safe distance

In the mother’s womb
the child does not know
his mother’s face

nor can she ever know
his face.

The man in the world’s illusion
does not know the Lord

nor the Lord him,

Ramanatha.
(Dasimayya; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

The stamp of the reckoned
The stamp of the reckoned
longing for mark, for lift,
for sun

is not a given, it is not
a known.

The longing for this stamp
is foreknowledge

and ignorance of him,

Ramanatha.

In the garb of tomb
In the garb of tomb
the word will not grieve
its shackled fare

its meddling stock of
livid pairs

of word and anti-word juxt-
a-posed for the benefit

of naught but the Lord,

Ramanatha.

safe distance
fragments of this poem are in
many hearts; we

care enough to bring the pieces
in synch? we can

try; we can perch ourselves at
a safe distance

above where everything happens,
and that is a

promise to not care but it shall
be in our minds,

a sort of thinking of you but not
now.

The dagger sinks in

The dagger sinks in
Where grass has no
Home, where death took leave,
Where the bright claws of rust
Meet corpuscles of greed, lost
& felled, the maker of
Halves and halves not.


I have heard it said that one who excels in safeguarding his own life does not meet with rhinoceros or tiger when traveling on land nor is he touched by weapons when charging into an army. There is nowhere for the rhinoceros to pitch its horn; there is nowhere for the tiger to place its claws; there is nowhere for the weapon to lodge its blade. Why is this so? Because for him there is no realm of death. Lao Tzu.


For what
shall I wield a dagger
O lord?

What can I pluck it out of,
or stab it in

when You are all the world?

O Ramanatha?
Dasimayya, translated by A.K. Ramanujan.