Below Myself

What lives below myself is feeling.
What rind I find myself needs peeling.
I want to knife myself while kneeling.
Unwind the surface self til reeling.

My heart in treasure chest is heaving.
What is this life I live achieving?
But what’s this angry face so seething?
Where comes this cloven hoof now cleaving?

Who cuts the lock on casket hidden,
Who foists the force upon unbidden?
Who diving drops to depths so leaden,
To slice the tangled roots that deaden?

If I, who am ‘I’ when freedom comes?
So I am the feeling that was numbed.
What lives above this Self can be summed
As two entwined in doubt and not the
One.

Ceremony

Yesterday we sat on cushions
Underneath a tree.
Cake and chocolate muffins we ate
And conversed with cups of tea.

Today I looked at an illustrated book of poems
By the mystic Rumi.
Almost every Islamic image was of figures
Bent at the knee.

In apple orchards or garden courtyards these lovers
Met in beauty.
Adorations in every gesture whether serving
Food or poetry.

Their garments flowed into the earth via
The cloth at their feet.
Bowls and pots and cups and plates were rocks
In an embroidered stream.

In the undergrowth of plants around might crouch
A hare unseen.
Or peer behind a distant bough a deer
As though paying heed.

For still were the minds in such sunlit glades
In such a ceremony.

Outside The Window Snow Was Sailing Through The Sky

Outside the window snow was sailing through the sky.
The slope of the side of the mountain dissolved before the eye.
Clouds came crowding down while wind carried the flurries high.
The white surf washed against grey granite bulks til nothing there was dry.

And this was a scene in a dream.
Tinted window went from floor to past eye.
The scene was a scene in a dream.
Like on a screen of a world beyond I.

The strength of the mountain was like the slope of one shoulder.
The head was in the clouds above reach.
And the rolling snow caught by the wind was a spirit.
Waves of light pouring down and along a shining beach.

The height and the light and the cold and the cloud.
The flurry and the falling and the rolling and pouring.
So where was the heart as this weather made its way?
Where was the watcher inside in the foreground?

What company did he keep in warm room by the window?
Did the fire in the hearth tint the window and surrounds?
I remember the distraction of the beautiful scene.
The softness and the swirl and the whiteness and kindness.

The slope so smooth like some tilted horizon.
The slow-motion presence of this world beyond mine.
But I was listening to the words I was making in response.
Feeling utterly unable to trust in their labels.

What conjurations I could speak could compare with this beauty?
And it cried out for justice for at least one or two words.
Dissolving inside in the challenge of this beauty I spoke.
The words something ‘awareness’ and ‘consciousness’ too came out.

And a feeling inside multiplied just behind the words and within.
Not talking ‘about’ but being the very words that came forth.
‘Awareness’ and ‘consciousness’ filled the room like a wave.
A warm-coloured ocean radiating and carrying smiles.

And the eye for who I was in the dream expanded outward,
Becoming a circle of friends and the window and outside.

3-9-11

Seasons Of The Soul

Life (unfortunately?) is not a linear progression of continual transcendence.
We loop-the-loop in periodic cycles whose zenith
Is the acquisition of higher consciousness given as grace or guidance,
And whose nadir is the sacrificial ordeal of the redemption of lower consciousness
And the gift of initiation.

A catalyst kicks it off, a season of the soul.
Looking back I can reflect ‘that was the period of my life when..’
How did that one begin? What started the wheel to spin?
We were on a roll, a spark ignited, something fired the imagination,
And we got caught on the rising tide, the movement of transformation.

The ‘New Age’ is largely a solar cult, fashioned from sunny California.
The sparkle of spiritual images from the commodity capital of Hollywood.
Bought in the marketplace we must make them our own,
Bringing image together with shadow to become real,
Find what is uniquely ours from all the ideas that appeal.

A calling turns us inward, beyond the public domain.
What got us kudos was not enough, the outward expression is flagging.
What was once professed we must now confess we know not where it came from.
And we ask in declining days of summer if we might humble ourselves to listen
and accept the lessons of the guiding ones.

Grace is the gift of those who have stopped seeking or struggling.
Outward confidence becomes the inner ability to confide in oneself.
Something nudges us from our certainty and calls into question
The mission we thought we were on.
Sweet season of touching the future self where it’s already all been done.

A crisis takes us full circumstance, opposite where we began.
We must enter the underworld embrace and allow an understanding.
Every aspect of ourselves wants to be accounted for and included.
The stretch in ourselves as we remind ourselves of the light while in the shadows.
It is the shamanic ordeal to use these tools for transformation.

And in that said period of your life, wasn’t there the determination,
To break several cycles of similar fate to gain an initiation?
The gift you receive becomes your service to see where others are caught.
What gold did you uncover? The rhythm and pulse of life discovered.
Seasons of the soul beyond which realization is sought.

