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Just got back from a 3 day meditation retreat in Lexington, Virginia―a place in the forest called Sat Guru Dham. The photo here is not from that trip, but in a similar way, I played some of my songs for the other satsangis at the outdoor langar (free kitchen). It was very nice to have even the most cryptic of my lyrics understood and appreciated.
I told a few about how I had traveled to Bangalore last winter and met Baba Ram Singh Ji―spent two weeks meditating and attending His satsangs―how jolly and beautiful and how full of authority He was. How to tell people about Him without proselytizing? haven’t quite figured it out. But here it is, almost a year later and I’m still under His charm.
Under the Charm
I can see my desires rising up so clearly
I can feel my loss; falling down so dearly
the gift of love, again, missed so nearly
It seems that life is a game that no one can win
It’s all arranged so cleverly and queerly
Are we born to live?
Or are we born to die?
Some say we can choose our view
yet both the young and the old
still wonder why
and neither know what to do.
Whether we look at the earth
or look beyond the sky
none of it, real or true
Then You come with Your revealing story
with Your mystic love and Your graceful glory
into the world for some time
of all things forgotten, You remind
Then all our weary old hearts are breaking
with Your every familiar glance
Then the very earth begins shaking
just like our trembling hands
Then the pains of all the ages aching
pour forth at such a chance
All relatives and dreams of relatives we are forsaking
as You walk upon these ancient and bitter lands
Then, no more plans are we making
under the charm of this romance
But, what of our failures; what of our crimes
Every moment our guilt is exposed in these hard times
You say, “Judge not!” but all we do is judge
We wipe the mirror, but we only make a smudge
My friends say, “Jesse, don’t take it so seriously, man!”
My answer is that we all do what we can.
Then You come and Sweet Justice falters
goes out the back door with his chains and his altars
with his curse of impending doom
and now, at last, we can breathe in this room
Now the timid day dreamers are free to make friends
Now the desperate self-defeaters can make our amends
We lowly floor cleaners will stand as women and men
Even these of ghostly poor demeanor may come forth again.
Wow, I published this without a title. If forgetfulness was the goal, I’d probably be quite successful.
As stated in a previous post, my upcoming memoir and my upcoming collection of song lyrics and poetry is now an upcoming work of the two as one.
So, in this post I’ve included both a song lyric and a poem:
The lyric is full of the gloom of winter. It has a pretty and melancholy little finger picking melody which carries it along I think. I hope readers will be able to appreciate it standing alone here.
Yet it doesn’t entirely stand alone, as the poem is a hopeful one of a spiritual Springtime.
As always, I really appreciate your coming by to read. Please leave a comment if your so inclined. Namaste, jesse
p.s. The photo is from Seattle in my street musician days, back in the 70’s.
(a song lyric)
Every day I have to come back
Every day I have to bring myself back
from this love or some other
from my cold-hearted brother
the untrue friend
We spend these years together
We search for God and then He finds us
Yet now you write and call me never
You fill the empty miles on this crowded bus
with all this nothing to discuss
fair weather, fair weather
Every day I have to wake up
Every day I have to shake myself up
from this love or the last
from all daydreams of the past
the faithless lover
With the innocence of the intimate
in the spring we planted a child
In expectation of the benefit
we believe that nature has smiled
but your heart is never reconciled
and that will mean the end of it.
Every day I have to come clean
Every day I must admit what I’ve seen
of this love and all the rest
No love can pass the test
the false God
creates the hope that lasts so long
as we dance by the midnight oil
as we sing the traveler’s song
where in the garden of love we toil
where we grow like dreams in the fertile soil
until the winter comes along
Every day I have to write a verse
Every day I have to fight the curse
of this lie and every one
for the truth that must begun
for the only one
Only the hopeless have reason to hope
Only the lost can be found
When finally we come to the end of our rope
at the end of the world there is a sound
something to stand on when feet leave the ground
some light in the darkest… where we grope.
Love Like the Spring
Maybe now Spring will come, now that news of You has preceded
Winter has been left with all the burden
he was given no choice
he could give but little comfort, yet he gave what was needed
We’ve dreamt of you in colors white and true and pure
We’ve imagined You—we didn’t know who You were
when we would go to bed crying from the cold
when we’d wake up, still dying from growing old
Are these the days of old, or is the world yet young?
For all we know, we’re in the dark
just primitives around the fire
all simulation, full of wow and flutter
ending lonely, homeless, reduced to mutter
while the world races along on fuel and spark
When my Master left, I had not yet begun
I stood alone on the hot sand beneath the burning sun
I turned stupidly, confused, and in all directions
not another living soul to understand my objections
When Winter came, it was good to be buried
under the snow so deep, under the frozen grass
until the longing could stir again
But as a seeker I have no skills
I go this way and that; so vulnerable against strong wills
But could my weakness prove to be Your strength at last?
You begged Him to accept that man on the end
who had consumed alcohol and meat, so then
Maybe, for me too, You could put such a request
that could soften His heart—since I can’t pass the test
since I’ve never become strong like the rest
since all my failures, I’ve confessed
Maybe You will appear like the Spring
bringing the sun and the rain in contrast
over the windswept hills of this time
Maybe love will have no choice
but to sing of my pain and loss with Your voice
but to answer with the future and to leave behind the past
Stepping out on a limb with this one. Hope you will appreciate it. Had to get it out; it was weighing me down. As always, I am very grateful to my readers. Please comment if you feel so inclined. I’m glad tomatoes are out of season. (:<)>
It seems like the closer we get to people on the outside
the farther away they are on the inside
I would gather my friends about me
but I can’t bear to feel that lonely
I heard my friend crying out
in the mournful way of the forlorn
and I ran to bring some comfort
but when I arrived, that voice was dying out
and I was greeted with such scorn
Spirituality is a lonesome battle
don’t kid yourself, old son
Spirituality is a bitter pill
don’t look at anyone
Spirituality is a chain gang, man
the worst is yet to come
Spirituality comes as a hypocrite, saying
This is the way it’s done
Spirituality is a blind eye turned
to the dying embers of the sun
Spirituality is an empty park
where the children used to run
Spirituality is a well of impatience
where we drink our leaders’ poison
Spirituality is a pecking order
where the strongest beast is the one enjoying
Spirituality is a parade of masks
in which, all secrets are revealed
Spirituality is a fairy tale
where the hearts of fools are sealed
Spirituality is the sport of the pompous
of the gurus and the pundits
Spirituality is for the hairy apes
My god, I’ve been there, done it
Aren’t you tired of what spirituality is?
of what it has become?
Aren’t you tired of, even religion being more pure
I thought maybe you were
Aren’t you tired of dying in false promise?
of your brother being your enemy?
I’m tired of spirituality, I tell you
I’m a spring wound tight to breaking for spirituality
I’m a lunatic with hands a’shaking
Get me out of this god dammed spirituality asylum
where no one has a clue!
Think all you have to do
is say God, God, God
Well… I’ll hide it from you
If you want them to think you’re crazy
just tell them one thing that’s true
Spirituality is a firm and stern correction
for reaching out to anyone
Spirituality is the distant echo
of a graveyard full of fun
Spirituality is the common thread
of the burned out bitter ones
Spirituality is perpetual movement
toward nothing ever getting done
Spirituality is at the gates of fear
where the pitiful wailing songs are sung
All I wanted was to love and be loved
How did I get involved with this spirituality?
I heard my friend crying out
in a voice so lost and real
and I ran to bring some comfort
but when I arrived, that voice was dying out
as if, after all, it was no big deal
Dear Readers, This is a re-post from The BlueHome Blog (the blog I write for bluehomeartworks.com). If you follow that link you can read about BlueHome Artworks, which is—in a nutshell—a consignment outlet in support of the artists and craftspersons in the New Vrindavan, West Virginia community and surrounding area.
I just wanted to share the post here also, as it relates and is important to me personally, as a songwriter, musician, and poet. I hope you’ll enjoy the read, and if you’re local, come out and join us. As always, thanks for visiting my blog, and please leave a comment if so inclined. Namaste, jesse
The BlueHome Artworks Tea House Project
The following is a blog in two parts:
The first part serves as an announcement of an event that will be held bi-monthly in New Vrindavan.
The second part is Lilasuka’s article (Lilasuka—as the Communications Director for New Vrindavan—writes most of the NV news articles) in the Brijabasi Spirit Blog. I’ve simply re-posted that blog article.
