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Michael Bennett -- Poems
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Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:10 am    Post subject: Michael Bennett -- Poems Reply with quote

Sonnet

They say that Love is blind, cannot be named,
Cannot be blamed for waking new sight eyes;
Love's hands don't hold but give, unasked; no shame
Can colour it just like a cloudless sky.
Her voice came in the window like a bird,
And I was disembodied as a dream,
The wing beat stilled, behind the words was heard
A sound that said the world's not as it seems.
Between each beat of wing that sound did grow
And spring did fill the room where I did stand,
But I, no longer there, but she did show
What thinking mind could never understand.
Tis true, the voice within the voice that speaks,
And says tis here, what mind could never seek.


*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pieta: York Minster

Mother : Mistress of the Wood. Who understands ? Who could?
The grief of one above all women blessed
To bear at God’s behest, God’s Son.

How different from the joy, the jubilation at the news
Which Gabriel from high, on wing had brought:
That joy which lifted heart and sung
When on womb-water Spirit shone;

For He, now wracked and wrought out of her hands,
Which reach, but cannot breach or heal
The blood-ed crown, the blood-ed side.
What marvel that the women stood when all the men, save John,
Had run away:

Mary, milder than the Spring, and Magdelene,
Who found at dawn
That to the world a marvel out of death was born.

Mother. Mistress of the Wood. Who understands? Who could?
The grief that turned from grief again,
The joy that washed away the pain?
What future passion did you unknown bear?
What wine, from tears distilled?

Mother. Mistress of the Wood: the Tree which fills
The world, yet stands alone against the sky;
Holds fast against the wind; against the cry
Which tore the temple’s curtain twain:
In wood there is no blame.

Mother. Mistress of the Wood. Who understands? Who could?
A mother’s mingling of joy and pain:
A son is born, leaves home, returns,
That last
The Kingdom in your heart’s refrain.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On hearing Radha’s song to Krishna

When I came there was song.
Now in this valley
The path that I came by
Is the path I can’t find
To return

Or go on. But there is no sound.
The trees do not hold a murmur of the wind.
The water does not hold a flow telling direction.

The sky is the mirror of your face
But there is no reflection.

I wait for the sound of your heartbeat
To come back to mine.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rain

When Moonlight has neither silt,
Nor sediment, then language
Falters on the tongue.
You say: ‘Today it rained.’
You whisper,
‘Only the Moon reads unopened books.’
You whisper,
And your fingers wipe away the rain.
‘Rain is not the end.’ You say,
But the beginning; like newly emptied hands
Opening at the first cloudburst.
You do not see this as sacrifice
Or that you’re giving up what you never thought
You held, and now it rains: and now
That thoughts dispelled, ‘Your hands
Are open like the rain.’
You say.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fire

Fire is not reduced by feeding it
For it is in the nature of fire to eat and consume.
Likewise, desire is not reduced by feeding it,
For it is in the nature of desire to seek its end
But having not quite found it,
Its nature is to seek again.
It is not a question of removing its object,
For when named it laps again into flame again.
Withhold the fuel, even better, transform it,
So you suddenly see that water,
Though never called for, was there all the time.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damascene

At a distance from the road which crossed
The desert, under stars which blessed;
Under stars which decided
What was propitious and what was not,
Stone broke in a valley’s cleave.

There are times for crossing
And there are times for waiting to cross;
There are time when the road
Is the solitude of sand, and the austerity of stones
Are rocks of detachment.

There are times when the road pauses
Marking the ground for a moment of prayer;
And if the rites are performed with reverence,
And the hands and heart are clean,
And the Deity is duly honoured,
Then the road acknowledges the first foot-fall
Guiding the way between the gate
And the unmet door
New revealed in the light.

And there are times when a hand holds one’s own,
As if unasked for, for it is open,
And a star guides one’s eyes for each step,
And the mind notes that the sign posts are clear.

And although the mountains do not cluster as before,
And the horizon remains reliably the same,
There is a change in seeing.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Culture

The act of just choosing some corner
Of an everyday wilderness, is to endorse
Some intention or interest; putting aside
The thoughts spent
In a life planting weeds, or seeds
You’d never thought you has sown,
Yet sprung forth into light, in their time -
As it were, into the open.

You may say that the brambles and bindweed
Were two things you never saw when the garden
Was bare, and beginning.
And now you incur
The cost of sharpening tools – not really used, to cut back.

Dare you dig out in haste,
Rake over what has been emptied
And left as a shallow depression
Like some grave of old dreams,
Which you had not noticed, and to others, an eyesore.
While of course to you it means more,
But that too is a weed overgrowing.
Or do you wait
For a wind that brings change to newly re-curtain
With some dying-back-falling
Of some stranger's leaves?   

