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You Can Never Speak up Too Often for the Love of All Things
     

You Can Never Speak up Too Often for the Love of All Things

by Paul R. Fleischman
 

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Global awareness, holistic living, compassion, and self-exploration are cornerstones of this collection of symbolic and meditative poetry. Anthems of conflict and joy, disenchantment and beauty, these poems blend undercurrents of humor and wry juxtaposition with the scenery of India, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, and New England. Confronting the darkness of death,

Overview

Global awareness, holistic living, compassion, and self-exploration are cornerstones of this collection of symbolic and meditative poetry. Anthems of conflict and joy, disenchantment and beauty, these poems blend undercurrents of humor and wry juxtaposition with the scenery of India, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, and New England. Confronting the darkness of death, violence, and ecological destruction, they provide inspiration to promote reverence and compassion worldwide.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[It's] a true delight to read a poet who explores the human condition in the context of all known life."  —Gretchen C. Daily, coauthor, The New Economy of Nature

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781928706106
Publisher:
Pariyatti Publishing
Publication date:
04/28/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
100
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

You Can Never Speak Up Too Often For the Love of All Things


By Paul R. Fleischman

Pariyatti Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Paul R. Fleischman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-928706-10-6



CHAPTER 1

    India


    India, the Magnet Land

    January 11, 2000


    Incomprehensibly aloft and light, I, a land mammal with beard,
    Ride alive in the cavern of this 747, thirty-thousand feet above the dark and swallowing Atlantic
    Towards India the magnet land.

    Is my life a product of curiosity and cultural exchange, of a time when Westerners went East?

    Or, is my life flowing from a past cause, that destined me to carry back, flight by flight,
    The ancient light of India to the hemispheric West?

    Year after year, stage after stage of life, I am called to ride the nauseating and magical jumbo jets.

    Like a merchant after goods, like a bucket to be filled ...
    A purpose holds me hard, and I soar
    Incomprehensibly aloft and light
    Towards India the magnet land.

    Crossing time zones in rapid sequence I sleep at supper, wake at nightfall, doze at dawn.
    Sky travel evaporates the arbitrary lines which people draw to imprison time and space.
    The placeless dark outside the airplane window steals my land, my name, my century.

    The phosphorescing cabin streaks across the unzoned sky.
    Our only thread to human time is signals
    Bleeped from distant air controls below.
    The plane inside is glowing like a giant firefly
    Directed by invisible planetary pheromones.
    And I, like a soft and sleepy inner organ,
    Am elevated to the peer of Zeus or Indra, as I
    Defy gravity in quest of my blessed goal:
    Incomprehensibly aloft and light
    Towards India the magnet land.

    The landmass of Eurasia slowly glides below.
    The Alps stab upward as if to halt the sky.
    Is that snow in Macedonia, desert in Turkey?
    These names and places cannot restrain the flow of tides.
    Era after era, life after life, something is drawn on,
    Incomprehensibly aloft and light
    Towards India the magnet land.

    It's not a jet I ride, but mind,
    Mind focused on its goal.
    Thought drawing towards its object, across time and space,
    Pulled by an imprint irresistible within my brain,
    That matches outer form.
    Pulled and pulling, a thread is reeled from either end
    And I close in on India, the magnet land.

    It is not the turbaned, bickering taxi drivers of Mumbai streets,
    The naked toddlers chasing hoops in three-lane traffic,
    The air, confined in a grill-work of corrosive pollutants —
    This India of dust is not my orbit's hub.

    The India that pulls me on, got charged
    When the Big Bang lit the universe and threw
    All molecules into their speed.

    This magnet India formed its force
    When the lights of heaven first curled their arc
    Above the horizon, and all things were born.
    Then truth became powerful, a field like gravity itself,
    To pull and shape the stuff of things aeon after aeon,
    Until out of matter's core a man congealed
    On the little ball of earth.

    There he sat.
    Amidst the burning incandescence of the world
    He spoke for the arising and vanishing
    Inside of every thing.
    In him, the universe saw its own confines.
    He gave a voice, a phrase, a comprehensible refrain
    To the processes that drive all things.
    He spoke the words the universe implies.

    When he died, a magnet formed where all things tend
    When they dissolve without clinging or complaint.
    He spoke the words the universe implies.
    The earth he walked on magnetized.
    To hear his words,
    To watch my lives arise and not abide
    I fly
    Incomprehensibly aloft and light,
    Towards India the magnet land.


