Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Sublime Week

For me, it’s been a sublime week.

I shall  mention only two events, editing out the ten thousand springtime joys that swirl every day around this kindergarten teacher in early May. If I started recounting kindergarten joys, I’d ramble on forever.

Joyous Event One

First, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Tuesday night group, the Society of Friends, which met here May 4. We shared meditation, tea, the Dharma and warm fellowship. I felt nourished by all four.

I could feel Walter’s fellowship among us, blessing us, shining upon us. Saying things like that may sound a bit “West County,” as they say around these parts, but I could feel Walter’s spirit guiding us, encouraging us, and helping us see the Dharma and open our hearts. Walter was dedicated to opening hearts, beginning with his own heart, but helping those around him, too, and he’s still helping us. Thank you, Walter Blum. You are such a good friend. You are here with me, still, friend.

I believe that someday, science will catch up with Buddhism in these matters. It’s already happening to some extent in quantum physics and brain science. When science begins to find the reality Buddhist monks have discovered 2,500 years ago, modern skeptics will find the great joy and deep peace that are quite real and actually achievable by walking along the Buddhist path.


Joyous Event Two

Second, this week I enjoyed giving my very first poetry reading in public. Previously, I’ve read my poetry only to my wife and to the aforementioned Society of Friends.

Thursday night, May 6, I joined Sandy Eastoak in reading at Many Rivers Books and Tea. Our evening’s reading was titled “Poem as Native” and its theme was about reading and writing poetry as a way to open to our actual reality, Mother Earth and the web of life she supports. We experience the world debut of a new participatory poetry form: the Etheread. If someone asks, I'll describe it in the comments section.

Sandy, who is a painter as well as a poet, writes words that make my heart grow. I plan to share some of her poetry here on Mindful Heart in the future.

The poems I shared that evening have all appeared here on this blog. Thursday night was made the more sublime by being attended by special people: Sue from the Society of Friends, Jim Wilson, a poet who has inspired both Sandy and me, a grandparent of one of my kindergartners, among others. Why, you could find in the audience even the Mayor and the Vice-Mayor of Sebastopol—not the poet-Councilmember, sadly, but maybe it was good he didn’t come; there would have been a quorum!

Our evening opened and closed with songs of blessing and healing sung by a Native Pomo Indian healer, Armando.

Sandy surprised me with a gift of a double Etheree that she dedicated to me because she knows I’m beginning to fall in love with soil. The trees have been telling me about soil.

Here, I’ll share it now.


Dirt


he
wants earth
life below
the surface where
leaves shimmer greenly
& birds flit through shadows
he wants worms mouthing darkness
millipedes racing with springtails
through hidden dampness of pregnant soil
drama of decay & mycelium

the secret movement of nutrient breath
the slow leach of rain past roots & stones
gophers & moles twist through tunnels
round white grubs spiral beside
jerusalem crickets
& bacteria
by the millions
renew our
living
soil


Is there any gift finer than a poem?

20 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Perhaps only the gift of sharing them publicly as you did at your reading and as you do here. Thank you Dan.

The Pollinatrix said...

Congratulations on your public debut as a poet, Dan! It's funny because I have been reading poetry in public for years, but I did my first reading of a personal essay a couple of weeks ago, and it was a very different experience.

Your comments about poetry remind me of a Rumi quote I put on Facebook yesterday: "Listen to presences inside poems, let them take you where they will. Follow those private hints, and never leave the premises."

Have a glorious spring weekend! I'm excited to be going on my first camping trip of the year today with my son and toddler.

jinksy said...

Gifts come in many guises - I had one this morning, too, which is on my blog for sharing. Congrats on your poetry reading debut.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Bonnie-- You're right! A poem on the page is one thing. A poem in the voice of the poet, another.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Polli--

Reading poetry was fun! I really enjoyed it, but I know Sandy's being there had a LOT to do with my enjoyment. For years I gave daylong public lectures/workshops featuring only me, me alone. Never again. It's so much more fun working on a team.

Have a good camping trip!

Dan Gurney said...

Jinksy, I'll have a look. Thanks.

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

Dan, a sublime week indeed, and a lovely lovely poem, which must have been truly savoured by the ears in your presence :)
The Buddhist path is a gift, how lucky we are to be shown the Way.
Poetry, too, is a gift of mindfulness. Those words by Rumi are among my favourite.

Lori ann said...

Hi Dan,
I love reading about your joyous events, and most especially your lovely poem. What is an Etheread? I'd like to know more about poetry. Thank you.

steven said...

hi dan! a fine generous post and a poem that's truly exceptional. i think the only thing finer than a poem is the inspiration it draws on. good for you to share your poems publicly. man you're a good brave soul! steven

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Shaista--

Thank you. The path has certainly been a gift for me and I feel grateful to those who've kept it going for 2500 years.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Lori ann. Thank you for asking.

The Etheread is something special. It comes in three phases.

1. First you read an Etheree.

2. Second, you hand out the poem to a number of readers in the audience. These people read lines or phrases from an Etheree poem as they are moved to. The words come randomly up and in different voices. The effect is something like the poem before it's captured on paper... like the thoughts inside the poet's mind and heart in the process of writing it.

3. You read the poem again.

We did it at this poetry reading (the world's first Etheread to my knowledge since I made it up!) and it was just great.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi steven, I think it does take more gumption to read poetry than to post it up on a blog. It turns out to be more fun too. Having a friend to read alongside sure did help. Anything scary is easier to do with a friend.

Lori ann said...

Thank you Dan, that's just beautiful. I had an image of floating words, like leaves falling gently from a tree, coming off in a certain order, then landing in another, but all still leaves. I hope this makes sense.
☺ lori

Alden Smith said...

I agree - There is no finer gift than a poem - and I really enjoyed that one and the others on this blog - great post Dan.

Dan Gurney said...

Lori ann, it makes total sense. I really like this form of poetry because of its simplicity, its unpretentiousness, and its quality of opening up like a blossom.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Pal--

Thank you for saying that! It's really a surprise to me that Mindful Heart has led me into the realm of poetry, both posting other poets and composing my own, and I'm happy about it.

Paul C said...

...the secret movement of nutrient breath... I like the sounds you have created in this poem which reinforce the dynamics present in the soil.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, Paul.

louis vuitton said...

Thank s alot !

Dan Gurney said...

Louis, you are welcome!