Archive for August, 2007

Gratitude

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

By Roy Doughty
Written 8/22/07 Ananda Loka 3, India

Gratitude is a word we have gifted to that
Glistening, transparent sphere whose blessings
Remain impregnable to the frantic lances of the mind.
This sphere, this morning, swirls with a cool breeze
After days of clinging heat, and in the midst of the swirl,
There sways a large-leafed unnamable tree,
Whose open branchwork bursts with airy clusters
Of pale yellow flowers, larger, much larger,
Than any man’s ambitious, encompassing reach.
The flowers are food and bed to butterflies.
Some rest, dark wedges, their thin lives closed or pulsing.
Others flutter about the flowers as detached portions
Of an inward joy too seldom experienced by humans,
Layers of translucence that make vivid images,
Simultaneously bright or soft, some orange,
Some mottled, some blue, some yellow,
Some a luminous black dolloped with happy scarlet.
These portions of ourselves, small, twittery, ephemeral,
Exude an alien intimacy that reminds us that
The inexplicable sufferings of birth
Are touched by bliss, that the mother arising
Inside of us as blood and sky and tree and sudden pain
Is not wholly imprisoned in the bone-rack
And that this feeling flowering in the heart
Is a constant flurry of incandescent wings.

Kernel

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/26/07

The issue is no longer one of remembrance
Or anticipation. It has something to do
With the way the ripening pears have clustered
Their pendulous bodies on the pear tree’s branches,
Or how the geraniums emancipate ruddy
From clouds of green. The arrogant scholars
With their hoards of servile pronouncements
Cannot explicate it. But we heard the beginning
Of the explication in our hearts, not in our heads,
As if an earthen keyboard the color of muddy runoff
Were typing out, syllable by syllable,
The great confabulation of the Savior’s dream.
It is not a narrative conducive to rational analysis.
But in the morning, when we rise, a little elated,
A little disconcerted, we see in the folding,
The unfolding of the fog, in the mountains
Appearing, disappearing in the vaporous
Conglomeration, a small figure emerging
From the vague immensity. The figure is that
Of a woman, who has hidden her beauty
For millennia from the depredations
Of fearsome and fearful men. She is holding
Something tiny and delicate, something astonishingly
Red. It is not a thing of human manufacture.

Scenic View

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 6/27/07

Crossing Wyoming’s Big Horns, our thoughts come full-stop,
But the eyes, our I’s, keep evolving, and scoping out
Theological splendors from these impossibly
Majestic steeps. Around us, below us, above us
Rise boulders and outcroppings like the cities
Of too-large to see gigantomachia,
Whose broad backs and profound foreheads
Absorb gold from their Lord, the sun, like monstrous
Misers insatiable for glory. The eyes, our I’s, are swallowed.
Devoured by granite and sandstone citadels,
By snow-melt meadows burning with daisies and lupines,
By acres of hemlocks, straight, straight and straight,
The giants infect us with their arrogance,
And a brazen defiance of everything mean or small.
Our sight, without that divisive calculator,
Is absorbed in height and depth, avalanched both
By the amassed miraculous minutia
And by strata on strata climbing through glacial time.
And they, the eyes, our I’s, begin to disentangle
The receptors of bad and good, of bell and book,
To embed themselves in this jewel of infinite grandeur.
Here, we cannot be anything, but what they are:
Light in the affairs of light, immensely free
Of the trivial afflictions of incarnation.
Great appetites gorging on pettiness, pulsing beauty.
Now, without ostentation, we proclaim our kingdom,
And what we say is as big as the world we see.

Arrival

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written March 3, 2006, Chennei, India

Oblivious, the taxi driver stands ankle-deep
In pouring rain, stows bags possessing
What he never shall, then threads his little vehicle
Through the motliest herd of conveyances —
Busses, mopeds, bicycles, tricycles, tankers,
Carts pulled by lumbering oxen with painted horns —
Each one lurching forward at its own speed,
While he, the taxi driver, constantly caresses
His staccato horn, as if its harmless bird-chirp
Were actually the force which displaced
The careening tonnage of jerry-rigged lorries
For that critical hair’s breadth which affords us
A sighing safe passage.
Here is filth already millennia old before the birth of Christ,
Shining on a ground which reeks of petroleum,
Feces, garbage and sanctity.

Inside what remains of our minds,
The usual whirl of thoughts,
Even in the midst of this crowded, streaming, steaming bustle,
Floats down corridors of cloud-smudged stars
To someplace were starlight and moonlight and sunlight
Are one. India. Now her immemorial potencies
Of passion and silk and marble
Rises from that deep well which has birthed
And enriched and impoverished billions of souls —
Tiger and elephant and lowly rat and human —
All writhing together with clashing bracelets and anklets
In that love-making which never starts nor ends,
But where we, in our insulated bed,
Meet in a mating which falls like sun-soaked rain.