Driven to High Ground

Like love,
Like war,
Water surges
Where it is pushed,
And runs helplessly
The crevices
That welcome it.

This reminds us
That the Creation
Was an act
Of unfathomable

And that each act
Of destruction
Closes a curtain on this
Tattered stage

When the waters recede,
That curtain parts,
To reveal
New wonders,
Hidden miracles
Wrapped in
Bottomless grief:


May the
Maker of Water
Raise up
Onto the shoals of mercy
Those hearts
That have been submerged,

And soon part
The curtain
To reveal
That all,
Even now,
Is emerging,

--Mr. Gobley


Sabbath's End

To know utter rest
Is to know
The ceaselessness
Of Creation.

To know cessation
Is to know
The inexorable.

To carve solid sanctity
Out of liquid Time
Is to make whole
The mystery

That is never complete.

--Mr. Gobley



Behold your flame:

It is and is not,
It becomes
As it weakens,
Destroys as it creates,
Releases as it contains:

So do unto me.
Turn me to ash.
Let me fertilize
The ground of my being
So that i may return to you.

Stand back:
Let me burn.
Do not rush to save me.

For in that flame
Of becoming
i will return to you,

i will transform into
Something far greater,
More vast,
More potent,
More omnipresent:

More like you:

The seepod of our being,
Bursting with love
For the Making
Of Life.

--Mr. Gobley


Mr. Gobley sez:

  • Mr. Gobley is not a fan of fatwas, no matter what religion they issue from. Be they Christian ministers or Islamic clerics, or any other matter of spiritual leader, spiritual leadership would better serve its flocks by not calling for the executions of political leaders.
  • After all, the tables could be turned.
  • There is no retreat quite so peaceful as a bookstore, on a weekday morning, within a half an hour of its opening.
  • An interesting meditation: contemplate yourself through the eyes of an adversary. What do you see? What do you learn about yourself?
  • Is a hurricane just a physical manifestation of the larger forces to which we're all, always, subject? Do these forces have seasons, as hurricanes do? Are we just living weathervanes?
  • The more information to which we have access, the more we realize the subjectivity, the mercurial and evasive qualities of what we call "the Truth."
  • A daily challenge: help someone with whom you're intimate to confront a fear of theirs -- without their realizing that this is what you're doing.
  • Say a prayer for Richard Cohen, and for his departed mother's soul: may it find the rest it did not find in life.

--Mr. Gobley


Not Two

Remember this when you look
At a tree,
A car,
Your enemy,
Your child:

"Not two."

Contemplate this phrase
When you pray,
When you remonstrate,
Before you sleep,
As you please
Your lover:

"Not two."

We read that God
Moves through Eden,
And asks Adam,
"Where are you?"

How can this be,
When they are
"Not two"?

Then ask yourself:
How can you move
Through this veil
Of miracles,
And say,

"Where is God,"
When you and God

"Not two"?

--Mr. Gobley



Do you remember
The most precious of objects,
Hopelessly lost?

The rush of blood to your face,
The pinpricks of joy on your scalp,
The sprinting of your heart
Toward the oasis of knowing
And the sweetwater well
Of memory?

Or the chance reunion
With the lover
Who opened your soul
And poured in
A tongue of flame
That lit you from within?

We experience
As small openings
Permitting great heat,

So that,
When we catch fire
With the deep recognition
Of our Source,
We are not extinguished
By the flame

But burnished
To brilliance --
Restored to our
Original glow
In the clear burn
Of the Love
From which we came.

--Mr. Gobley


The Point of Departure

The idea that land is holy
That community is communion
Has been sanctified with tears
Shed by victor and vanquished alike.

Call it what you will:
Political posturing,
Just desserts --
But know this:

When the descendants
Of the dispossessed and
The perished
Are forced
Once again
To leave their homes

Then tears reconsecrate
What already is holy,
Just as their salt is absorbed
Into the already salty earth.

May what is left behind
Remain holy
To those who inherit it;

Making way
For the unknown
And giving to one's foe
Are among the greatest
Of spiritual journeys.

May all travelers
Toward this
Uncertain communion
Be blessed.

--Mr. Gobley



Take away my certainty.

Peel away
The swaddling clothes
Of my convictions
And let me learn to walk.

The blindfold of beliefs, too,
Through which a hint of light
May wash my eyes,
Without letting me see:
Relieve me of it.

Only let my eyes see
And my skin feel,
My feet move toward you
As my eyes turn toward
All you have bestowed:

What you have given me
Is more than enough --
Need I imagine more?

