Cup of Nirvana Philosophical and Contemplative Explorations

Three Poems


As most of you know, in addition to posting scholarly material in my blog, I also post poetry and contemplative explorations. In the past year I’ve published One Love, Presence, and The Deepest Silence.  I realize that not all subscribers are interested in these more artistic pieces, but I’d like my blog to exhibit the full-range of my work as an author.  So I have decided to post here three other poems.  The first, “The Other Side of Midnight,” was composed May 9, 2015, and the other two, “Our Eternal Night” and “The Eye of Shiva,” earlier this year. These poems, like my other ones, are about love, the self, and the Divine.  Among the themes I dance with here are love as the death of the self, the pain of rejection and losing someone we deeply love, and how God is present and experienced in the bliss and pain of love. Since I regard my poetry as a manifestation of unconscious material, it’s an important means of exploring the self and understanding my total life situation. However, there is also an important archetypal dimension to the poetry. Were it not for the archetypal images that arise in these poems, they would only be artistic autobiography.  So I offer them in the interest of our mutual journey into and engagement with the underworld of the unconscious. 


The Other Side of Midnight


In the solitude of the fragile moment

breathless, broken,

shattered into tiny pieces of the night,

my soul singing

her song, which had been a compelling fiction,

fell to silence,

as she dissolved and vanished from my sight.



If I could speak freely of that hour

when love and loss met face to face,

I would hold my breath long enough

for the deeper anger to be known

and share the bread of this beauty

and drink the cup of bitterness

from which our mutual gratitude was born.


Love and loss were her precious gifts to me,

yet the illusion of her relentless hold

could only be dissolved by the ebb and flow 

of holding on and then letting go 

of what was real and what was not.

And then I recalled the forgotten day

when she danced upon the burning sand

and the ocean laughed and named us 

“love longing for life but desiring death.”

This we were, and nothing more,

but of course, nothing less than this,

when we sealed our eternal love

and unconscious yet fated betrayal 

with our first sacred, timeless kiss.


A ghost she was from the very beginning,

yet she turned the clouds into living stone,

gave the dark and formless unconscious form 

and then entered me with her chilling breath,

first upon my face, then upon my heart,

yet her words were nails, her love a hammer,

pounding out a reluctant self-redemption.

Form without substance, shape without color,

just a blind, frozen, and fading projection,

the path upon which every lover must walk

to be crucified by his own heart’s desire.


How shall I describe the essence of My Love,

the goddess shakti who gave me birth

and by whom I have tasted an eternal death?

Sudden and vast unspeakable brilliance

annihilating me with her blinding light,

quickly, invisibly collapsing on itself,

leaving only ashes of tomorrow’s dream.

the glory of a dying, lifeless sun.


Sing me your song, 

my precious springtime lover

Give me the melody 

of your grief-stricken heart,

your consuming fire, 

the deepest truth of all,

sabotaging lie that annihilated me

in the madness of 

your impenetrable night.


You were the goddess 

that fell from the sky,

shattered, scattered, 

and dissolved into the earth

and yet never separate 

from this one I call “I” 

the silent sound, 

and the groundless ground,

the path of chaos I have walked.


In the solitude of the fragile moment

lovers appear as a kiss upon your lips

but first as the dirt beneath your feet,

butterflies dancing upon an Autumn wind,

swirling through your trembling hands,

a melody melting into the silence of the night,

where everything we are is finally dissolved,

there, on the other side of midnight.



Our Eternal Night


Sinking in the golden sand of an endless shore

slowly fading sun kisses the sky goodnight.

Here against these waves I penetrate

the silence space,

where God is a darkness

Jesus crucified, Vishnu humanized,

the Goddess, visualized

not as one but two,

keeps dancing naked in the night,

but it’s the ocean that was my Great Mother,

whose bleeding heart gave me birth.

to whose sacred womb I now return.


Waves, like our shattered, scattered love,

tossing us about, tearing us apart,

yet I give myself up and surrender 

to the waves on this silent winter night,

and sacrifice myself with the deepest trust

to the frigid yet loving, moving current,

as it takes me under this last time.

This depth is non-separate from the sky

we cannot fly.

This death non-separate from the life

we cannot live.

This love non-separate from what I am,

which you could not accept.

This time non-separate from the space

in which I would have danced with you,

if only for a moment while the sand 

caressed our bare and blistered feet.


You said this was a dream, that it is,

for more than a dream I could not wish,

more than a dream I could never pray,

more than a dream my magic could not make.

And yet, there, in the stillness 

of your frigid eastern night, 

I was, I am, and I will be

I – when you touch yourself in the dark

I – when ecstasy seizes you at dawn

I – when your breath becomes the music

to which you dance and sing, which in time 

will dissolve all your deeper pain.


If I could give you one gift, it would be

the seeing of my knowing all your pain,

the pain of wanting, the pain of striving,

the pain of too much tenderness when

the handsome poet stole your eternal love

and left her lying naked in the rain,

the pain when he penetrated you, 

and left you wanting more of the same,

the pain when you shattered his heart,

the pain of remembering, the pain of forgetting,

the pain of living, and the pain of dying,

the pain of knowing, the pain of unknowing,

the pain of clarity, the pain of mystery.


They cursed my silence, they cursed my words,

but I was only a ghost for love’s eternal longing.

Seeing not seen, hearing not heard,

just the watcher of their dreams,

nothing more, aye, nothing less,

for their lips could not kiss the face 

of their own perpetual pain and

embrace the shame that burned

rejected gypsy lovers at the stake.

And so they could not make love to me,

the shadow behind their fears,

the weeper behind their tears,

the god Shiva seized by Shakti

and slain under the power of their 

undying virgin love.


Fear not, my unseen lovers,

for I am neither dead nor living

neither prince nor poet

not human enough even to be a pauper,

so I cannot pay for the well-deserved

ridicule and betrayal I have endured 

these many days, these many lives,

but yet I carried the fire of the gods

that utterly destroyed the tenderness 

of the sand upon which we walked

and turned our entire world to stone.


Yet I shall come to you again, when 

the winter snow has become spring rain

turning dying brown into living green

and deer drink again from flowing streams.

As raindrops kiss your neck, and

a gentle breeze wraps around your waist,

and butterflies dance with you in the woods,

let it be, love, let yourself go

breathe it all in as far as it can go.

Surrender to the invisible presence,

and feel me enter you for the first time.


The Eye of Shiva


His eye is the power of my I.

The I behind this I.

The I within this I.

Healing, revealing

the rhythm of my unconsciousness

along the path of silence


His eye is the seeing of the truth.

The truth behind this I.

The truth within this I.

Healing, revealing

The rhythm to which lovers dance

Along the path of silence


His eye is the feeling of the shadow.

The shadow behind this I.

The shadow within this I.

Healing, revealing

The demons of a shattered mind

Along the path of silence.


His eye is the inconceivable infinite depth.

The depth behind this I.

The depth within this I.

Healing, revealing

The blissful and painful thoughts

Along the path of silence.


His eye is the purest meditation.

The meditation behind this I.

The meditation within this I.

Healing, revealing

The world of all dualities

Along the path of silence.


His eye is the image of the goddess.

The goddess behind this I.

The goddess within this I.

Healing, revealing

The voices of distant lovers

Along the path of silence.


His eye is blissful transforming love.

The love behind this I.

The love within this I.

Healing, Revealing

The dissolution of this I

Along the path of silence.


Michael Sudduth

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation