Kabir, Spirits, & Spices

The Clay Jug
Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine mountains, and the maker of canyouns and pine mointains!
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges jewels.
And the music from the strings no one touches, and the source of all water.
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.
– Kabir, trans. Robert Bly

The Unknown Flute
I know the sound of the ecstatic flute,
but I don’t know whose flute it is.
A lamp burns and has neither wick nor oil.
A lily pad blossoms and is not attached to the bottom!
When one flower opens, ordinarily dozens open.
The moon bird’s head is filled with nothing but thoughts of the moon,
and when the next rain will come is all that the rain bird thinks of.
Who is it we spend our entire life loving?
– Kabir, trans. Robert Bly

Music
Have you heard the music that no fingers enter into?
Far inside the house
entangled music–
What is the sense of leaving your house?
Suppose you scrub your ethical skin until it shines,
but inside there is no music,
then what?
Mohammed’s son pores over words, and points out this
and that,
but if his chest is not soaked dark with love,
then what?
The Yogi comes along in his famous orange.
But if inside he is colorless, then what?
Kabir says: Every instant that the sun is risen,
if I stand in the temple, or on a balcony,
in the hot fields, or in a walled garden,
my own Lord is making love with me.
– Kabir, trans. Robert Bly

The Failure
I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves birds and animals and the ants–
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be walking around entirely orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten what you once knew,
and that’s why everything you do has some weird failure in it.
– Kabir, trans. Robert Bly

Why Should We Part?
Why should we two ever want to part?
Just as the leaf of the water rhubarb lives floating on the water,
we live as the great one and the little one.
As the owl opens his eyes all night to the moon,
we live as the great one and the little one.
This love between us goes back to the first humans;
it cannot be annihilated.
Here is Kabir’s idea: as the river gives itself to the ocean,
what is inside me moves inside you.
– Kabir, trans. Robert Bly

I thought with the sad fate of disappearing blogs, the least I could do is point to a beautiful new blog that’s being born:
(and they reminded me how much I like Kabir, and how much I like to do poetry posts)

This entry was posted in poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Kabir, Spirits, & Spices

  1. Muddy says:

    I too greatly enjoy Kabir… and Robert Bly… and interesting new blogs.

    Thank you for all of them.

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