These, too, I beg you
To take:
The need to be right
The desire to see change
Without helping make it
The fear of failure --

And the abject terror
Of your blinding love.

--Mr. Gobley


Ending the Fast of Silence

When you have reached the end
Of your silence --

The lungs
Spring open
When the swimmer bursts
To the surface--

The music flows forth
From the prisoner
Reunited with his
Instrument --

From the supplicant
Who feels
The bright light
Of God
On her shoulders,
After decades of
Fasting and
Prayer --
Sing out
To your Maker!

And so I
To you
My lungs ache,
My arms reach,
My voice calls

Back to you,
Who have always sustained me.

The Fast being over,
And the silence carefully weighed,
I return to you
Grateful for the
Absorbed in your light,
Determined to join
With you

In the communion
Of climbing

--Mr. Gobley


Experiment With No End

i will not be posting here for awhile.

i will be doing more reading and less writing, more thinking and less saying out loud, in all its various forms.

i have enjoyed your company, and hope to do so again, around the beginning of September.

--Mr. Gobley


Faith and Certainty

Certainty is the new Black.

We are seeing all color
Drained away
From the shades
Of wonder

And harsh light
And ink-black night
Dividing our world.

When, in such a world,
Something falls out of fashion,
Then soon it will not even be safe.

My faith
Is faithfulness:
To task,
To Maker,
To the made,
To what i know,
To seeking to know
What i do not.

In quiet resolve
i move
Through a world
Of Certainty,
Striving only
To be faithful:

Full of faith,
But also willing
To test
My small,
Shifting self:

i ask
Because i wonder;
i am faithful because
i love.
i seek to know,
Knowing i may never.
Wonder is my very

Wonder exists,
Even in,
Especially in
The arteries
That feed
The heart
Of wisdom.

--Mr. Gobley


This Moment of Anger is Brought to You By:

i am out of poetry today.

My cells are singed.

i am drained and hollow.

Sometimes, the naked animal nature within me lashes out. Am i to accommodate this nature? Subdue it? Embrace it? Overcome it? Out-think it? Meditate on it? Pray for help with it?

The conflict among spiritual traditions over how to approach anger is quite startling, when you look into it. Most Western traditions believe righteous anger has a place, a vital place, in our efforts to protect what is precious to us. Because anger can be cloaked in sacrament, it has been used to perpetrate some of organized religion's most grievous sins.

Pacifist traditions work to completely vanquish anger. Although Buddhism believes anger is based in delusional states, Buddhist teachings sometimes discuss recognizing and battling demons, whatever form they may take. i once asked a Buddhist teacher once if it was permissible for Buddhists to have enemies.

"Of course," she answered. She went on to say that, in the same way we battle the Three Poisons (Greed, Hatred and Delusion is one varation. Another is Attachment, Aversion and Ignorance) in ourselves, we must confront them in others. It was not quite a complete answer to my question; but then, this teacher was usually careful to never give a complete answer.

i am not sure what has aggrieved me more: my control over my anger, or the anger itself.

What about you?

--Mr. Gobley


You and i

We do not know each other,
You and i.
We have not met.

Still, the edges of knowledge
Suggest our intimate connection,
Hint at our deep relationship:
An understanding beyond words.

There is a picture of you in my head
Formed by your name
And your thoughts.

i track the blue underline
Of your visits
To the place where you
Stake your claim
Make yourself known

And the picture becomes
Clearer --
Or does it?

O, Most imperfect
Of intimacies,
Most deceitful
Of truths,


And yet,
We are bound:
Bound to know
And to recognize
One another,
Even as we are
Restrained by the bonds of
Blind language.

(There is no victory
So hollow
Or so brief
As winning an argument,

No triumph so misleading
Nor one that weds
Victor to vanquished
Like victory in war.)

We meet in language
But know each other in silence.
We meet where we cannot touch,
But come from the same flesh,
Bones from the same constellation,
Flesh from one ancestor.

