I Loved You Simply

Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

Such child-like innocence we had,
such purity of need and emotion.
In truth, we were leechers, not lovers.
One would give, one would take,
one was crumbs to the other man’s cake.

As time marched on,
our splinters began to show,
our poison began to flow,
our hearts turned harder,
our paths veered farther
and farther
apart.

“Love” is the loftiest of illusions.
One glimpse and,
like a drug,
we want more.
But love needs faithful legs to stand on, too.
Without them, the illusion disappears,
and all we have left are fears.

The heart aches,
the mirror breaks,
the shards draw blood,
we drag each other through mud.
It hurts,
it hurts,
it hurts,
the pain a reminder of “love”‘s dictate.
“Breathe,” it cries, “breathe and you will awake”
Learn to discern, what is real, what is fake.

It was True Love’s kiss that broke the curse, however slight,
however gentle.
We had two choices –
reblossom or burn.
I fell to the earth, digging,
even as the fire held firm.

Love is Wise, Love is Patient.
It waits lifetime upon lifetime
for us to find it,
for us to feel it.

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

And that, in truth,
is Love’s will.

Love Letter to the Beloved

You are always there
even when You’re not,
to hold my hand,
to cradle my heart,
to soothe the sting of our separation.
I long for You
like a child eyeing an ice cream cone
on a sweltering summer’s day,
like my first crush,
all beetroot and tongue-tied,
like the lips of my lover
lingering, tingling,
like a mother holding her child
for the first time,
pleading for his protection.
My longing
is torture,
is ecstasy.
Each time we meet,
Your nur pulls me closer.
Impatient for our union,
this waiting is like a fever,
confusing my mind,
mixing dreams with reality,
coursing through my veins,
creating aches in corners of my heart
I never knew existed.
My Love,
do You feel it, too?
You always exude such grace and composure.
Your smile makes me forget myself.
Oh, to be that smile,
to be that soul.
You make me want to be
everything possible.
You show me warmth and hope,
promises of Paradise.
Your absence
casts a despairing shadow.
I am nothing,
if not Yours.
I want nothing,
if not You.

Letter to My Son

When I look at your beautiful face, son,
I see an ocean of ancestors.
I see my eyes,
the eyes of my father
and his father before him.
I see your dad’s expressions,
his inner child.
I see history and the future
all rolled into one.
I see God’s love and mercy
to have placed your care
into my hands.
When I see you smile and your eyes
twinkle,
it’s like seeing the world through you,
full of wonder and impossible joy.
When you look pensive,
my mind automatically goes
to all the ways I’m failing you.
You see, my son,
I’m a glass half empty kind of person,
and I know, despite my best efforts,
I’ve passed that worldview onto you.
I want to be the one to rise above it,
to show you that it can be done.
As I see you growing older,
your curiosity being leached from within,
your twinkle getting tarnished,
I think of all the ways this world is failing you.
Let’s be part of the solution,
you and I.
Let’s flip the system.
Let’s turn the mirror right way round.
Let’s fill that glass to the very top,
heck, let it overflow.
There’s never any lack of love here,
that is the biggest myth of all.
We just need to stop blocking love’s flow.
It won’t always take the shape we imagined.
It will sometimes be more hardship than hearts,
more resilience than roses,
more patience than passion,
but remember, dear,
tears are Divine kisses, too.
Don’t hold on too tightly to anything,
not even the identity you’ve so carefully constructed.
Let it all flow,
let it all go,
let love be your strength,
not your weakness.
If you’re going to hold on tightly to anything, my son,
let it be the One,
let it be His Rope,
and let it take you where it will.

Bliss

Sparking magic and wonder in an innocent child’s eyes,
autumn trees swathed in emeralds, rubies and citrine,
summertime sunsets reflected in still waters,
the sound of steam rising from a kettle,
sharing long-held secrets with a trust-worthy confidante,
stolen kisses with a long-time love,
gentle breezes skirting past during evening walks,
and the tingling sensation of reuniting with your Beloved:
this
is
bliss.
Moments borrowed from heaven.
Moments that make you wish
you weren’t so numb.
Moments that make you yearn
for the courage to feel
these blissful reminders
of Bliss itself.

