It began with a voice mail, my brother Paul sharing a contemporary poem
inspired by an ancient one in Farsi. Out of love and repetition I listened to it
again and again, and without intending to realized I had nearly remembered
that poem by heart. Just one last intentional effort and it was fully downloaded
into my heartdrive. Years later I would learn that Hafiz, the original Sufi author
of that ancient Farsi poem, was not a name but rather a title (Hafez) given to
those who had “remembered” the entire Koran by heart. I am grateful to that
which taught me—“You don’t memorize poetry, you remember it by heart.”
I can’t explain precisely just what it is… Some poems simply cry out to be
heard, not read; Rumi – “A Cap to Wear in Both Worlds”, Hafiz – “Forgive the
Dream”, Pablo Neruda – “This is Where We Live”, Mary Oliver – “Ghosts”,
Adyashanti – “Smoke Over Fire”. I encounter them, hear them or read them
once and my heart sings out for me to download them into my heartdrive so
they might be sung back to others who also thirst for this wine.
The great Sufi mystics like Rumi and Hafiz, never wrote down their own
poems. Fortunately for us, there were “those with ears to hear” who followed
them around scribbling, at times I imagine furiously, in an attempt to ‘capture’
the words that flew spontaneously from their hearts. It is my profound belief
that many poems are better heard than read. For this reason I have decided to
also make audio recordings of poems in this collection available to those who
might like to listen to some as well as read them. If you too ‘have ears to hear’
and a longing to do so, I will be providing downloadable audio files of select poems
from this collection very soon.