from The Hum of It All published April 2017
Beauty and Anxiety
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” (Rumi)
Many swords hang over elder heads—
will we outlive our minds,
succumb to falls and myriad diseases,
end up alone, unattended?
Anxiety grinds cold on hinges
of perception in a sleepless dark.
Yet with a new diagnosis of cancer,
the manageable kind, they say,
my religion has turned from the fright
of early years to the mirth
of agnostic pantheism,
the lessons of early mentors
who projected their fears of a
punishing God who seemed to hate
human cravings, a divine shaped
in our image clear and controllable,
not the surprising one of a mystic’s unknown.
How did Persian Rumi grasp all this,
wandering the Anatolian sands, delighting
in food and wine, in memories of his beloved
Shams, becoming the flute notes Allah
played from the rooftops for dancing
dervishes and caravans from the East?
He had learned the hundred ways
to kneel and kiss the ground,
knowing he was one with it and could
relax into every molecule of the universe.