A HOST OF ANGELS
Billions of souls afloat in the cosmos
and I'm on my way home.
Like the brother in the field,
I dropped my scythe where I stood.
There's another harvest I must attend
where I'll be cut off at the knees.
My horse has gotten a whiff of the barn.
Nothing can keep me now from my Beloved's gate.
My name in His throat, the name He gave me,
ages ago, when I was first sent out
a host of angels over my shoulder
and the highway rising up to greet me.
Billions of laboring souls lost in the maze,
tossing in feverish sleep
and my Beloved has come to awaken me;
billions of souls drunken from rage, lust and hate
and my Beloved offering His sobering wine.
O child of God, look beyond this ephemeral existence
into the ageless face of your Beloved.
HEART OF MINE
Heart of mine, be a dark rose
pleasing in scent and shade;
an anchor around which
my puttering boat circles;
a house left to seed, wisteria
growing through every crack;
the fruit of a cactus,
a beast of burden, caked with sweat and dust;
a banked fire under soil and snow,
a valley floor below the mountain ridges;
heart of mine, become a flame
to devour this crumbling dream of self.
O child of God, you belong to the Beloved,
Who will shape your heart as He pleases.
This old watch won't be repaired
but tossed into a drawer to collect dust;
a pine box of bones and a suit of rags
lowered into a shallow grave.
Giving up any notion of salvation,
all I have is Your name on my tongue
and the cold stone of Your Tomb.
I won't be saved but You will
Love prevails and whatever shards and shavings,
by Your grip are firmly shaken from me,
will not drop into the grave
but catch the wind,
spill and glint brilliantly
upon the freshly turned earth.
O child of God, can you measure a dream?
What is the value of God's hand
placed upon on your shoulder?
I thought wine was the gift, so I complained
when the intoxication wore off.
Now I find seedlings of Your mercy
roses along the spine, their scent,
years later, reaching my nostrils
and the still, quiet pool beneath my ribs,
the grassy meadows, the web of rills.
I'd packed for a long journey. You motioned
for me to set down my bags
and share one last cup.
Becoming inconsolable, drunk and unruly,
the taxi left without me.
You led me back inside.
There's a garden in my chest
and You've invited me to stick around 'til spring.
O child of God, whatever the Beloved has planned for you,
be sure it's nothing like what you imagine.
I used to panic not feeling Your touch,
but now I know You're only adjusting Your grip.
You have Your hand on me!
That's the rare kernel of this odd, random life;
my comfort in this dreamscape
of impairment, bewilderment and fear.
I've gladly forked over all my cash.
The truth will come out in the end.
Someone will be by to collect my ticket.
I'll give him the one You purchased.
Authorities will ask for my papers.
We'll find out who I really am.
Darkness gathers as the train hurtles
toward the outer provinces;
the cold sharpens; tongues become stranger
and more raucous.
I panic when I get the notion I'm a lone traveler.
I don't know where I'm going! But Your valise is by the window;
Your scent lingers in the narrow compartment.
You've just stepped out for a bit of air.
O child of God, you want freedom from pain.
Love is an acid that dissolves every bond you hold dear.
A drop in the ocean exists only
when removed abstractly from its milieu;
then we may put it under a microscope
assign it innocence or guilt.
At the crossroads of a dreamscape,
which way is valid? East or west? North or south?
Of what use is an elaborate tea ceremony,
if the drinking water is contaminated?
Truth concerns not Itself with choices.
Eruch said, 'True love is no sacrifice.'
Suppose Abraham's terrible freedom
was established in the raising of his knife;
Isaac's freedom in the trust of his father
one surrender tucked securely within the other.
And perhaps there was another surrendering
beyond imagination and conception,
union requiring some sort of reciprocal dissolution
the illusory drop absorbed into the oceanic whole.
O child of God, freedom of choice is cutting you to bits.
Only those who have no choice are free.
Time upon me now like a dog
gnawing the gristle off a bone;
body shrinking behind a hesitant smile
at the mercy of everything that moves.
Undertaker in the mirror, dressing up a corpse.