    Dhamma Giri

    I walk softly on your holy ground, Dhamma Giri, Mother Vipassana Center of the world,
    Mindfully treading your paths and alleys, aware of the treasured esteem in which you are held
    By meditators from every continent.
    But you are not always so delicate and pristine.
    Continuously in the process of being built ... concrete mixers whirr along your edges,
    New residences hover half-framed upon the roof-tops of old ones,
    Small, muscular men in Gandhi-caps scrape mortar onto bricks, chip and fit flagstones, wail away at iron reinforcing rods with mauls ringing metallic on the heads of shivering chisels;
    And redshawled, miniature women carry cracked stones in baskets on their heads
    To build your dining halls and huts.

    Dhamma Giri, I have stained my feet and cuffs with your russet dust,
    Clumsily chased my hat across your wind-buffeted plateaus,
    Coughed and sneezed up your smoke and soil-rich air,
    And walked in silence for a month along your tree-lined lanes,
    Seeking to return to love and equanimity.

    In front of your dining hall, my sandal, in undignified rebuff, refuses to slide gracefully off my bent left big-toe;
    And as I stir, pinioned, around me glide the forms of old men from Maharashtra, young Buddhist monks from Burma, towering Germans in their cavalier Birkenstocks;
    Until at last my toe slips free and I step forward to feel
    The barefoot plantar touch of India:
    Foot-worn paving stones, smoothed by anonymous multitudes of feet,
    Uneven rock, still somewhere inside itself heaving with the tumult of the arth that birthed it aeons ago,
    But now cool and calmed by naked human tread,
    And bearing on its stony surface the fine, ubiquitous, signature grit, that tells my toes,
    You have arrived; you are back home again.

    Now I throw in my lot, Dhamma Giri, with the barefoot pilgrims from around the world
    Who have come to meditate Vipassana amidst the dust and rock of your holy elemental ground!

    Dhamma Giri, mother of rock, dust, sun, and dark, where would you be without your pagoda,
    That strange and dominating form?
    It sprang up from the mind of your teacher, your Guru, whose concentration and faith envisioned you.
    He dreamed the dream of your upward thrusts and curves appearing into this physical world;
    And tenaciously over relentless years, the pagoda emerged in slow magic, like a mother giving birth from the sphere to your earthly plane of peace.
    Dhamma Giri, you and your pagoda are the materialization in brick, concrete, and marble of a seer's inner sight.

    The pagoda towers over you, its gilded golden dome arresting every eye,
    Its squat, circular base tapering upward in conical ascent to its turret of shining light and tinkling wind-bells,
    That attract celestial moods to its regal heights.
    And around the pagoda base, like ripples from a stone, in concentric rings, hundreds of tiny cells spread out,
    Encircling each inner row, in casual architectural aplomb,
    Each tiny cell-roof tipped with floral lotus peak.
    This is no building. It's a lab, a greenhouse of the heart.

    The pagoda is the hub of the eternal experiment of life shedding its separateness
    And opening unreservedly to love and equanimity.
    In many a world cycle, in many a cosmic birth and death, this effort has gone on:
    Those who know their transiency, and purify their personality, until selfclinging's gone.
    Here, Dhamma Giri, we repeat the truth this time around: all things decay.
    The Unborn has no form.

    Each pagoda cell provides full privacy,
    Yet all face center where the teacher sits.
    Each meditator in darkness and closed eyes faces every other cell, yet none can see.
    Alone, together, each meditator is tuned by the pagoda's orbic vibe.

    When I return to sit in your dark cells, the agitated motion of my mind stills.
    I close the door and cross my legs.
    Now I wrap the shawl of truth around me,
    And seek to realize, moment by moment, in the scintillation of my body's life,
    Reality of change upon change, the chemistry of life,
    The atomic, kinetic base of incessant transformation
    In the particles of myself.

    Dhamma Giri, I sit in your timeless, lightless, morning and afternoon pagoda meditation cells,
    To find impermanence manifesting in every molecule of myself,
    And so to spring free of believing in that self,
    Which I exchange
    For love and equanimity.

