June 13, 2011

The Bowl of Roses (I)

Bowl of Sunflowers, Roses and Other Flowers

You have seen explosions of anger, seen how two boys
wrestle themselves into a single knot of hatred,
writhing on the ground like an animal assailed
by a swarm of bees. You have seen actors portray
paroxysms of rage, and maddened horses
beyond control, eyes rolling out of their heads,
teeth bared as if their very skull were shaking loose.

But now you know how things are forgotten.
For here before you stands a bowl of roses:
unforgettable, complete in itself,
a fullness of being:
self offering without surrender, sheer presence
becoming what we truly are.

New Poems


  1. In this world of madness, surrounded daily by a cacophony of hatred and anger, it's wonderful to be reminded of things — and, potentially, ourselves — which are like the bowl of roses, complete in themselves, full of being, self offering without surrender, and always present for the the unfolding of what they truly are.

  2. emotions flower so closely to the skin of our presence, tendrils reach down in search of something essential, taking root in the ego. the pure essence of being exists without condition. steven

  3. Where is it found? That essence. Lately when I stub my toe or knock my head on a corner of a cupboard, I let the pain wash over me, without letting it absorb me. For that momentary kind of pain, it amazes me that it is possible not to let it settle in and take control.

    I remember reading that Gurdjieff's father, when Gurdjieff was insulted by someone and became angry, telling him to let it rest for 24 hours, then see if he was still angry, and not to do anything in his anger until then. Gurdjieff found through his life that a day after being insulted, there was never any anger left. It had been forgotten, along with the insult, which seemed so inconsequential at that point.

    But what is not inconsequential? What is essence, and where is it found?

  4. It is extraordinary to me how the soul can be transformed, utterly changed, by total absorption in the present. The same soul that can burn with a rage of animal intensity, can find equilibrium by immersing in moments of beauty. The power of mindfulness and living in the present is enormous. Rilke beautifully capture this contrast in these few lines.

  5. the power of mindfulness.


    as though again i had forgotten.

    what i wonder is why it is so confusing for us, as though these bodies, this ego, this particular state of being, renders us slightly off center of being. and yet it is this state of tension that we exist in that brings suffering, which is what renders all to us. without it, the suffering, often created by our own hand, we are nothing but inanimate. and so we are cursed in this animation to be blessed in this animation, forever striving to be in a kind of soft and gentle stasis. we strive for what is almost impossible but through gaps or death. we are a funny lot.

    LOVE this imagery, maddened horses
    beyond control, eyes rolling out of their heads

    and this to be followed up with:

    But now you know how things are forgotten.

    now we just appear a foolish lot.

    oh, what man is. what man is not. oh, but what man is!


  6. Such energy expended on those things that have no importance. That first line of the second stanza carries so much meaning.

  7. Because before you the full bowl of roses stands.

    And I stand full of roses, too, and each moment. Will I take time to measure the weight of their fullness, fragrance and beauty?

  8. Oh, and full bowl of roses sounds wonderfully soothing in English. I think the German--"die volle Rosenschale"--is similar with the cooing "o"s.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!