The Beginning of the End

The beginning of the end for me
was the day I finally saw You for You.
Before that, you were just a name to bandy about,
a pacifier for those who had no clue.

You were to be more feared than loved,
that was simply the order of the day.
At least, that’s what I had been told,
and I wasn’t one to disobey.

Ironically, the moment
I felt You close by,
was when breaking the rules,
this I cannot deny.

Yet still, You revealed to me
a deep truth from within,
hidden under layers
of worldly din.

I believed at the center
of my lonely, lonely heart
that You didn’t love me,
I was somehow apart.

That belief shaped my actions,
my relationships, my core.
How could I flip this thought
so deeply stitched into my lore?

The answer is slowly and gently,
bouyed by the strength of Your love.
Could there be a stronger force
in this earthly world or above?

Now that I know You are on my side,
anything and everything seems possible.
An entire lifetime has been examined,
motivations analyzed and found tossable.

Frameworks have been readjusted,
future plans left open for guidance to come.
Some things are ending, others just beginning.
It feels like I’m mourning, my heartstrings a’strum.

As I bury my former self in the ground,
I wonder how long this grief will last.
I beg You, please, don’t give up on me,
as I overcome my treacherous past.

What will the other side look like,
I ask every day.
You present me with options
to choose from, but nay!

This time,
we’ll chose together,
You and I.

We’ll rebuild this life from love, not fear.
Even when I’m alone, I’ll know You’re near.

And this I can say
one hundred percent,
my heart has grown porous,
there’s no more cement.

I live only for You
and whatever good I can do,

till the end of time,
till the end of mine.

The Dancing Bear

Whenever I danced for my audience,
I received cheers and hearty applause.
That sound filled my heart with untold joy.
I felt like I was living for a cause.

For as long as I can remember,
I’ve belonged solely to my trainer.
He was strict when I needed discipline,
tested me till my act was a no-brainer.

And when I performed well, which I always did,
he’d reveal his softer side,
presenting me with the choicest treats,
petting me publicly with pride.

You see, I am a dancing bear.
I’ve always lived to please.
At first, my trainer kept me caged,
until he trusted I wouldn’t flee.

As I grew bigger in size,
less flexible and friendly-seeming,
he left me to my own devices,
found others to trap in his dreaming.

It was the first time I thought,
if I could no longer perform or please,
then who was I, really?
My trainer simply taunted and teased.

He made me feel unwanted, worthless.
One day, he flew into a rage so great,
I clawed and cowered in trembling despair,
before planning my stealthy escape.

I ran and ran for miles,
no direction or planned destination.
One morning, I woke in a grassy knoll,
the sun embracing me in salutation.

Despite having no clue what I should do,
in that moment, I finally understood,
this was a chance to live my life anew,
in as honest a way as I could.

Over the months and years that followed,
pure love blossomed from within.
When next, I came across my old trainer,
all I could do was mildly grin.

Now, I only felt sorry for him,
but immensely grateful, too,
were it not for his abominable actions,
I wouldn’t have discovered You –

the real audience for my deeds,
the One I was truly meant to please.

House of Mirrors

Some days this world is like a snow globe
in the hands of a gleeful child
being shaken with force and fury,
snowstorms, hurricanes, wildfires, riled.

Other days this world is like a house of mirrors,
each speck of love and good will
reflected from one crystalline heart to another,
multiplied, magnified, distilled.

Our crystal hearts come in all shapes and shine,
rubies, emeralds, sapphires, divine,
slate grey stones, cloudy pebbles,
prismatic diamonds, onyx rebels.

Some are cracked, some have coating,
bubble-wrapped or free-floating.
Some have dark stains, deeply set,
Others are polished, gleaming with sweat.

Each light reflects and absorbs
the One True Guiding Light.
Though we sense it all around us,
it blinds even the sharpest sight.

This life is like a treasure hunt,
with clues and signs at every turn,
nudging us in the right direction,
each prize, another truth to learn.

As I gaze upon the night sky,
I wonder if our microscopic atoms
revolve in synchronous dance with
our universe’s planetary patterns.