Which way to part the hair across the skull?
Loose dirt under my heels will soon rain
upon my casket like the knocking on a door.
Let death and I be well acquainted by then
an old lover with whom I've flirted for years.
Tuck death under my arm
and everywhere I go
I shall hear her shallow breathing ...
and Your deep, everlasting silence beneath.
O child of God, kiss death before you die
and (the Masters say) taste life eternal.
READING THE LABEL
The mystery can't be put into words
but it can be written in blood;
shaped by the arrangement
of certain human bones.
You walked the earth; took in the view
but held Your tongue, Your rambunctious body
upsetting the bullock cart pulses aflutter;
necks craned and blushing,
ears pricked up; heart-throats,
long empty, suddenly filled with song.
The blood of Jesus is precious
because it runs thick with the mystery of Love.
Reaching for the hem of Your garment
when You wore Your Jesus robe
the infirm woman needed not scripture ...
but the soul-stirring presence of the Soul of souls
moving majestically through the pressing crowd.
O child of God, please understand reading
the wine bottle's label will never make you drunk.
SKY BLUE COAT
I followed a map of the world. It turned
down a narrow path leading to the ocean.
From there I could see nothing matters
but the folding of myself into You.
Then, let love be my measure and my guide.
I've known love enough in this lifetime
to know it's not blind,
but wide-eyed and vigilant;
not intoxication but an unearthly sobriety
penetrating the chronic delirium of the false view.
How wondrous the heart at the same time
an encrusted anchor and a fluttering bird;
bruised rose and captured hare;
a torch, a goblet;
an upraised fist and weathered valise.
The pages where my story is written
fold and tuck them away into the pocket
of my Beloved's sky blue coat.
O child of God, drop your bags and run
headlong into the Master's arms.
Beloved, what have You done?
You've asked to be loved!
Such words are spoken
and mankind breaks out
the racks and whips, scaffolds,
crosses, blades and chains.
God is Love You say;
nothing matters but love for God.
Nothing matters but love for Love.
You've come not to teach the inexplicable,
but, to Love ...
O child of God, words can't pierce Love's mantle,
but one bold act might aright a wayward world.
HOW TO LOVE GOD
First time in Mumbai, I almost drowned
among the sea of strangers.
Now I hold a different view everywhere I go,
my only relationship is with You.
The wall between us is made of flesh and bone.
Crack open the heart, You're that hollowness.
There's an alcove, a rough-hewn haven
where the mortar is especially weak,
where dari is spoken home;
faces dear; voices honeyed.
This is the most practical way
from the center working outward.
Bougainvilleas cling to the garden walls,
the mortar compromised;
their insistent labor will one day
pull every barrier down.
O child of God, only you and the Beloved exist
and you, according to the teachings, are an illusion.
CULTIVATE A THIRST
A starving man so the proverb goes
has only one problem.
How many problems have you, O child?
Vain and pampered, attired in propriety,
having gotten another bellyful of the world
who would drop a coin into your cup?
Never mind that your poverty is real
beneath those fashionable robes.
It's not renunciation that's required
but acknowledgement and confession.
'Cultivate a thirst,' Rumi said.
Lovers who burn ache for a quenching.
A man in a lifeboat may draw water from the sea,
slaking his thirst, but dooming himself
failing to satisfy the deep need within.
O child of God, hold out your begging bowl.
Nothing matters but love for God.
SOON TO BLUR
There are all sorts of theories about You.
I don't know what to believe.
So, long ago, I stopped believing
our relationship, beyond belief ... beyond disbelief.
Rain falls and I don gear to keep me dry.
Where is opinion and belief in that?
Mortar holds the bricks together.
Oil lubricates the mechanisms.
The eightfold path a photo taken from space;
no conjectures there.
I take my Beloved for granted.
Didn't He promise He is always with me?
O pilgrims, I am a raindrop soon to blur into the Ocean.
My opinion is, my opinion is of little consequence
using what works and discarding what fails,
I find my Beloved closer than the vein in my neck.
