Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick, I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I’m already under
and living within the ocean.
Friend, our closeness is this:
Anywhere you put your foot, feel me
in the firmness under you.
How is it with this love,
I see your world and not you?
When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Take someone who doesn’t keep score,
who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality: He’s free.
Does sunset sometimes look like the sun’s coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?
You’re crying. You say you’ve burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who’s not
hazy with smokes?
The human shape is a ghost
made of distraction and pain.
Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,
trying widely to open,
this image tightly held within itself.
Stay in the company of lovers.
Those other kinds of people, they each
want to show you something.
A crow will lead you to an empty barn,
a parrot to sugar.
The minute I’m disappointed, I feel encouraged.
When I’m ruined, I’m healed.
When I’m quite and solid as the ground, then I talk
the low tones of thunder for everyone.
In pain, I breathe easier.
The sacred child is running from the house, screaming,
I hear the gentleness.
Under nine layers of illusion, whatever the light,
on the face of any object, in the ground itself,
I see your face.
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
Do not sit long with a sad friend.
When you go to a garden,
do you look at thorns or flowers?
Spend more time with roses and jasmine.
Inside the Great Mystery that is,
we don’t really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain. We are
the sweet, cold water and the jar that pours.