Six Poems from Gareth Calway

Gareth Calway

1991, 1998, 1999, 2012 © Gareth Calway

New! Writing for the New Humanity

Beloved, To Please You
Dream Wedding
On Meher Baba's Birthday
Portrait of the Avatar As An Old Man
The Way of Love
The Quest of the Red Hart
Christmas in February
Sixth Heaven
Real Wife
Writing for the New Humanity

Beloved, To Please You

Baba, what can I say to please You?
What tuneless song could I try to sing?
What note can I strive for to please You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what can I do to keep You?
Close to my heart as it beats out my time?
Close in the crowds where I speak with You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what can I think of to praise You?
If I mastered expression in everything?
If I measured Your Grace in a poem for You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what deepest bow could raise You?
Were the depths of humility sounded?
Were my debt to You found and expounded for You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what heights of beauty could touch You?
Could the world rest in laurels at my feet?
Could I sing like Orpheus in the deep for You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what kind of love could I utter You?
Would my heart were an Ocean pouring?
Would my life were an answer to Your calling for You
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what can I know to impress You?
Should all of my moments come clear?
Should all my inspirations come together for You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Baba, what kind of sense can I make for You?
Can I open my heart and reveal it All?
Can I seek to know your Word and express it for You?
In Your Presence words fail and are nothing.
Beloved, these questions I ask of You,
Yet love asks no questions and answers none.
I am lost, but in love I am lost in You.
In Your Presence my failings mean nothing.


The man I love is an angel, his golden wrist like a rose,
His body held in a soft flame of stillness, freed in a pose.
The man I love is an angel, unfastened hair like a tide,
His fingers fly out of time's rut: and touch my heart as it blows.

The man I love is an angel, his mouth a kiss that won't stop;
His ears in whispering curls hear what open lovers propose.

The man I love is an angel, his neck is softer than sky;
He turns to me like a planet, and everything else explodes.
O heart, this love is a rare draught, you're lost and that's why you win,
You're stripped of even your held breath, and kiss what God alone knows.

"Beloved, To Please You" and "Angel" published in "Britain's Dreaming" (ISBN 1872914241) copyright © Gareth Calway 1998 reprinted by kind permission of Frontier Publishing. "Angel" put to music and sung by Gabriella Tal on her CD "Graceful and Magnificent" (1999).

Dream Wedding

Through a thousand years I've loved him more and more,
Now his fresh white rose is all I'm breathing for.
On a breathless trail, my nose for grossness lost
In these blazing scents, I burn to reach his core.
Just to think of him unlocks our love's perfume,
Makes the pure light clear and tunes me to the score.
Now the dried up churchyard tree shall spring to life.
"This is love," he beams, "which nothing can ignore".
All the power from his ring I hold in hand,
Through the fine torn veil my eyes are burned the more.
Novice, feed this pealing kiss, this heaven fire
And let Now's fine essence linger, ever more.

"Dream Wedding" published in "Coming Home" (ISBN 0951865706) copyright © Gareth Calway 1991. Reprinted by kind permission of King of Hearts Publications.

All these poems/ghazals have been read or sung at Meher Baba's Tomb.
Gareth Calway's commentary on these three poems.

On Meher Baba's Birthday
February 25

And so at last it's You and me my Friend
And nothing else to come between these lines:
No other matter in these scribbled signs
But You, no spirit, sense or start or end:
You gift the giver and Your gift transcends
The fairest words, the subtlest rhymes:
A love-struck silence speaking volumes chimes
This message that my heart approves, and sends:

What does one give to One who has it All?
What else but this, the book my heart has made
From broken beat and strings and love as blind
As snowflakes on the wind — all here arrayed,
Like petals on a rose, into this parcel:
The Lost I never lost and Yours to find.

