Perspective

“Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
– Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long

Life is short;
The Universe is forever:
An ocean swallowing
The teardrops of human existence,
Born a thousand eons
Before our earliest ancestors
Had drug themselves from
The primordial ooze.
So long ago that
Only God was there
To witness the blessed event.
Though, perhaps, even He
Is too young to recall the day.

A dozen millennia after
Our great-great-grandchildren
Have become dust
Blown on the solar winds,
It will still be here,
Waiting patiently
For its appointment with Death
At the other end of Eternity.

19 July 1999

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Brahma

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Lord Brahma, self-born,
Blooming forth from a holy lotus
Rooted in Vishnu’s navel.
Four faceted face,
Looking like a Keruv of Yahweh,
Each mouth composing a Veda.
A form of the formless Brahman,
The only true reality.
Bringing order and form
To the primordial elements,
Shaping all the senses know,
Sprung from the only thing worth knowing,
First third of the tripartite Trimūrti,
Creating as Vishnu preserves and
Shiva destroys and regenerates.
A brief shining image in a short dream
Nested in the mind of eternity.

9/2/17

Pronunciations and Notes:

Brahma = Brah-mah, from Sanskrit ब्रह्मा

Vishnu = Vish-noo, from Sanskrit विष्णु

Keruv = Kh-roov, from Hebrew כְּרוּב‎‎. From where we get the word Cherub. An order of Angels which are described in the book of Ezekiel as having a number of wing pairs, and four faces: that of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle. Their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass.

Yahweh = From the Hebrew יהוה. Hypothetical pronunciation of the name of God as given in the Hebrew Bible. Since, by tradition, the divine name is never pronounced in Judaism—being substituted with the word “adonai” (אדני, “my Lord”)–when reading the Bible aloud, nobody is 100% certain how it was originally pronounced.

Veda = Vay-da, from Sanskrit वेद The oldest scriptures in Hinduism.

Brahman = Brah-mahn. From Sanskrit ब्रह्मन्

Trimūrti = Tri-moor-te. From Sanskrit त्रिमूर्ति

Shiva = Shiv-ah. From Sanskrit शिव

Image is a painting by Ramanarayanadatta Sastri, which depicts Brahma emerging from a lotus risen from Vishnu’s navel while he rests on the serpent Shesha.

Angelic (a Tanka)

Angelic and pure
A direct current to God
Divine by nature
But don’t ever forget that
The Devil was an angel.

2/7/17

This poem is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge #20 – “Angel & Devil”

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Walking After Midnight

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I go walking after midnight
Stepping softly while the seminary sleeps.
Haunting Hogwarts halls alone
With the ghost of Rabbi Heschel
Standing in stocking feet.

Hank Williams echos in my head
As the quiet reverberates through
The sanctuary of the empty shul.
The silence is deafening.
No bushes are burning.
Am I here all alone?

I came here looking for something,
For meaning, for direction,
The comfort of tradition, rituals, structure and law.
And truth.
I came here looking for truth.

2/6/17

Notes:
“Shul” is pronounced “shool” and is the Yiddish term for a Synagogue.

The image at the top of this post is the logo of the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC and is meant to represent the burning bush that God spoke to Moses through in the book of Exodus.

Johnny Cash

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A voice God would speak with from a burning bush.
A man not consumed by the ring of fire,
Hurt yet healed, wearing a black badge for the poor and beaten down,
Champion of the voiceless with the Beatitudes tattooed on his heart,
Like a Hebrew prophet filled with inspiration, visions and voices,
Waiting for the man to come around,
Carrying nothing
But the thought of You.

26 February 2005/16-17 December 2016

Three Strikes

For Michael Thomas Cunningham (1967-2005)

When you took ill
I prayed for you.
Every day I prayed.
Three times a day:
Morning, noon and night
I begged for God’s mercy;
Begged for a miracle

But the time for prayer is passed
Mourning is now here.
Enriched by your memory,
Wounded by your absence.
Nothing will bring you back,
Your miracles are spent.

The path you walk
I will one day follow,
But you can never follow it
Back to me.

2005

Summer of a Doormouse: On the Beach (a prose fragment)

The following fragment was written for my Summer of a Doormouse project. I wasn’t quite sure where it would be placed in relation to the rest of the narrative, though the scene is mentioned in passing in the draft of Chapter II I posted on this blog as one of Jack’s reaccuring dreams, though the nature and relative reality of these dreams is not addressed within the chapters that have been written and posted thus far.

All my life everything seemed to be building up to something. Something special. Something that I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to participate in. I had been expecting something on the order of Christ’s passion, or at the very least something similar to what had happened to Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. In the end it all seems somewhat anti-climatic. Nothing happened. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe life has no point to it after all. Continue reading

Anguished Roaring

My God, my God,
why have You abandoned me;
why so far from delivering me
and from my anguished roaring?

-Psalm 22:2 (JPS Translation)

Why have you abandoned me
And made me live my life alone?
Why have you forgotten me
In this place where the sun has never shone?

Why have you forsaken me
When all I wanted was to please you?
Why do you deny me
When you know that I need you?

What is the real reason
Behind the misery I now feel?
What do I do when my pain
Is all that I have that is real?

Tell Me What I Need to Know

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Throne of gold up on high
The Ancient of Days sits
Appearing like a Son of Adam,
White woolly whiskers
Uncombed hair and dirty feet.

Winged creatures come and go,
Speaking to Him of the world below,
Thought, Memory, raven, crow,
Come tell me what I need to know

Noah sent a raven out from the Ark to find dry land;
There was none to be found, the rains washed it all away.
He fed on the rotting floating corps of an iron smelter,
Shat out an island for the dove to find and pissed a river.
At least that’s the story I heard from Utnapishtim’s raven
–I think his name was Neil
In a dream, while he dined on the rotted remains of a friend.

Ancient Allfather Asgard King,
One-eyed wandering Woden,
God of poets, inspiration and berserker rages,
Riding eight legged Sleipner across the rainbow,
A raven on either shoulder, whispering in his ears.

At dawn they fly away and go,
At dinner they report on the world below,
Thought, Memory, raven, crow,
Tell me what I need to know.

10/20/16

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Inspired by the Daily Post‘s daily prompt: Ancient

 

Dust to Dust (for Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005 )

simon_wiesenthal_1982

Caught in the sacrificial flames
That licked the heavens,
Burned but not burnt

Your brothers’ and sisters’ blood
Cries out to you from the ashes:
“Where is God,” they ask,
“Where is justice?”

The Lord answered:
Tempered in flame
a voice cried out from the wild,
“I am my brother’s keeper!”
Bearing the shield of righteousness;
wielding the sword of truth,
“Justice! Justice I shall pursue!”

A voice for the silenced.
A memory for the forgotten.
A promise to the wicked:
Judgment Day is at hand.