I have been writing poetry all of my life, but about 12 years ago, my consulting partner at the time said: “There are two kinds of writer. Those who concentrate on some genre, so they can sell commercially, and those who write as a spiritual exploration.” That was a lightning bolt moment, I knew at once that I belonged with the explorers.


A decade before I had begun a daily meditation practice, so that it seemed only natural that I should append to that practice the daily composition of a poem. I had read somewhere of a Buddhist monk who had vowed to carve 10,000 Buddhas, and I vowed to write 10,000 poems.


10,000 is a big number. To write 10,000 poems at one poem per day is a project that will take you more than 27 years.


Read the rest of my introduction here >>>




Returning to the Temple ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written May 8th, 2007

 

We awakened before dawn, when the sky was still
That rosy dove-feather grey, and began to notice
A presence, which — or should we say who? —
Despite our grogginess, began spreading her light
From the center of our heads, her voice mouthlessly
Whispering: “The soul is simultaneous with the sky.”
Then sleep overtook us, but not the usual sleep,
This was a graduating trip to another realm
Where we sensed completion, although we were
Still trying to gather useless relics for our journey
When the day surprised us, and we awakened
To that vigorous blue ubiquity and heard the voice
Again, but now distinctly round, and masculine:
“The sky is simultaneous with time.”
Our skin turned gold and the light inside our heads
Became the sun. Everywhere within our bodies, now,
We could feel them, be them: the birds,
The trees, the houses, the moving waters,
The people in their ceaseless conflagrations.
The rosebuds exploded into roses and blanketed
Runways of petals beneath our steps,
While herds of animals migrated through our bones.
And now — oh word of origin, word of flagrant bliss —
Her voice and his, in sonorous unison,
Sang with a single tone, that strange word: “Home.”

 

Among Hickories ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 16th, 2012
For my father

 

The spring has not advanced far enough
To have clothed every tree, so that among
The bright green children of mid-April,
There still remain these delicate skeletons,
December cadavers, standing without mourners,
These old dear patriarchs
Croaking their old stories
To the current looters of the morning’s gold.

They make us think of our own aging fathers,
And teach us, again, to savor the gaunt as true,
Those tired stories repeated without context,
Simply because their branches once leafed out
A folklore now swept bare by winter’s rout.

Here is a glass whose black cracks slowly spider
Their crooked phrases through indifferent air.
You may address the mirror, but do so gently,
For accusations will extend the breakage.
You may approach, but do so like a hunter,
Whose tracks repeat, with stealth, those of his prey.

Fist ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written June 17th, 2007

 

Chunks of rocks as large as cars clump at the roadside
Shucked from a wall of cliff.  The shear-lines have
Made them scooped and scalloped.  They are beautiful.
Even in their stone way of being, we suspect that they
Feel the duel weights of connection and separation,
Hardness and giving way: fathers and sons.
Theirs is a muscular river of mineral awareness
Flowing with ancient slowness, not only in the blood,
But in the bone, and below that, in the calcite structures
Older than bone, in ice-work, in sun-grind, in shearing
Forces that counter the maternal conglomeration
With something that could only be melded in fire, cracked by ice.
Theirs is the thunder-voice that labors deeply
As the masculine forging of love’s most durable bond.