Poetic Offerings

William Irwin Thompson

***

The Dragonfly and the Hummingbird

Both are swift, both are beautiful.
One eats blood-piercing mosquitoes
hiding in blades of foreign grass
wrongly planted in my backyard
of high Sierra desert rock,
pinyons, bee flowers, and cactus
with sparse strands of buffalograss.
The other eats only nectar
from our apple trees and garden.
What do the djinn and angels eat?

***

Mysticism and Science
 
Yes, I see angels, even Djinn,
and one Spiritual Guide who told me
when I asked him his name that I
could never pronounce its many
syllables in nano-microtime,
that like a Dolphin’s sequenced clicks,
I would not be able to hear
the beats in time, the shifts in tone.
I thought of long Sri Lankan names
that sound like a tabla playing
in uneven rhythmic fractions
my hands could never duplicate.
And, yes, I know what brain science
would say about lucid dreaming—
I’ve even met the scientists,
and I am OK with all that.
Even if I can’t ballroom dance,
play a two-handed instrument,
or speak two languages at once,
I can think two philosophies
happily at once—a threesome
of two beautiful women—
muses of yoga and science
in some Khajuraho embrace.
So, yes, I start by observing
my breath, my thoughts, and then my dreams
in the first hypnagoic state,
which, frankly, is more intensely
vivid than many academic
committee meetings I have had
to sit in with the likes of you.
The likes of angel, Djinn, and Guide
transcend the art of theatre
and show me things I do not know:
other worlds, music of the spheres,
or intercourse with Apsaras
she alone was worth the hours
when nothing was going on in
in your usual Buddhist way
of dismissing all the above
as makyo and delusions.
I’ve never taken LSD
or psychedelic mushrooms,
but I know what deliriums
are like, so I know, that all this
could just be the brain’s chemistry,
but, have you ever stopped thinking
to see that you are only there
part of the time, but for the rest,
the brain is doing something else,
and that something is listening
to the mind of the universe
and translating subtle signals
into angels, Djinn, and ETs?
I get tired of just being me,
so watching this sure beats TV.

***

The Dark Winter Afternoons in Portland
 
Dark energy around black hole
transports my dimensionless soul
into light wormholing its way
through what space-time I cannot say.
 
My I need not survive this shift,
and can be left behind to drift
as traces of gas and dark light
future stars can use to ignite.
 
But in this dark time remaining,
I will watch without complaining,
surfaces of sun and earth turn
their insides out with time to burn.
 
Civilizations come apart,
religion kills science and art,
and in the management of lies
politicians consume the skies.
 
The sun burns the cold mountain tops,
the arctic ice pulls out the stops,
the coastlines sink, the Great Plains flood,
the Gulf fills up with toxic mud.

In such a dark enlightening time,
blindness to Dharma is a crime.
The force of truth now transpires
in storms and floods and forest fires.

***

Image: Lindisfarne Mountain Retreat, 1995

William Irwin Thompson is a poet and cultural philosopher who has made significant contributions to cultural history, social criticism, the philosophy of science, and the study of myth. Early in his career he left academia to found Lindisfarne, an association of creative individuals in the arts, sciences, and contemplative practices devoted to the study and realization of a new planetary consciousness, or noosphere. Thompson lived in Switzerland for 17 years and describes his most recent work, Canticum Turicum, as “a long poem on Western Civilization, that begins with folktales and traces of Charlemagne in Zurich and ends with the completion of Western Civilization as expressed in Finnegans Wake and the traces of James Joyce in Zurich.” With mathematician Ralph Abraham he has designed a new type of cultural history curriculum based on their theories about the evolution of consciousness. Thompson now lives in Portland, Maine. www.williamirwinthompson.org

Read more about William Irwin Thompson

Comments (2)
  • interested in reading prayers to G*d

    — bruce lahr on January 18, 2013

  • No, actually, because the linguistic mind gets in the way and is often an imposition of the personal will in prayers of petition. I prefer sitting in silence and listening to G-D.

    — WIT on February 2, 2013

19 December 2012

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