Floating a Little


 

• Post Title and Inspiration:

Mary Oliver — Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled–To cast aside the weight of facts–And maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.

The Eye of God

collage art, hand-made greeting cards

• • •

The eye opens seeing old men, women and children.  The eye opens seeing gods, flesh, vapors.  the eye recalls the beauty of the ordinary.  it sees me, therefore I am.  As such are we all created.  It watches and pierces the heart.  Who knows its name?  Call it love, creating, conspiracy.  Call it an impossible sky hung with moons and stars.  It is yesterday or tomorrow, a million years travelling.  The sun circles and the hawk.  We follow a flow.  Thus looked upon, the world receives its god.

I lived in the delta in a house of mud when I first felt its glance.  I lived in its fire and never knew.  I was asleep, dreaming blue dreams in the egg of the world.  The eye opened and closed, blinking once perhaps as it does every million years, and I came from unknowing into knowing.  I left my hut yawning.  I was naked in a bed of light.  I shone like day.  I opened like a purple flower at dawn.

I am in the eye of god, resting in its blue orb.  Golden eyelids encircle me.  Eyelashes grow like stalks of dark truth.  I see what I never dared—beyond the bucket banging the well, beyond mountains pushing up dirt.  Light shimmers in every blade of grass, gods dance in every leaf, blue and gold fires leap from my pores.  I shine in and out of life.

A thousand forms have I, wholly mine—man and hawk, sycamore, lotus and fig.  I please myself to be born and to die over again. I walk a flowered path bordered by a million years.  Season to season I change as a leaf greening.  I flow as blood through flesh.  The eye opens and closes, and then…

What lives in the gods and rivers lives in me, parts of the whole, one in One.  I take my journey seriously.  I’ve seen mountains, deserts and seas.  Going nowhere one morning I suddenly entered heaven.  I opened its door and passed through.  I stood on polished floors and understood heaven no better there than while I was planting corn.  Then I laughed; in that was truth.

Does the world die with me when I sleep?  It seems so.  I wake in the morning and it is born again—my wife, my children, my cattle, the stars.  There are times in the day when I forget her, then seeing her pass, a jug of water on one hip, she is born in me and love rises.

All things are one beheld in the eye of god.  We are his bodies.  His time moves in our bellies.  There is no season in which heaven does not hold the shape of its beloved, no time in which the earth does not sing.  Under the sun, flamingos nod and bow and walk, Birds of the air spin in countless exhaled breaths.  We are growing, remembering, forgetting, becoming.  The many are one face changing expression.

The eye is everywhere.  There is no act it does not see, no desire it can not hold, no secret that can not be known.  The heavens speak.  The flame bursts on your cheeks.  Things are possible.  In a moment we live a million years, a thousand lives in a breath.

Behold the eye that holds you.  Without hands, it made you.  You will be its hands.  Without tongue, you become its tongue.  Your work is its will.  If what you make—your body, your love, your peace—is good, it shall be looked on by gods and endure forever.

When the eye opens, I look back.

From Awakening Osiris: the Egyptian Book of the Dead;  Translated by Normandi Ellis

The Ways of Making

The ways of making are indeed wondrous—the child born of its mother, the sun rolling into sky, the song rising from the lips, the world springing from the word of god.  The essence of life is brilliant, dazzling.  I can not explain such miracles, yet I embody them daily.  Though I can not remember my birth and shall forget my death, I live in the midst of wonder.

From “Triumph over Darkness” in Awakening Osiris—The Egyptian Book of the Dead translated by Normandi Ellis

Joy at Easter

There is joy on earth and in heaven—joy unimaginable.  In every blade of grass rises the strength of the sun.  In every mortal shines the star of immortality.  All things demand adoration and respect.  In each child an old man lies coughing and dying, and in old men fresh children are singing.  Though dead perhaps a million years, each day I sail with the sun.  On my lips the taste of frankincense hangs.  The soles of my feet are perfumed with myrrh.  Above the fields of malachite golden hawks fly and, in gold upon golden tablets, the gods write.  Let men sing loudly and cast incense in the fire.  Let ducks be roasted.  In this world the sun rises.  The sky is unbound.  Rains fall to take our thirst.  We breathe beneath heaven and upon the earth, in the presence of gods and goddesses.

From “In the Talons of the Hawk” in Awakening Osiris—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by Normandi Ellis.

Becoming the Falcon of Gold

Ξ Ξ Ξ
I rise above the crescent moon to the seven stars, beyond the history of men, beyond numbers and words than bind us.  From the earth I rise like a falcon of gold released from a blue egg.  I fly above and below the great worlds.
 
I come from light and to light I return.  My talons grasp the ring of colors: the gold beak of dawn, the blue eyes of day, the deep red blood of dusk.  I rise.  In truth, I burst on the world like an arrow flung from darkness, sparks of fire from my forehead like burning stars streak the sky. I gather myself, thought and bone, and burst again into flight.  I soar and know the god who speaks with the voice of flame.
 
I am one of the great ones sitting in a field of corn.  I eat and am nourished.  In turn I offer myself, the bread of air, the white spirit of fire.  I am a falcon of gold.  I burn with a passion and lie still.  I flare and shoulder, live and die in a breath.  I sail on gold wings that fan the blaze.  I am consumed by fire.  This is what I was born to: to live, to love, to know, to change and embrace the infinite.  I shall not forget my becoming.
 

