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"I have been seeking teaching on the Way for thirty years, but have never yet really seen what the light spirit is like or how it is projected. The transmission of teachers of my day does not touch on this; all they said was you'll know when the time comes. Therefore, as I do not have actual experience of the various functions possible after projection of the light spirit. I do not dare to make something up ..."
Immortal Sisters, Secret Teachings of Taoist Women
-Thomas Cleary, translator
New Pacific Islander Poetry
We belong to Oceania. We belong to a diverse sea of moving islands, peoples, cultures, languages, and ecologies. We belong to a legacy of navigation that teaches us how to read the stars, waves, currents, winds, and horizons.
Pacific Islanders peopled Oceania thousands of years ago and developed complex societies based on the values of interconnection, harmony, balance, sustainability, and respect. We named and recognized the sacredness of waters and lands. We storied our new homes with songs, poems, and chants. We have many names, indigenous and imposed: Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese, Tahitian, Tokelauan, Māori, Palauan, Kosraean, Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Yapese, I-Kiribati, Papua New Guinean, Solomon Islander, Ni-Vanuatu, and more.
A cicada’s chill keen broke the first pause in the hard rain.
This night, there is only your face.
Dismal drinks in the traveler’s tent by the city gate,
Boatmen anxious to push off in the lull
- still we hold back.
Shameless, we grip hands, tearful
And choked with silence.
The thought of going, going:
Haze like smoke over the water a thousand miles;
Dull clouds misting deep
The broad skies of the South.
Always and everywhere, severed love rends the heart
But at so bleak an autumn, utter torment.
Drunk tonight, where shall I wake?
Poplar and willow on the banks,
The rise of the dawn breeze
As the moon sets.
There will be so many years, and so many lovely scenes
- all empty;
And though there be
A thousand rousings of my heart
- with whom shall I share them?
- Liu Yong ()987-1053; Xiaoyae Xingzhe, translator
"LISTEN to the reed how it tells a tale, complaining of separations -
Saying, "Ever since I was parted from the reed-bed, my lament hath caused man and woman to moan.
I want a bosom torn by severance, that I may unfold (to such a one) the pain of love-desire.
Every one who is left far from his source wishes back the time when he was united with it.
In every company I uttered my willful notes, I consorted with the unhappy and with them that rejoice.
Every one became my friend from his own opinion; none sought out my secrets from within me.
My secret is not far from my plaint, but ear and eye lack the light (whereby it should be apprehended).
Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body, yet none is permitted to see the soul.
This noise of the reed is fire, it is not wind: whoso hath not this fire, may he be naught!
'Tis the fire of love that is in the reed, 'tis the fervour of Love that is in the wine.
The reed is the comrade of every one who has been parted from a friend: its strains pierced our hearts.
Who ever saw a poison and antidote like the reed? Who ever saw a sympathiser and a longing lover like the reed?
The reed tells of the Way full of blood and recounts stories of the passion of Majnún.
Only to the senseless is this sense confided: the tongue hath no customer save the ear.
In our woe the days (of life) have become untimely: our days travel hand in hand with burning griefs.
If our days are gone, let them go!- 'tis no matter. Do Thou remain, for none is holy as Thou art!
Whoever is not a fish becomes sated with His water; whoever is without daily bread finds the day long.
None that is raw understands the state of the ripe: therefore my words must be brief. Farewell!"
- Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkh; Masnavi; Mevlüt Oğuz, translator
“There are two modes of knowledge, through argument and experience. Argument brings conclusions and compels us to concede them, but it does not cause certainty nor remove doubts in order that the mind may remain at rest in truth, unless this is provided by experience.”
- Roger Bacon, Opus Maius (1268)
Gah khaste del o sukhte kherman baasham
Gah baste dam o goshaade daaman baasham
Yaa rabb hamegaan raa to be maqsud rasaan
Baashad ke dar aan miyaan yaki man baasham
At times my heart is wounded and my harvest is burnt.
At times I stop my breath and I open my robe.
O Lord! Guide all to the goal:
Perhaps I shall be one of them.
Mohammed Siraj Elschot, translator
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
- Mary Oliver
"Once a young man came to me and said:
Dear Master, I am feeling strong and brave today, and I would like to know the truth about all of my attachments.
And I replied:
Sweet Heart, do you really want me to speak to you about all your attachments, when I can see so clearly you have built, with so much care, such a great brothel to house all of your pleasures?
You have even surrounded the whole damn place with armed guards and vicious dog to protect your desires so that you can sneak away from time to time and try to squeeze light Into your parched being from a source as fruitful as a dried date pit that even a bird Is wise enough to spit out.
My dear, let's not speak of those, for Hafiz understands the sufferings of your heart.
Hafiz knows the torments and the agonies that every mind on the way to annihilation in the Sun must endure.
So at night in my prayers I often stop and ask a thousand angels to join in
And Applaud Anything,
Anything in this world
That can bring your heart comfort!"
- translation, version by Daniel Ladinksy
Awhad didi keh har cheh didi hich-ast?
Van niz keh gofti o shenidi hich-ast?
Sar tâ sar-e âfâq davidi hich-ast?
Van niz keh dar konj khazidi hich-ast?
Don’t you see, Awhad, that all you saw is nothing?
And, also, all that you said and heard is nothing.
Your travelling from one end of the world to the other is nothing.
And, also, your hiding in a corner is nothing.
Mohammed Siraj Elschot, translator