Bhav

I

You may not know
what the Bhav is.
Neither do I,
nor anyone else either.
The dustiest scholar hasn’t a clue.

The meditation bell sounds, then fades into a
deafening stillness. The chanting stops
in the hot temple air, and the kirtan dancers
cease their swaying.

And in that silence,
a special Nothing containing not less than
Everything, infinitely black,
tangerine-sweet, unsayable.
Or needles of brilliance piercing every pore,
light of Home, but
defying translation from
the jittering tongue of Feeling.

I don’t know what the Bhav is, and have no need to know.
Serene and curious, I drift to my appointment with mystery and wait.
I sit motionless like an ice fisherman, as if
Something miraculous might stir underneath, gem-like scales,
or a whirlpool downward into fire.

Some appear to know, but in truth only feel
a white hot dreaming with no beginning, no subject,
no categories and no end, and they know nothing.

Some great feeling makes me write.
Some drunk stutters from inside my ribcage: Sp—speak!
But what scientist or poet could tell us what the World is,
or who thought up Being, or why we tremble when the moon
tumbles up huge and pale
from an opal sea?

II

Listen, I will tell you what the Bhav is:

It is a listening so vast, so affectionate, that
every encrazing clang and crack,
every vicious bark and croak,
is celebrated like a holy song.

It is an embrace so mighty it gathers up even
the filthiest, luckless, and
squeezes them close like a grandmother.

The Bhav is tears sliding without reason; hips, waist, ribs
undulating without object. It is movement without
destination, a wriggling-shaking that is
destination; a living dance of
tendon, sweat;
a dance beyond music
or silence
or dancing.

III

You can see there is no talking about the Bhav.
We can discuss works, signs:

Those in whom it truly dwells,
know that only poised at the eyes of death
will they become real lovers.
They cannot turn their backs on green and ochre hills of their mother
as she is murdered by thieves. They cannot turn from cities
shattered by fire, or shrug off girls sold in the night.
They cannot pivot blandly from the children
of this wounded earth.

Are you a Bhakta? No doubt you are
devoted to something; what is it?
Phone, t.v, wine?

Be devoted to us,
this gathering in which you stand;
to sky and ground,
to movement, breath,
to the craving of every nerve for God;
to the unborn and ever born again in each of us always;
to what no one understands
but cries incessantly in every trembling Now,
pleading to be adored,
thus:

I am Life,
I am Life!