Homecomings

Homecomings
by Pablo Neruda

Two homecomings sustained my life
and the daily sea, ebbing and rising:
at once I faced the light, the earth,
a certain provisional peace. The moon
was an onion, nourishing
globe of the night, the orange sun
submerged in the sea:
an arrival that
I endured and kept buried until now,
it was my will and here I shall remain:
now my homecoming is the truth. –

I felt it as a blow,
like a crystal nut
shattering on a boulder
and in that way, in a thunderclap, the
light flashed,
the light of the littoral, of the lost sea,
of the sea captured now and forever. –

I am a man of so many homecomings
that form a cluster of betrayals,
and again, I leave on a frightening
voyage
in which I travel and never arrive
anywhere:
my single journey is a homecoming. –

And this time among seductions
I was afraid to touch the sand, the
sparkle
of this wounded and scattered sea,
but accepting of my unjust acts
my decision fell with the sound
of a glass fruit that shatters
and in this resounding blow
I glimpsed life,
the earth wrapped in shadows and sparks
and the cup of the sea below my lips. –

Personal Reflections
In Mahayan Buddhism, Bodhicitta is sometimes referred to as “intelligent heart” in that both wisdom and compassion are equally necessary for spiritual growth to occur. That sounds really enlightened. And it is an aspiration. But what if we don’t feel Buddha like at all? Our poet here has a way of keeping it real- this experience of being human is complex. And it isn’t all warm gratitude and sunny bliss. Am I brave enough to meet the feelings that come from being cracked open? Here is where light meets shadow. As daylight falls, can I trust that the night sky will hold me? Can I be with the fire burning deep within my belly and an intensity of longing and unmet desire. Is there a choice? What would it mean to lean in deeper? What do I need to know here? “Now my homecoming is the truth”. Perhaps I am a “woman of so many homecomings”. We are made of stars. This is true. I may “never arrive anywhere” and that’s quite ok.

Present in Absence

Poetry by John Donne (1573 – 1631)

Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.

Who loves a mistress of such quality,
His mind hath found
Affection’s ground
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is present, Time doth tarry.

My senses want their outward motion
Which now within
Reason doth win,
Redoubled by her secret notion:
Like rich men that take pleasure
In hiding more than handling treasure.

By absence this good means I gain,
That I can catch her,
Where none can watch her,
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her;
And so enjoy her and none miss her.

(Thoughts on this selection.)

There is a tender power and pain in the absence of being with a beloved. Though our poet wonders as do I, if we ever really separate from authentic Love. For being seen, truly seen, awakens Consciousness and Consciousness recognizes Itself. Feelings of connection that evoke one’s deepest essence remain. I am not alone.