We started out as only One,
then separated into dualities,
branched into clans and countries,
created divisive mentalities.

How seriously we take this illusory life,
how foolishly we resist our intuition.
Surely, it leads those who listen with care,
to eternal peace and submission.

Come a Little Closer

Sometimes it feels like I’m always sad
and things will never be any other way.
The void within will continue to grow,
as will this angst and constant searching
for something I may never get.
Is it an all-consuming purpose?
The truth about life?
Or just the truth about my life?

Although living this privileged existence on the outside,
my spirit feels as restless as a wandering dervish,
always in search of the truth,
looking for beauty and love
in every speck and every soul,
in every corner of this world.

Sometimes I wonder if I have a beautiful soul.
But what good is it if there’s no one to see it,
to recognize it
and appreciate it?
It’s never meant much to me to have a pretty face,
yet somehow,
that is what matters to most.

You are the only One who truly knows me,
but I hardly know You.
The closer I try to get,
the farther I seem to move away
from the people of this world,
their desires,
their to do lists,
their visions for the future.

I wish I could meet You,
but instead I try to gather You,
like items on a scavenger hunt,
from your most fragile forms,
like the petals of a flower
or the nuanced brushstrokes of a breaking dawn,
to your most resplendent creations,
like the lush and lofty trees of the rainforests
or the majestic star-lit sky.
From the concrete columns of architectural marvels
to the intangible emotions of a couple lost in love,
I collect each piece of you
and add it to the void within,
hoping for a sense of closeness,
a glimpse of paradise,
a soulful balm.
And sometimes,
it works.

I often wonder if You’re watching me from above
or deep within
and laughing at my exertions
trying so hard
to feel so close
to the One who is already
so near.

Why is joy so hard to experience?
Why are guilt and fear so deeply ingrained in our psyches?
Why are these invisible bonds so impossible to break?
These cloaks of despair so hard to shake?

You say You’re closer to us than our jugular vein.
Why, then, is it so hard to feel You?
Are you hidden in my tears?
Are you blended in my breath?
Because then I might understand
why I cry so much,
why I sigh so much.

Sometimes I think
you ask too much
of me.
Or perhaps I am one of your weaker creations,
to serve what purpose, I do not know,
except to feel
this ever-present
pull.

What do I do with all this love,
with all this longing?
How do I spend this life
so far away from You?
Unless perhaps,
You think it’s time
to come a little closer,
so I may finally experience
the infinite,
before this life is over.

Fairytale Gone Wrong?

Once upon a time, the world was One. It existed in harmony with all the elements of life, like paradise on earth. The laws of nature ran their course for many millenia before humans even entered the picture. Humans brought with them ingenuity, innovation and emotion, but also greed. The best of humanity sought to understand the Universe and live according to its ebbs and flows. They sought just enough to suit their needs and maintain the balance of life.

Then a time came when people saw fit to break the world into pieces, much like a jigsaw puzzle. But where a puzzle is meant to be put back together, these pieces started calling themselves ‘nations’ instead, and believing they were the only ones that mattered. They built fortress-like walls around their borders to protect them from the others. Those who were once their brothers and sisters, were now nothing more than fearsome ‘foreigners’. 

When the land was divided, some got luckier than others, with more resources at their disposal. ‘Sharing’ became a dirty word, while ‘selling’ became everything. Suddenly, the earth, which had been given to us so freely to share and protect, became a product with a price tag. We began to feel ownership over nature, when actually, nature wasn’t subject to any laws other than those dictated by the Universe.

Humans, much like nations, began amassing wealth and resources, at the expense of others. Their brilliance shined through in the systems they created, but their fears of never having enough overshadowed any instinct they had towards helping those in actual need. Children were sent to schools to soak in knowledge, but more often than not, came back having lost their sense of wonder, with brains steeped in facts, mixed messages about life and deep insecurities for the future.

Love, which once came from within and was given freely without expectation, was now shackled by all sorts of restrictions. With the jigsaw movement came rules about who and how it was okay to love, and any deviation from those rules was utter abomination. Love was given an easily commodifiable interpretation, and anyone without such love in their lives felt wholly unworthy. These people made for friends misery and mental anguish, instead. What use was their life if nobody loved them? They forgot they were loved by the most ultimate being of all. They forgot their worth was inherent, their talents essential and their beauty undeniable. They forgot all these things, so the rest of humanity punished them for it.

