Jug of Breath


oil on linen


available through Edgewater Gallery

In the poem ‘Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?’
Mary Oliver builds a beautiful image of a whirling Sufi.

When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking

to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea
that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb
curved and touching the finger, tenderly,
little love-ring,

as he whirled,
oh jug of breath,
in the garden of dust?

Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet, has been a companion
as the world has polarized in dreadful ways. He helps me
remember that humans are infinitely varied, and that terrorism
is a hideous expression of human beings enraged and filled with
evil intent but, thankfully, goodness and wisdom are also
manifested in humans all over the world.

‘Tripping Over Joy’

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.