O child of God, discard that six foot pole,
sink to the ocean's bottom to find out where you are.
LIKE THE ANGELS
Angels troubled the water ...
and left other evidence.
'Carry me to the healing pool!' I cried.
But the cure was already in my throat
and the slow settling of my body
into the cradle of Your arms.
Crookedness made straight;
the diseased made whole.
How liberally flowed the blood and tears,
thinned by Your wine.
You've the remedy for my afflictions.
Everyone else is selling snake oil.
The angels were drawn to You
to the nectar of Your Essence.
O Beneficent One! Our destination is unimportant
I'm one of Your entourage now, like the angels
crowding the sky above Your head, rushing
to keep pace with Your long, holy strides!
O child of God, you're in good company.
Stay hard on the heels of your Beloved.
You spoke of a hidden treasure.
I began ransacking my house.
Neighbors witnessed the obsessive lunacy
turning convenient arrangements into utter chaos.
Thieves enter my dwelling now,
have a good laugh and go home.
Underneath, we must all be great beings
else our suffering has no meaning.
Perhaps you've found a soul mate
who's come by a different route
but who has evolved in a similar way.
Meher Baba is the soul mate of the world,
the Great Strider, flag-bearer,
breaker of the ribbon strung across infinity.
His journey is your journey.
His journey is your journey.
This Avatar business is a sweetheart deal
how did I ever sneak into the movie house
and find a seat on the third row?
O child of God, allow Meher Baba to simplify your life
turning your ten thousand desires into One.
I hadn't a clue so You scattered a few about
sandal prints under my windows;
sacred threads snagged in the hedgerow;
Your blood staining the cross within my chest.
People wonder why I go on about this!
It's ancient history, they say.
I'm like the angler whose trophy fish is mounted
above the mantle
I can't stop spinning tales about it!
Especially when Your wine gets me drunk
and I feel again the excitement of finding You
on the end of my line.
Gone forever the despair of empty nets
pulled again and again from the sea of illusion.
My nets are bursting now, my vessel in danger of sinking
under the weight of Your bounty.
Jesus must have smiled when I turned down Your street
He'd sent me that way years ago looking for You.
O child of God, the Avatar is the fisher of men.
It's His hook causing that pain in your chest.
MY HEART'S BEATINGS
I swallowed Your wine,
causing me to dance in the streets;
letting my heart slip out a bit
from under the heel of my brain
the caravanserai licensed again
to traffic in the goods of companionship.
Your wine sings in my blood, years later,
not with the rough immediacy of tavern songs
but with the hymns and psalmodies of praise,
an influence to my every movement,
a blood-part of me, the strength of me,
the heaven's sake of my heart's beatings.
When this cup is crushed, when my blood is dust,
(judging the Infinite from the particular), I pray
Your wine will sing through me still,
filling my veins and throat, core and skull
with Your wine and light and song
on my wondrous way to becoming You.
O child of God, wine loosens your tongue and sends you
rambling beyond the bounds of propriety.
THIS RARE MINGLING
From a child's downed back
sprouted wings of loneliness
propelling me, through a lifetime
randomly and erratically, to You.
Your stone brought me down
wrestling like Jacob with the angel;
feathers dirtied, wine-stained;
collapsed upon the tavern floor.
Fiercely embracing You,
loneliness fled in a wash of tears.
After much doting and fussing
my Companion whispered,
"Drink deeply this rare mingling of dust and wine.
Drink to honor your loneliness ....
It has led you to the threshold of God."
O child of God, existence was built upon
the loneliness of the One without a second.
FISH OUT OF WATER
That which is beyond imagination and conception
call It the Ocean of Love to get a handle on It.
I am drawn to the Ocean
where there's no friction;
no property, no boundaries or partitions.
I'm weary of the animal coming out,
in myself and others, barking,
snarling through bared teeth.
I'm ready for the flood
to leave us paddling about
until we exhaust ourselves
and sink to the bottom.
You, of course, were a Fish out of water, a Pisces,
showing us how to be Piscean
moving through this here-and-now
Ocean of Love gracefully strong,
eyes unblinking to the Truth,
going about Your business
the silent expression of Who You are.
