Ten White Beads


always we begin again

(the chaplet of two hearts)

 

“…I wash myself with snow water…”

                -Job 9.30

i

always beloved i am already unfolding you

in the seamless expanse of the solitary north i am as the pole star

no longer wandering through virginal snows nor over trackless ice

for ten thousand years i was as one wandering, hunting, seeking, howling

who i am is he who is lost beyond the shadows beneath the silvery moon

i am he who once searched for the white wolfe

following unnamed rivers whose beginnings are lost

beneath unnamed glaciers high on still undiscovered mountains

my always babbling mind is still now as shattering ice flows adrift

and my always dansing heart is silent now as stones resting beneath laughing waters

i cannot find the white wolfe nor can the white wolfe find me

Commentary:

I have an instinct about the beads, the sphere, the unending, the breath that quiets and holds spirit suspended and centered. Here is the gaze, the pole star, the focus and center where all begins and ends. Here is the center and the circumference, the round moment that also is eternal. Here is the unseeing that also is the keenest sight. The effort of searching has ceased. The white wolfe stands still, one with the ice, one with the snow, one with the self, and because of oneness—invisible.

 

ii

i hear only the sound of snowflakes falling

in the shadows beneath the starlight forest

i hear footprints dansing amidst the falling snowflakes

in the softness of  midnight i smell the musk of virginity

deeper than the highest mountain tops kissing the whirling stars

closing my eyes i see she who remains hidden in mysterious darkness

the full moon drifting conducts a symphony of dansing lights

Commentary:

The comparison here is not between the nouns (Mountain tops/scent) but rather between the verbs, (smelling, kissing, closing) enhancing fundamental paradoxes: Virginity’s musk. Sky’s depth. Closed eye’s sight. Mystical experience can be communicated only by analogy. The mystic is often led by paradox. One is reminded of T.S. Eliot’s mystical Four Quartets:

“And what you do not know is the only thing you know

And what you own is what you do not own

And where you are is where you are not.”

What is “the sound of snowflakes falling”? Here is the first moment of awakening. This moment cannot be grasped. It is realized only in the dansing lights of surrender. This is the “danse” as contrasted with the “dance,” calling to mind the highest form of movement, the universal infinite and eternal ballet of being.

iii

i hear the song of my beloved reflected in crystal waters

the night is rich with wonders the north wind is whispering

white waters are always rushing toward infinite seashores

the spawning salmon are already returning to discover rebirth

even amidst such whiteness the white wolfe cannot hide from her

amidst such radiant darkness she unveils her mysteries to me

what poet can sing of such splendor and magick as is mirabai

 

Commentary:

I’m taken with the roundness of this poem, the circularity of each image. Also — “mirabai” evokes wonder, making me think of mirabile dictu. The word (as well as the woman) who completes the circle. Here the beloved becomes a real woman, the mystic counterpart of the poet, the mirror in which soul can be seen clearly, the song of being that begins with “her” but echoes in the waters, the wind, the snows, everywhere. And the white wolfe, the purity of the mystic’s soul, is called forth. The hope of returning is in rebirth, in the sacred spiral, in the circle of being that the mystic embodies. There is no essential difference between the soul and the beloved. They manifest at the connection point, the binding of the circle, the winding of the sacred song, the return of the salmon to the stream of its birth.

 

iv

i lift my howling voice beyond emptiness into falling stars

where she who burns darkly awakens young lovers dreaming

floating within silver clouds embracing fragile mountain tops

or drifting upon mists in hidden valleys filled with still waters

here sounds the silver fluidity of my beloved singing within me

a watery halo embracing the silvery moon lost in the purple night

Commentary:

The mystic poet circles within circles within circles…endlessly. Here is evoked the mystery of the white beads, the living rosary, the ecstasy of love–human and divine. Here the mystic poet echoes Dante’s complaint: “My pen leapeth.” Words piled on top of words would never be sufficient to communicate the effect of love upon the soul. It is the velvet darkness becoming one with shimmering light while neither is diminished. Here is the divine intercourse and union of spirits, in which the heart is broken and made whole, at once, in a flash, in a breath, in a kiss.