Dearest Friends and Devotees,
Jesse and Lilasuka Hanson would like to invite you to be part of a new bi-monthly
Essentially, it will be a Songwriters, Musicians, and Poetry Circle. This will be a very unique and informal group, plus the public will be invited to attend—no charge—come and go as you please. New Vrindavan’s own remarkably talented cast of songwriters, musicians, storytellers, and poets will be taking turns, sharing their work and their talents in an informal setting. The event will be easy on the ears—acoustic (meaning without amplification or drums, other than a microphone for the vocalists or readers, when necessary, and the possibility of low volume bass/lead guitar or other instruments requiring electricity, played at low volumes). Hand percussion, such as mrdanga, tabla, djembe, etc. will of course be welcome.
Musicians, don’t worry if you’re not a songwriter. When it’s your turn, play whatever tasteful music you like. Our intention is just that this project is open to creativity, and kirtan will not be the focus, but neither will it be excluded.
The Teahouse Project was inspired by an informal gathering held at the gift shop last Sunday, when Jaya Rishi gathered a few musicians together.
The next event will be held in the music room of the school on Thursday evening, February 14 (happens to be Valentines Day), at 5:30 pm. Subsequent events will be held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month.
We wanted to get the word out, asap, but we will, of course, send another reminder before the first Tea House event.
- Posted by ls
- January 28, 2013
by Lilasuka dasi
The other day, after the Sunday feast, some of New Vrindavan’s finest musical talents dropped by the BlueHome Artworks Gift Shop. They went there to share their music and to jam along with each other’s songs.
The night before, Jaya Rishi had approached Jesse, “I’ve invited some musicians to my room in the temple after the Sunday feast to get together for some music. Would you and Lila like to come?”
“Sure, thank you. But, hey, why not have it at Bluehome Artworks Gift Shop, where it might be more roomy and comfortable? And besides, since your room’s in the men’s asrama, then Lila will actually be able to come.”
And so it was. Everyone sat in a circle in the Gift Shop, and one at a time, each musician led a song of their choice. Most of the musicians there sang songs that they themselves had written.
After they’d gone around the circle about 3 times, everyone seemed very satisfied. Some were pleasantly surprised hearing their godsiblings’ music for the first time.
Jason, a new devotee at New Vrindavan who has been a drummer for some time, said, “I’ve been very interested in getting involved somehow in music in New Vrindavan, so this gathering has been especially nice for me.”
Jesse explains, “This music event tonight really inspired me toward a project in which I’ve been interested for some time. Lila and I have wanted to host gatherings of musicians, songwriters, poets and writers, since N.V. is a community full of talent. Tonight turned out to be a great start!”
Jesse added, “I especially liked the way everyone took turns and paid attention to each other’s offerings.”
Look for an invitation to be sent out soon, inviting everyone, including listeners, to future gatherings of this type.
Well… the invitation is, of course, in the first part of this post.
Yes, I’ve been conspicuously absent. I’ve been working night and day to establish our BlueHome Artworks consignment shop within the New Vrindaban Community. I started a blog there as part of the online store/website: The BlueHome Blog, where I talk about the value of thinking small, in terms of supporting small and local businesses, artisans making hand crafted products, agriculture, etc. Village economy, really.
So you can check that sight and blog out if you’re inclined to. Here, I intend to maintain my personal stuff, including my writing, my spiritual quest and ponderings, etc. I know; it’s a summer picture I’ve posted, but the current view from our home is a little bleak right now, since we don’t have snow yet—at least not any that’s stuck. But as you can see, it is snowing on the picture anyway.
So here’s my new poem. It does, in fact, contain some of those ponderings. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I invite you to comment if you feel like it.
Setting my Sights
Jesse S. Hanson
My Father is dead but my real Father lives
My real Father is dead but my even more real Father lives
Jesse is gone but then he never was
I never could find him
Just some vague familiarity with someone who always disappointed
Where is my family, my kin?
I wait for them on the shore where the boats come and go
But not them, no
Where are my dogs and my horses?
I don’t see them run and bark and whinny
Over the hills, willy-nilly
Where are my girls, where are my boys?
My songs are dead but my real song sings
My dreams are dead but my real dream waits
For me to wake up
From dead and dying dreams
I have to set out
I have to go on a fearsome adventure
I have to set out across the wilderness with only faith
Since I lack courage
Since I lack vision
Since I lack identity
I’ve always had to cry as the years have gone by
Where are my rolling prairies?