O child of God, the Beloved, closer than your breath,
invites you to drown in His Ocean of Love.
A TASTE FOR CROW
I used to pray for a heartskin
bursting with wine. Now I ask for milk.
I used to study dervish tales, now I listen
for my grandfather's ghost
sweeping the hallways of the old junior high.
On my return from star-gazing last night,
I tracked the temple floor with mud.
I prayed to the Holy Ghost, elbowing aside
the fellow on the prayer rug next to me.
This dream of realization is covered in dust.
I'm reluctant to smudge my clean white gloves ...
or to acquire a taste for crow.
My heart is a star, burning blue-white, but
yielding no warmth across space.
O child of God, Your Beloved is everywhere,
yet diligently you guard the gates of your true Self.
GARMENT OF LEAVES
Heart like an apple core
that's where the seeds are.
People take you for a lunatic
but it's just the inner thunder
giving you that far away look,
(as Adam must have looked,
gazing back across the garden pale),
impeding nimble strides and coherent speech.
What's a man's gait anyway,
but a limping away from his destiny?
Or smooth talk if his seeds are stone?
The crooked path he follows
can only lead back to where he began
the garden in the chest.
It's all there in the core root, leaf, bark, fruit;
soil, water, sky. Time makes us think
the apple in our hand is ripe and ready
to sink our teeth into.
O child of God, shed that garment of leaves.
Venture naked into the new world.
Each morning I say the Prayers —
I have for years — words well worn,
rolling off my tongue slightly sweet — like prasad.
I begin earnestly but, soon my mind
drifts away like a lost kite; like a boy
gazing from his classroom window
or a toddler nodding off in the church pew.
Would anyone fault that schoolboy
for preferring the day's green pleasures?
Or the child wandering off to dreamland
under a preacher's sonorous tones?
I go easy on myself, saying the words You left,
trying to keep awake, trying to stay focused
on the blackboard at the head of the class.
O child of God, it's arrogant to consider yourself more
than a toddler playing at the Master's feet.
You taught Peter to walk on the water —
until fear turned his feet to lead.
Now, You're urging me to float
this concrete body
upon a plane so insubstantial,
not grabbing or flailing;
not reaching back upon the empty
mechanics of swimming,
but lying gently
in the shape of a cross,
drifting towards infinity,
feeling at my neck's nape,
and the small of my back,
Your fingertips ...
until they, too,
dissolve into Ocean.
O child of God, trust the Sea.
Roll with the waves.
HOUSE OF MIRRORS
There's a door at the
back of my heart
opening upon a
heaven-lit garden —
the moon: the shining
bow of a ship
I stumble upon that
door occasionally —
(an exit from this
house of mirrors)
linger at the
Your flute-music is on
scented with jasmine
When the music pauses,
I hear a Voice
calling my name.
But, always, always, I
into the depths of my
where mirror upon
the image of the one I
O child of God, how
long will this enchantment last?
Find that door again
and escape this house of mirrors.
Each morning now I
climb the Hill; offering
three strings of
standing just northeast
of Infinity with a view
of Your lying-down
lift my eyes to wonder
at the vaulted structure
under which I pray —
the muscular, veined
of the cavern of my
Your sun, also, rising
over my left shoulder,
my heart's walls
thinner and thinner
like beaten gold
to one day burst and
the parched valley
Each morning I awaken
climb this Hill,
wherever I am,
garlands pressed to my
delivering to the stone
of Your lying-down
three garlands — the
of Your everyday, holy
O child of God, you
dream of India.
The Samadhi's path
begins at the doorsteps
of your own
We're not the kind of
engage in arguments and
who climb upon tables
and loudly hold forth.
We drift to the edges;
sink deeply into
wonderment holds our
We know when we've
had enough —
the wall we're
leaning against becomes the floor.
We might be coaxed into
cheek to cheek with
the timbre of some
with purity of intent,
others raspy from
and a lifetime of
We're the ones with
sour breaths; befuddled
If we have a clear
thought at all,
extraordinarily fortunate we are
to have found our way
to the Tavern and been served
from the Winekeeper's
O child of God, how
rare is this gift of wine?
