An Instant
Aragorn, Guide Me! [II]
Before My Eyes
He Wept All Night: A Parable
Janak's Fool
Letting Go
Naked Art
Names and Essences
Orbital Spin
sweet child come
The Artist Has License
the bet
the cosmos
The Flame
The Part They Never Tell
Vesuvius Blue
White Wings

*An Instant*

Sometimes I feel
if you and I
really met for a moment
without the fear
the whole world would be
in an instant.


*Aragorn, Guide Me! [II]*

Aragorn, Guide me! the path is full of perils
Ignorant ego prods me, to dive into bottomless wells
Naive self-deceptions, leave me completely unprotected
You who see with unclouded eyes, Protect me from myself!

Aragorn, Guide me! I still think of the Shire
and think that life is meant to be, so comfortable and clear
but like a child out of the womb, my life is headed for the tomb
If I cannot die to my own self, I'll die as someone else

Aragorn, Guide me! We must face the darkest darkness
It's there within my heart and soul, where I'm so afraid to go
But if I cannot *see* the beast, my love will never be released
I need your grim and deathless courage, to guide me on my way

Aragorn, Guide me! I'm going to the Crack of Doom
to kill the evil lying self who claims my life and name
The Ring that binds me to the past, must finally be cast away at last
I'm sometimes not up to the task -- Please Guide me on my way.

Discarding the Ring will bring, the Return of the King
whose legend lingers from Ancient Days, long before the hobbit ways
His identity now is still concealed, My *own* is yet to be revealed
O what is the glorious destiny, that links my life to you?

And when the Ring to the Crack of Doom's released
the Kingdom will live in joy and peace
though the elves will leave Loth Lorien
and we'll never see their like again

But Galadriel's brilliance will linger and call
long after childhood's illusions fall
beckoning us to another dying
but for now, O Aragorn ...

Guide me in this desperate struggle
to relieve my life from lying.
Guide me to the Crack of Doom
to end, once and for all,
this lie which I've stopped denying.

"I am a living lie
of the truth which is me
and unless the lie is dead
the truth cannot be"

- - Meher Baba


*Before My Eyes*

I've tried affirmation
the power of belief
the sincerest of prayers
but I get no relief
from this remembrance
my practice denies
‘cause your face rises clearly
Before My Eyes

I've tried codependency
groups and plans
guidance from others
and self-made stands
my heels dug in earth
mind held captive to lies
still your face rises clearly
Before My Eyes

your face rises brightly
both morning and nightly
in a heart live and tender
i can only surrender, you see ...

I've tried being angry
indifferent, discrete
got myself lost in pleasures
or just followed my feet
tried to sing it away
like a night-wolf that cries
still your faces rises clearly
Before My Eyes

Your faces rises clearly before my
Your love-light shines clearly before my
Your faces rises clearly Before My Eyes


*He Wept All Night: A Parable*


Jane Haynes

Minoo told me that the most difficult order he had ever received from Meher Baba came at the beginning of the New Life. That order was that Minoo was not to lay eyes on Baba during this period (he had been accepted as one of those who was to remain behind but obey implicitly). If he were to lay eyes on his Master at any time, at any place, he was not to acknowledge Baba in any way. He could not speak his name or speak to him or even look upon him. If this ever happened, he was to immediately leave that place.

Minoo told Baba that he didn't believe that he could ever carry out this order, but Baba said to him, "You must!"....

Many months elapsed, and Minoo, like many others, longed for just a glimpse of his beloved Baba. In the second year of the separation, one day in Delhi near the railroad station, Minoo looked up as he rounded a corner to see none other than Baba standing near the platform with the men disciples. He remembered his order from Baba, and with great difficulty he did not cast his eyes upon Baba but fled from the spot. (As Minoo told me this, one could see his heart breaking anew, though it had been many, many years before.)

Because of the work he had to do in the city, he remained there to spend the night. He chose a hotel that he had known and retired early, trying not to give way to the sorrow in his heart in not being able to even touch or speak to Baba. During the evening, a knock came at his door and someone inquired if he knew where Meher Baba was staying -- that he had been told he was in Delhi and wished to see him. Minoo replied that he did not know Baba's whereabouts. He then went to bed and tried to sleep, but he could not. He wept all night long.

