“Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” by Richard Siken. From Crush, © 2006 by Yale University, published by Yale University Press.
Source: Crush (2006)
When you live on a lake, you share yourself with silence, little sounds, moving thoughts
What is said over there is heard over here
The lake by day is like your mind at day
The lake by night is like your mind at night
The sea’s murmuring
The stream’s babbling
The lake’s stillness
(To write down a lake thought, you have to lose the lake mind)
I sit here and become you
(Sometimes I’m thinking of the lake and sometimes of you)
A lake makes you think that the whole world is present
(Half of the lake reflects all of the mountain)
Everything turns towards a lake
The lake reflects the universe
The lake is where we once lived
(and then we were born)
You must share the lake with other creatures
(we are all part of it)
Living by a lake changes the way you look at things, changes the way you live
(Money is useless on a lake)
The lake’s colonizers: swimmers, rowboats, motorboats, waterskiers
A lake welcomes visitors from the sky — planes, birds, clouds
A lake likes the moon over her
The lake is like a planetarium projecting the night sky
The Big Dipper leans over the lake as if to scoop it up
The only quickly moving lights: fireflies and little airplanes
(and their reflections)
The lake changes slowly as moon and clouds and stars pass by
Once, the lake and the stars lived together. Separating, the lake realized that by reflection it could keep the stars always in her
(“There are the stars in your soul”)
By day the lake forgets
The lake: causeless, reasonless, bottomless, rootless
In the beginning, says the Rig-Veda, there was only water,
and in the water a living germ. Out of this, with the first
awakening of desire, came the living seed — you and me
(“The origin of creation is the desire of creation” — Simon Magus)
Over the water, two dragonflies are mating in the air
After making love by the lake, you become all the sounds you hear
One speaks softly by a lake
(The softer you speak, the clearer you hear)
A lake is devoted to listening
You can hear it dreaming
At night, by a lake, cars sound like jets
When it’s quiet, you can hear the stream inside the lake
(Late at night, I waken to the sounds of the lake in my body)
A lake is devoted to breathing
You can smell the sound of a lake
Let it tell you things
We must all go inside
The lakes waits for you
A SIMPLE LIFE
If you want to be free, learn to live simply.
Use what you have and be content,
not changing mates or careers.
Leave your car in the garage.
If you have a gun, put it away.
Sell that complex computer and
go back to using pencil and paper.
Rather than read every new book that
comes along, reread the classics.
Eat food grown locally.
Wear simple, durable clothing.
Keep a small home,
uncluttered and easy to clean.
Keep an open calendar with
periods of uncommitted time.
Have a spiritual practice
and let family customs grow.
Of course, the world is full of novelty and adventures.
New opportunities come along every day.
~ from John Heider’s translation (The Tao of Leadership) of theTao te Ching.
John led encounter groups at Esalen Institute and the Human Potential School of Mendocino.
“ The gap means non-connectedness, un-connectedness — the Self, Absolute, unconnected with the relative. This is Cosmic Consciousness. All activity — the movement of the hands, and the activity… of the mind and intellect and ego — and then the Self, Absolute, being a witness to the whole thing. So there is a gap; there is a non-connectedness between this [activity] and this [Self], and that is the gap. Now in God Consciousness the gap is there, but it is so beautiful; it is celestial. That is what interested me. This gap is filled by light and then, further on, the light gains the state of pure awareness. So [in God Consciousness] there is the celestial and the Self — whatever the gap, that gap becomes celestial. And then eventually the celestial merges into pure awareness, pure consciousness, and then the Unity results. “
—Maharishi, Conversations with Maharishi by Dr. Vernon Katz