Category: Poem

Nothing Is Far
- Robert Francis

Though I have never caught the word
Of God from any calling bird,
I hear all that the ancients heard.

Though I have seen no deity
Enter or leave a twilit tree,
I see all that the seers see.

A common stone can still reveal
Something not stone, not seen, yet real.
What may a common stone conceal?

Nothing is far that once was near.
Nothing is hid that once was clear.
Nothing was God that is not here.

Here is the bird, the tree, the stone.
Here in the sun I sit alone
Between the known and the unknown.

"योगी सोते हुए भी जागता है और भोगी जागते हुए भी सोता है।"
Yogi awakes while asleep, Bhogi sleeps while awake


Hoshiyar Rehna Re Nagar Main Chor Avega
Jaagrat Rehna Re Nagar Main Chor Avega
Chor Avega Re ik din Kaal Avega
Hoshiyar Rehna Re Nagar Main Chor Avega

Na Dar Tode Na Ghar Phode Na Koi Roop Dikhawega
Is Nagri Se Koi Kaam Nahin Hai Tujhe Pakad Le Jayega

Teer Top Talwar Na Barchhi Na Bandook Chalavega
Aavat Jaat Nazar Nahin Aveh Bheetar Hi Ghoom Ghoomavega

Bhai bandhu Sab Kutamb Kabila Dekhat Hi Reh Jayega
Dhan Daulat Aur Maal Khajina Yahin Dharaa Reh Jayega

Muthhi baandh kar Aaya re pagle, Haath pasaar ke jayega
Kahe Kabir Suno Bhaye Sadho Karni Ka Phal Payega


Be awake, be alert,
One day a thief
will come to the city

He'll not be invisible
He wont break any door
He wont destroy the house
He wont care about the city
His interest will be you
He'll take you away

He won't carry a bow,
Neither a cannon, nor a sword
He wont strike with a gun
Coming and going he won't be visible
He will spin you from inside

Your friends, family will be helpless
Wealth and treasure will remain here

You came to this world closed fisted
You will leave with open hands
Kabir says you will face
the destiny of your

By W. S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color
Commentary by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

One never knows when disaster will strike, but when it does, it is often difficult for us to understand the impact unless we are the ones who are directly affected, unless it is our house that floods or is swept by a fire.

This week’s short poem is from one of this country’s most beloved poets, Jane Hirshfield, who lives in Marin County. In it, Hirshfield writes about watching Sonoma County from afar during the summer of 2008 when 1,781 fires (mostly caused by lightning strikes) burned uncontrollably up and down California. At the time, Marin remained safe and free of fire, and the poem observes what it is like to see and smell the beauty of the fire from a distance without the consequence of the fire’s destruction.

The poem explores how our experience of a thing is influenced by where we stand looking at it. From afar, whether from distance or from the passage of time, a tragic event can look absolutely beautiful. How fire from above looks like a necklace of red rubies sewn into the dark, or how the moon, ambered in smoke, simmers on the horizon.

What this poem admits is that when we see beauty in tragedies observed from a distance, when we are drawn to help strangers recover from a terrible loss, it is because at some level we are relived that we are not the ones suffering in the heart of the fire.


Sonoma Fire
By Jane Hirshfield

Large moon the deep orange of embers.
Also the scent.
The griefs of others — beautiful at a distance.

Originally published in Poetry (December 2010).

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is Sonoma County’s 2016 Poet Laureate.
Our death is our wedding with eternity.
What is the secret? "God is One."
The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
For he who is living in the Light of God, 
The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
So that he may place another look in your eyes.
It is in the vision of the physical eyes 
That no invisible or secret thing exists.
But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light 
Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";
It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.
... Oh God who gives the grace of vision!
The bird of vision is flying towards you with the wings of desire. 

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing (more…)

The Partial Explanation

Charles Simic

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.

Seems like it has grown darker
Since I last heard the kitchen (more…)

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Reason is powerless
in the expression of Love.
Love alone is capable of revealing
the truth of Love and being a
Lover. The way of our prophets is
the way of Truth. If you want to live,
die in Love; die (more…)

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.

I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!

Please, univresal soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!

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