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 >>>

How It Began ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written February 16th, 2010

Listen here for my reading of “How It Began.”


In the land that was, before all our explosions,
The animals could talk,
But their talk was carried through thin,
Transparent tubes, so that what they said
Only reached their intended hearers,
And did not mar the general atmosphere.

The depth of the silence was hallucinating.
And the people of those times,
Who were naked and speechless,
Were only able to bathe their lives in calm,
Which was seen, not heard, in vivid blues and greens,
Colors so haunting, so ever-glistening,
It seemed as if they were always being born.

The people, envious of the animals,
And drunk on these colors,
At last began to dream.
These were strange dreams that they had,
Always vaporing from the fresh wet of their world.
And the dreamers worked their mouths as they dreamt their dreams,
Wanting somehow to taste them as well as see them.

The suspense in this stillness was unbearable.
It was enough to cause speech to explode.

Benediction ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written April 13th, 2006
(Note: The blessing of Deeksha is often performed by a laying on of hands.)

Listen here for my reading of “Benediction.”


This is the day in whose transparent being
The weather of our lives unfolds.
We note that his visage is blue, is high, is serene.
We note the many moods through which he passes,
The storms in the belly that we read as pain,
The living word that says: “You are alive.”
And in that phrase, we note the sudden stealth
Of the gaunt and great opacity of death.

Here are his mottled clouds, so high, so white,
And his sun with its luminous, vaporous, purple ring.
This is the day who bears us as a father,
Through the turgid gluts of time to heavy death,
That ultimate serenity, where all our pain,
In the belly of his being, grows transparent.

These hands we feel as blessings on our heads,
From whose bright excellence do they shine forth,
And what grace, high, and larger than all earth,
Do they, from their great magnitudes, bestow?

Gratitude ©

By Roy Dean Doughty

Written February 13th, 2009, Ananda Loka 3, India

Listen here for my reading of “Gratitude.”


Gratitude is a word we have gifted to that
Glistening, transparent sphere whose blessings
Remain impregnable to the frantic lances of the mind.
This sphere, this morning, swirls with a cool breeze
After days of clinging heat, and in the midst of the swirl,
There sways a large-leafed unnamable tree,
Whose open branchwork bursts with airy clusters
Of pale yellow flowers, larger, much larger,
Than any man’s ambitious, encompassing reach.
The flowers are food and bed to butterflies.
Some rest, dark wedges, their thin lives closed or pulsing.
Others flutter about the flowers as detached portions
Of an inward joy too seldom experienced by humans,
Layers of translucence that make vivid images,
Simultaneously bright or soft, some orange,
Some mottled, some blue, some yellow,
Some a luminous black, dolloped with happy scarlet.
These portions of ourselves, small, twittery, ephemeral,
Exude an alien intimacy that reminds us that
The inexplicable sufferings of birth
Are touched by bliss, that the mother arising
Inside of us as blood and sky and tree and sudden pain
Is not wholly imprisoned in the bone-rack
And that this feeling flowering in the heart
Is a constant flurry of incandescent wings.