"Each man's life represents a road toward himself,
an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path."
--Heman Hesse, Demían
We travel a pathway of stone,
a road that appears to be light,
a road that soon turns into a flowing river,
a river that leads us onward into a dark woods,
and, then, before our enchanted eyes,
the river vanishes altogether
into deep shadows,
and etheric mists,
dreams that terrify us,
dreams that carry intimations of a truth
behind the Light-
behind the metaphor and the symbol,
behind the teachings and the mythology,
behind the experiences and the vision,
behind all these illusions,
a truth that points like a Zen koan
to the source of all that is,
and I am one with this source,
and I am becoming one with this source,
as surely as the gods, our brothers and sisters,
as surely as you are.
On the mother of all roads
To reach into the fire,
To bring the burning into words;
To enter the darkness,
You came to me
through a handful of light,
a mere cluster of stars
like soft yellow flowers
in a room of white.
You called to me
and I answered your call;
or was it I
who called to you?
I remember a desert,
a great burning distance,
a caravan of illusions
passing like rain between us;
and I remember mountains, bitter
as the betrayal of a brother,
not knowing if I would ever see you
or if I was simply dreaming;
and I remember walking in the ruins
of great cities,
down streets diseased, overrun
with neglect and the crying
And they say I went crazy,
that I cursed the Mother
Of All Living Things;
that I tore out my heart
and made war on the Earth.
And they say that you built a great wall
out of fear, out of anger and jealousy,
high as a cathedral around you,
and that you never came out,
a long time ago.
It was such a cold winter I remember. At times,
the chill numbed me to its destructiveness; mostly
though, it caused pain, sharp and biting. I lost
several fingers to frostbite, and a toe as well.
And the storm froze one dear one to death.
Even now it brings me pain and fear, the memory
does. No way would I ever choose to live through,
or even try to survive, such a lonesome freeze ever again.
But you remind me that these are memories,
real enough to grip my bones and make me shiver.
Yet merely memories, nonetheless.
To tell my story, though, helps me, my brother.
The elders know this. Their storytelling is for
instruction, a passing on of wisdom. However, it is
also so clearly a means to validate their experiences
and a way to make sense of the pain.
Those fierce and unpredictable winds burned my
face and rubbed my soul raw. The winter was real
with a vengeance.
And now here, by the fire with you, the telling
of my tale softens the sorrow, begins to heal
the cold knifelike pain that lingers within me.
But most of all,
I remember how you turned to me,
in a garden called choice,
the light dancing around us,
and not even the meadow grasses
in fields of white clouds,
or even the thoughts of angels,
could know such tenderness as the love
we felt between us,
our hearts one with all that is,
and we made this covenant,
each to each
before the beginning,
before sorrow and pain and self-doubt;
before our journey into loss and separation
a sacred pledge
that we would never forget,
that not even ten thousand deaths
or all the darkness in the world
could overshadow: this
that calls me to you.