Cherchez la Beauté

John Keats

John Keats


What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters

“Such beauty lies in Thy forgiveness, that it seems
to me that it would have been a sin in me if I had
not sinned; for then I should not have known Thy
loving kindness and the wonder and beauty of
Thy true nature and being.”

Now I find this out but what a crunch it was
Back then when I was a Sufi carpenter
And at the stroke of age 33

My mother called me on my birthday
De rigueur drunk
In the middle of a dark night of my soul

To say she’d just had to remind me
What they do to 33 year old carpenters
And at that time I was torn

Between lust and a vision of Beauty
That no one needed to tell me about:
It was horrible to feel myself self-nailed

To a cross no not even for
Any fait accompli of disobedience
Just a fierce yearning to disobey was all

And I had to look around very carefully
To find God to remind God I had tried
To be happy and it seemed to me there

Was no blasphemy in thinking that
That in itself was enough like work
For all normal purposes and even

To the compass point–since part of my careful
Looking involved an understanding that
(As Keats said) “beauty is truth” and so

Since beauty is a happiness product there’s no
Conflict there where your simple motto is
“Cherchez la beauté”


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,
Well, it’s pushing midnight and I had wanted to post this on my birthday, so I have to rush. I just got back from a sweet birthday party, and one of my friends there (the Elisabeth prominent in the last two blogs) gave me some Sufi poetry, (from Rumi) which I have to include, if only for its Jungian synchronicity, as you will see, who persevere with this post:

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were borne with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You were not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”

Here’s what would have been:

Well it’s my birthday and so today I am going easy on myself. I will sort of wing it; although I don’t know how “winging it” got such a bad reputation. Maybe it’s a subtle dig at flying. (Kind of an earthbound sour grapes perhaps) But who knows what goes on in the minds of the debunkers.

Although if you do debunk somebody, doesn’t that at least wake them up? (Or even just poking them with a broom handle from the bottom bunk)

And all us spirituality mongers are always going on about waking up.

In fact, my favorite mystic, cierto Meher Baba, had a pithy description of his mission: “I have not come to teach, but to awaken.”

But I digress.

I just saw a quote which I may put on my website.

Did you know this website features a boatload of quotes? And I mention this because I’ve no special reason to think they are being read. My gut (That’s another word for intuition in this case) tells me there may be a shocking lack of awareness along those lines. Maybe I should devote the odd post* (as it were) to some choice bits from the quotes section.

Probably shoulda just done that for today. Make for an easy Birthday blog post.

Of course, maybe I’m not as lazy as I thought.

Anyway, here’s the quote I just came across. It’s not from a “spiritual” guy, just a political operative in an article I was reading today about the presidential race:

“It may be wishful thinking, but it is thinking.”
— Tad Devine

And that’s a very good start. Wishing I mean. The mind is powerful. (Which is the reason they say, “Be careful what you wish for.”)

It goes to show that one should always listen for the tone of a poem of truth that lurks in everyday life and interactions.

Because we can learn from everyone.**

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*I even wonder how many of my readers (God bless the gentlefolk!) are aware that there is in the archives to the right about 110 weekly blog posts, each with a (hopefully helpfully) illustrative poem. Illustrative of the theme du jour. Like as you might surmise, today’s overarching theme is “birthday.”

**This reminds me of a story from Hujwiri’s classic Sufi treatise, Kashf Al-Mahjub (The Revelation of the Mystery). Hujwiri tells of a renowned dervish who said he was the “pupil of a youth.” As Inayat Khan often emphasizes, God will put words in people’s mouths, and the people listening will be thereby instructed. In this case, the youth in question was a spoiled rich kid, who was bragging that he had no care in the world. If he needed anything, his rich father would just buy it for him. I think if you’ve gotten this far, you can see the obvious parallel.

About Eric Halliwell

I am the creator and sustainer of, 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, (since defunct), Shine Journal, Ashé Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. I can be reached at

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