Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Were I to write a book on writing, I think the title of this essay would be that book’s title, so let me try out my idea here.

The writing I most like to do myself, I do for the fun of it, whether in prose or verse.

When I sit down with a pad and pen and open myself to the Muse of writing, like sitting on the lakeshore with a baited line in the water, I’m eager to find out what comes up to write about. It’s delighted anticipation that draws me here, and it’s the enlightenment of discovery that gratifies my coming.

Other kinds of writing can be work and onerous, I admit: that which is compelled and uninteresting and impersonal. But it’s playful writing I mean here, writing that excites the play of mind and imagination, creative writing, even when it’s not fictitious—though it’s still “made up.”

Fun writing allows you to make up your mind in presentable and attractive forms beyond the capacity of spontaneous speech, no matter how fluent and engaging a speaker you may be.

To write like this is to enjoy shaping and reshaping your words so as to express and capture ideas when they emerge from wherever it is that thoughts arise in your consciousness. You have the leisure to listen for subliminal language and draw it to the surface and land it on the page under your pen. Then you can alter it, refine and polish it, as you cannot do with the gush of speech, which comes haphazardly for all but the most practiced orators.

The fun is the discovery you make. You take the lid off your head and look in to find the makings of new ideas that only language can invent, language induced by the contemplative act of writing and rewriting into formal compositions with beginnings, middles and ends.

And when you’re done, it stays. You have it down in writing, not dispersed in the air like talk. Then you can share it endlessly with others, and that too is fun.



Tuesday, April 29, 2008


To write about the squirrel Gyppy maimed
(Our dog, whose chief delight is chasing them)
A little squirrel untutored or too tamed,
The victim of an act I can’t condemn,

Is something, though, I feel compelled to do
To say I hope he might survive his hurt,
A small insult that resting can renew,
And learn next time what dangers to avert.

But if the worst has happened that I fear,
And he expires in the shelter of
The tree where I ensconced the little dear,
I sadly hope he knew he had my love,

And I bemoan that mandate which must end
The lives of all who to the earth descend.



I do believe the human soul evolves:
That in one lifetime (and perhaps some others)
It strives for health and wholeness, which resolves
An issue over which cool reason hovers.

What reason can’t conceive, I shall believe;
It looks around for better evidence
And sees how many never do achieve
Such wisdom (not to mention common sense),

And it despairs of our potential to
Awake, arise and fly to something higher,
To reach a keener consciousness and do
What proves we can transcend this Earthly mire.

The best that I can do is live as if
My soul can fly, as I approach the cliff.


Monday, April 28, 2008


What constitutes a costume, not just clothes?
Your clothes say little more than who you are;
A costume, rather, shows you in a pose
Portraying how you fancy you’re a star.



The worst of all our ways is one called War,
Though one that we’re least likely to deplore
Because somehow it satisfies our lust
To be superior, secure—or bust!

And thus we glorify necessity,
Romanticize toughness and bravery,
Invoke the curse of cowardice on those
Who quail, and idolize the gallant pose.

That height of manliness, the Warrior,
Demotes what’s soft to what’s inferior;
What’s gentle, nurturing, kind, compassionate
Is vilified as but effeminate.

And yet what force is mightier than love
That conquers hearts, no eagle but a dove?


Know that all war is horror, war is hell,
And he who thinks it Glory has a spell
Upon his brain, a wicked fantasy
Some devil casts for his captivity.

He sees himself in dazzling uniform
With armor to defend him from all harm,
Believing he lives charmed, invulnerable,
Not contemplating that his head’s a skull,

Upon which, in his hand, a Hamlet may,
In some performance of that bygone play,
Reflect upon the vanity of pride
In those who have true manliness belied.

To be a real man is to seek peace:
Let bitter hatred pass and love increase.


Sunday, April 27, 2008


As Lucy said to Charlie Brown or Linus,
But, furthermore, it always will remind us
How nasty we can be when it takes hold
And turns us to a miserable old scold,
Short-tempered, grumpy, self-absorbed and cold,
At which point only love can realign us.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


for Carol Frost

“I’m not a nature poet,” she protested.
“Oh, yes, there’s nature in them, but what I’m
Concerned with always,” and her gesture stressed it,
“Is the human condition at this time.”

“And how’s that doing now?” I glibly asked.
“Are we improving, do you think, and have
We any hope our future’s not our past
And we’ll discover for our sins some salve?”

But she’d moved on to talk with someone else
Leaving me free to ponder my own question,
And so I wondered how we’d take the pulse
Of our humanity. I’ve this suggestion:

We simply have to ask of humankind
How kindly we’ve become, how love-aligned.


Thursday, April 24, 2008


To write in rhyming lines makes thought expand:
It mates the arbitrary with the planned.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


In many ways I’m blessed and fortunate
That go beyond desert or what I’m owed;
I cannot say I’ve earned by native wit
Or plucky grit what Fortune has bestowed.