As is wont to happen in times of great upheaval, there were a few who benefitted from this broken arrangement. They were the ones who kept stoking the fear because they had something valuable to gain – the power to control the narrative. And everyone knows there is no greater power in this world than that. For he who controls the narrative has an army of puppets at his disposal. And puppets who do as they’re told without questioning, are indeed much more dangerous than any fearsome foreigner you could imagine.

The world was sprinting along at a dizzying rate, when she came along. No one had time to pause and reflect for too long because there was always the next project to be done, the next day to get through, the next box to tick mark. There were never enough hours in the day for anything, let alone stopping to appreciate the Universe’s blessings. 

It took the blink of an eye to change all that. The world was overtaken by a common enemy it called Corona. Through her severity and speed, Corona put the world in its place. People began realizing they were not as powerful or untouchable as they had once thought. In fact, they were downright helpless. They’d just never realized it. 

Corona has caused widespread destruction everywhere. But she’s also done something no president, no religious leader, no spiritual guru, prominent businessman or insightful writer has ever been able to do. She has brought the world together. She’s forced people into their homes, made them focus on their families and reflect on the things that truly matter. She’s humbled them, bringing out their best (and sometimes worst).

Corona has delivered a warning for all of humanity: Get your act together. Be united. Live with love, humility and faith. Help each other. There is no hamster wheel of life or ladder to success. There is no point in creating borders and labelling humans. No one ever wins in war. And the only one who is truly in control is the Universe. 

Corona was neither an accident, nor a well-inflicted plan by some enemy combatant. She was sent by the Universe as the ultimate course corrector. Throughout history, whenever the world has gone off balance, the Universe has found a way to restore order. Now, when so many of us have stopped caring about Mother Nature, the Universe has given us a preview of what happens when Mother Nature stops caring about us, too. 

Yes, this is just a preview. But it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on what we decide to do next.

Although we’d like to believe Corona is the enemy, she is actually just a messenger. The question is, are we actually listening to what she has to say? 

Are you? And if so, what is it that you hear?  

When I Sit in Silence

When I sit in silence
with nothing but my thoughts for company,
my consciousness for comfort,
I feel,
palpably,
that something is missing.
For years, I didn’t know what that was.
An absence of goals and dreams?
A lack of purpose?
No connection to a single home,
a stable identity?
The theories behind my inadequacy came and went –
childhood trauma,
young adult depression,
laziness without ambition,
not enough gratitude.
Now I know better.
The thing that’s missing,
the lack of which makes me feel
this unbearable loneliness and deep-seated longing,
is You.
You who created me
and loves me like no other.
You, who are with me,
even when you’re not,
who gifts me moments of work and rest,
glimpses of transcendence and treachery.
Despite all that you have blessed me with –
family, friends, multiple homes, diverse experiences, a world of beauty and amazement –
nothing compares to the feeling
of being
with You.

I miss you always.
I sometimes wonder how I’ll last
with just this tenuous connection between us.
I want more.
Is this what greed is?
Then, truly, I am a greedy person.
Honor, nobility, morality be damned.
You can see right through to the core of my being,
even if no one else can.
I ache for you,
like a child who’s been separated from his mother,
or someone who wants only to be wrapped in her lover’s embrace.
I ache.
And that is the root of all my pain.
Everything else pales in comparison
to the joy of being with you.
Yet I know
that “everything else” is your gift to me,
to keep me balanced,
too distracted to drown
under the weight
of this painful disconnection.

How can I help others to heal
when my own wounds feel so fresh,
so physical?
When will this ache diminish?
How do I move forward in this life
when all I want is to fall back
into You,
when all I can think about
is melting into your embrace
and becoming One
again?

You say heaven or hell lies ahead of us,
on the other side of this life.
I say heaven or hell is right now,
this life and what we make of it.
What, then, waits for us on the other side?
Home?
Perfect union?
Limitless love?

You, with arms outstretched.