You are here
    What else matters

  • Don’t blame them, the poet-mystics.
    Their job is to wrap up infinite space for you.
    Certainly they’ll miss a few corners,
    Here and There.

    Meshe Mooette: Wrapping Presence

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Abode of the Beloved

    Oh Companion That Abode Is Unmatched,
    Where My Complete Beloved Is.

    In that Place There Is No Happiness or Unhappiness,
    No Truth or Untruth
    Neither Sin Nor Virtue.
    There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun,
    There Is Radiance Without Light.

    There Is No Knowledge or Meditation
    No Repetition of Mantra or Austerities,
    Neither Speech Coming From Vedas or Books.
    Doing, Not-Doing, Holding, Leaving
    All These Are All Lost Too In This Place.

    No Home, No Homeless, Neither Outside or Inside,
    Micro and Macrocosm Are Non-Existent.
    Five Elemental Constituents and the Trinity Are Both Not There
    Witnessing Un-struck Shabad Sound is Also Not There.

    No Root or Flower, Neither Branch or Seed,
    Without a Tree Fruits are Adorning,
    Primordial Om Sound, Breath-Synchronized Soham,
    This and That - All Are Absent, The Breath Too Unknown

    Where the Beloved Is There is Utterly Nothing
    Says Kabir I Have Come To Realize.
    Whoever Sees My Indicative Sign
    Will Accomplish the Goal of Liberation.

    — Kabir

  • The Poetry of Presence

    Soundwaves vibrate the eardrums... the bird singing, is now me
    Light rays float across the eyes, creating images label-free

    Consciousness's sense doors begin to open wide
    Welcoming the present moment, which the self once denied

    Consciousness turns inside out, reflecting on itself
    The flowing moment now present, no longer is it stealth

    There's still as sense of wonder, but no self in sight
    Just the sense doors wide open to life's wonderful delight

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    This is one of my favourite poems. I really should try to memorise it...

    By Leigh Hunt.

    Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
    Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    An angel writing in a book of gold:—
    Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And to the presence in the room he said,
    "What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
    And with a look made of all sweet accord,
    Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
    "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
    Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

    The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again with a great wakening light,
    And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
    And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    This is one by a famous Dutch poet about getting old, I’ve attempted a translation.

    By Vasalis

    If there's music for that, I want to hear it:
    I want music for old people, who are still powerful,
    and plowed with long, deep furrows
    and incredulous. Those who know the lust and the pain.
    Those who possessed and lost.
    And if there is wisdom that is not fatigue,
    and brightness, which is not mortification,
    I want to see it, I want to hear it.
    And otherwise I want to be crazy and cloudy.

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran
    edited November 2021

    Do you folks mind original poetry? Hopefully not, and hopefully this isn't too awful. The form is haiku which may have some connection with Zen...maybe? Anyway...

    Morning Fog

    Cloak of mystery
    Obscures all in illusion
    ‘Til sun breaks the spell

    Early Birds

    Crepuscular light
    reveals avians feasting
    on earthy wrigglers

    And on the topic of impermanence, a classic from Shelley...


    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away."

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 2021

    @nakazcid said:
    Do you folks mind original poetry? Hopefully not, and hopefully this isn't too awful. The form is haiku which may have some connection with Zen...maybe? Anyway...

    We have had a couple of Haiku threads in the past...

  • Poetry is life
    Poets write of life
    Other scribble incoherence
    Loudly proclaiming their ignorance
    To the the deaf
    Flashing their ignorance brightly
    to the blind
    In their arogance
    Thinking themselves
    If you wish true poetry - look around you and listen.
    Life is poetry
    All else a poor attempt at mimicry
    As for me
    I am no poet
    I merely doodle blindly

    Peace to all

  • Bravo @Lionduck <3

    We are poems, expressions of being. We are songs of our own creation. We are the site of our seer.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    This is the book of the thread title… a book of mindfulness poems.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me

    I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
    What is this river you want to cross?
    There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
    Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

    There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
    There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
    There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

    And there is no body, and no mind!
    Do you believe there is some place that will make the
    soul less thirsty?
    In that great absence you will find nothing.

    Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
    there you have a solid place for your feet.
    Think about it carefully!
    Don't go off somewhere else!

    Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
    imaginary things,
    and stand firm in that which you are.

    By: Kabir

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran


    Before you know what kindness really is
    you must lose things,
    feel the future dissolve in a moment
    like salt in a weakened broth.
    What you held in your hand,
    what you counted and carefully saved,
    all this must go so you know
    how desolate the landscape can be
    between the regions of kindness.
    How you ride and ride
    thinking the bus will never stop,
    the passengers eating maize and chicken
    will stare out the window forever.

    Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
    you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
    lies dead by the side of the road.
    You must see how this could be you,
    how he too was someone
    who journeyed through the night
    with plans and the simple breath
    that kept him alive.

    Before you know kindness
    as the deepest thing inside,
    you must know sorrow
    as the other deepest thing.
    You must wake up with sorrow.
    You must speak to it till your voice
    catches the thread of all sorrows
    and you see the size of the cloth.
    Then it is only kindness
    that makes sense anymore,
    only kindness that ties your shoes
    and sends you out into the day
    to mail letters and purchase bread,
    only kindness that raises its head
    from the crowd of the world to say
    it is I you have been looking for,
    and then goes with you every where
    like a shadow or a friend.

    By Naomi Shihab Nye

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran


    There is no controlling life.
    Try corralling a lightning bolt,
    containing a tornado. Dam a
    stream and it will create a new
    channel. Resist, and the tide
    will sweep you off your feet.
    Allow, and grace will carry
    you to higher ground. The only
    safety lies in letting it all in –
    the wild and the weak; fear,
    fantasies, failures and success.
    When loss rips off the doors of
    the heart, or sadness veils your
    vision with despair, practice
    becomes simply bearing the truth.
    In the choice to let go of your
    known way of being, the whole
    world is revealed to your new eyes

    By: Danna Faulds

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Keeping Quiet

    Now we will count to twelve
    and we will all keep still.
    For once on the face of the earth,
    let's not speak in any language,
    let's stop for a second,
    and not move our arms so much.
    It would be an exotic moment
    without rush, without engines;
    we would all be together
    in a sudden strangeness.
    If we were not so single-minded
    about keeping our lives moving,
    and for once could do nothing,
    perhaps a huge silence
    might interrupt this sadness
    of never understanding ourselves
    and of threatening ourselves
    with death.
    Perhaps the earth can teach us
    as when everything seems dead in winter
    and later proves to be alive.
    Now I'll count up to twelve
    and you keep quiet and I will go.

    By: Pablo Neruda

  • Poetry of presence is about that which flows
    Like the path of a mountain steam on and on it goes

    Or it can be likened to a needle in the grove
    Of life's long playing record, always on the move

    And thus have I heard (or so it's been said)
    This flow carries on when the body is dead

  • Mth5000Mth5000 Washington New
    edited January 2022

    This came to me one day, and I believe you could call it poetry:

    The rocks shape the river,
    The river shapes the rocks.

  • Rock on
    Rock and roll

    … and welcom ✅

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