Few in all the world
have ever known its taste.
Women from the well in
water jars spilling not
a drop —
so I place my Beloved
above my head,
conducting this world's
How precarious it
juggling my faith, here
often weighty and
absurd — a pain in the neck, really,
but I never think of
I'd rather be wrong
about my Beloved,
than right about
Other religions have
snapped under me,
their bones diseased to
but the burden of my
in the Beloved has
lifted me —
at times, my whole
threatening to fly
O child of God, you
have no choice in the matter.
The Ancient One has
knocked upon your door.
external scaffolding, but changes within.
be the Architect, I'll be the mason
a new Meherazad,
by stone within the chest —
structures of functional design,
flower-laden; worn from use,
solidly built, reverentially maintained;
more beautiful as they fade.
gather those old saints again,
on the veranda,
love and laughter,
child of God, capture the essence of Meherazad;
it with you wherever you go.
A QUESTION OF LOVE
called Yourself Highest of the High.
haven't the equipment to measure that.
scales can't balance Infinity.
outrageous and preposterous, this claim!
my heart, nudging my brain,
"Let's buy it!"
Your precinct, the heart holds authority over the head.
want me to believe You're the Christ?
enough for me. I want what You want.
has become a question of Love.
child of God, Meher declares himself the Avatar;
offer Him the gift of
WINDOW OF TIME
O Beloved, You were
Remind us of that
the intellectuals chase Your words
God Speaks and Lord Meher,
them like butterflies —
their bright shells left;
as if the man Himself was behind glass
Truth through that small window of time.
our dark dreaming, let us not expect words
awaken us but the Word of His Love,
have been forever longing to hear.
child of God, listen with the heart's ear —
words and silence both strike to the core.
once owned a tea set
great delicacy and beauty.
the years, it became chipped,
cracked and broken ...
there were episodes of destructive rage,
that when You turned up at my door,
if You might trouble me
a spot of tea,
I had to offer,
my extreme poverty,
lukewarm water served in the cup of my palms.
accepted my gift and I became Your slave.
child of God, lament not your recklessness and ignorance.
you been prepared, His lips might never
touched your fingertips.
once had a future. I gave it up
pursue the ghost of love.
fault, my Dear.
the wild goose I chase.
to be done, when a flirtation
for me, people of the world,
your various rows and pews,
rugs and tatamis.
lost data that can't be retrieved.
Beloved, You know my complaints are just love-patter
draw Your ear closer to my hungry lips.
child of God, remembrance is a method of liberation.
can't seem to get the Beloved out of your head.
I offered my begging
You poured it full of
I remain poor, but no
drunk on the richness
of Your wine.
Deep in my bowl, for
the first time —
a glimmer of hope.
This intoxication is
the gate to a vineyard
where the Spirit soars,
the human clot left in the dust.
I know to Whom this
I will sing drunkenly
under the heavens
His holy name, near the
until He appears to
lead me inside.
O child of God, abandon
yourself in this beggar's bowl
to be one day lost in
His holy vineyard.
SWEET ON THE TONGUE
They gave You a lovely
sweet on the tongue —
they called You Mercy.
Other names would have
Purity ... Valor ...
but not quite hit the
Mercy is what we're
with Your name on our
O Meher —
sweet on the tongue,
the sacred Rose around
a multitude of
Your name in their
gathers and sings,
hoping to catch Your ear.
O child of God, the
Beloved has a thousand names.
Call Him by the one
that drips like sugar
your lips and tongue.
I have always adopted,
in this human dilemma,
but, secretly, I long
for a love that makes no sense.
My every motive is
while my heart's
wings propel me, inexorably,
Let those royal falcons
build their nests
in the clefts and crags
of Your holy mountain.
I want only to throw
myself over the edge.
Let them haunt the
My fate is farther down
where Your ocean
Below that rugged
disintegration and utter stillness I crave.