It’s mainly luck and chance, the roll of dice,
That gave me what advantages I’ve won;
It’s not so much my virtue or my vice
That makes my lot, but what the Fates have spun.

Which is to say that justice plays no part
In how the universe now operates
By modern theories: it has no heart,
No soul, no calculus of loves and hates.

Yet still we yearn for justice and what’s right,
Which shows we can ascend to moral height.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Don’t hold that old belief
Bleakness and Blight,
But go with those who seek
Sweetness and Light.



What am I doing to project the light
Of wisdom in the world? What new insight
Have I discovered, what fresh view revealed
Or ancient truth recovered, long concealed?

Is not all this the business of my brain,
To learn and teach how to become more sane
And thus alleviate our ancient sin
In which, old scriptures claim, our lives begin?

I think the truth of that is otherwise:
We’re not born bad and surely must revise
The premise of our living in this world
To one that shows new virtues being unfurled

With progress and advance our destiny,
And godliness our source of liberty.


I met a man named Kelvin on my walk:
“Just like the temperature,” began our talk
As he explained his name. We shot the breeze
And soon I got to know him by degrees.


Monday, April 21, 2008


The wind blows from the west and traffic noise
Along the Interstate at 5 a.m.
Three miles away rumbles and annoys
My morning reveries, deflecting them

From what I had been dreaming just before
Or half remembering from my bedtime book,
While ruminations on our ceaseless war
Invade once more my peaceful writing nook.

A siren in the distance undulates
Awakening the first birds sensing dawn,
And soon my pensive mood disintegrates
And my fond hopes for poetry are gone.

Now what I’m left with is complaining verse
Whose only virtue lies in being terse.


Sunday, April 20, 2008


Divinely discontent with what I’ve done,
As sages say we’re all designed to be,
And seeing that my race is nearly run,
I’m still impelled to serve posterity.

I want my life to count for something grand
And all I might be, wholly realized
As if fulfilling what had once been planned,
Contracted when my spirit was downsized
To gross humanity, where trials by
Existence run their deviating courses.

Of course I have forgotten my contract
And wander day by day quite mystified
Though vaguely hoping that my life’s not lacked
All I was bound to do before I died.


Friday, April 18, 2008


I have no gun, and I don’t want a gun,
Though as a kid I thought all guns were fun.
I played my share of Cops and Robbers and
Cowboys and Indians and sharply scanned

The skies for MIGs and Zeros to shoot down:
“Aaakk-aaakk! Ka-POW! Toss me another round!”
Then later I taught riflery at camp,
A decent marksman though for sure no champ.

In time I guess I just outgrew that phase.
Now, looking back, I see it as a craze
Induced by cultural conditioning,
An immature reflex, a power thing.

Why I once thought that killing anyone
Is fun confounds me now. Thank God that’s done.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

(an exercise in Future History)

Toward the end of the 21st century’s first decade, once Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize had established the reality of “global warming” with the majority of the populace, a movement arose in the First World called “The Futurions.”

Those who pledged themselves to the Futurion Manifesto determined to live voluntarily at a standard of consumption which futurists had calculated would be the planetary norm if world population leveled off at seven billion human beings all living at the same rank of wealth.

These Futurions believed it fundamentally moral for essentially equal human beings, each one a precious soul longing for a chance at survival and fulfillment, to be allowed to flourish—but not at the cost of diminishing other souls. Radically egalitarian, they volunteered to renounce the ethos of capitalism that flaunted acquisitiveness, consumption and superior status.

It was spiritual wealth only, which is infinite, that the Futurions desired to garner, and thus, like religious devotees of old, they forsook accumulation of worldly treasures on principle. They pledged to live frugally so that all might live equally well and in a way that did not ravage and despoil the Earth and the flourishing of its multifarious species.

No, the Futurions, for all their spiritual orientation, were not like the Amish who shun progress and desire to live with limited technologies. Rather, the Futurions supported the advancement of knowledge and the development of technologies, yet always toward ends determined by a sacred wisdom.

Such a wisdom values foremost the flourishing of Earth as an infinitely precious womb of life, personified as Maya or Mother Earth. . . .

(a fantasy to be continued, if you wish)


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


May what I make of life most signify
For how it brings about awakening,
First in myself, who, hard as I may try,
Once roused, too soon returns to suffering—

Which is the lot of our unconsciousness,
Bound down by Ego’s cravings and demands
Who, striving for its personal success
Ignores what blissful knowing understands.

The bliss of higher consciousness reveals,
In silence and repose, the peace of love,
A commonality Ego conceals
By ever looking downward, not above.