From Awakening Osiris—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by Normandi Ellis

From “The Confession”

This is the reading I’ll do at my dad’s funeral tomorrow.

Gods live not in the crevices of mortar and stone, nor in the jeweled eyes of a ram but in the hands of men and the hearts of women and in the land of wonder.  Dip your cup in the river and you drink gods.  Breathe the air and gods fly up your nose.  The god in the wind puffs the sail and speeds the traveller home.  Nodding and crowing, the lapwings are gods clinging to sycamore branches.  Daily gods rise in blades of wheat.  Daily they walk cities by the river.  Covered with the blood and mucus of women, gods enter the world and we call them children.

To see the goodness of things, we must see the god in things.  To see the god in things, we must see goodness.  To find god in sorrow, fear and death is to see its usefulness.  To know is to understand.  To praise the gods, we must praise life.  To honor gods we must make of the world something good.  To be gods, we must hold goodness in each pore.  We are filled with light, wholly divine.  The sun rises, an eye of fire, and through its light we come to see the world as gods would have it.

In the land of the sun, in the season of the end, I climb the highest hill.  The moon is a sliver caught in the trees.  Entering night I carry the lamp.  Though no man sees it, I shine my light into darkness.  See how even a single beam cuts through so the path lies clear.  The wolves run frightened.  Still, no great harm comes to a man who walks unafraid to die.

I leave these words to those with ears to hear, eyes to see, hearts to know, hands to do.  I leave these worlds in the world of forms.  I am becoming invisible.

Hail that which brings the trees to flower, the wheat to grow, the lotus to blossom, which bursts from the black bowels of earth singing, I’ve not wasted the gift of your labors.  May we live forever.

Hail lion of heaven, bearer of yesterday and tomorrow, I’ve not been less than what I was.  May we live forever.

Hail white teeth, a biter of heads, devourer of men, I have not killed the cow nor uprooted the wheat, but that I know its spirit feeds mine.  When the time comes, I give up life without regret to feed a spirit greater than mine.  I shall die, a small thing become part of the larger world.  May we live forever.

May the light shine through us and on us and in us.  May we die each night and be born each morning that the wonder of life should not escape us.  May we love and laugh and enter lightly into each other’s hearts.  May we live forever.  May we live forever.

From Awakening Osiris—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by Normandi Ellis

Today I Rose

Today I rose from my bed—the colliding, fractious mutter left behind

Carrying instead the black mud those turbulent waters wakened.

Almost peaceful after chittering froth, ooze keeps a sly and patient danger:

‘Rest from the water’s fight, sink into my soft bosom,

Open clenched fingers and let loose the will to continue.’

Lend me your cool hand, tempting mire,

And the delicious stillness

A moment, no more

No more.

≈ ≈ ≈

To see the goodness of things, we must see the god in things.  To see the god in things, we must see goodness.  To find god in sorrow, fear and death is to see its usefulness.  To know is to understand.  To praise the gods, we must praise life.  To honor gods, we must make of the world something good.  To be gods, we must hold goodness in each pore.  We are filled with light, wholly divine.  The sun rises, an eye of fire, and through its light we come to see the world as gods would have it.
 
May the light shine through us and on us and in us.  May we die each night and be born each morning that the wonder of life should not escape us.  May we love and laugh and enter lightly into each other’s hearts.  May we live forever.
May we live forever.
 

From “The Confession” in Awakening Osiris—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by Normandi Ellis

Column of Gold

The last few days have passed without drama, without the itch of wanting or the earwig of compulsion.  I see the chores that need to be done, and do them.  I mingle with people at the coffee shop with ease and grace, wit and thoughtfulness.  I enter conversations with full, round thoughts that have beginnings and endings.  I listen to my friends without needing to insert myself into their stories.  The novel I’m rewriting opens up like a daffodil.  The collage I’m working on works on me instead.  Irritations, worries, fears buzz in, light, then buzz out.  I have no desire to hold onto them.

In this moment, I am whole, balanced, complete.  I have everything I need.  I am everything I need.  I must remember.

Ξ Ξ Ξ

57.

Column of Gold

Beside the well the sycamore rises.  Beside the well bright cornflowers grow.  Do they rise on their tender stalks by will or does some force of love mold them, drive them up?  In the seed lies the will to become and the greater will gives form.  The power of the green shoot parts the earth.  The water in the well is nourishing.

I rise.  My spine is of bone, sinew and flesh.  I am a man desirous of life.  I will dance, harvest corn and make children.  I will make my peace with earth.  I shine.  The power of gods courses through me and makes of my backbone a column of gold.  I am the flower on its stalk, the budding of sycamore branches.  I am the pillar on which the balance of life is weighed.  Oh! my heart beats with joy; my life is golden as the humming of bees.

I live for a time and pass away, but the column of gold will stand.  The powers of gods shape us, and those who give themselves not to its will, grow twisted, bent and stunted.  It is easier to live in the light of the great will, to love than to grow in the shadows of self imaginings.  As the gods will, so grows the universe.

I rise.

I am a column of gold, eternal, at peace, in harmony.

Ξ

From Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian book of the Dead, translated by Normandi Ellis

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