Poetry of the Spirit

The poetic heart is universal, providing timeless insights into human nature and the natural world. The heritage of spiritual poetry transcends the boundaries of time and culture, linking such seemingly disparate voices as Lao Tzu, William Blake, the Sufi mystic Rumi, Rainer Maria Rilke and Zen master Basho.

The images, symbols and metaphors of sacred poetry speak to the innermost consciousness of the reader or listener and provide a gateway to the development of higher perception and intuition.





As I walk, as I walk
The universe is walking with me
Beautifully - it walks before me
Beautifully - it walks behind me
Beautifully - it walks below me
Beautifully - it walks above me
Beautifully - on every side
As I walk - I walk with Beauty.

 - Navajo Prayer



The spring breeze:
How white the heron is
Among the pines.

  - Basho


We are born soft and supple;
dead, we are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken;
the soft and supple will prevail.

  - Tao Te Ching



He who binds himself to a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.

   - William Blake



A cold breeze;
A whispering in the pines
Fills the air. 

- Onitsura


Exalted truth imposes upon us
Heat and cold, grief and pain,
Terror and weakness of wealth and body
Together, so that the coin of our innermost being
Becomes evident.

- Rumi



Something has puddled his clean spirit
And in such cases, men's natures wrangle
  with inferior things, though great ones
  are their object.

   - Shakespeare




We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

        - Rumi



Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same Source.
This Source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

        - Lao-Tzu


Winter solitude -
In a world of one colour
the sound of wind.

  - Basho



And I have felt a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thoughts,
And rolls through all things.

        - Wordsworth

Though I should live
To be a hundred,
The same world,
    the same cherry-blossoms,
The moon is round,
The snow is white.

   - Taiya Teiryu


Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet -
all this universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

- Rainer Maria Rilke



This moment this love comes to rest in me,
many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle's eye a turning night of stars.

          - Rumi


Simply trust -
Do not the petals flutter down,
just like that?

   - Issa


Holy Spirit,
giving life to all life,
moving all creatures,
root of all things,
washing them clean,
wiping out their mistakes,
healing their wounds,
you are our true life,
luminous, wonderful,
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.

- Hildegard of Bingen


The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven's light forever shines, earth's shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity.

         - Shelley



Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
      in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.

 - Rumi


The willow paints the wind
Without using a brush.

- Saryu


We join spokes together in a wheel
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

    - Tao Te Ching



I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate towards yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

     - Lao-Tzu



The great sea has set me in motion,
set me adrift,
moving me like a weed in a river.

The sky and the strong wind
have moved the spirit inside me
till I am carried away
trembling with joy.

        - Uvavnuk



Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going -
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

- Kozan Ichikyo



Ever fresh the broad creation
A divine improvisation . . .

- Emerson


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