To the Poets Who Have Gone Before

I owe a debt that can never be paid

To the poets who have gone before;

 

The mystics and sages, the prophets of old,

Voices calling from the dog-eared pages

Of dusty old tomes,

Calling me higher – calling me home.

 

Valmiki and Tulsidas,

The legendary authors of the ancient Hindu epics;

The poems and parables of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and the Buddha;

Verses passed from master to disciple

Through the mists of many ages,

Reaching me at last – still fresh!

As though the master’s words were gently whispered in my ear.

 

The playful madness of Hafiz

Cuts like a razor through the dream of my separateness;

The yearning sound of Rumi’s reed flute

Wakes me from my slumber.

They have led me to the Tavern,

And filled my cup with wine.

 

And of course the bards of my own tongue,

Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Blake;

My countrymen – Emerson, Whitman, Frost;

Pioneers who blazed the trail,

Who left behind signs to show the way.

 

I have spent long hours alone with these voices,

Seeking their secrets, learning their craft;

Their lofty thoughts have filled my mind, and stirred my soul.

 

A great change has taken place in these quiet hours;

The words have leapt from the page

And into my heart –

And kindled there a sacred flame.

 

All that I am and have written,

All that I may ever be or do or say,

Rests upon the ancients.

This debt can never be repaid –

Only paid forward.

 

So I too will sing my song,

I will keep this fire burning bright

And leave behind what signs I might

For the poets who are yet to come.

 

~ Ben

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “To the Poets Who Have Gone Before

  1. Me too! Me too! Me too! I owed unpayable debt too.. Hey, there’s a poem from Hafez that I have just posted, if your’re interested.. 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Subhan Zein

  2. Awesome!

    It’s rather sad that the spiritual depth and insight of west has been largely overlooked among those who are interested in consciousness and spiritual matters today, and well just about everyone besides!

    The transcendentalists of the 19th Century like Whitman and Emerson for instance. Theirs was a ‘Transcendental’ insight that was uniquely human, too. Quite different in character to the world as ‘Maya’ that’s been en vogue in the East since Shankaracharya. It seems it was once ok to be intelligently interested in what it is to be human, and to bring real insight to the questions around it. It was once a great western, and very American tradition in its early days. The declaration of Independence is a very spiritual document, for instance. Today, the depth of contemplation, real contemplation, that was normal then has largely been lost in the common understanding of things. It’s nowhere near as ok to engage in the same kinds of contemplations with that kind of depth, and express them boldly, either in statement or poetry. Anyone not conforming to the current relativistic, empty uncertainty of material thinking that takes a kind of shelter in guarded and safe rationalising language, is regarded as heretical!

    So, Ben…. keep it coming and keep the flame lit! It’s nigh time for ‘A New Renaissance and the Transcendental’ 😉

    Yours in Spirit,

    Ashok.

    • Thank you Ashok! There is indeed a rich tradition of deep thought and spiritual contemplation in the West, too often overlooked. The Transcendtalists certainly drew inspiration from the Masters of the Far East, but you are correct that there are some key differences. Whitman especially celebrated every aspect of being human, he celebrated the common man and the common life, and all that is natural and mundane – and found the Transcendental beauty in everything.

      But Truth is Truth, and the different viewpoints that different cultures and teachers have taken over the years, I liken to different facets of the same sparkling diamond. There is much to be gained from studying the similarities and differences of various philosophies; when contemplated deeply, much is revealed in our own experience that cannot be said in words. Of course, this is the most important practice – going into the Transcendent state ourselves, where all paradox is reconciled, and finding our own realization and understanding.

      It must be remembered too that the Transcendentalists were still a minority in their time – as mystics and deep thinkers always are. ‘Leaves of Grass’ was not recognized for what it was until after Whitman’s death. It is only in retrospect that we see how truly revolutionary these thinkers and writers were. And today although the mass-consciousness of the West is still deeply rooted in materialism, we are a part of a new revolution in consciousness, the cutting edge of evolution. Although we seem to be a minority at the moment, critical mass is approaching…

      The New Renaissance is here, my brother!

      Peace,

      Ben

  3. “But Truth is Truth, and the different viewpoints that different cultures and teachers have taken over the years, I liken to different facets of the same sparkling diamond. There is much to be gained from studying the similarities and differences of various philosophies; when contemplated deeply, much is revealed in our own experience that cannot be said in words.”

    Couldn’t have put it better than that!

    Peace,

    Ashok

  4. I’m so happy that I can read your journey here….this is brilliant with motivating words…you bring all your experiences and blend with poetic lines…

    • Thank you Pawan. I am so glad to share the journey with you, my friend. You too have the flame burning in you – I see in your writings a loving heart, an insightful mind, and the brilliant, beautiful light of an awakening Soul!

      Namaste ~ Ben

  5. Beautiful….Beautiful poem! I can say it is one of my fav of your work! Ben, I have totally relished this poem and love your pen!
    Stay gold, my friend.

    • Thank you so much, Shaheen. Your comments always bring me such joy… I am grateful for your support, and I am grateful for the brilliant light that you share with the world through your poetry, your art, and your compassion for others.

      You are sach a blessed and beautiful Soul 🙂

      ~ Ben

  6. I’m so sorry that it took me so long to get to all your posts, this poem is quite possibly the most beautiful tribute I have ever read, I need to start getting used to living in the world of goosebumps 😉 Thank you for this, as always!!! ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s