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In a Dark Time

(by Theodore Roethke)

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood —
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks — is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is —
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

black hole man

he was a black hole man
an invisible centre
he was being not-there
holding things together

said ‘you know it takes nothing
to make things spin’
and i saw nothing
when i looked at him

now i’m a black hole man
’cause i couldn’t absorb it
’til i fell in the centre
of my own orbit

and there’s nothing the matter
no, nothing at all
and i’m circling round it
and i feel the call

and we are black hole men
in a world of matter
and we move together
though we seem to be scattered

and it’s up, down, strange, top
falling in will never stop

but if you can read rumi
while you think john bell
better look in a mirror
while you still can

before gravity fails
and you’re a black hole man

— Sept. 22, 2006

 

sumach leaves / arranged around a hole, by Andy Goldsworthy

The Circle Around the Zero

(Rumi, version by Coleman Barks)

A lover doesn’t figure the odds.
He figures he came clean from God as a gift without a reason,
and so he gives without cause or calculation or limit.

A conventionally religious person behaves a certain way to achieve salvation.
A lover gambles everything — the self, the circle around the zero.
He or she cuts and throws it all away.
This is beyond any religion.

Lovers do not require from God any proof or any text.
Nor do they knock on the door to make sure this is the right street.
They run and they run.