The next day he went back to the work Baba had assigned him, and it was not until many months later that Minoo learned an astonishing fact. On the same night that he lay in the hotel, crying for the love of Baba, his beloved Baba lay on a bed in the next room against the same wall that divided them, for Baba had decided for his own reasons to remain overnight in a hotel right next door to the hotel in which Minoo stayed. So all the time he wept, Baba was lying near to him. Again, what a demonstration of love and example of why our faith is so important.

HOW A MASTER WORKS, Ivy O. Duce, pp. 544-545
Copyright 1975 Sufism Reoriented, Inc.

             __  __   __    ___   __   ___   __   _
            (  )(  ) (  )  (  ,) (  ) (  ,) (  ) / \
           __)( /__\  )(    ) ,\ /__\  ) ,\ /__\ \_/
          (___/(_)(_)(__)  (___/(_)(_)(___/(_)(_)(_)

*He Wept All Night: A Parable*

he expects the impossible of the human heart:
to love completely, yet pretend
complete indifference, turn away
then cry all night, and through the day

and all the while he rests beside
along the wall *our* hearts have made
can we blame *him* for the separation?
he merely shows what *we* maintain
but brings it home in such a way
that we cannot sidestep the pain

we turn away from love by choice
until we do it by *his* will
to realize the real cost
of living life


only the *One* can bring it home
so perfectly
so we may truly know
what we truly want
what we truly *are* ...


and in every tale of obedience
a parable for the ages
a parable for my mind
a parable for my eyes
a parable for my love
a parable of light
a challenge
a reminder
a pull
a call
a tug ...

B a b a
a b
B a b a
B a b a M e h e r B a b a
B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a
B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a
B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a
M e h e r
B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a
M e h e r
M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a M e h e r B a b a
M e h e r B a b a

M e he r B a b a
M e he r B a b a
M e h e r B a b a

Avatar Beloved Mehera-Mehera Baba ki Jai!


seven degrees of separation
make hugs a beautiful thing

i hug you and you hug her
and down the line it goes
till everyone's hugged everyone --
a message in a bottle couldn't
communicate more quickly

my love for you is for your love
and for her love and for his love,
so take this message to the one i love ...
take me with you there

and just as the rivers flow to the sea,
the Ocean's hugs flow back to me
sometimes in a single "generation"
by a Meherazad embrace

so tell me then: is it *my* love i send
or the love of the Ocean, flowing through me?
water is water in the end, my friend,
and hugs are liquid reality

so please, take this hug back home for me,
by accepting it -- no need for thought
for water always seeks its own level
within the human heart


*Janak's Fool*

Sometimes I feel like Janak's fool
who came like a beggar before Love's door
and was thrown in prison! (for just three days)
then given heaven (for just three days)
then returned to Queens (for just three days)
and then invited to come back Home
to try it all over again!

I came but seeking Truth and Love
but found the Hawk, instead of the Dove
responding to my heart-felt pleas,
stripping me half-naked and down to my knees.
My days in the Palace were grand and fair
This gutter, too, stretches out everywhere
The beloved I knew just doesn't care --
Lord Janak sits and smiles.

"There's a lesson in here you will get, my son
though you struggle and fight, I'm the only One
Who can bring it on home with such masterful grace
that each time brings a smile to My Eternal Face.
I am not smiling at your grief, my dear
but for the Song of your heart, which is now so clear
where before it could be but barely heard:
neither eagle, nor hawk -- You're my own songbird!"

I was taken aback when He called me son
and nearly forgot all I'd lost and won
I have seen myself as an alien breed --
Could it be I am born of that self-same seed
which begat the waters and earth and sky,
the love I saw in beloved's eye,
the wind that whistles and the fire that rises --
after all I've been through, Are there still more surprises?

