Archive for March, 2008

Home Without Walls

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/12/07, Ananda Loka 3, India

It’s been up there, the sky, all this time, the epitome
Of “away”, a drapery, translucent,
Alive, in chameleon splendor, making the day
Blue, the night bluer, the hours pink or golden,
Red or silver, saying unearthly things
About Gods we have never, will never see,
Its cloud faces and cloud bodies evolving just
Beyond the ability of our senses or our fancies
To coagulate into being. We love it “up there”,
Changing, mysterious, ever-clinging, distant,
Large. But it has never been ours. It has
Never been womb and maw as it is for
These alien murmurers , these bizarre aerialists:
The fly, the gnat, the mosquito, these grotesqueries
With jewels for eyes and skeletons for limbs,
Abuzz amidst papery diaphanes of wings,
Iridescent weirdnesses sucking blood
Or sap and transmuting it into some kind
Of viscous honeyfied ichor, the meat
For that unseen, unseeable God of emptiness,
The Great Lord Blank, who feeds
And feeds on these tiny, ubiquitous monsters,
These billions of sentient swarmers freer than air.

Espousal

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/17/06, Anada Loka 3, India

The sky, with its customary virtuosity,
Began encoding messages into us
In preparation for apotheosis. All day, the heat
Kept rising in the white-blue inundation of a space
In which the total river of human emotions flowed
In the eddying seraphic movements of unseen multitudes,
No longer arrested in their usual tragic-comic poses,
But free now, and blessed, intensifying the atmosphere,
Until gradually, as if quietly, profoundly weeping,
Whether from grief or joy, they fell as perfumed rain.
The red soil and the marbled mountains
And the several luminosities of emerald
Hidden until that moment in the foliage
Rose to embrace the river, and the sky
Began to slowly swirl in sumptuous diaphanes
Of pastel peaches and shimmering irises,
Blushing with the ripeness of a heavenly fruit,
Which, until that instant, had never before
Quieted the hungers of human eyes.
Now Time, which had been segmented, severed, pained,
Began to pool, and the lovers, that astonishing, simple pair,
Poised as the perfect two, began their sojourn into ecstasy.
The pool widened and deepened as the night came on,
And the river, with its turbulent griefs and rages,
Its childish exultations, its incessant wars,
Became the sea, and the lovers, no longer a you, a me,
But an integrous deity composed of all those bodies,
Their hopes, their wounds, became a We.
We were inside the ocean,
Beautifully bringing everything life and peace.
The night sounds thrummed a euphonious medley of silence,
And then the beginning of holiness, the apotheosis, ensued.
She rose, the moon, in a huge round haze of golden splendor,
As soft as the rustling silks of all those angels,
And Time, as we gaze on her feminine orbit of light,
Bequeathed to us, two simple human beings,
Seated alone in the hush of the mango grove,
Her universal passion. We held our breath. We breathed.
She reached down, then, the moon, and touched our hearts,
And we, we two, ourselves and everyone,
Leaned close, and gently, oh so gently, kissed.

Arrival

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/3/ 06, 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.

Maternity

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/20/06, Ananda Loka 3, India

The dawn uncoils her peace with a silent,
A breathless ferocity, pouring streams of white
Down the igneous orchard rows, while she,
Lean, four-footed mother, stands patiently,
As her biting brood clamors beneath her.
Her pups know only their own convulsive hungers,
Their desires for food, for sex, their desire to give birth
To themselves, which she, as the milk-maker,
Gives first to one leaf, then another,
Then, in an orgy of uterine trembling,
As torch to driest tinder, she copiously feeds
Her whitest of white fires to all the children of the day.
The mountains stand sentinel to her tenderness,
As we, all fire ourselves, burn with the self-same ardor,
Living and dying our ten billion dramas
As if this divine conflagration were the most
Mundane of occurrences — which it is.
Now as the mother and child, the one fire in innumerable flames,
Fall sweetly down to ashes, the coil uncoiling,
The pups collapse into sleep,
And her ocean of flames becomes an ocean of honey.

Beggar

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/12/08

The life has been given over, and the poverty
Of spirit instilled through that surrender
Is blinding. This is a blindness where words
Alone, the emptiest, the fullest of vessels,
Are eyes, and because they can take in
At a single glance both skies and dreams,
Often the destitute blind one must rise at night,
And read from the darkness of clouds
The stars behind them. He will be hungry.
That is worth repeating. And he will remember
His exile with bitterness. He will think, without believing,
“It is good that only shadows haunt the vision.
The body cannot endure too much of beauty.”
And then he will quietly turn to his dark Goddess,
As water returns to the deepest, the hollowest places.
His surrender will be complete, his poverty perfect,
And her words will flood his body with luminous riches.

Poetry

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Poems:
Swan Song
Gratitude
Hearing the Ocean Inland
Ganesh
Home Without Walls
Espousal
Arrival
Maternity
Beggar

Words from the Hold of the Ark

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

For the Unity of Berkeley Congregation
By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/2/08

Together, we sit quietly in the tall bowed hollow
Of a building that has translated sunlight
Into wood and warmth and protection,
And because the sun is still here, ambered
By the mellow devotion of human labor,
Our meditation swells up into the rafters —
So much aspiration and pain and piteous
Supplication now transfigured into something
Beyond ourselves, transfigured into unseen
Streamers of etheric light that swirl into orbs,
Which, like dew drops molding opals
On morning’s glass, grow larger, each one,
Until, one by one, they snap together,
Forming a lustrous pool. When we open
Our eyes, and look up, we can see that pool,
Our faces and bodies all suspended there,
As diaphanous imprints of hope and hurt and prayer.
Yet, after all, it is only an amber glow
Saturating the bent timbers of the rafters,
And to say that these meditations are enough
To transfigure their meditators is to speak too heavily,
Too obscurely about what is more potently expressed
By the soft luster of light on arching wood.

Speaking Soleil

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 2/29/08

When the thrush quickly lights on and departs from
The plum branch, snow-pink plum blossoms
Detach themselves and breezily flutter down, down and down.
Like some beautiful, fluttering young woman’s lithesome laughter.
They write on the lime-green lichen of the tree trunk,
And upon the English ivy, and upon the cushions
Of moss that compose the territory, the mind,
Of the tree. They write certain phrases of joy and yearning
In the special language of blossoms. Please do try
To understand. The thrush, a singer,
But in this instance, no poet, is not the author
Of these phrases, nor is the tree, nor is the breeze, the sun is.
His polyglot pronouncements are as fluent
In Blossom as they are in Thrushsong or in Beehum,
Or as in the showery flutter of a young woman’s laughter,
And it is to his august sonorities that we
A-tune ourselves, even in so small and light
A thing as a plum petal. He is not loud, but he
Is mighty, and we, standing in the subtle blare
Of his golden presence, beneath the blossoming tree,
Hear that message from the motions of the stars,
In words as tiny as the tip of a finger and as large
As the blue pavilion of sweet heaven.

Understanding

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Poems:
Speaking Soleil
Words from the Hold of the Ark