The Unnameable

a free version of Kabir’s poem 3/69

The Name that can’t be uttered is unique.

How then to comprehend the formless?

What name for a circle with no circumference,
or a square with no corners?

Name reflects form: form defines name.

Forms yield clarity: clarity amplifies form.

Duality and form have propagated the world:
yet the Name is within all.

The formless is seed: its fruit is form:
knowledge the branches: the Name a hidden root.

Throu form seek the formless:
within duality conceive unity.

Within the winter trunk nestles the summer leaf:
cause and effect being rarely linear.
Spirit is not in root alone, nor flower,

nor in the vital sap – yet life is within all.

Everywhere pleasure lies. Happiness 

lies nowhere but in your unNameable root.

Seek where you are fertile, resolve your nature:

in each upheaval see growth husbanding you.

The unspelled Name pervades all matter:

yet is visible only by a beating heart.

Encountering the Name transcends language:

yet is known only by a beating heart.

The resolution of this paradox ends all enquiry:
yet the Name can be uttered only by a beating heart.


Apocryphal Wisdom

At first wisdom will take thee by crooked paths, but at last she will bring thee out into the straight way.


To you I write, blade in hand to harm yourself.

You have come here to learn: allow yourself the space
and time to grow: do not fear what you might be.

The spirit of life resides in every breathing form:

each finds a place with the great ecology:

don’t think you do not fit – you do, where you belong.

You were made for a unique task. Don’t blame yourself

for what you aren't; rather, hold the space for what

could be – even if the emptiness becomes unbearable.

It is into that void you must be born: you are the form

which this new life must take. It's awaiting you.

The form your healing takes is the world’s rebirth.

Look, I reach toward you, cut my arm instead.

See the rage, the grief, the isolation well up.

Allow that energy to transform into prayer.

Pray to the space in which the new you is to be born.

You were made for something more than your tiny world: 

allow the shadowed universe to enter you:

broadcast your news from the dark side of the moon.

You don’t know who it’s for – allow yourself to flow
freely into the space, trusting you will be heard.

You are to pioneer new forms of feeling:

you alone have powers to heal a broken world.

The richness of transformation is the space that calls you.

To be sure, big steps are called for. Look despair

in the eye as you say your last good bye.

The road may be long and hard but he's no companion for you.

Instead, find your other friend, your indwelling seed.

Nourish your goodness with all the care you'd give a seedling.

When it grows tall and flowers – that will be your reward.

We are all that is wrong within the world:

we are all that is right within the world:
it's by our choices we declare which side we’ll join.

You can be different – this you must believe. From it
a thousand flowers bloom even in a wasteland.

Have compassion to whom you are. Put down the blade.