Extravagent Stillness

November 27, 2011

Recently, my dear friend Nancy Laupheimer, founder and director of the Taos Chamber Music Group, invited me to write a poem in response to Schubert’s Noturrno to open a concert whose themes centered around this period of darkness and introspection. Here is the piece I wrote and performed last weekend for the program.

Be patient, my heart.
The time of the cave is coming.
The season of quiet.
The deep drink of stillness
you have been thirsting for.
Secret, luminous darkness.
Fruitful, radiant night.

Your access has been paid.
All year you have made
an offering of your life,
Flung your treasures into the
clamoring hands of the world.
You have lost yourself in the lyrics,
Recollected yourself in the silence,
Forgotten again and again
where you come from,
Where you are meant to return.

Return.

You have filled your belly
with the season’s harvest,
Grown robust on bowls of chile and beans,
Apple muffins spread with honey.
You have split and stacked your kindling,
patched your cloak.
There is nothing left undone.

Drop the distractions, now,
and head home.
The door is open. Go in.
Deeper and deeper inward.
Enter the womb of the world
and take refuge there.

This is not the season of sorrow,
but of gratitude.
The extravagant, fiery beauty of autumn
heralds the coming of the holy quiet.

Be still.
Be wildly, voluptuously quiet.
Embrace your solitude like the child
you never thought you could birth,
Like the lover
you thought had died in the war,
who parts the curtains
of your innermost chamber
in the middle of the night
and slips into bed beside you.

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12 Responses to “Extravagent Stillness”

  1. April B. said

    Sat nam, Mirabai! This poem took my breath away… I am listening to Snatum Kaur and melting into deep silence as I read your words and hear hers… This is something I will print out and hold to my heart.

    • Mirabai said

      Thank you, April. You are exactly the audience I had in mind when writing this–those of us who have the inclination to slip inside and be still now, rather than give in to the culture’s demand that we engage in frenetic external activity this time of year, and could use a little encouragement to do so….

  2. Christine said

    Exquisite! Breathtaking… What else is there to say – but, thank you. This will go on my refrigerator! 🙂

  3. Pat Osoria said

    I loved it, Mirabai!! I agree with the others that it is breathtaking!! It is awe-inspiring, and infused with the Sacred Feminine. I agree that this time of year should be still and contemplative rather than frenetic and addictively shopping and consuming.

  4. Rachel said

    Wow, Mirabai. I just read this again in a more quiet space, and it is so powerful and deep. Its structure, too, is graceful, lyrical, and draws me in with its rhythm. In this lush yet spare, this gorgeous poem, you remind me of what is essential, what I want to honor and what to leave behind, to “clear away the underbrush,” to be lighter and more focused on what I have left…much to be thankful for. Thank you for inviting us all to see that. Muchos abrazos de tu prima

  5. Catherine Naylor said

    Dear Mirabai,

    Yes.

    So lush, so inviting, so gentle a reminder.

    Have you a collection of your poetry, o master of prose?

    Catherine

    • Thank you for your encouragement, dear Catherine. The book I did with Fr. Bill, MOTHER OF GOD SIMILAR TO FIRE is a collection of poetry, for sure. have you seen it? They are my prayers to the Divine Mother, in response to Fr. Bill’s icons of Mary, but they are really poems.

  6. This takes me there. Thank you. Blessings, Julie

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