Portrait of the Avatar As An Old Man

There's an infinite number of ways
To rephrase the maze of your gaze.
Broken face
Unbroken Grace

Your eyes worn again and frayed
Have seen much better todays.
Shrouded sight
Unshrouded Light

Your pealing lips sealed with a kiss
Flute the stops of a soundless bliss:
Muffled words
Unmuffled Word

Your tongue held on unrung praise
Is tolled through our works and days:
Grounded psalm
Ungrounded Calm


First published in Exile In His Own Country
Bluechrome, 2006

The Way of Love

"If you choose to drink the wine of love . . . seal your lips against all complaints." — Baba


O love! I offer my patience, persistent, brave to the end;
That fickle loving so stiff-scared of life and death, I'll amend.

I'll hold your course through the quicksand, the place to learn to accept
The shifting world as it needs must; accept its ways cannot mend.

I'll cry our love from the rooftops, embrace the hate of the street,
The cold attrition of thick skins, and won't accuse or defend.

I'll fly the rose of this love-truth you've gentled deep in my heart
And stand alone if I have to, no matter how I'm condemned.

Tomorrow's reduced into worries; the past can never be changed:
Would gnaw my mind and my heart sick with wanting both as my friend.

A fretful mind's like a buzzsaw, it nags the joy from our lives;
But such release as we let go and follow heart to its end.

The Way of love is a tightrope, it's pitched above the mundane —
This circus whirl of allurements my mind is poised to transcend.

O Traveller on unsure ground, your Guide will walk, though you'd run;
It's hard as flint to give True Love and, rushed, you'll only pretend.



Seeing is believing: glimpsed in youth my Love-sick Mazdah
Seen now dancing slim and strong at dawn in shining sadra.

Everywhere in everything and endlessly I see Him
Face to childlike mirrored face who calls me now his Radha.

No desire or energy or thought or trial exists now.
Only His in whom I feel and breathe and am my Master.

Archangelic heart to hearts, His hands as quick as feeling
Close my eyes to slower worlds: His larks lift spirit's purdah.

Manhood wrecked with fasts and burdens, sacrifice, and service,
Pangs of separation (borrowed) God could work no harder.

Skyward-staring, fractured-limbed, in agony, He's calling,
"Help my darling first," — the purest feeling, mind's un-masker.

Eye to Eye now, reading "One not we", his feet I'm pressing.
Cuttings, curls, His silenced seed of withered joys I garner.

Mehera, this lonely grief, these flames of lover's longing
Finely veil you, and your opened Eye's the one outsider.

The robin flutters east to choir his team,
Through sunsetís rose and night-denying dream.

The Sunday School turns East to praise a word
That weeps in blood between the lines that seem.

The nun retreats to heart-denying cell
And turns to God her blushes and her beam.

The King St lover walks where lights are red
But will not stop him daring for his Queen.

The rhyming market trader sells his soul
And scarlet ribbons to a lonely teen.

The cat scales down the great sunís glowing fire
To purring windowís perfect-bedded dream.

The hart pursues her navelís heaven scent
To hell and back to where sheís always been.

Oh Bard, donít preach the way to go to Sea
When home is where each hart is, by the stream.


Happy birthday, Beloved,
And thanks for the Presence.

In the middle of a nightmare,
I call your Name
'Jai Baba'
And everything dissolves
Delectably tingling
In Love's living flame.


This face that burns upon your Eye in searing fiery gale
More clear than any seen on earth or heavenly trail.

Sir Lancelot has failed at last, by loveís Cup undone.
His thought and self were shrivelled lifting Guinevere's veil.

He sees her face in everything, she gardens the gulf
Between his horse-wreckís infamy and faith he will fail.

She feels his wreck in her, a bliss that pierces his heart
And bleeds from hers like wounds of Leilaís holiest nail.

The agony of longing long, the ecstasy of pain
In hearts that see their grail through golden bars of a gaol!

The Sun is everything and everything is the Sun
And nothing else exists though many shadows prevail.

In sainted flames of love, with nothing more it can see,
It burns away in grief, this 'I' that can't have the Grail.

O Lancelot, her lack is Everything to you now.
Beyond the Sun where nothing is, your I's of no avail.