That this miracle goes unheeded
Is all that stands between

--Mr. Gobley


Thought(s) for the Week

One translation of the Buddhist term for compassion is "resonating concern." We say, "You touched a chord in me." A cello is bowed, and a string on an instrument across the room thrums. And not just across the room. The profoundly illogical phenomenon in quantum physics known as nonlocality implies that it could be across the galaxy. It has been shown that when light particles are shot from the same source in opposite directions, each tiny photon is instantaneously affected by what happens to its twin, even if the distance that separates them is light years. This interconnection, called quantum entanglement, has startling implications. Says a recent article in New Scientist: "When two electrons are entangled, it is impossible even in principle to describe one without the other. They have no independent existence."
--Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness, by Marc Ian Barasch

. . . Truth is not the highest value for us, because, in Saint Paul's phrase, "our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect." Which is why the final revelation of Jesus is not about knowing but about loving. This, too, places him firmly in the tradition of Israel, which has always given primacy to right action. "Beloved," the author of the First Epistle of John wrote, "let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love." This statement of a biblical faith in the ultimate meaning of existence as love is a classic affirmation of what one might call the pluralistic principle: Respect for the radically other begins with God's respect for the world, which is radically other from God. In other words, God is the first pluralist.

Religious pluralism begins with this acknowledgement of the univeral impossibility of direct knowledge of God. The immediate consequence of this universal ignorance is that we should regard each other respectfully and lovingly.
--Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, by James Carroll


God and Science


If you are humble
Before all
That you do not know --

If you are still
And quiet your mind
By the brook of Being --

Knowledge --
Knowing --
Will come
Quietly toward you,
Like a deer
On the
Opposite bank.

But if your mind
Holds no room for awe
The forest of knowledge
Remains impenetrable
The brook
Runs dry
And all creatures
All Ideas
All that might
Be revealed
Will flee from your
Heavy tread.

Awe is the source
Of the quest for knowledge
And of knowledge itself
It is the small bolt
Holding the Universe together

Awe is the space
Where the Unexplainable
And is transformed

Awe is
The harbinger
Of Knowledge

And the
And Particle

--Mr. Gobley


Design Me

O Vastness:

You have created.

Breathed your essence
Along the still face of the waters
Cut us from the cloth
Of your raiments
Let us walk
Beneath the angels
Given us dominion
Over the beasts.

But have you designed?

i am composed
of everything
you dreamed

i am made
of everything
you imagined

but now
i must be bold,
and ask you
to go further:

You made me --
But now,
O Architect of All,
Design me:

Work backwards
And, before conceiving me,
Conceive of me:

Commit me to paper
Determine my purpose
Waft like a vapor
Back toward genesis

And give me a
A way.
An elegant

Then bring it forward
To my now
Draft me
On your table of light

Let me be an idea first,
Then an embodiment
Of that noble thought.

Then, truly,
Will i be purpose:

And all that you could have wished.

--Mr. Gobley


Couplets in Blue

Awoke today to find in me
A penitential misery,
A kind of existential funk
Into which my soul had sunk.

i meditated, said a prayer
But felt no helpful presence there;
i did ablutions, went to work,
Where i felt like Beelzebub's filing clerk:

So much paper, so much strife:
Where is the God who made this life?
Why have, in a world He made for us,
So many traps been laid for us?

i took a walk in a nearby park
Hoping to dispel the dark;
With sunshine pouring down like rain
i was but drenched in weekday pain:

No dark dispelled and no curse lifted;
No Providential solace gifted;
i sat beneath a blistered tree
And tried to set my spirit free.

The spirit wouldn't come untied
From me, no matter how i tried.
It hovered by my weakened aura,
There amidst the battered flora.

So i arose and went my way
To finish up this brittle day
Amidst my office's detritus
(For time goes marching on, despite us).

Now at my desk, i've typed these words --
These hieryoglyphics; techno-birds
That fly through wires toward unknown Mind --
Perhaps you will some solace find

In knowing darkness will descend
On bitter foe, on faithful friend,
Who all alike their treasures hoard,
But can't recall where they've been stored.

It matters not: the light returns,
The day begins, the spirit yearns;
The soul begins its quest anew --

And that is why i've written you.
Whom else could I say these things to?
Aspirations pixellized
And sent by signals digitized

Arrive although they don't exist
Like sorrows, which, as vague as mist
Alight first here, then over there,
And pass like starlight through the air.

i send great tidings -- not great sorrow;
the sun will set, and then tomorrow --
With little time but mounting spirit,
And growing joy as i draw near it,

i'll live within each moment, then
i'll write, with love, to you again.

--Mr. Gobley


Same Things

Comet's trail,
Marsupial's tail

Pumice stone
Woolly mammoth bone

Seam of ore
Star's molten core

Shaft of light
Line of sight

Sound of thunder
Spark of wonder

Science mind
Wonder defined

Seeker of God
Lightning Rod

Wave and particle
Genuine article

Two in one
So the knot is done

--Mr. Gobley