I am settling into 2021 with a selection of books I am so excited to read that I am having trouble choosing where to start. Lucky me! This afternoon I am in my study, sorting things out, doing a little work, browsing through my shelves, reflecting on the past year and what lies ahead – always some unknowns.
My eye fell on a collection of Rumi’s poems, translated by Coleman Barks and intended as a daily reader. I have spent a year with Rumi before, and have returned to savour favourites and find the correct quotation of a half remembered verse…but as I opened the book today I leafed through a few of the pages of the introduction. In it are three poems not by Rumi.
As I read, I felt each one of these poems rippling the depths of my being with resonant waves of loveliness and Truth, liberating, reassuring, inviting… here they are – three poems to savour at the beginning of a new year, and to offer you nourishment and courage for the ongoing journey into the mystery of life.
First, Emily Dickinson:
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church- I keep it, staying at Home- With a Bobolink for a Chorister- And an Orchard, for a Dome. Some keep the Sabbath in a Surplice- I, just wear my Wings- And instead of tolling the bell, for Church, Our little Sexton -sings. God preaches, a noted Clergyman- And the sermon is never long, So instead of getting to Heaven, at last- I'm going, all along.
Next: Galway Kinnell’s “Prayer”
Whatever happens. Whatever what is is is what I want. Only that. But that.
And lastly, Ibn Arabi:
The Love Religion
The inner space inside that we call the heart has become many different living scenes and stories. A pasture for sleek gazelles, a monastery for Christian monks, a temple with Shiva dancing, a kaaba for pilgrimage. The tablets of Moses are there, the Qur'an, the Vedas, the sutras and the gospels. Love is the religion in me. Whichever way love's camel goes, that way becomes my faith, the source of beauty, and a light of sacredness over everything.
With gratitude for your companionship along the way, for the synergy of offering, gathering and reflecting together, for the richness of sharing our many and varied experiences of learning and unlearning, for the pleasure of practicing, listening and laughing together.
Looking forward to travelling with you this year!