God is a pure no-thing,
concealed in now and here:
the less you reach for him,
the more he will appear.
'The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry'
By Stephen Mitchell (Editor)
An anthology of poetry chosen from the world's great religious and literary traditions:
• The Upanishads • The Book of Psalms • Lao-tzu • The Bhagavad Gita • Chuang-tzu • The Odes of Solomon • Seng-ts'an • Han-shan • Li Po • Tu Fu • Layman P'ang • Kukai • Tung-shan • Symeon the New Theologian • Izumi Shikibu • Su Tung-p'o • Hildegard of Bingen • Francis of Assisi • Wu-men • Dõgen • Rumi • Mechthild of Magdeburg • Dante • Kabir Mirabai • William Shakespeare • George Herbert • Bunan • Gensei • Angelus Silesius • Thomas Traherne • Basho • William Blake • Ryõkan • Issa • Ghalib • Bibi Hayati • Wait Whitman • Emily Dickinson • Gerard Manley Hopkins • Uvavnuk • Anonymous Navaho • W. B. Yeats • Antonio Machado • Rainer Maria Rilke • Wallace Stevens • D.H. Lawrence • Robinson Jeffers •
'This refreshing collection is a sampler of mystical poetry from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim traditions. A chronological order--e.g., Bunan follows George Herbert--reinforces the theme of unity. Whitman writes, "In the faces of men and women I see God"; Kabir finds "Inside this jar the music of eternity"; Blake sees "a World in a Grain of Sand." Some delights: Mechtild of Magdeburg translated by poet Jane Hirschfield; Chuang-Tzu's "Cutting Up an Ox" translated by Thomas Merton; Rumi's "One half of the planet is grass./ The other half grazing." A disappointment: weak translations of the Psalms. Some poets professing no religion are included, leading one to reflect on the universal nature of "sacred" poetry as distinguished from more parochial "religious" verse.'
(Kathleen Norris, Lemmon P.L., S.D.)