Wednesday, March 9, 2011


With a nod to Bonnie and Ruth for bringing it up:

when i was seventeen
i was bewildered

i had lost faith in christianity
forlorn, empty—
like a forgotten garbage can

i knew that i was
—without faith in jesus—
not worthless or empty

i found a teacher and sat
for decades—

sitting practice:
me chasing after
ease, equanimity, enlightenment

these three had been here
all along
waiting for me to notice them

breath followed breath
sitting revealed faith
just sitting revealed what is

searching in shadows
feeling sun warm
shoulders, back, heart

a haiku:

like whales in the sea
we breathe, writhe, make love, pray and
sing in sure, blind faith

May I read it to you?


Ruth said...

Dan, I love this reading of you! I was so taken with what you wrote in your comment at my faith post, that we swim in faith like fish in water. And here is your blue whale. It was a revelation to me, because I had said to Bonnie in response to her comment that after leaving the church, like you feeling "forlorn and empty" -- now, I feel that my faith is as big as the sky. Truly though, when you said that about swimming in faith, I realized that I am in faith as much as faith is in me! When my eyes opened to that (gradually, and with greater insight now thanks to you), I realized how vast it is. Well I keep realizing it. Losing forms!

Except haiku forms, those are good.

Bonnie said...

Beautifully expressed Dan. It has to be in us, to come from us, doesn't it? Thus why we see every human seeking or declaring faith in something greater than themself.

steven said...

hoo boy dan - what a painting of you! steven

George said...

Lovely, Dan, a nice continuum of this discussion that began with the postings of Bonnie and Ruth. We don't need religion, in my view, but we do need faith — I do, at least.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes yes and YES. In adolescence, part of the job description (I think) is to lose faith in everything: family, parents, spirituality. In young adulthood or maybe in middle adulthood it's our job to regain faith in something or another. That's evolution. Very cool. Thanks, Dan.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So so beautiful. And I love the haiku and the beautiful whale.......

Tess Kincaid said...

"...these three had been here
all along waiting for me to notice them" Beautiful. (Loved hearing you read this to me.)

Jo said...

I often say I was just an embryo at seventeen. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

Life unfolds in unmitigated beauty for those who are quiet enough to notice.

Your poem is quietly joyous. Thank you for reading it, too.

jeanne leigh said...

Beautiful. I love this. Thank you.

Margaret Pangert said...

To Dan, Your post is beautiful, and your voice gives it the weight of a great narrative poet...
I think we could be more like whales if we could just lose our consciousnesses... remember the Chinese parable about the monk who was angry his friend had to carry a woman acrosss a mud puddle? His friend says, "Whay are you still carrying her? I put her down hours ago." That's how whales are.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Ruth, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Long ago I thought faith was simply in relationship to the extent we willingly suspended our doubt about the stories of the church. Boy, it's a lot bigger than that!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Bonnie. Faith is all around. We have faith in big and miniature things. For example, I act on faith that the warm water will arrive in the faucet when I turn the left handle on my sink.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, steven. I'm pretty different than the guy I was at 17. Plus, with that lowercase "i" I'm willing to employ a little bit of poetic license. My poetry is not strictly autobiographical, whatever that's supposed to mean.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya. Yep evolution. The changing doesn't stop, does it? It seems evolving is about all I ever do these days, assuming there's even an "I" there to evolve, and I'm not at all sure that there is.

Dan Gurney said...

George, yes. I like this little corner of the blog world because it acts like a community that I don't actually live in, but get to participate in anyway. It's a fertile group here.

Dan Gurney said...

SBS, thank you. I enjoyed composing it. The haiku came first, the rest later. I struggled whether just to post the 17 syllables and let them stand up on their own. I wonder what you think.

Dan Gurney said...

Tess, the inspiration to record the poems I post came from you and from Ruth who showed me their value. To you, I tip my hat.

Am I the only one who find poetry much easier to understand when it is read aloud?

Dan Gurney said...

Jo, at 17 I felt more like a statue. I was so damn sure of myself! I thought I knew just about everything there was to know and that the "older generation" was completely, almost completely worthless. I couldn't have been more off base.

Dan Gurney said...

Margaret, I often wonder about whales. I know that their brains are much larger and more complex than human brains... why would they be unless for thinking, dreaming, singing? I suspect, strongly suspect that humans are not even close to the most intelligent life form on earth.

Dan Gurney said...

Jeanne Leigh, you are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.