O child of God, your
longing is romantic and self-serving.
When will you see
yourself as you really are?
And so it happened one
under the cover of a
an inmate slipped over
the wall and was gone.
Imagine his surprise,
when a jailer escaped with him!
They traveled together
as far as the state line,
the inmate turning east
— toward freedom;
the jailer ditching his
uniform and rifle,
wandering off in search
of lost innocence.
confinement," he declared, "no longer
So saying, he strode,
naked and nonchalant, into the sunset.
O child of God, how
long will you persist in this folly —
trying to describe bits
and pieces of the Indescribable.
Stripped to the waist,
hair tied back,
lean and sweaty, the
mandali at Your elbow
as You labored to build
Yourself a fortress
where thousands of Your
to lay hearts and
flowers, but for years
the work progressed
and even the mandali
had no idea
the foundations You
the mortar, blood,
sweat and stone
encircling that holiest
of holy ground ....
Planted in the
hillside, Your body
growing a garden built
of solid walls,
well-rooted neems and
crisscrossed paths Your
feet wore down;
established by Love and
ardor to endure
for as long as forever
needs to be.
O child of God, He
spent a lifetime laying stones
for the years to come
without His human form.
THE CROSS WITHIN MY CHEST
You gave me three sons,
an inkling of the
grandeur and price
You pay for loving Your
As they leave my door,
I pray for them
to move unscathed
through a world
of torment and deceit.
Suffering is prasad —
they must surely
drink from that cup
but, nothing reveals so
the paucity of my
the cross within my
as these three figures
disappearing over the
Like Joseph, I know —
I'm not the Father.
Like Abraham, I'm
love and trust; terror
the intersection of
roughly joined and
nailed beneath my flesh.
O child of God, teach
Strong faith will
inspire your sons to courage.
A GOLD COIN
You asked me to follow You.
Like Jonah, there were places I'd rather be.
The belly of a fish can be made comfortable
if the foreign shore holds enough dread —
darkness can be soothing to the eyes;
that constant stench can carry
the solace of familiarity.
You said, "get naked." When I didn't
shed my clothes quickly enough,
You took matters into Your own hands.
These days, I go about repeating Your name
like hammering nails into a coffin.
Make me a gold coin, Lord, glittering in the sunlight,
when You finally slit the fish's belly.
O child of God, the Beloved is pointing out,
with His graceful finger, the land of milk and honey.
ROUGH AND TUMBLE
You are a wild stag.
I spied You at the hill's crest;
followed You down the deer run
into a labyrinth of paths
hidden under fallen leaves. Somehow
I managed to lasso Your neck.
Now the adventure has begun.
I can't let go of the rope or rein You in,
a rough and tumble journey
but, O, the sights revealed!
I was lost when we met, more lost now &mdash
but ... You know where we're going.
I've nothing to lose following You
and everything to gain!
O child of God, you've nothing to gain
and everything to lose!
The taste of love is bitter in my mouth.
I can't swallow it; I can't spit it out.
Give me the definition of love —
but don't use any words.
I've been given enough words.
All day long I beg for it
but, at night, when I empty my pouch
there's nothing but loose change.
How will this beggarly life ever make me rich?
Show me where to dig to strike the secret vein.
How do I split myself open just right
so that key of Yours might be
inserted into the padlock?
O child of God, in your quest for wealth, ask yourself,
"Who is the one so impatient and dissatisfied?"
Once an infidel, Your pristine love evoked fidelity.
I'm faithful now, not to God, but to a human being
Who walked the path Jesus walked,
all the way to Golgotha.
But more intimate than that —
faithful to the One Who poured the wine
into my cup;
Who rested His hand on my shoulder;
Who gestured tenderly, "You belong to Me."
I can't reach beyond that form and personality.
It's self-serving and calculated — I want to be You;
filled with Your Essence until nothing else remains.
O child of God, the Avatar is made of flesh and blood;
therein lies His majesty.
O Beloved, You bathed the feet of lepers,
rinsing away centuries of accumulated dirt.
Then You touched Your holy forehead to their distended stumps.
