During the last few years, I have fallen into an ecstatic embrace of poetry as a portal of sacred nourishment flowing into my life. As part of this newly discovered passion, I have gathered a growing collection of favorite poems, many of which I am privileged to share as part of these weekly journals. As many of the poems that stir me are written by poets who are no longer with us physically, I am continually astounded how these poems carry a palpable, sacred presence and wisdom that these men and women awakened to and captured while they were alive.
I find it mysterious and amazing that who we are as spiritual beings live on through our good works, our artistic creations, and through those we touch and influence as we live our lives. As the ancients ruins in the photo above remind me, it is clear that each of us as a soul has a legacy that resides outside of time. That a poem written hundreds of years ago can continue to bless and serve those throughout history who open to its powerfully healing presence and insight strikes me as nothing short of astonishing.
“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. Yes, indeed.
For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold,
ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary
as bread in the pockets of the hungry. ”
~ Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook
So, whether it be crafting poems, singing a child to sleep at night with a tender lullaby, creating sacred paintings or sculptures or literature, sharing kind words in a heartfelt conversation, or birthing an invention that changes the course of history, I am continuously aware that it is the generosity, learnings, and legacy of our ancestors that we draw upon each day. It is the heritage of their inspiration and labors that sustain us as we endeavor to open to our own unique presence, gifts and purposeful life’s expression.
In celebration for all our ancestors — and the sacred gift of life we’ve each been given the freedom to discover in our own unique ways — here’s a hundreds-year-old poem that’s as alive and radiant as the day it was written:
A BABY PIGEON
by Jelaluddin Rumi
A baby pigeon stands on the edge of a nest all day
Then hears a whistle, “Come to me.”
How could he not fly toward that?
Wings tear through the body’s robe
when the letter arrives that says,
“You’ve flapped and fluttered
against limits long enough.
You’ve been a bird without wings
in a house without doors or windows.
Compassion builds a door. Restlessness cuts a key.
Step off proudly into sunlight, not looking back.
Take sips of this pure wine being poured.
Don’t mind that you’ve been given a dirty cup.”
Blessings from my heart to your wings, Gavin