*

Michael Bennett       
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happiness Just Waits

When we run after things / We think we are running after happiness
But we are merely running after things.

And how often, do the things we run after / Stop and let us catch them?

Happiness may be sought, But can it be run after?

And how often, do the things we run after / Turn and face us
So that we can see what their face is really like?

Is theirs the face of happiness?

And how often, do the things we run after / Have a shadow that we can see
Or have we become that shadow And its shadows?

Has the face of happiness a shadow?

And how often, do the things we run after / Lighten the load we seem to carry?
For carrying and running is tiring.

Can the face of happiness ever be a burden?

And how often, do the things we run after / Always seem to be just out of reach, / Just out of a finger’s grasp, a finger’s touch?

Can the face of happiness be touched?

And how often, do the things we run after / Have others running too,
Which seems to makes us run the faster?

Has a face of happiness a place / That we might reach it?

And how often, do the things we run after / Let us stop to catch our breath,
And see that all this running after / Has the point of being pointless?

Happiness just waits.

What stops us from being happy?

When Happiness just waits.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you would

If you would speak
Listen;
If you would listen
Be still;
If you would be still,
Just allow moving thought to move;
If you would be still,
Allow the heart’s ocean
To dissolve all ‘I knows’.

If you would speak
What would you say that’s not known?
If you would listen
Set no boundary on your listening.
If you would be still
Be as a mirror.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surrender

Surrender the sleep when light breaks upon you,                                                                                                           
                         as night surrenders self to the day:
Upwards and onwards, strive for the light’s sake;
                        Leaving behind all you thought you would say.
Render to reason its own revelation,
                        Revalue its light for what it has shown;
Reside in that light, rest in its own peace,
                        Resort to that peace, its light brightly known;
Eliminate error, empty its owning;
                        Embrace what is given: all ensigns of truth;
Navigate habit:  birds flying home do,
                        Each with an instinct, that won’t question proof;
Dismissing signposts that obstruct the way –
                        Follow the heart ones – they’re  lit by the day;
Exclude from aims, all other directions,
                        Resolving to follow simply just one;
Render to all what is their due; remember,
                        Remember, when surrender is true.

*

Michael Bennett
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Heart Needs Not Words to Hear

If they should ask, What do you seek? You say,
I would not name, for names are only names
and names have habitations.

The heart needs not words to hear.

If they then ask, What for you seek? You say,
That which calls, as the ocean calls rivers to itself;
and as the edge of heaven calls forth the growing trees.

If they then ask, For why you seek? You say, for happiness,
and see a smile spread cross their face.
You say again, for happiness,
as love brings in its wake its happiness,
and bud-burst gives happiness to trees.

And they would ask again, What do you seek? You say,
for peace of stillness which has no name or habitation;
for can you find the stillness in the flower when it first opens?
or the stillness when the day meets night and night meets day
which even halts the songs of birds? but does not quench their joy.

If they then ask, How do you seek what has no name
or habitation, You say, you use what has been given;
You say, you use the signposts given, the signposts written.
They cannot take you there, they only give direction,
and, once they’re passed their purpose ends,
just like a lesser light that lights the way between two steps
while the greater light in peace and stillness ever waits.

The heart needs not words to hear.

And if they say, What is the end of seeking?
You say, to find that which is sought;
You say, Do not stop, at a sign that says missing;
nor calculate distance, nor weigh expectation.

You say, Do not stop at a sign which says plenty,
for that joy will not last; for greater is the end
than the beginning - great though the start may have seemed
when you set out; when you now see that they are the same.

And you say, Move on, at a sign that says absence,
for that is not true; Move on at a sign that says full.
For at the end, this much you know,
that nothing is missing and nothing is absent;
for such things never were, and never shall be.

And if they ask, Say more. You say, only the mind needs words
the heart needs none: that sought is one;
that call which spurs the search is one;
that light which lights the way through light and dark,
is also one; the hand that holds the trusting hand is one,
and even though the ways be many, the road is also one.

The heart needs not words to hear.

*

Michael Bennett


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Silence Seems to Rise

When silence seems to rise, where does sound go?
Where does the movement go, losing itself in stillness like salt in water?
It is as if a curtain’s drawn and darkness is unsure at daylight’s face;
it is as what was sure and firm as sand is firm no more.
What then’s the curtain? What then’s the shore?