 

~ Tony French 1998

 

 

Radical Revision

Thomas undertook a radical revision of his life.
His life he felt to be a fiction unread by most men.
By ‘most men’ he reckoned anyone unacquainted with strife.
With strife at his roots, is there anyone who could not understand,
Not understand more than a superficial gloss or first glance?
“First glances won’t tell a thing about me”, he declared.
He declared to himself a radical revision the only chance,
The only chance to be read where the level of fact was bared.
Was bared and naked of fictions the place where he’d see?
He’d see if the answer was to be found at the roots.
The roots were where no words could capture such truth.
Such truth was not the various versions of him it suits…
“It ‘suits’ of others, yes!” he said, “but not of me.
Of me they know so little. Deep at my core is pain.
Is pain and strife the ‘fact’ of my deep enquiry?
Deep enquiry then is at least a form of vision I gain.”
I gainsay you’ll guess the insight that occurred to Thomas.
To Thomas was given a gift when indeed he saw again.
A gain begotten when the light of awareness is on us.
On us the onus to clear the path of our life of the slain.
The slain are the dead-eyed men we see ourselves as,
Ourselves as lonely and unwitnessed by others at the core.
The core in truth has always possessed the light that it has.
It has been covered by a fear that it’s only ourselves that we saw.
We saw that without others loneliness seems to win.
To win new eyes to see we must give up one more view.
More view in fact that to see only ourselves here is to sin.
To sin is to see the ‘I’ and not become the ‘Eye’ that’s all of you.
  
16-5-10

Cancer

Right, you got me off the mark fast and furious:
You bring to mind the word ‘canker’:
n. 1. An ulcerous sore of the mouth and lips:
That’s fine, by chance I have that at the moment:
Stress-related, embarrassing, but at least it’s not going to kill me.

n. 2. An area of dead or decaying tissue in a plant surrounded by healthy wood or bark.
That’s more like it. I always found that fascinating, that trees had dead parts next to live.
Are you then the canker of the human world, the dead we tolerate among the living?
No, you are worse, the dead that presumes to be alive,
The fool haunting our world not seeing the light.

n. 3 & 4. Any of several animal diseases attacking especially the ears of dogs and cats.
Any source of spreading corruption or debilitation.
Dogs and cats are sensitive creatures, their ears burn with your lies.
You are corruption, corrupt, bankrupt, broken to pieces, entropy,
Infesting others, investing others, wanting them to mirror your lie.

Cancer, the crab, crustacean, carapace over cephalothorax. Carcinoma, creeping ulcer.
Clutching with claws your hold on our lives, demon of material realms.
Malignant tumour caused by the abnormal division of cells, invading surrounding tissues.
Blind materiality. Carcinomatosis – n. the existence of carcinomas at many bodily sites.
Ah, but epiclesis – the call to the Holy Spirit to turn bread and wine into body and blood of Christ.

We will name you, Cancer. We will address you by all your names.
We will learn the words to hold our power against you.
Even if cancroid – adj. 1. similar to a cancer 2. similar to a crab – we will know you and see you.
Our call is life, of the living, to the Life Force, to consecrate again our daily bread of life.
The transubstantiation of the Eucharist is more a miracle than your self-making.

Take this bread and wine and make it known to us as human flesh in kinship with the divine.
Anull in us the pernicious notion that this body can mutate in darkness by its own.
From the ouroboric ovum of a single cell, to the birth of a baby with 20 million million cells,
And the universe of 50 million million cells in adulthood, we are the united light.
Lend us the language of metaphor – it is body and blood because we pray and say it is.
  
3 – 2 – 2007

Talk of Such Things

Talk of things where one holds one’s breath.
Walls of citadels dusty with the desert’s wrath.
Face of fear, and death is stalking the streets.
I cover my heart now aware it is heaving red meat.

Night is swarming with locusts and lies.
All appearances wear a disguise.
In darkened doorway does my body give in,
Disappear in my chest and grow thin.

Eyelids shade like a camel’s wisdom.
I ride on the storm from my fabulous prison.
A troubled genii in a bottle’s throttled torment.
But the blood clutches the feet on the pavement.

The singular eye turns a gurney of gyres.
Golgotha is its claim and desire.
What witness am I that I’m caught in this web
While the light of the world rose into red?

The wash over me clears my mind of illusion.
Such imaginal memories seem not a delusion.
Wouldst my heart drip with red and the light lift my lungs.
Wouldst my breath give away and such speech light my tongue.

Meditation On A Photo Of Red Cloud

Grace falls from heaven.
This healing grief.
My throat catches.
I cannot express the way
This crosses my heart.
The suffering that bleeds
Into the plains.
The rivulets that run into the earth.
They are channels
Like the grooves of my forehead.
From the diamond centre
I am pierced like an arrow to the depths of me.
What has happened to my people?
  
17 -3 – 96