May what I write not only lift my sight
But orient my readers toward the light.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


If I own any genius heaven blessed
That I have left neglected, unexpressed,
I owe it to the Source from whom it comes,
Whose gifts to me deserve encomiums.

It’s my bound duty to the world to use
Those skills and talents tendered by my Muse
For singing an enchanting melody
And opening your ears to mystery.

When stuffy reason stifles rhyme’s delight,
Let heads capitulate to heart’s insight,
Since there’s more than your intellect can know,
Whose light obscures your spirit’s subtler glow.

The mystery of rhythm and of rhyme
Is how they waken you to the sublime.



Look, here we are, a creeping, cancerous glob
Consuming the vast biomass of Earth,
Not stewards but a mad, voracious mob
Converting our world’s plenty into dearth.

What help for this but quickly to evolve
Into the wisdom of our hopeful name,
Since only Homo sapiens can resolve
The problems we have caused and clear our shame.

And yet, what likelihood is there of that,
That in one lifetime someone might grow wise,
Transcend our tendency for falling flat
And from our stubborn stupor then arise?

Our only hope for wakening is fear
And seeing clearly that our end is near.


Monday, April 14, 2008


We marvel at the warrior with one leg
Who’s back at war on his bionic peg
Almost as good as new and eager to
Rejoin his Leathernecks in what they do.

He’s a crack sniper who at a thousand yards
Took out his rival hidden in the shards
Of some bombed-out rat’s nest the enemy
Then occupied, but soon they shot his knee.

“Just cut it off!” he shouted at the doc.
They did, he healed, and on the stump a sock
Was fitted to receive a surrogate,
And now he’s back to even up the debt.

We marvel at his bravery and grit,
Forgetting we don’t know the point of it.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


Joe Campbell famously advised that bliss
Is to be followed as our guide, and this
Is mainly what I’ve done through all my days
Instead of taking work for what it pays.

But what is bliss: a shallow happiness,
A hedonist’s idea of success
That maximizes pleasure at all cost
And shuns those seas that may be tempest tossed?

No, rather, bliss is the beatitude
That comes when your heart’s calling is pursued,
The gratifying spiritual elation
Of rightly realizing your vocation.

How will you know if that is what you’ve done?
You’ll feel the Universe and you are one.


Saturday, April 12, 2008


What’s selfish and what’s selfless still contend
In me, and doubtless ever will, un-Zenned
Into a tranquil equilibrium
Where Yang and Yin transcend the zero sum.

For still it’s win or lose and keeping score,
Untempered by the koan Less is More;
And still it’s past and future, not the Now,
Which scheming and redreaming won’t allow.

But then, would I be writing if I’d found
The blissful stasis of the sacred Ground,
And would I then be willing to give up
My constant questing for some Holy Cup?

Or is my greatest pleasure still the search,
Disdaining the bland comfort of a perch?


Friday, April 11, 2008


When I “come up” with something new to write,
Where’s down? And who’s down there just out of sight?
Whose voice is that which whispers to my mind
Giving me what’s unconsciously designed?

I think it is my Self, a deeper part
Of my composite soul, whose hidden art
Reveals a universal mystery
Which common consciousness can barely see.

We all have depths in our continuum
Of consciousness, from which our best thoughts come;
Accessing them, however, takes great care,
Like diving for dark pearls, rich and rare.

The secret’s to relax as you descend,
Opening to what subtler sprites intend.


Thursday, April 10, 2008


for Walter S. Phelan

Ther was a gentil SCHOLAR clepéd Steve,
Who laboured that his pupils might beleve
That Dame Nature, aboven alle goddes,
The keeper of this Erthe where each man ploddes,
Sholde worshipped be and honoured all the daye
In bothe hir goodly businesse and hir playe.
And thereto did he teche the poet Walt
(Whose nam he shared), whose boké was a vault
Of sacred wisdom writ to make men whole,
A poet of the body and the soule:
He saw a leve of grasse the journeywerke
Of starres and made himselve its blisful clerke.
In Geoffrey and in Walt, Steve comprehended
The widé world, long ere his werke was ended.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I’ll live the life that’s most congenial
With what my inner genius understands
(Not what my ego or the world demands)
For only that way can my soul be well.

The way of ego plunges me pell-mell
Into a drama prompted by my glands,
Disordered by what errant thought commands
Or overcast by some deluding spell.

The way of wisdom leads me otherwise,
Out of the world of profit and delight
Where only self is served and soul’s ignored;

The way of spirit lets my soul arise
To guide me by its rectifying sight
Toward peace and joy and heavenly accord.


Monday, April 7, 2008


What is this vaunted Higher Consciousness
But what I’ve always wanted—love and bliss,
A way of being present in the Now
Which busyness and craving won’t allow,

A shedding of my ego’s crass demands
That leaves my fate and fortune in the hands
Of Someone I can trust implicitly
To make explicit what is best for me.

