Photo: A standing Woman; Safavid period, ca. 1640-1650
Before there was a hint of civilization
I carried a memory of your loose strand of hair,
Oblivious, I carried inside me your pointed tip of hair.
In its invisible realm,
Your face of sun yearned for epiphany,
Until each distinct thing was thrown into sight.
From the first instant time took a breath,
Your love lay in the soul,
A treasure in the secret chest in the heart.
Before the first seed shot up out of the rose bed of the possible,
The soul's lark took wing high above your meadow,
Flying home to you.
I thank you one hundred times! In the altar
Of Hayati's eyes, your face shines
Forever present and beautiful.
Source & Recommended Reading:
The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry
The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry celebrates the unique spiritual life of women through a rich selection of poetry written over the past four thousand years, from thirty-six different languages and cultures. It ranges from verse by the first recorded poet, a Sumerian priestess named Enheduanna (circa 2,300 BCE), to Anne Sexton; from early Buddhist nuns to Emily Dickinson; from Hildegard of Bingen to Tess Gallagher. Many of the translations are from distinguished authors and poets, such as Coleman Barks, Samuel Beckett, Stanley Kunitz, W. S. Merwin, Kenneth Rexroth, Arthur Waley, and Richard Wilbur.
In this book (originally published as Voices of Light), the spiritual impulse is expressed broadly as a visionary quest toward self-realization, as well as the desire for union with God, with the source of divine light, with a mystic lover, or with the source of nature. Many of the poets here also remind us that the spiritual is within everyone and unites us through empathy with the suffering and joy of others—a poetry of witness.
Contributors include: Anne Bradstreet, Sappho, Sylvia Plath, Hildegard of Bingen, Yosano Akiko, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Tess Gallagher, Anne Sexton, Beatrice of Nazareth, Carolyn Forché, Mary: Mother of Jesus, Denise Levertov, Emily Dickinson, H.D., Linda Hogan, Charlotte Brontë, Louise Erdrich, Lucille Clifton, Anna Akhmatova, Marianne Moore, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Praxilla, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and many others.