18 August 2008

poetry: even yoga teachers get the blues

I used to write poetry -- even won a few awards -- and one of my favorite poets of all time is Leonard Cohen....Avalanche is one of his songs from his Songs of Love and Hate album released in 1971.

Cohen's recurring themes in his poetry were love and sex, religion, and psychological depression...all totally interrelated as far as I'm concerned....funny how I was so attracted to those themes as a dark, young, hippie chick in high school...I wanted to run away and live with Cohen on those Greek isles he wrote about....

"Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.
You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they're the crumbs I've left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you've gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don't love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear."

I'm dealing with some life-changing shit lately and one of my friends suggested a Rumi poem to me:


This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


  1. I hope everything turns out ok for you. :)

    Hey, I gave a kick ass award to some library blogs but they are ignoring them so I'm going to take one back and give it to you instead!

    Being a yoga chick you can probably literally kick ass now can't you?

  2. honey, I've always been able to kick ass....;)



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