Thursday, October 12, 2006


I have been struggling of late. Kind of an implosion. Kind of a “I don’t know anything.” Kind of a coming to a halt. So, I thought I’d just find a poem to share here, certainly that’d be better than anything that might come out of my brain just now.

Wouldn’t you know, I couldn’t even find a poem that I liked. Then I came across this one by Billy Collins, the U.S. Poet Laueate. I really liked the poem. It made me feel better. And for the life of me, I couldn’t explain it to you. Why I felt better or what the poem means. So, I Googled a bit. Turns out Jacques Crickillon is a Belgian poet. He’s written a poem that begins, “You are the bread and the knife.” But, enough clues for now.


You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Isn’t that a nice poem? It makes me smile. I can relate to the voice. … Then, I found this commentary on the Web, “An absolute masterpiece of poetic demystification. Takes the wind and bluster and pomposity out of the pretentious sails of most other poets.”

And then I knew why I liked it so much. Recently, the teachings of Adyashati have taken the wind and bluster and pomposity out of my own pretentious self. The demystification of the mystic. It is not that comfortable. It is also not that bad, and certainly very necessary. And when I figure out how to offer new commentary with no wind in my sails I’ll make more frequent postings.

(Or more probably, I’ll just re-inflate eventually…cause that’s what egos do.)