Sermon and other poems

Sermon and other poems

Because that’s how you break through, said Blake.
How you see desire for what it is. 
His brown hair was matting nicely, his loincloth 
getting the hang of him. He had some chants down pat
and nicely-emerging ribs. Om-most there, he quipped,
striking a pose. The horse’s ass-ana, I believe,
said Greg quietly, and we braced ourselves 
for another one on the virtue 
of sitting still among charred tibias and pariah dogs. 
Of trying to keep it hard but not come. Of that 

        But there must, she thought, why we’re, why 
we seek the blue-milk sea, the crags of the mighty Vindhyas, 
the Tower of the Ten Winds, the thread offered 
that we can decline or use.


"This one it is so much like all their god," said the divine Nadia 
from Minsk, drawing another analogy out of her string bag. 
"Everywhere can see forest but not tree."
But hadn’t that single pure core,
unspooled in the Upanishads, 
been available before, at home:
in snow the thin stand of aspen not hung
with threads and bassinets that will not take root
but end-stopped, luminous, reluctant?
Not a pantheon of one, but each alone?

Each of Us Has Our Dharma 

Unlike the rest of us Nadia was practicing 
attachment. If you were male it was that’s it
instead of not this, not that, it was like
transcendence be damned and every Noble Truth,
as in all four, out the window. Suffering.
How could touching her be anything related to. 
Devi’s arms and garlands dispel illusion and free 
the single-minded devotee, Stan said and the boys agreed.
But Andrew had not seen, or so he said, how her linen bag 
pulls the neckline of her tunic off her shoulder 
and her glass bangles of many colors chime
in ways I can neither assess nor replicate.
Beyond that there was in her smoky speech an absence
of articles — definite, indefinite — and the men lean in 
dying to fill that absence better than.

(Excerpted from Series I India by Elizabeth T. Gray Jr, with permission from Four Way Books)
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