Well, those men have plowed them
Where are my towering hills and splendid valleys?
Those men cut them down, dug them out, they were sold out for baubles
And a plastic future
Where is my beach, my little house on the ocean?
All washed up, built up, soiled, overgrown, weeds and litter
My land is dead but my real land lives
My Father is buried but my real Father lives
My real Father is cremated but my more real Father lives
Jesse is gone but then he never was
I have to go to another land
I will grow weary of this childish tantrum
These sentimental tears
I will become forgetful of all things behind me
Become tired of mourning a life that did not care for me
A home that was not there for me
I’ll set my sights on the unknown distance
Across the ocean of this lost existence
My Father is dead but he’ll be forgotten
My real Father has gone on ahead
My even more real Father is here waiting.
I came to the conclusion that certain parts of my poem, below, were too cryptic. I like cryptic, but it was not my intention here.
For one thing, the transition at the end was too abrubpt. Other things too, that I first perceived as subtleties, were making the meaning sort of ambiguous. So I made a few changes.
Should anyone be kind enough to take another look, I hope these changes facilitate understanding. jesse
It’s long been my understanding that the Kali Yuga is the most auspicious age. It is really the winding down or the growing old time of the creation, or that part of the creation that is sometimes called the material world. Russell Perkins, former editor of Sant Bani Magazine and author of Impact of a Saint, once used a beautiful analogy of a spring that is unwinding until, unchecked it simply flies apart, to explain the parodox of Kali Yuga.
The beauty of it is that the grand illusion that we’re under is becoming more obvious all the time. The impermance of things is very much in our face these days–these years–it very much has been so from the beginning of the age, I think. And with the illusion coming undone, the idea of spirituality gains popularity, and the implementation of various types of spiritual practices becomes more prevalent. Kirpal Singh, the great Mystic Saint of the Path of Surat Shabd Yoga (Sant Mat), told us that in Kali Yuga there would be more “fragrant Saints” coming into the world to show us the Way.
So, in a way, we could say the world is gone into it’s twilight years. It may still be coming to it’s very dark years; some folks certainly believe that it is, I don’t know. In any case, some of us have been practicing (or more accurately, attempting to practice in cases such as mine) spirituality for the better part of our lives and we are now entering into our own twilight years. For many of us, our Masters who have loved us and inititiated us, years ago, have now left the body. They haven’t left us in the truest sense, but physically we have had to go on without them. It is natural to seek out “our old friend in a new coat”.
With that long introduction in place, I do hope you will appreciate my little poem, the path in twilight, which I dedicate to all of my old and new brothers and sisters, who, touched by the love of the fragrant saints, is going forward in the shelter of the same.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and I invite you to comment if so inclined.
jesse s. hanson
the path in twilight
jesse s. hanson
I am your true kin
taken in by the same mysterious and otherworldly benefactor as were you
we were brought together by the wonder of, in the awe of that love
Who took us into the home
where we were fed and clothed and taught right from wrong
told stories of lovers as well as of cruel lords
and of the true gravity of our ghostly lives in this world of ghosts
of our perpetual births and deaths
told stories of lovers by our hero of love
until the time when the embodiment of that love left us
confused, disoriented, wandering, as before, over the parched wasteland
in fear and sickness and terrible dread of our future
long times go by
by remembering we live, but forgetting we near perish.
in the distance, shadows cross the path in twilight
remind us of our loved one
you turn that way and I turn this
chasing shadows in search of bliss
He asked if we would not recognize our friend, come in a new coat
but also added, “Don’t follow the false one.”
in love, I send you greetings, I write a letter
my old friend, my brother, my sister
will you, in turn, write me off at worst
or worry about or worry for me at best
saying, truth is truth, is it not?
so has the perfect love from the perfect lover become imperfect
by our imperfection
by some fatal mistake?
do our anguished cries of separation and longing that caught our beloved’s ear now fall on deaf ears?
has the heart that would melt like wax at the pain of the children, of the dear ones, now become as hard as the stone?
are we thrown back to the wolves?
what then of love
what then of perfect love
perfect love is perfect love, is it not?
so if my friend wears a coat of cotton
and yours a coat of mail
and if now you’ve found you’re not forgotten
I’ve also found that love can never fail