Journey, Soul Work, Stories,
and Reflection

If a fir tree had a foot or two
like a turtle or a wing--
do you think it would just
wait for the saw to enter?

You know the sun journeys
all night under the earth.
If it didn't, how could it
throw up its flood of light
in the east?

Have you thought of Joseph lately?
Didn't he leave his father--
in tears--going.
And didn't he then learn
how to give away grain
and understand dreams?

You know, the grain of sand
left his father.
The father was the boulder.
And only then, it became introduced
to an oyster and became a pearl.

If you can't leave your country,
you can go into yourself and
become a ruby mine open
to the gifts of the Spirit.
You could travel from your
manhood into your inner man,
You could travel from your
womanhood into your inner woman.
By a journey of that sort,
you'll find gold.

If we are to cross the barriers of snow
into the cave-home of our childhood, dark
among darkened lights, telling our beads,
if we are to cross over the wheel of night
and dwell among the roots of sorrow--
let us take with us the fox,
for he is quicker than our sickness;
let us take the cock, for he remembers the day
and leaps for light.
And lets us take the white-haired ass
who is gentle and bows his head.
The snake has his own way among us.
Robert Duncan

A chick-pea leaps almost over the rim
of the pot where it is being boiled.
"Why are you doing this to me?"
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

"Don't you try to jump out.  
You think I'm torturing you.
I'm giving you flavor.
So you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
Remember when you drank rain
in the garden?
That was for this--
Grace first, sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins.
So that the Friend will have
something good to eat."

Eventually, the chick-pea will say to the cook,
"Boil me some more.
Hit me with the scimming spoon;
I can't do this all by myself.
I'm like an elephant that
dreams of gardens back home
and doesn't pay attention to the driver.
Your my cook, my driver;
my way into existence.
I love your cooking."

The cook says,
"I was once like you--
fresh from the ground.
Then I boiled in time and
boiled in the body.
Two fierce boilings--
my animal soul grew powerful;
I contained it with practice;
and then boiled some more
and boiled again;
and once more,
and became your teacher.


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