The days wash over one another like waves towards a beach,
And time runs towards a meeting that we will never reach.

Still, now that we have finally abandoned all hope,
Love at least can breathe and not be strangled with desire’s rope.

Romeo need not have gainsaid his father, nor Tristan betrayed his king,
If they had been content to serve their beloved, to die to sing.

Man is indeed a strange creature—he embarks on journeys,
When seas and stars wash and swim along his arteries.

He builds monuments so that men will remember his sword’s song;
Yet the hand that wielded the sword, to whom did it belong?

No man can draw breath or take thought except in eternal debt.
And to desire that which is not-self brings infinite regret.

Sense turns outward; and man follows it to plunder, to weep, to beseech—
While his heart contains world and beloved, and there is nowhere to reach.


We begin with an evocative surrender to serial time but it turns into a celebration of the wonders of the treasure we carry within us. The great secret is that love grows out of the acceptance of helplessness. It glories in service, not possession. We must look beyond the great heroes of romance and tragedy, Tristan and Romeo.

Everything, every breath, is a gift. The mystery is that it is a gift from the Self whom we already are. The Beloved is always already present.

What appears to be the helplessness of the opening has ended in a profound and triumphant vindication of the way of abandonment.

» ghazal #45 »