What Was That, And What Is This?



I am but an old beggar, bent and weary,
Sitting at the gate of the spiritual marketplace,
Asking of all who enter,
“Sir, madam… please, can you tell me,
What was that… and what is this?!”

A beggar at the gate,
Not sitting “in front of”, teaching,
Not asserting, like those in the stalls within,
For I know less with each breath,
Only always, with each heartbeat asking…
“What was that, and what is this?”

What was that Death Unto Life,
In which all things and I Vanished,
And the Dream of Dreams,
The Heart's Desire,
Remained.

"What was that?"

Was it the Heaven, within, that Jesus spoke of?
Was it the Paradise of The Beloved's Sufis?
Was it the Atman, unobscured, that the Hindus speak of?
Was it God, as so many understand the word?
Or was it simply… a psychosomatic anomaly?

A beggar at the gate,
Not sitting “in front of”, teaching,
Not asserting, like those in the stalls within,
For I know less with each heartbeat,
Only always, with each breath asking…

"What was that, and what is this?"

This… this touch of Ineffable Sublimity,
That remained after that Death Unto Life,
A Comforter, a Teacher, a Benediction,
A Wellspring of the Inexpressible,
Within this broken vessel.

"What is this?"

Is it the Holy Spirit, that Jesus spoke of?
Is it The Beloved, The Friend, of the Sufis?
Is it the Bliss of the Atman, that the Hindus speak of?
Is it the Divine Presence, of those who believe in God?
Or… is it simply, a psycho-somatic anomaly?

A beggar at the gate,
Not sitting “in front of”, teaching,
Not asserting, like those in the stalls within,
For I know less with each passing season,
Asking always, in each moment's dissolution…

“What was that, and what is this?”

Long ago I ventured into the marketplace,
Only to be driven back by the terrible din,
Of ten thousand voices declaring,
Full of certitude and authority,
Ten thousand versions of “Truth”.

Now, at last, I am leaving my station at the Gate,
No longer able to see clearly those who pass by,
Or hear their ten thousand “guesses”,
My fingers calloused by touching,
Ten thousand feet in gratitude.

After a lifetime of questioning,
I have come to a certitude of my own,
That although ten thousand teach what they “know”,
Only a handful, “Know”,
That… and This.

Though I will die with these questions upon my lips,
I Live now Surrendered in Not Knowing,
Having discovered that, like myself,
Those I have met who “Know”,
That and This…

“know” nothing…