v

neither a noble mind nor a pure heart are necessary

if you would discover the secret cave of the sacred packe

if you would discover the undiscovered country of love

you must denounce both starlight and the shadowy forest
if you would remain wilde and free as the white wolfe

you must repudiate all that you feel you love and do not love

you must renounce all that you think you fear and do not fear

you must find the source of pure sorrow and snowy waters

   Commentary:

I’m reminded again of TS Eliot’s FOUR QUARTETS, where this thought repeats again and again, but is profoundly evident in “East Coker III” particularly in the last section, beginning:

 “…In order to arrive there

To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy…”

And yet, this divesting is the essence of ecstasy, and the mystic knows that to be true even in this experience of loss and of darkness. Only here is the white wolfe found. And we discover that the white wolfe is not only innocence, not only wildness, not only freedom, but is the source of ecstasy itself for which all else must be surrendered.

 

vi

if you seek the white wolfe as relentlessly wandering as have i

slowly walking ten thousand circles through trackless snows

eventually you will find your way home again to your beloved

the whisper of her voice will flute you through all delusions

your depth and span measuring sorrow in snowflakes falling

from eternity higher love melting love always again reforms emptiness into clarity

if you hear the high sweet harmony above the snowflakes falling

if you see the overtones in the starlight behind the moon dansing

there you will find me as i always am in the arms of my  beloved

Commentary:

Again that wondrous circularity. achieved by a combination of repetition and syntax. The spirals can be felt in the way the lines and words move. Entering the pace of the lines, I feel my own energies begin to spiral along with the words until I am like liquid or air moving deeply upwards (to use your elegant paradox)

Also expansive is the mystic’s invitation here to interchange sense impressions: To “see overtones.”

To “measure sorrow in snowflakes falling” and to see the overtones of the snowflakes in the stars beyond the moon, brings together the greatest sorrow with the greatest joy so all opposites are reconciled and the eternal union with the beloved is once again recognized.

 

 

vii

sitting amidst the snowflakes i no longer search for white wolfe

i am impatient as the waxing moon striving toward brilliance

i am as serene as the full moon drifting through still waters

i am patient as the waning moon surrendering to darkness

within the empty cave of my unbroken heart is freedom

beyond all justice and injustice da free white wolfe danses

 

Commentary:

The moment of stillness arrives when opposites are no longer experienced as opposing but rather as present within each other in non-dualistic wholeness. In stillness all movement of Mind (striving), Spirit (serene drifting), and Soul (surrendering to darkness) are held as one and unbroken in freedom.

I’m reminded here of the words of Marguerite Porete:
“Thought is no longer of worth to me,
Nor work, nor speech.
Love draws me so high
(Thought is no longer of worth to me)
With her divine gaze,
That I have no intent.
Thought is no longer of worth to me,
Nor work, nor speech.”

And of course, T.S.Eliot again: “At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is.”

 

 

 

viii

 

white wolfe

                sacred mountains

                                mysterious darkness

                                                dansing starlight

                                                                still waters

                                                                                falling snowflakes

starlight melting snowflakes dansing in my unbroken heart

i am standing in the footprints of my beloved white wolfe

the footprints are my own and the circle is complete

a white wolfe rests in the white arms of his dark beloved

Commentary:

Here is the moment of ecstasy. An eternal moment when the two are one. Human and divine. Snow and stars. Dark and light. The footprints are joined as the circle of life is complete. The mystic poet’s footprints and the footprints of the white wolfe are one.

I have a paradoxical response to “unbroken heart.” It is as though the focus on “unbroken” here among a chain of seeming opposites serves to bring its own opposite to mind. So, reading “unbroken” I am strongly reminded of “broken.” The effect of this is an experience of the poet’s wonder over his unbroken heart—as though the expectation had been to find it (when he finally found it) broken. But wonder of wonders: It is whole and unbroken instead.

