The first time I was born
out of fear and ignorance.
Seeing this folly, following
the path of the Silent Sage,
I turned around, seeking escape.
After valleys and peaks seemed
the path running more and more
ahead, in a desert strange land.
Then I heard the Lotus Sage saying:
“Only the one who can give everything,
enjoys the Divine All everywhere.”
I sat down at dusk lighting candles,
thinking that what was called for
was the supreme sacrifice. But
then I realized: the sacrificial fire
is time itself. Each moment is
a flame that devours the universe.
What shall I sacrifice into this fire?
Everything that is mine
is stolen, it is a lie, any precious
possession is an illusion.
The fire of time owns already
So let my sins and failures,
let my falls and faults
be the offerings to this fire.
Everything that was stolen
may return to the flames of time.
Time devours, it devours by
making the offering made—a past.
Time devours, it devours
the offering is past—and now?
Now is empty, it is empty of
the past, and so much more empty
of the future, so empty that
now is empty of the present too.
Devoured by the fire, are
all happenings, all nature,
all in the past. It was. Now?
Now is just this pure
boundaries and objects,
free on all sides, wide
open, without qualities, but
endless bliss. Now—and the past.
They touch in the fire,
they kindle the fire,
the now of bliss burns
longing for its own expression
and dreams and sings of
about the ten thousandfold
world system, its birth
and its demise, which unfolds
as nothing but the infinite
longing and unfolding and seeking
reaching out to that divine bliss—now.
The fire is the storyteller
and the story and the listener.
Out of fire one is twice-born.
But if now is the bliss
and the rest is gone and past,
shouldn’t everything stop just here?
This fire doesn’t run on perishable
fuel, it burns the bliss of now,
endless and imperishable, like
the enthusiasm with which
it creates and devours
the stories of the universes.
Like the loved one and the lover,
like the sun and the moon, and
any pair of opposites joint in
the heart, they disclose
an eternal dance of shadows
and lights dazzling in time.
Now actions do not have to cease,
for the sacrifice shall continue,
but they can be perfected, tempered.
Like the poet who struggles to
—sing, sing the Beauty saw in vision!—
rest nowhere content remembering
how many times Beauty has been sang;
but with steady and unwavering
effort gives all to the fire of inspiration, praying:
for new unheard words to say
again, to sing again, again the same
Beauty again! Just so, continue
to act, continue the sacrifice.