Chaos around you:
Be in the world, not of it.
Chaos within you:
Be still, breath,
Be present in this moment,
The only true reality.
Be mindful of your thoughts,
Be aware of your reactions.
The only things you truly control.
Find refuge in the palace of your mind,
That quiet place inside your soul.
A Cyprian merchant ship
Wrecked on Grecian shores.
Discovered the wisdom of a dead man
In an Athenian bookstore.
Clutched the robes of a dog
Until he promised to teach
How to desire nothing but virtue.
Graduating from the kennel
To teach on the porch:
A good flow of life
Lived in accordance with nature,
A philosophy that freed
Slaves and emperors alike.
Zeno of Citium (c. 334-c. 262 BCE) was a Hellenistic Philosopher who founded the Stoic School in Athens around 300 BCE.
Shapes on the cave wall
Mind-mist, distorted; unreal
Crawl into the light
Eyes adjust to sunlight
Reality seems insane
This was written in response to Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 53 – MIST & SHAPE.
Driving down the poison highway
Through the nightmares of my youth:
Saccharine poetry, suicidal thoughts;
Disastrous experiments with vermouth.
Sterilizing self-inflicted wounds
With tequila, scotch and beer.
Bathed in sticky sweat,
Self-loathing, and fear.
Decades down a dusty highway
Through the terrors of middle-age:
Thinning hair; graying beard
Covering the still smoldering rage.
Calming the demons of the mind
With a single chilled glass of mead,
Wounds healed; scars run deep,
And occasionally still bleed.
Seeking release from suffering
In Athens; under an old fig tree.
A chance to finally flourish,
Living life in true equanimity.
Searching for answers
To questions forever asked.
Seeking only truth
Following the path ahead
Finding myself on the way.
This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 44 – #Haiku #Haibun or #Tanka: HUNT & FIND
Sore knees kneeling
Inside darkened doorways,
Pants worn to threads,
Back aching bending,
Peering through the keyhole
To see the world outside.
Pure light stinging,
Cannot look away,
Trying to piece together
What is on the other side.
Family and friends
Huddled behind you
Watching puppet shadows
On the wall.
Open the door
—You’ve always had the key—
Pure, blinding, hurting,
Don’t recoil, or turn away,
Stand; face the day,
Open the shades,
Fill the house with light.
Original keyhole image is by Storye Book. It was found at WikiMedia Commons & modified by myself using Photoshop.
Oh, Sophia Shekinah,
Maternal dwelling of the Logos.
From the crown of creation without end,
Wisdom, Understanding: Knowledge.
Understanding wisdom is knowing
That you know nothing.
Shekinah (Hebrew:שכינה ) – Pronounced Sha-kee-nah. Literally “dwelling.” A Rabbinic term for the presence of God, held by some to be the feminine attribute of God. See more here.
Sefirah (Hebrew: סְפִירָה ) – Pronounced Se-fir-ah. Literally “emanation.” A term from Kabbalah. See more here.
Logos (ancient Greek λόγος) – Pronounced “low-gose,” which has been used as a term in Philosophy and Theology since the time of Heraclitus. See more here. I’ve written about the Logos previously.
When going to battle monsters,
Surely the noblest of deeds,
Don’t lose sight of your purpose,
Abandoning your noble creeds.
Don’t be so desperate to win
That noble ends justify any means,
Stained in blood and life of men,
Just like all the other fiends.
No one does evil on purpose,
We all always think we’re right,
‘Til our deeds come back to haunt us
In the dismal darkness of the night.
Standing on the Rubicon shore,
You think you know what to do,
But as you gaze into the Abyss
Know that its gazing into you.
Please note, word “Logos” in the poem below is not the plural of the English word “logo,” rather it is a transliteration of the ancient Greek word λόγος, pronounced “low-gose,” which has been used as a term in Philosophy and Theology since the time of Heraclitus. In some ways, and in some usages, it is similar to the Chinese 道 (Tao) of Taosim.
The logos that can be defined
is not the one eternal Logos,
The word that can be spoken
is not the one true Word,
The tao that can be explained
is not the one everlasting Tao,
The force that can be described
is not the one indivisible Force,
The path that can be walked
is not the one true Path.
Known without learning,
Understood without knowing,
Arrived at without traveling.
One unified whole,
No sides to join,
No inside to be on the outside of,
All is one, one is all,
Binding itself to itself.
Source of everything,
Bookend of eternity,
Rational structure of existence,
That has already been reached.
You can read more about the Tao, the λόγος, and Yin & Yang by following the links.
the same river,
flowing around you changing as you step.
Each moment changing, evolving; growing.
When you step out
you are not
Poem #26 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)
A while back I wrote a tanka about Heraclitus’ River. Its a theme that has always struck a chord with me, as has Heraclitus’ philosophy in general.
The image is a detail from Raphael’s School of Athens featuring Heraclitus, whose features are based on those of Michelangelo.
And, for those keeping track, this is my 200th post on this blog.