Notes: The description of the Sixth Plane in this ghazal is as found in The Nothing and the Everything by Meher Baba. Perhaps other readers of the Holy Grail quests in Arthurian myth and legend have found themselves wondering at the similarities with the Leila and Majnu stories. Lancelot could never quite reach the Grail because his heart wasn't his to give — it belonged to Guinevere. But without his love for Guinevere, would he even have had a glimpse?


Real Wife

'So you, you say you wanna be married...' (Hendrix)

We're not the teen-dream lovers of the songs
And films n' soaps n' mills n' boons n' ads,
The 'hunters' living with their mums and dads,
The twenty-something dramas, dinging-dongs,
The sizzling catalogues of straps and thongs,
The Darcys, Juliets and golden lads
In modern strip from tales in which the cads
Are fifty-odd like us and cause all wrongs.

Our story didn't end like these above
In frozen celebrations, wedding-deaths;
We've raised a daughter into Now and Next,
We're grownups grown together, more or less,
Our romance is a realistic text:
A dangerous, married, grail-quest of true love.


If, instead of cowing and naying a sheepish congregation,
You beef so divinely it makes them feel human;

If you can tongue and bell with golden flesh a word
That tolls heaven back to earth, like the Eden in every bird;

If you can string the bow of learning to the arrow of intuition
And keep a faith thatís unafraid of critical reason

And score your heart in blood and swear it aloud
To a backwards-saddled, blinkered, farting holy-cattle crowd;

If you can shake the hand of the Am-Dram-thank-you-ham
Who lifts your tragic laurels with his prat Fall of Man;

If youíre wise to the one-book-brain of Simple Simon
Yet lost in the heart of a rose, not the tongue of a shaman;

If you can whittle your stake to an instrument that plays
A song beyond itself, not a reed that measures praise;

If you can give your art for some hard-earned recognition
That gets monk-eyed in the dark by a mirror-shaded demon;

And forget yourself, and the long quest to get it,
In one divine delicious self-annihilating lyric;

If you can follow Hafiz, not twisting as others have
The mouth of God to a trap of lies, yet be roasted as if you had;

The hart of love will lead you tripping lamb-like to the Psalter
And, what is more, youíll be a writer, my daughter.


From Meher Babaís Discourses "Selfishness," "The New Humanity", "Faith" and "The Life of the Spririt" and (the last three) from God Speaks by Meher Baba

"Divinity is not devoid of humanity. Spirituality must make man more human ... releasing all that is good, noble and beautiful in man.

"True art expresses spirituality"

"The spirit needs to be clothed in matter if it is to come into full possession of its own possibilities"

"Works of art can ennoble and raise the consciousness of people"

"Spiritual truth can often be stated and expressed through the intellect and the intellect is surely of some help for the communication of spiritual experience"

"Many forms of naive credulity cannot be broken through except by the fearless and free working of critical reason...When critical reason is implemented by a deep and living faith, based on pure intuition, its functioning becomes creative, fruitful and significant....True faith is a form of sight and not of blindness. It need not be afraid of the free functioning of critical reason."

"The rider needs a horse if he is to fight a battle ... if the body yields to the claims of the spirit as it should, it is instrumental in bringing down the kingdom of heaven on earth."

"The freedom of the spirit which is sought by avoiding contact with the world and by going to the caves or mountains is a negative freedom"

"Mysticism is often regarded as something anti-intellectual, obscure and confused, or impractical and unconnected with experience. In fact, true mysticism is none of these."

"Some people, as a result of efforts towards forgetfulness in past lives, get spontaneous and temporary flashes of it in a later life and it is such people who give the world the best in poetry, art and philosophy and make the greatest discoveries in science."

"In such moments of true forgetfulness there is a mental detachment from all material surroundings in which the poet allows his imagination to soar. An artist, when he gives form to an ideal in which he completely forgets himself and all irrelevant surroundings, creates a masterpiece ..."

"poets, artists are born not made (but) these fleeting phases of true forgetfulness are the results of efforts made in past lives."

Other references

Kipling: "If"
Psalm 64: "Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer ..."
Hafiz ghazal: "Back to the Heart"


Gareth Calway:

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