    Slowly, slowly, when I am not sitting, I traverse your hilltop land, Dhamma Giri, and feel your loving strength beneath my every step.
    When my mind runs wild like a caged rodent seeking out, your cool and tree-lined path that lies within Arañña-gato va, having gone to the forest,
    Cups and buffers my hot distress like a mother's soothing hand.
    When I walk with concentrated intent and downcast eyes in dusk toward your lecture hall,

    The pagoda's wind-chimes silver-plate my mind with moonlight and stellar psalms.
    When I meditate upstairs, in your highest cells, nearest the Teacher's own, great waves of love and equanimity
    Surge towards me from the center of invisible worlds.

    No, you are not all detachment and solemnity, Dhamma Giri; you catch the ruckus of the world.
    From the town side of your hilly walls, upward floats the roar of tractors, claxons of taxis, hoots and hisses of trains, the blare of movie music and religious congregational excitation, magnified through megaphones.
    On your village edge, the dusk brings rise and fall, like surf, of children always in groups and games; or songs of a solitary radio; and cows, lowing in the stubble of rice paddy.
    At night you often pulse with the paleo-rhythmic drive of distant and placeless drums and chanting.

    And everywhere you have crows: crows cawing, crows squawking in lugubrious, untranslatable dialogue back and forth between two trees in the glaring afternoon sun;
    Crows gathering in cacophonous mobs that blacken the treetops at dusk,
    Crows on the roofs, crows rustling leaves, crows with their bills wacking over metal drinking cups that fall and clatter repetitively during the supposedly silent evening discourse hour,
    Crows waddling down walkways like men,
    Crows punctuating endless hot afternoons with their metronomic calls: walk walk; walk walk;
    Crows bringing black irreverent life and motion into your calm pool
    Of stillness, austerity, and self-effacing rectitude.

    But, Dhamma Giri, above you always stands, from noon to starry night, the great black mesa.
    Towering thousands of feet above you, parched, impersonal as a tombstone, a mountain, ageless beyond any human hope.
    That is why, a thousand years ago, Buddhist monks carved out caves in solid rock cliffs,
    Among the range of ravaged, eerie mountains that lie behind the mesa, and that remain so wild and untamed.
    This is the land that calls the human heart to meditate upon eternal and immediate change upon change.
    From here, those long-gone monks could radiate the world with the compassionate blessings of their deep remove,
    That pulses from them still, like the last measurable wavelength of isotopic decay.
    As real time blots out short human spans,
    Above each meditator on your grounds
    That mountain mesa's black bulk measures out true magnitude.

    Why do I keep returning to you, Dhamma Giri, where I waste unmonkish time ambling down mental valleys of deeply encrusted daydreams;
    Where I strive the whole month through to hold the body's relentless change in view, only to feel the time
    Evaporate into lost moments beyond the mesh of memory?
    I hear you repeat over and over to me, Dhamma Giri, just one message, which is:
    We can always return to love and equanimity.

    Every time I arrive upon your gated grounds,
    And every time I depart,
    I feel beneath me ineluctably the trickery of fate.
    I treat you as a one-time thing.
    I never know if health, disease, war or politics
    May seal you off from me.
    But I carry your message in my back and bones.
    Whatever happens outside (I hear you say to me)
    Inside our own bodies we can always return
    To love and equanimity.

    So grand, so vigorously and caringly built, you too, Dhamma Giri, will crumble and pass on some day.
    A thousand years from now, people may tell legends of the students who thronged your atmosphere of quietude
    Coming from every country on the globe:
    The United Nations of Meditation.

    Where will I be then, a thousand years from now, in what form, with what worry still on my mind,
    What sort of body will I be that
    Somewhere in the fine, atomic, vibratory structure I will hold and hear your one gift to me:
    The practice, the faith, to restore awareness
    Through direct experience of insubstantiality:
    We can always return to love and equanimity.

       Oh, dear old Dhamma Giri,
       We will praise you wordlessly
       By the way we walk through life.

        Let our days make us worthy of your stones and dust.


    Meditation

    Islands in the Storm

    Dhamma Suttama, little meditation center on the hill among the maples
    In Quebec, where everything has two names — there are deer and chevreuil in the woods, students and etudiants in the meditation hall —

    Where as soon as I speak, someone echoes me in Frankish harmonies.
    Here you can inhale the sweet exhalation of grass and trees; the air is scented breath that has been minted inside the bodies of respiring summer foliage.
    This is the land where the Appalachians peter out
    From their long rumpled folds in the U.S.A.
    Large lumps of low mountains built up among the flat plateaus.
    Even the continents were once storm waters, wild synclines and anticlines aeons ago, squirming and buckling on the globe.
    Now this worn down Northland has just the right incline to hold a meditation center on its flanks;
    Dhamma Suttama, high and afloat amidst the surf of North America, like an island in the storm.

