When God Speaks

Note the use of an alphabet board due to Meher Baba’s observing a silence that began in 1927, lasting until his death in 1969.

Note the use of an alphabet board due to Meher Baba’s observing a silence that began in 1927, lasting until his death in 1969.


When God Speaks Through the Eyes of Animals

It is so sweet
When God speaks
Through the eyes of animals

I saw a dog in the streets
Of Antigua Guatemala:
Unbelievably skinny

Bones protruding
My heart was hurting
So I gave him chicken

I’d had in my mochila*
I looked back as I went on
And the dog for all his need

Found it more important than eating
To stare at me
All my way out of sight

Maybe he was thinking
How sweet it is when God
Speaks through the kindness of strangers



Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”


Gentle Readers,
First, let me wish you a happy Silence Day.*

Because it’s Silence Day, I will reprise a Meher Baba photo (see above) from the 1920’s (or was it 30’s?) when he was visiting Hollywood on one of his visits to America.

But to today’s blog post.

I had an idea but wasn’t sure if it was a poem or an inchoate blog post.

I decided to compromise with the following, which I take to be an amalgam of the two forms (prose and poetry)

I suppose it may be a cop-out because to be honest, the stuff I show here (just now) is usually how a poem appears to me when I first begin to sculpt it, I guess you could say. But maybe it’s a cross between a poem and a prose poem or some stream of consciousness technique of fiction writing. Who knows? (Certainly not I) but I am always promoting poem production (as a key to happiness) and before I was a “spontaneous” poet** I used to wonder a lot about how poetry was done. So, I thought this may prove interesting to the poets or would-be poets among my readers.

My poems do tend to start out as a cloud of interstellar gas, which gradually condenses and coheres. Or at least that’s my story (or poem, as the case may be) and I am sticking to it.

Also, it might be of interest to see how a different poet starts a poem out.

I am focusing now on what Jesus said about being vigilant for not knowing the hour of his return. But of course this begs the question:

What is this famous return?

Seems to me the usual interpretation
Of this is as if the expected event
Involved some future
And visible

I lose patience with this non-metaphor capable thinking it’s
Just like with dogs
As sweet as they are
As eager to please but if you point to something–they just focus on the fingers

When what we need to do is take things a bit further:
Jesus was the hook
And now we’ve got to get through the hook
or even the famous eye of the needle
(and the camel and the whole bit)

Needless to say
I have something to say about this
Which is to extrapolate to the practical
Of if we’re to live in every moment
as per the holy rumor–
and so the matter is covered
(or uncovered as Hujwiri implied in his thousand year old Sufi treatise:
The Revelation of the Mystery
AKA Kashf Al-Mahjub

In other news:
I included the above poem, written years ago when I lived in Antigua instead of Panajachel, because of what happened yesterday. I often see emaciated street dogs in Guatemala, and so I always try to carry a supply of dry dog food. So I was out on my daily bike ride, and there was a dog who was obviously a nursing mother. So I stopped to give her food, (render first aid) and the same thing happened. She waited to start eating, staring fixedly at me, until I was about to turn the corner (must have been a minute–a long time to wait for food when you are a ravenous nursing mother dog). It was just like in the poem!

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Silence Day is in observance of the anniversary of the Indian (Parsi, para precisar) mystic, Meher Baba, who commenced the rest of his life in silence starting on July 10 1926. (Or was it 1927?) I should mention that the collective group who follow Meher Baba are called “Baba lovers.” And Baba lovers tend to take July 10 off, if they can, by observing silence. Though exchange of written notes is a common practice on Silence Day.

To refresh memories or to advise new readers, Meher Baba was a co-founder of the Sufi group I was a member of between 1972 and 1979.

The photo above is both amusing and Silence Day oriented, as it shows Baba with the famous actress Talullah Bankhead when he was touring the Hollywood studios, being introduced to stars such as Talullah and Mary Pickford, who was especially drawn to him. The photo shows Baba with his alphabet board which he used to communicate when he first commenced his silence.

The amusing part is how Baba had convinced the Hollywood folk he would break his silence in the Hollywood Bowl. (Baba was always alluding to breaking his silence imminently. Personally though I took that to be akin to Jesus’ warning to always be alert because it was never known the hour of his return.) Of course Baba skipped town instead.

**I would say I am a “spontaneous” poet these days because whereas before in my life I had to have a special motivation to produce poetry (usually to say nice things to a girlfriend or someone desired for girlfriend) This as opposed to just writing down whatever comes down from wherever it had been to inspire me to write a poem, usually to do with some metaphysical speculation I was suddenly engrossed in. (Funny coincidence, eh?)

As for my not worrying any more about how poems are made, I mostly rely these days on practice, constant practice (occasioned of course by the constant muse-chatter I am listening in on) and of course a constant close observation of whatever occurs to me while I am in the road of that. And I’ve been doing that “religiously” for ten years now. While I’ve no real way of knowing if I am making any progress, I sure am relieved to believe I am, or if not, who cares? It’s all a matter of expressing the heart, and caring about the heart, and that enough to assure a constant introspection, a constant inspection of the rhyme (etc) situation (just as you would if the issue were your child’s safety).

About Eric Halliwell

I am the creator and sustainer of rumi-nations.com, a website which features (among a few other things, like interesting and inspiring quotes, and Sufi stories) my poetry and illustrative blog posts, about one 1000 word essay a month. It is Sufi-themed, probably because for seven years I was an officially initiated Sufi mureed, in San Francisco circa 1970’s. My poetry has appeared in these publications: Penwood Review, Ascent Aspirations, Umbrella Journal, wordcatalyst.com (since defunct), Shine Journal, Ashé Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. I can be reached at estlin3@yahoo.com.

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