Your smile tells me all I need to know
"Don't try to understand -- Just relax and let go
'cause I know what I'm doing, and I do it well -- so
just trust in Me, and let the river flow.
Let your old heart break if that's what I've planned
Make a million mistakes -- I will understand
for the tide will wash them all far away
so don't cling to what I gave or took 'yesterday'

"You are My own dear beloved Son
both god and goddess, the many and the One
Your Glory exceeds all that you can fathom
You are far beyond all of these 'three-day stands'
'On a human level', I understand too
and will give what you need to see you through
but remember: I am here to bring you to You
and that's exactly what I will do!"

In love and fear and gratitude
I reach out and take Your hand
and the palace and plains all disappear ...
and Only Love Remains.

And I know that we will see it through --
this journey of losses and gains --
where illusions rise ... and illusions fall ...
and Only Love Remains.


*Letting Go*

"Letting go" is not walking away
"Letting go" is loving *more*
"Not caring" is *not* surrender
  Surrender is *caring* -- and letting go ...

Only if I love you
more than I love my self
can I completely release you
to *be* my Self.

I *care* about my beloved and life,
my writing, music, career and more --
What I surrender to You, my Love,
is simply what You will *use* them for

Avatar Beloved Mehera-Meher Baba ki Jai!

*Naked Art*

You don't get no great art
unless you're willing to bear your heart
untangle the threads, release the shame
without any shred of praise or blame
and see the pristine truth inside
that only the emperor thought to hide
beneath the clothes that weren't there:
great art walks naked in the open air
while holding the hand of beloved Meher

(and real living is great art)


*Names and Essences*

"Meher Baba" is my Father
"Baba" is my Mother
Meher is my beloved Friend
Avatar Meher Baba is my President, my Sovereign, my King.

Merwan is my secret friend -- we get into mischief together
Beloved Baba is the Essence of Love

And Mehera ... is the Name within the Name,

the Love within the Love,
the Light within the Light,
the Essence of the Essence --
the "breath" of the Beloved.

*Orbital Spin*

Karma persists for lifetimes
and love even longer
In the light of this, it amazes me
when people tell me, "Let her go".

In my case, only days had passed --
the wreckage was still out on the highway
the bodies laid out in hospital beds
when "well-meaning" friends were adamant:
"Give her up for dead."

"She had a troubled history --
God saved you from a lifetime of misery"
The platitudes fell like platelets
to cover with armor reflected pain.
Doesn't anyone choose to *feel* the pain?

Karma takes bodies separate ways
Love links lives eternally
Love calls Karma -- bodies return --
the Flame remains, though the flesh must burn.

And when another body comes
the Flame remembers, calls it home
Friend becomes lover or brother or child
Wife becomes sibling, or mother this time
Soul-mates remain in an orbital spin
in the Light of a Flame time can never dim.

Moon follows earth,
while both follow the Sun
till the Dance becomes All --
and the Journey is done.



having late lunch with a friend
overlooking the east river
she offers me asparagus --
i *hate* asparagus!
she takes a bite --
i start to gag ...

"I swallow and you choke?" she says
"I choke for artichoke ... this is either
  a sign of great sympathy,
  or codependence."

she'd been talking with an old friend
about an old relationship
"i don't see why
  you were ever with him",
  he said.

i tell her about some friends of mine
who are starting a group on codependency
"if they were starting a group
  on *independency*, I'd join"

at this, a flock of birds
rise up from beneath the high glass window
and take to the skies
i take it as a blessing --
an omen of great good fortune --
but she looks very sad:
"i wanted them to stay"

"it's the source of all our problems", i say ...
"we want birds to stay and hippopotami to fly" --
  she writes it down, then asks
"should hippopotami end with 'i'" -- i affirm:
"if it ended with "y", it would be hippopota-me"

strangely, later in the day
she calls me as I sit editing
anguished words of political players:

"are you really sure the plural
  is hippopotam*i*" -- and indeed,
  it *is* very strange ...

you'd think that "i" would be singular
and "us" would be plural ...
but in this case
hippopotam*us* is one
and hippopatam*i* is two

just like you and me --
sometimes ...