    America and Canada collide here sleepily.
    Ten days of silent sitting hard and still, forty people in the small, woodbeamed hall,
    Each facing a gale of inner woe and pain with the strength of equanimity,
    Built upon the realization of impermanence of every sensation of the body/mind,
    Every etudiant here is striving to be an island in the storm.
    As we meditate day after day ... morning, noon, and evening pass us by like sailboats upon an inland sea.
    We ride the waves alone together, our multilingual pirate band holding tight to our seats, as we row between the crests of birth and death,
    Stealing golden coins of peace from moments in the squalls of time.
    Each of us has buried treasure on this island in the storm.
    Upon the round ocean of the world, in India, Nepal, Mongolia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, Japan
    (their clocks reversed, their buildings shaped to different architectural design),
    Other meditation centers house other bands of voyageurs, who sail upon the seas of land.
    An archipelago of meditation centers spans the planet now,
    Among the heavy continents where all humanity is born.
    We are all alone together, living islands in the storm.


    One Last River's Wild Ride

    When you are paddling a canoe through rapids, you need to go
    faster than the water in order to retain autonomous mobility, free of the
    current.


    It's as if we are always paddling down a river, you
    and I, who are always in the same boat,

    Canyon walls towering above us on either side, and no way off the water, so forced right down the chute,
    White water below us — certain death —
    And instead of just collapsing into inevitable, undignified defeat,
    We accelerate the boat's descent!

    Dig the paddles deep into the black back of water!
    Let's outrace the current down towards the dark rocks and wild foam,
    Ahead of the game, source of our own speed,
    Let's lean out beyond the gunnels, the better to brace and bend the responsive ash paddle blades,
    Swirling our canoe with living heat of muscle's inner fire,
    Past rock after menacing rock's destructive rim,
    We're wheeling, urging on,
    Our deltoids flaring out like flanks of wild horses
    As we sweep down the white water's heaving, surging mass.

    For the person truly alive, death must be a victory we approach at our own speed,
    Inevitable, looming ahead.
    Let's not be taken down, but shoot across in full possession of the final moment's facts.
    Either then, or long before then,
    Even right now, we may awaken
    Into true river boaters,
    Always paddling towards the last moment
    With a spirit that moves faster than the water and so retains command over motility and the mind's lithe moves,
    As we yell over to our companion paddler above the river's roar,
    "This river trip's my dream come true."

    In my body, I am landlocked, decaying from within and greying from without, Knees grinding against time-worn cartilages,
    Head of the humerus no longer able to rotate within the scapula's rounded, roughened bed,
    Spinal column rotting like damp basement sills —
    A patriarch I've never seen before stares back at me from among his silver beard and mane
    As I comb my hair in the mirror every morning.
    But in spirit I feel new born.
    Now I want to take my life
    As one last river's wild ride.
    You and me, old travelers, old adventurers,
    Howling on North Woods lakes along with loons, haloed by pastel sunsets,
    Alert and upright in the bucking boat,
    Facing every submerged boulder, every eddy With total contact of our body, mind, and paddles,
    Far, far beyond mere faith —
    Living to our last immersed
    In one last river's wild ride.
    The paddler heads down the river towards where it dips below the line of sight —
    Watches the liquid world of his own body scintillate around him in roiling ricochets and runs,
    Stripped of everything but realization now
    All-grasping wrung out of him,
    His mind open like the original dawn,
    The great determination of the paddler pays off at last,
    Powers concentration and unblinking recognition of the truth.
    Now is the time for fruition within the storm,
    Wisdom while rushing down the rapids
    Totally calm, alert acceptance of reality:
    This is the way the riverman descends
    On his one last river's wild ride.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from You Can Never Speak Up Too Often For the Love of All Things by Paul R. Fleischman. Copyright © 2004 Paul R. Fleischman. Excerpted by permission of Pariyatti Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Paul R. Fleischman, MD, is a psychiatrist, a lifelong practitioner of Vipassana meditation, and the author of The Buddha Taught Nonviolence, Not Pacifism; Cultivating Inner Peace; The Healing Spirit; and Karma and Chaos. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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