Beautiful birds in ugly cages, You called them.
Only You could see their true beauty.
In the years I have been with You, O Beloved,
parts of me have atrophied and fallen away.
Through the eyes of the world, I now seem disfigured;
crippled and useless —
I am a beggar at Your door, desperate to remain
in Your good graces.
I have been slowly dying, one appurtenance at a time.
O Beloved, let the beautiful flame of a bird within me
sing fervently among these ruins!
Let me serenade You as the cage that entraps me
cracks and rusts away.
O child of God, rejoice within your ugly cage.
Your Beloved is that beautiful bird that flares and sings
brightly within you.
THE GOOD THIEF
On Judgment Day, who will your theories and opinions impress?
O child of God, will you stand before the throne
as a devout believer or as a man of faith?
Beliefs are straw a desperate man stuffs into a suit of rags,
hoping to keep at bay his dark, circling fears.
A man of faith is empty. His strength comes from another source.
His coat flutters loosely from the crossbeam.
The Roman soldiers gambled for Jesus' robe
while the real treasure hung nearby, naked and vulnerable.
From another cross, the unrepentant thief railed against heaven
with a bitter tongue.
His logical assertions condemned him to hell.
But, at the last possible moment, the good thief stole paradise.
He called out to his Beloved from a point of utter helplessness.
O child of God, will you go to your Beloved stuffed with worthless notions
or become a man of faith, empty and unafraid?
MY GREEN HEART
O Meher, You said we must live for God and die for God.
I once thought these were two different things.
Now I see they are one.
The more death makes brittle my bones, greener
and suppler is my heart.
Suppleness is necessary for yielding.
Death is necessary ... for new growth.
In the Tomb, sitting at Your feet, a fire ravaged my house.
The floor of my chest turned to burning coals.
Underneath the blackened rafters, settled among the ash,
my green heart now is weaving a nest.
Wonderful things have sprung up: these ghazals,
songs of praise; tears of gratitude ... attempted fidelity,
an awkward love ....
"Why not consider yourself already dead?" You asked.
This makes sense to me. I was born in Your Tomb.
O child of God, one morning the old shell gave way to new growth
and turned your blackened heart green.
Onstage, You appeared —
gesturing profundities; dramatic
in Your flowing gown and hair,
the silent center of the whole production.
Curtains fell ... and the actor emerged
from under spirit gum and costume, make-up and wig.
But his bearing and authority had been Yours!
His gestures and movements — stolen
from Your matchless Beauty!
O Beloved, how often does my ego make itself up,
a cheap imitation of Meher Baba,
strutting the stage in Your righteous, humble coat,
finger-pointing, glad-handing, judging others and myself,
while, underneath, a sweating imposter
labors for his own amusement and gratification?
Curtains fall ... I'm alone again onstage
with my awkward posturing; my ceaseless hypocrisy.
O child of God, accept the egocentric nature of your being.
Even the righteousness you don is tainted by the false self.
THE BURDEN OF LOVE
O Beloved, You said, "God is Love."
Before I met You I had trouble believing in God.
You know the story.
How can God exist with so much suffering in the world
so much cruelty and injustice, with death separating us all in the end?
But after many years with You, my question is:
How can there not be a God?
with so much suffering, injustice, cruelty and death?
How can there not be a God to ultimately balance the scales of Justice,
to restore Love and Mercy,
to reunite us with all the loved ones we have innocently lost?
The doubters say religion is a crutch, but I ask them,
"Who do you know who is not crippled?
Show me one heart that has not borne the burden of love."
O Compassionate Father, I believe in the Eternal because You
When the body of Zarathushra was discarded,
You entered the Sacred Flame.
After Rama and Krishna, You blended into the totality of existence.
At the appointed hour, Buddha ate the mushrooms
and disappeared into Nothingness.
Mohammed flew to Paradise; Jesus ascended into Heaven.
This time, as Meher Baba, You dropped Your perfect body
only to reappear within the human heart.
How much closer to us has this incarnation brought You!
O child of God, Jesus in not hiding somewhere behind the moon.
