dimanche 30 novembre 2008

The Last Ashram

recent events have awakened some specific memories and yearnings in me, so i've decided to be flexible with my little vow--never say never!--to publish only new poems on this blog as a way to keep myself motivated. i wrote this poem in 1997 after a heartbreaking separation from a hindu priest to whom i was very attached and the local indian community i had come to love and worship with every sunday and beyond. my decision to separate was due to continual verbal abuse visited upon me for years by another member, the temple "amma" (mother) and swamiji's cook and caretaker, a physically glorious woman who had taken an instant liking to me, followed by an active, aggressive hatred. unfortunately, i am not the only one to which this happened and it was indian women as well. why swami did not intervene only swami knows for sure.

initially, i felt i was being tested and shaped for egoless service and i worked my butt off to be silent and compliant; but ultimately, i decided that it was going to be up to me to shape myself and that i could do it without abuse, starting out on a new path to vanquish a major theme that had followed me from childhood. but i miss swami: he was my mentor for ten years.

We've broken away from the swami games,
the clashing of kartals, the clanging of tongues,
jealous retribution in a kitchen
until one feels
not a wit oneself,
fit or be fitted,
incline or die.

We can leave our shoes outside but
we bring the baggage in,
and to win, what a prize!
To sit beside a laughing man,
a place right next to the plastic man,
a man guaranteed to make you cry
in your sleep, in your dreams.

"Come, oh ye sheep,
to the butcher block
of heavenly peace."

7 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Laura ... how absolutely marvelous. I was glad for the narrative for I can so relate. I have been lucky within my own quest as I have never been allowed to rely upon another for any direction. Always I had to find my own and I have been ever grateful.

The poem truly says it so very well, "come oh ye sheep" is it simply bred into many? Excellent Laura and such a pleasure to read.

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, liz, and welcome. you are a great reader and a strong, sensitive woman--uh-oh, another mentor? oh, that cult behavior! lol. so glad your endeavors are coming to fruition! you have so much to give and receive. love to you. xooxx

Max Babi a dit…

Dear Laura,

Your words always invoke such a powerful sense of deja vu in me for reasons I can never even begin to understand. However, though I have lived a life in India, I rather feel like Liz, very self-contained, very self-reliant. Have never had a teacher, am completely self-taught, self-realized. Still, why do I feel this sense of deja vu... been there, seen it, felt it?
Please let me read more of your work, old or new, am of course reading whatever is posted here.

Moineau En France a dit…

max, liz, there must be a reason that it's called self-realization. no one else can give it BUT the self; you can take some lessons, but in the end it's up to you. xoxox

Boris a dit…

Wow, I can really relate to this poem, I've had a rocky relationship with my ashram as well.

What great lines are here!

This is so true of ashram life:

"We can leave our shoes outside but
we bring the baggage in",

And this is so vividly expressive of how ideals and reality clash in ashrams:

"Come, oh ye sheep,
to the butcher block
of heavenly peace."

Moineau En France a dit…

thank you, boris. funny, i had an idea of you liking this when i posted it, go figure! maybe our minds are melding! you wrote me such an expressive and expansive letter last night, i loved it. there's so much to you, boris, like a diamond, you see a few sides but then wham! there's more new angles! so wonderful to have you and your talent in my life, it's currently one of my big blessings. ~laura

Princess Haiku a dit…

Hi, I saw your comment on Pisces' blog and stopped for a read.