Thus am I closest to the Source of all
When I am calmly listening for the call
That whispers like a spirit to my heart
From whom I’ve found I never am apart.

When I return to stillness and subdue
Anxiety and fear, here I find You.


Sunday, April 6, 2008


When most I please myself, I give the most
To others, having least impulse to boast;
Thus selfishness in art is charity,
Where humbleness and pride reach parity.


Saturday, April 5, 2008


The mote I note in other people’s eyes,
The beam I overlook within my own,
That self I magnify and idolize
Which my true heavenly essence would disown.


Friday, April 4, 2008


Here in this sanctuary of the night
I wake and rise, then sit, compose and write,
For only here and now may I draw near
That secret solitude where thoughts appear.

The night is still, my mind grows keenly calm,
The fragrance of the tea I sip’s a balm
Wafting me to a height of consciousness
Where sound and sense and image coalesce.

This spell I enter lasts an hour or two,
A rapture out of which comes something new
Produced by fusing intellect with air,
The stuff of thought inspired, refined, made rare.

I cannot help but feel that self and soul
Collaborate to shape what here is whole.


Thursday, April 3, 2008


My ego is the self I seem to be,
But I’m the rider; ego is my horse,
The one you see. (I’m cloaked in mystery
And represent connection to our Source.)

I cannot go about without my horse,
Which I must train and handle mindfully,
For left alone it’s prone to stray off course,
Yet proper discipline can set it free.

Another paradox is when it’s strong,
My ego has the courage to be meek,
Though when it’s weak it does the gravest wrong,
Believing that it’s separate and unique.

What ego needs to learn before it’s done
Is that essentially we are all One.



It’s only fitting that Shakespeare remains
Unknown, a man whose ego disappeared
Into his characters, which best explains
Why he, above all bards, is so revered.

Somehow, he early on attained a state
Of consciousness transcending self-regard,
Allowing him to see how human fate
Is ego’s deed, by which we’re made and marred.

We live within illusions of our making,
Spellbound by curses we ourselves have cast,
Though sometimes by our suffering awaking
To freedom and enlightenment at last.

That Shakespeare knew how ego blinds us all
Is all we need to know—and then recall.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Most times my mind is foggy, overcast
With temporal concerns, and nearly blind
To what’s beyond this inner sky: a vast
And spacious consciousness all unconfined.

Such cosmic consciousness now underlies
My secular obsessions and delusions,
And like the morning sun may well arise
To scatter all my foolish night’s confusions.

It may arise spontaneously if I’m
So blessed by grace beyond my own control,
A function not of reason but of rhyme,
Arising not from intellect but soul.

Still, though, I hope to find a surer way
To waken my dim consciousness to day.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My Dear Children,

It’s time I had a talk with all of you, from heart to heart.

As you know, I generally prefer to keep my distance and let you run your own affairs. Now and then in your history, I’ve sent a messenger to one or another of you to clarify what I had in mind when I ignited the spark of life on your precious planet.

I think you must realize, deep in your hearts, that you’ve strayed far off the course I had intended for you as your species evolved, beyond the instinctual directives that guide all other animals, to your present level of intelligent consciousness. Many of you seem to have forgotten what this game is all about: freely finding your own way back home to me, the Light of Love that generated you, and freely choosing to reflect my light within your lives.

Only unto you, of all my Earthly creatures, have I granted the freedom to choose goodness and eschew evil, to live in the circle of light or to turn darkward, away from love—to be winners and not sinners.

However, many of you have forgotten or misunderstood or ignored the glory of this game you’re playing, for when you have learned, by trials and errors of your own, that there’s but one true way to play—the way of love, of care, of kindness and cooperation for the common good—then you will have realized the wondrous purpose of this Cosmos you inhabit, which is to manifest my love.

Thus much I have instructed you before, by those you’ve heralded as saints and sages through the ages. And to your credit, many and many a human being has heard and heeded my perennial summoning to love.

But now, when your native inventiveness has yielded you the perilous power to annihilate all life on Earth, I thought it fit to talk to you directly, each and all, in words you cannot fail to understand.

And so much have I done now. I have reminded you you’re playing a game, an infinite game, not one with winners and losers, such as you’ve invented for yourselves. This is a game of hide and seek, and finding is its goal. It is a game of growing and glowing, becoming brighter as you go, while darker is an option to avoid.

And yet you’ve grown much darker lately, dangerously so, and that is why I am addressing you just now. Your freedom is your own; I’ll not deprive you of it and spoil our glorious game. I do not ask you blindly to believe in what I’m saying, but simply to consult what’s seeded in your heart, for there I’ve planted what you need to map your course and help each other find your way back home—to me.

Know too that when you walk the Way of Love, you are already home, since heaven’s kingdom rests within your heart.

—Al A. Luya

1 April 2008