In the spring of 2020, I rediscovered Hafiz. Hafiz has always been my favorite poet. In the tradition of the Sufis his poems are all but Love declarations to the Friend, the Beloved, the Mystery, the Unknown. I would go to bed every night, reading two or three poems only, savoring them like some delicious nectar on my tongue. They did not always make sense. But I knew it was no food for the brain. They aimed at my heart.
Outside the world was holding its breath. The first lockdown. The ongoing stream of bad news. The growing fear in people around me. I never entered that bubble. It was not really a struggle, more like a conscious decision. I kept Hafiz close, like a lover. We were centuries apart and yet so intimate.
At the first possible opportunity I left Germany and headed for the island of Lesbos. There is an Osho Meditation Center on the island, there are many good friends and there is my house in an old Greek Village up the mountains. I have planted a mulberry, a walnut and a lemon tree in my courtyard and Jasmin and bougainvillea are covering my walls. The olive tree sits in the middle of the old well. It is poetry trapped in old stones and flowers and butterflies that come and visit. And of course, I took Hafiz.
But once I arrived on the island our love affair grew dry and brittle. My evenings were spent outside, in the Evening Meditation of the center, by the sea with a glass of wine and friends. I did not want to go to bed early and read and be with my Sufi Lover. So, we parted, amicably as friends.
But oh, did I underestimate his love, his influence, his passion. Did he secretly use my daughters? I will never know. Both my daughters write poems. Camilla, the older one, was with me on the island, putting a new poem on her Facebook timeline almost daily. They were breathtaking. Sometimes dark and heart wrenching, full of pain, anger, and love. Always exquisitely well written. I was in awe.
And then my poems arrived. They came up from somewhere inside of me like fish aiming for the surface of the water, wanting to feed, wishing to be seen, bringing up messages from the deep. It should not have surprised me, but it did. They were all Sufi style, love letters from the leaves to the trunk, from the far traveling rivers to the source, from the periphery to the innermost core.
In that summer, 2020, one would see me in one of the cafes by the beach, notebook and pen on my lab, staring at the sea, waiting for the words from inside, or from beyond, or was it all by grace? Hafiz was back. Like a mentor or an inspiration or a true friend he stayed in the background. I did not want to read his superb poetry anymore – I was a poet in my own rights. Love did not compare. Love just listened silently to the outpouring of my heart.
I wanted to be so many things:
A poet, a writer and a witch,
a striptease-dancer, a wife and a mother,
a wise woman, a gypsy and a dancing dervish.
A yogini in Hawaii, an entrepreneur in New York,
always elegantly dressed, of course.
But we both got so tired.
So You took off all my beautiful clothes,
layer after layer.
Now I stand in front of You -
A pure confession. A child. An open sky.
Anything and nothing.
Naked in Your sun.
Pulled into Your mystery.
Knowing what You knew from the very beginning -
that You are the only thing I really want.
One step at a time
One step at a time sweet Love,
I have sent you the crescent moon
and the island coming to a rest.
Now be patient and wait -
for I come to those with no demands.
Dare to find me in the hourglass
of your crushed dreams.
Seek my bed - skies upon skies -
where roaring with laughter,
we roll over the shards
of all your unfulfilled desires.
Lay your hungry heart to rest
in the armpit of my softest wing.
And do not fear the fire of my breath
rustling through the feathers.
I am death and resurrection in One.
Are you ready to walk each
one of these steps?
Do you trust the downpour of
my never ceasing love?
One step at a time sweet Love
and I will take you safely
to the place where all roads end.
You opened the door today
in the misty morning hours
where even the fridge went quiet.
There was majesty
and love with no opposites.
I held my breath.
No opposite to love?
Later on, my mind started churning.
All my petty dislikes and judgments,
don't you have to draw the line somewhere?
Yet - it is all one big pot of soup,
boiling in the palm of Your hand.
What I have learned
I have learned to dance with the wind.
And to dance even with no wind
through the heat of what Love wants.
I have learned - or did I make it a habit? - to throw prayers like flowers after people when they leave.
I have learned to love the part in me that does not want to love and stay separate from hungry cats and foreign faces and the attacks of the mind in the darkness of the night.
I have learned that lessons don't stop
and to meet them with grace
and a quiet perseverance -
for the Whole will never give up asking me to dance
whether there is wind or not.
I have learned that the Whole keeps sending
hungry cats and foreign faces and dark nights
as the most perfect mates for my dance.
So pray for me Love - that I learn fast.
a poem from my daughter Camilla
The threes and the stars
And the foxes
They know my name The turquoise shadow
underneath on the ocean ground flying along, arms spread She is so much more me
Even the smell of the grass
Is writing it on my skin
Over and over again
Only I forget
But lucky they all keep such secrets well
For whenever I come back