Every moment's yesterday lives on
though its active presence passes swift
Dissolving ... sooner than one says, "It's gone!"
its memory is floating with the drift

Yesterday's compounded joy and sorrow
swim out into a flashing moment's light
then wend their way back from their swift tomorrow --
they float again upon accustomed night

Many times the camera flashes brightly
Photographer sees many frames go by
He analyzes each, and does so rightly,
for plot, pattern, meaning -- asking "Why?"

For in his heart, he knows there's more than dust --
and takes another picture, on that trust.



lovers meet
across distances
of time and space ...
vastnesses pierced
by direct perceptions
of unwalled hearts ...

thoughts commingle --
gross exchanges
later confirm
the already
as roses bloom
and give birth to eyes
swimming in glad seas
of the never-ending dance
far-seeing as the rhythm
shall decree ...
it's always
the same
for you


*sweet child come*

inspired by words
I heard tonight
this song for you
sweet child within:

sweet child come
there's a dream of sweetness
waiting for you --
sweet child come

sweet child come
i will be God's finger
wrap your hand around me
sweet child come

sweet child come
feel the light around you
love surrounds you
sweet child come

sweet child come
on the wings of heaven
bliss obeys you
sweet child come

sweet child shine
like the eyes of morning
love is dawning
sweet child come

sweet child bless
all the lives around you
love has found you
pure and whole

sweet child, you
will live on forever
life will ever
be your toy

sweet child come
for your love is waiting
here in endless beauty
stay in endless joy



Hope weaves tapestries out of threads
Unravelling's the price you pay
for landing in a dream of cloth
and mists

Hope weaves dreams like a spider's web
which captures only bugs to eat!
And yet it spins relentlessly
so little to win

Hope builds castles on lottery tix --
"a dollar and a dream" and a psychic fix,
sinks Lethewards down the River Styx
of loss

Yet Hope is also a candle in the night
revealing Truth, when used aright --
freed from personal aims and decisions
where, in place of dreams,
hope produces Visions.



Your sweet love is tenderizer to my heart ...
I never realized there was so much at steak


*The Artist Has License*

The Artist has License
to make truth out of lies
revealing the essence
through artful disguise
which is but blatant nakedness
wearing some airs
flung like flowers to rhinos
to see just who cares

The Artist has License
to be what he seems
or to fling his creations
like fluxing dreams
all across the wide firmament --
clouds in the sky
but the gentle rain falling
is from his own eyes

The Artist has License
to kiss and to kill
a thousand illusions
though other ones will
win his tenderest favour --
he nurtures, they thrive --
the artist walks vibrant
his love to survive

The Artist has License
to pen these lines
pretend he's a lover
and guzzling wine
till the lies become truth
and it's plain to see --
the artist turns lies
to Reality


*the bet*

"I will never stop loving you", I said;
she took it as a threat

Well, I may have lost the universe ...
but I won the bet!


*the cosmos*

the world you see is in your eyes
it isn't out there on the screen
if you see bitterness and rage
tell me, What must that mean?

some simple celluloid inside
projects a tale of angry pride,
of woundedness and vengeful dreams:
can you tell what is from what but seems?

if you put your finger in that pond
the ripples will disturb the spell --
no harm if you enjoy the show
but know it's just a wishing well

know well that it will play the scene
you choose, from your own fearful dream,
or rest in stillness and reflect
the Shining Sun of Love.

so here's the key, before your eyes
to whether you trust in Truth or lies --
if the battle's raging, that's a major clue
to change your plan and come home to You.

it's a job so easily said and done --
not by *you*, but by the One
who waits in stillness there inside
behind the celluloid dream you hide

but entrust your dream to His loving hand
and your *whole world* will come to understand --
for "it is not so much that you are within the cosmos
as that the cosmos is within you ..."

(well, at least that's what Meher Baba says ...)


*The Flame*

What is love? effortless remembrance,
   impossible of forgetfulness --
a two-edged sword, that simple line ...
for while one leads to blissful heights
the other leaves a bloody mess
if one should seek to deny, ignore
the place of grace called love.

What is love? that which remains
the open secret of all lives
the flame we hide, or keep contained
in social rituals, righteous anger,
lust that's aimed at just forgetting
all the heights the soul can know
in the place of grace called love

What is love? a relentless master
yet also a perfect servant too
depending on which one is reacting --
desperate ego, or the Real You.
The heavens rejoice while the little self cries
and Heaven is simply the heart of you --
the place of grace called love.