The curtain was not really there.
A shore is any place where the waves ebb.
A finger on the lips bids the tongue fall silent
for there is nothing to say; nothing to fill when fullness
reveals the transitory nature of the shore.
Is it the ebb that draws attention to the sea,
dissolver of the shore’s line;
dissolver of its name, and what it never brought?

At dusk birds fly, paired, yet one in their flying,
following the sky, in lines of flight
that have a heart’s centre, like the centre of a wheel
unmoved by the turning of earth
or the revolution of things that come and go, and
which allows all to be named except itself.

The centre that contains all, reveals itself
like clouds clearing from the sun.
Beyond all intervals of time and place
is a light that the eye is drawn to.
There is no volition here;
just stillness and its quiet revelation.
Content is contented in perception;
for looking out is the same as the looking in;
when perception is positionless.

There is no place except this place,
and the shore and the waves are as the flight of birds,
when silence hand in hand with stillness
return to where they had never really left:
the hereof now and home.

*

Michael Bennett


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Flock of Angels

What angels bring is peace,
and peace, not so much awakens love,
as presence is its revealing.

Where they stand,
one cannot say;
why they come
is in their nature.

Sometimes,
as just themselves they come,
and often knowing that they’re there -
and they know not our here and there,
to mend, to heal,
make for the moment whole;
and that is just enough to reassure.

Sometime,
they come as ones one knows,
or thinks one does,
but does not really know,
for when they speak in ordinary words,
what’s heard,
is far from ordinary;
its grace, is coming from a different place.

Hands move with speech –
not their hands,
not their speech – and yet it is,
and tasks are done,
as if by magic,
for ought else save presence,
is dissolved by Love,
and that is how they come.

MB (31.01.2014)


Michael tells that me this poem was prompted by an arrival of angels - in the form of a team of ladies appearing in the Mandeville refectory on Thursday evening last week.
Ostensibly they were there to help with the catering, and in reality they brought - real peace.
AER
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
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Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A newly-written poem from Michael, speaking of the new and the old ...

Recollection of Newgrange

It all came back as I spoke, as fresh and as clear, as it had been then.

The stone had felt like a womb
Enclosing, but not restricting,
Somehow generating
A sense of intense comfort;
Then the turned the lights off:

There was no fear,
No concern, no anxiety,
No sudden movement of thought -
For thought was not,
And thought was not in this place
Which was had become
No place;
For the stone was benign,
And the darkness was benign,
And the sudden growth of stillness
Was benign,
And the three elements
Were not separate,
But were alongside the Watching.

Then a small chisel of light
Appeared on the sand
On the floor, at the center
At the heart of the womb of stone;
And the light was benign
For the sun was benign.
Both watching and the light,
And the stone was not concerned;
The darkness wombed,
Both the watching and the darkness,
And the darkness was not dispelled;
The stillness wombed,
Both watching and the stillness,
For the watching was in the stillness;
And the stillness was not disturbed.

And the light grew,
Penetrating the stone,
As water penetrates the earth,
And the darkness;
Penetrating the dark
As only the unseen can;
Penetrating the stillness
As only light can and the stillness,
Without touching.
Being does not move.

There was wonder at how such a simple act,
Re-enacting perhaps the first ever act,
Which could create such space, such beauty,
Which included the stone, and the darkness,
And the stillness, and the watching;
And there was such joy
In the light.

And there was such joy
In the light, and its witness;
And the stone, and the darkness,
And the stillness, were known to be very old,
Almost perhaps as old as time itself;
And the light too was old, was as old,
And yet was new, and it brought with it the new,

And one was humbled
By a different kind of conception;
Formless; Full; Unmoving;
And boundless and benign;
So very benign.

MB (06-01-2015)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A second new poem by Michael ... on coming, going, the mind ...

Ebb and Flow

The ebb and flow of tides
Shows how all things
Come and go, by powers
We cannot see,
But marvel.

And on a smaller scale
Waves also come and go,
Showing a different thing
Because they are somehow
Nearer.

What ever the state of tide
They move to and from,
Between two points
Which are still and one.

When the wave breaks
Any thing on the surface
Of the shore, is moved,
Sometimes far,
Sometimes not.

When the wave returns
Any thing on the surface
Of the shore, is moved,
Sometimes far,
Sometimes not,
And over time
Things are made smaller.

The mind can be like this,
And is still when the will
Seeks the still point.
Things are revealed
Which were unseen,
But they are distractions,
For the wave that comes
And the wave that returns,
Are different, and yet
They are both water.
So the tides and the waves
Can teach us, when movement
Does not move us,
While the eternal flow
Goes on.

MB (13-01-2015)
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