                                              ix

we can never take too many steps nor run too far

the journey however long is always over before we start

if you would find your way home you must leave everything

you must be willing to sacrifice everything you cherish

the way within the way lies through the white expanse of getting unlost

bloody rivers unite grizzly teeth hungry for spawning salmon

we wander until all thoughts and all desires crystallize fire within ice

until all lost memories are lost within all feelings of hope lost in despair

all such things fall as suchness into forests filled with shadowy dreams

therein which is herein clarity that is and is not fluidity embraces a red moon

within but beyond faith a radiant darkness shines that is and is not transparency

beyond grasping is she who burning transforms suffering into snowflakes falling

Commentary:

Eliot again: “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive at the place we started and to know it for the first time.” Our finite existence is, it turns out, imprinted upon the eternal, the timeless, beginning and ending simultaneously, forever.  The journey takes place, as Eliot also says, “at the intersection of time with the timeless.” All mystics arrive intuitively at this place, the place of grace and transformation “within but beyond faith.”

 

x  am thatringad is the first stepine

nd all are reconciled.ies beyond. 

wilde and free as i already always am running beyond the sacred packe

forever lurking in the shadows of all creatures high and low still eager for the kill

i am da free white wolfe who devours the weak minded and faint hearted

i sacrifice all unworthiness to she who encircles the silvery moon in a river of blood

i use no magick other than a love that is endlessly and without effort reborn unbroken

now even now the antlers of the reindeer that i have slain point toward a pregnant moon

she who danses within the flaming snowflakes holds me in an integral embrace

 

Commentary:

“I am da free white wolfe.” When I originally looked at the mystic poet’s iconic name, dafree whitewolfe, I felt puzzled. Did he mean “the free”? But I believed he must mean more than that.

“DA” recalls T.S. Eliot again, his enigmatic “Waste Land.” The Thunder speaks: “DA,” from the Sanskrit. It is the voice of God, the Thunder-God. And it repeats the three imperatives of the Upanishad:

DATTA – “give”
DAYADHVAN – “sympathize, cooperate, accept the others.”
DAMYATA – “control”

In Eliot’s work these are the principles of life upon which the waste land, or the crumbed civilization can be rebuilt.

And at this point I am brought back to the poet’s repetition of “da-nses”—an oblique but powerful repetition of the sacred DA, lifting the divine ballet to the Wisdom of the Creator who danses the world, old and new and holy at its core, into being.

Eliot’s poem ends with the tolling of “SHANTIH” – the peace which surpasses understanding. It is not difficult for the reader to anticipate this peace in the poet’s invocation of “she who danses within the flaming snowflakes (who) holds me in an integral embrace.” In the chain of associations, this “she” becomes all the women in one: Mirabai the Beloved, the poet’s mystic soul, the dark beloved of the moon, and Holy Uncreated Wisdom in whom all is present and contained in eternal love.

 

 

 

xi

always we are already beginning again

it is better to never begin your journey if you think you will find your end

compassion arises relentlessly and without effort redeeming all with destruction

filling the retreating darkness with unrequitable love i am the unborn reborn continuously

i stand amidst snowflakes in the footprints of a white wolfe hunting

the footprints are my own and i the flame dansing in the burning ice

snowflakes are already always gently melting on a bodhisattva’s cheeks

already my beloved i am always enfolding you

mark emmanuel christopher valentine

(© January 10, 2005)

              Commentary:

              “Already always…” The essence of the journey “at the still point of the turning world.”

                                              “Already always…” “Where the [danse] is”

                                              “Already always… I am … enfolding you.”

Commentary by Christin Lore Weber

(© November 12, 2006)

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4 Responses to Ten White Beads

  1. Jingle says:

    lovely work.
    keep it up.
    xx

    Like

  2. InfiniteZip says:

    Beautiful pieces, one and all. The way you weave your words is a wonder to behold;) amazing my friend;)

    Like

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