What is love? beyond all words
and yet the Master increases the flame
underneath the neutral kettle of heart
producing steam that whistles and dances
for the Divine Beloved's entertainment
which lesser men call "poetry"
from the place of grace called love.

What is love? the flame that burns
and leaves the field of body wet
with dew of tears -- a lovely sight
unless *you* are the sky that weeps --
for the very loveliness itself
becomes a reminder that heaven *is* hell
in the place of grace called love.

Concealment-revealment, truth and lies
heaven and hell, fair skin and eyes ...
all opposites are called into play:
discretion-abandon, conformity-play,
ritual-freedom ... deny-Testify!
but mostly, friend, just burn and sing
in the place of grace called love.

What is love? Well what it's *not*
is this or any play of words --
an insult, really, to the Flame
if It could be insulted!
For love is simply the light and heat
which words like this but seek to tame
and unsuccessfully, at that!
in the place of grace called love.


*The Part They Never Tell*

One immense experience of love and loss
will teach you more about art
than a thousand poetry seminars
bought with Kellogg's box-tops

When God wants to make a poet
it isn't hard for Him to do
He knows exactly where to place the flame
and just how highly it should rise
so it not only burns *your* little butt
but catches on to the Great Santa Ana
and ignites all of Southern California!

It seems cruel at first --
"You did *this* just for a few songs???"
until one catches on
that music is the whole purpose of life
and the song contains the beloved's fragrance
more perfectly than her very smile

No, God knows exactly what strings to pull:
from Hafiz' Princess to Majnoon's sweetheart
to lovely Beatrice and all the rest
who came, in time, to symbolize
the soul of Infinite Beauty

And the end of that tale, never yet told,
comes when these fair beauties realize
that they themselves contain
the truth which they reflect

For not only did Majnoon realize Love --
sweet Laila did as well ...
and this is the part of the story
they never tell ...


*Vesuvius Blue*

Vesuvius erupted this morning
after months of best behavior,
splattering lava
in the surrounding sound --
not fiery red, but silver blue
in memory of you.

Was it the news of all those lovers
in searing separation's flame?
or sting's insistent melody
and repeating false refrain
in tribute to the *living* slain?

Each outburst birthed a world of beauty --
  it seems creation is the lover's duty

How truly unexpected ...
after all this time I never knew
the powers still hidden in the earth
of me

And how unpredictably abrupt ...
Vesuvius blue
with thoughts
of you



I forgive all those erecting walls
but mostly I forgive myself
for there could be no walls in them
if there were none in me

Baba walks into a room
and all defences hit the floor
Funny! the same thing doesn't happen
when *I* come through the door

Could it be the walls of fear are mine,
to keep the battlements secure?
Could it be that love's more frightening
than a *thousand* bolted doors?

What a play we play! What a dance we dream
between who we are and what we seem!
To plunge into love seems a total loss --
but are all these walls really worth the cost?


*White Wings*

I've got the love-life of Yeats, the memory of Keats
Life goes on, and my heart still beats
White wings flutter like doves in flight
Lead me on, Sweet Lord, to the Light!

Sweet wills wander like roving bands
Silence steals thunder from loving hands
Morning comes, and it'll be allright
Lead me on, Sweet Lord, to the Light!

Rainbows linger in summer skies
God's long finger pokes tear-stained eyes
Eyes grow flowers that bloom with Sight
Lead me on, Sweet Lord, to the Light!

Meaning marauders invade my prose
Beneath it all shines the lovely Rose
in Eternal Radiance -- my mind sees blight --
Lead me on, Sweet lord, to the Light!

I've got the hell of Dante, the heaven of saints
My life is portrayed in God's colorful paints
White wings flutter through the deep dark night
Lead me on, Sweet Lord, to the Light!


All poetry © Tony Paterniti 1996
except Photograph © Tony Paterniti 1974 and Aragorn Guide Me [II] © Tony Paterniti 1994

Avatar Beloved Mehera-Meher Baba ki Jai!

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