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Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma

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Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 12:58 AM
Months ago, I asked Daniel to create this DhO category called "Practice and Culture," and I made a list of subtopics that went far toward defining what I had in mind. However, what he responded with, "Meditation Culture," is too specific and vague at once. What I intended was the intersection of culture and dharma practice. At some point, I'll see if I can convince him to revise the category name and add suggested subtopics, which he liked but I guess didn't have time to add. He works mad doctor's hours, you know, and sacrifies more time to give us MCTB2.

Here, for fun and perhaps even some insight, I'm introducing an ongoing poetry and lyrics thread. Feel free to add poems, lyrics, songs that somehow give voice and picture to some dimension of, or opening into, the Dharma. Feel free to discuss entries, too.

I'll go first. Enjoy. Have fun.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 1:10 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

--Naomi Shihab Nye

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 6:37 AM as a reply to Jenny.


Ñana Banana: An Ode To the Ñanas

Skin itches and mind bitches,
Thoughts shape and entice.
Bubbling chest, thoughts unrest,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Past regrets revelry,
Bubbling chest gets heavy.
Thoughts trapped in agitation net,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Vibes and pains and vibes and aches,
There was never any control for frack’s sake.
Heavy chest, you suck!
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Heavy chest, let’s shine the light,
Vibrating heavy, vibrating delight.
Body bursting and mind is high,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Fast and revolving, and losing hold,
Nothing stable , slightly troubled.
Dissolving makes the head go round,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

What…? Where..? Who is there?
Oh god, so primal. Sweaty palms.
Anxiety makes the tummy grumble,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Awoken dragon, breathing fire,
Body burning with desire.
Avert! Avert! Depression sounds,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Body, mind so bitter-sour,
Life takes on the state of dour.
Disenchantment reigns the day,
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Mind wants out! Enough is had!
Cries for freedom, longing, mad.
Must escape this hell in “me”!
And "I" am nowhere in the mix.

Misery walls, misery moat.
Fort of misery, misery catapult.
Buckle your belt, and hold your ground,
As "you" are nowhere in the mix.

Head above the current tow,
All a flux and all a flow.
Dissipated, wide and calm,
And there is no-one in the mix.

Head still above the shifting tide,
The key is turned, the door swung wide.
The senses cut, the kill switch flicked,
A “Self” was never ever in the mix.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 8:48 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Before you know what kindness really is...


In that this happening
is not unkind
it put to
shame every kindness
mind, mouths, their words
people, put sorrow
on
its body
before sorrow it came
and before every kindness
happening for every sorrow
before every kindness 

Louis Zukofsky

 No. 13 of "29 Songs"

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 12:00 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Sometimes I go about pitying myself,
and all the time,
I am being blown by great winds across the sky.
-Ojibway song

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 12:54 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Words
1. 
What is one to make of a life given 
to putting things into words, 
saying them, writing them down? 
Is there a world beyond words? 
There is. But don’t start, don’t 
go on about the tree unqualified, 
standing in light that shines 
to time’s end beyond its summoning 
name. Don’t praise the speechless
starlight, the unspeakable dawn. 
Just stop.
        
2.         
Well, we can stop 
for a while, if we try hard enough, 
if we are lucky. We can sit still, 
keep silent, let the phoebe, the sycamore, 
the river, the stone call themselves 
by whatever they call themselves, their own 
sounds, their own silence, and thus 
may know for a moment the nearness 
of the world, its vastness, 
its vast variousness, far and near, 
which only silence knows. And then 
we must call all things by name 
out of the silence again to be with us, 
or die of namelessness.

Wendell Berry

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 1:28 PM as a reply to elizabeth.
All of "Four Quartets", by T.S Eliot, but here is the beginning. Formatting is off.:


Burnt Norton
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never openedInto the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.                                  
 But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.                                   
Other echoesInhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner.
Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush?
Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.

So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.T
hen a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.Time past and time future
What might have been and what has beenPoint to one end, which is always present.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 2:06 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Human Sandcastles

Alive on the Shore,
Noticing the Body,
Mounds of Sand,
Awake and Aware. 

The Tide approaches, 
Noticing the Sensations,
Shifts of Sand,
Awake and Aware.

The Tide arrives, 
Noticing the Mind,
Patterns of Sand,
Awake and Aware.

The Tide Departs,  
Noticing the Dhammas,
Shores of Sand,
Awake and A
ware.

Psi











RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 4:36 PM as a reply to Bill F..
A favorite of mine. I read the whole thing every New Year's. I frequently dream the scenes.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 4:40 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Yes, he's very good. Do you like Emily Dickinson? I have a collection of hers that my grandfather gave me that I have tried to work my way into, but I think I'm not smart enough.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 6:27 PM as a reply to Jenny.
snow drops

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 6:40 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 7:24 PM as a reply to Jenny.
The Laughing Heart

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.”

― Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 8:47 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Yes, Bill, I adore E.D. Still, she is quite eccentric, and appreciation for all she is doing in her way-ahead-of-its-fime verse does take some cultivation, or long exposure--like those music albums that take a good while to grow on you, but then are like a subcutaneous incurable fungus.

Oh. Well, maybe "fungus" is not exactly an appealing metaphor. But you know what I mean. Oh, good! So now I'm going to go find my E.D. collected volume of everything. What glory!

(I have three degrees in literature, with main area being 19th century American, so E.D. I've sat with much.)

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/6/15 10:20 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Have you read Harold Bloom's "The Western Canon"? He has an excellent article on Dickinson that made me want to spend a lot time with her work. But I really do struggle with it. Rythmically, I think it is different, more sophisticated than most of the stuff I've read.

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/10/15 12:11 PM as a reply to Jenny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJHquOEChRg

Maybe more 'powers' than dharma but still awesome

RE: Poetry, Lyrics, & the Dharma
Answer
2/12/15 8:27 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Moving Forward

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
in the ponds broken off from the sky
my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes. 

Rainer Maria Rilke