His sandals can be found outside the door of every humble heart.
GOD'S THROAT AND EAR
Mohammed crawled into the cave of His heart
and began to sing.
What came out was God's music.
Gabriel taught Him the verses,
then, sat enraptured at His feet.
In the desert bloomed the oasis of Islam;
stars crowding the dome of His mosque.
When You returned, O Ancient One,
You chose silence.
Maybe the kiss and stone gave You the clue
or Tajuddin Baba's perfect rose.
Aware of what had become of Your words,
You sang to God with Your hands.
O child of God, praise the song of Meher Baba,
Who has captured God's throat and ear.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions?
I'm hoping it's the road to Paradise.
Oftentimes, I miss the mark but, more and more,
my intentions are to serve You.
My love-arrows fall short
and stab someone in the foot.
I spread my cape on the ground —
an elegant lady sinks up to her bloomers in mud.
My cup of kindness ... often filled with nettle tea.
I'm like a man on a crowded bus —
Reaching to help this one, I knock that one's hat off
and poke my umbrella into someone's ribs.
Turning to apologize, I wallop the entire third row,
distract the driver and cause a rear-end collision.
O child of God, fondly recall your Beloved's promise
that God hears only the language of the heart.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEART
There are deeper truths, I gather,
than the grace of Your hands,
the light in Your eyes; more to grasp
than Your gown's hem;
actions to be taken, vows to uphold
beyond mere devotion and remembrance
but, whenever the conversation at the table
gets too heavy, You give a wink
and we leave the others,
taking our wine cups into the garden
to view the stars, enjoy the night air,
perhaps, share a poem or two.
There's work to be done but, Lord,
let's save it for another lifetime.
While I have You here, (if it be Your pleasure),
let me hold You and hold You and hold You,
until this weary world and my form within it
fades into dust and nothingness.
O child of God, you've grown dangerously fond of His wine
and that delicious prasad called knowledge of the heart.
JESUS FOR ADULTS
"Suffer the children to come unto Me."
I was a child when I first heard those words.
'Suffer', it was explained to me, means 'allow'.
Jesus for adults in our church
was the Lamb of God, but to the children
He was the Shepherd and we were His flock.
Later, from Meher, I learned Jesus was not here
to save me from the cross
but to show me the Way to hang,
shouldering that weight for me
as far up the hill as He could get.
Suffering real, unavoidable, bitter as gall,
heavy as those rough-hewn timbers;
sharp as spikes and thorns.
Jesus loved the adults from high on a cross
but He took the children into His arms, heart to heart,
teaching that our love for Him
is as important as His love for us.
O child of God, surrender is the way of liberation.
To suffer means to allow.
O Beloved, the intellectuals among us
probe Your every word seeking hidden compartments.
I wish them well.
For many years I tried soaking up the Ocean
through the sponge of my brain.
Now I'm afraid Your wine
has seriously impaired my cerebral abilities.
Spouting ingenious theories of God and man,
Your wave rolled in and left me gasping for air.
What's a few consonants strung together with vowels,
when the Ocean floods the lowlands
and carries your life's accumulations out to sea?
Where is sure footing in fathomless water?
Which directions matter when all I see is Ocean?
What else is there to do now, but float face up and wonder
what You have in mind for the rest of my life?
O child of God, words of the Avatar are like bread to His lovers,
but it's the Master's wine that soaks you head to foot.
THE TONGUE OF GOD
Have you heard the tale of the clever orator
who drew thousands to his feet?
He began calling himself the tongue of God.
But one day he met his Master
Who wasnt gentle with him;
Who unsheathed a mighty sword
and cut the tongue from the mans head,
such articulacy gone in a single stroke.
His eloquent arms were severed from his body
and he was hanged from his ankles.
He became the tongue of a giant bell
calling the entire world to prayer.
It wasnt the bells sweet pealing
which drew the multitudes,
but the silent ecstasy of the great orator,
crushed and duly employed by the Master.
O child of God, why do you tremble and moan?
You are in the doting arms of the Compassionate One.