The Silent Companion
by Wilhelm Klein
A silent companion, yes
That’s what you are, in my waking hours,
And, maybe, that magic dervish
That dances through my nights
When darkness reigns.
A silent companion with whom I share
My fare of thoughts
And more often then not the very source
That lets them spring forward.
Wandering across the slope
That blends the far horizon with the unknown,
I know that you are waiting there for me.
Entering deep forests, you are there
Opening the canopy of the trees to let the sun
Penetrate and illuminate a world
That is hidden from the fainthearted
In fear of fairies.
A silent, lightweight companion
That has nestled in my heart is what you are,
Sweetening the flow of life
That circles through my body.
The square-shaped buildings
In the city’s jungle become
Chiseled mansions of art
When I see them through your eyes
The people I meet become transparent
Revealing their fears and desires,
Asking silently for compassion where
Coarse words poison the air.
It’s in my eyes, too, where you have settled.
Your presence is undeniable
Though you know when to fade
Giving me a chance to compare
The sacred with the profane.
Since when do you travel with me? Maybe
You always did, maybe you
Have already been there,
Entering me through the umbilical cord,
To balance the kiss of mortality with divine joy
For what's the span of my life.
You were with me already when
I didn’t know of your existence
Until that day when like a chimera
You appeared and became visible,
Telling me its time to wake up
And acknowledge the divine,
See the boundless beauty
That permeates the crude.
For how long will you be with me?
A question only the uninitiated could ask.
Even when my bones have turned to dust,
You’ll still be there. I have inherited you
From the ancients and I will bequest you
To my offspring.
Hoping that they'll be as fortunate as I am
To meet you, face to face, of knowing that you are
Embedded in a glance, in a touch
And in casually uttered words.
Hoping that they, as I, will be blessed
To walk the sacred mountain and drink the ambrosia
Of its creeks knowingly.
Who is that silent companion about whom I write,
That nameless spring of joy that sways supreme above the ordinary?
All I know is that a muse cannot be tempted
With all the treasures of the world to reveal itself.
Sometimes, though, when the constellation
Of the stars of fortune so arrange,
A transcendental light shines forth
In the eyes of someone and links me
With the abode of the eternal.
On that abode which spans across time,
Where space is not an empty, dividing landscape,
Union is the universal language
And oneness is the body that speaks silently,
There, the crude and flipping desires of the world
Transform and are anointed
With the sacred first dew of the day.
It is there, where my silent companion waits patiently,
Residing in the near and far,
Beyond and within the boundaries
That shackle our bodies, our lives,
Forever, just a magic chirp away
When my soul needs flying with the swallows.
Orchards of Eden
When spiked on barbed wire,
Your vain words decay,
When they burn on a pyre
There is no more to say.
It’s the hour of trial, it’s the hour to pray,
Eat the bread, drink the wine
This is the end of your way,
Salvation lies beyond its confine.
Communion is to know to be helpless,
Is to know that we all know the same,
To be players and pawns on a table of chess
In an ever revolving game.
Tired, frustrated, forever possessed,
With a new goal behind every bend,
It's there where we start our quest,
Where, indeed, our journey must end.
Wine, dance and the will to forget
Are the rays of the passing day’s light,
In them we are drenched without much regret
When we stagger into the night.
Despite the wolves’ frightful howling
We grasp there's a promise in view,
Its sweet begging, an endless calling,
An objective we have to pursue.
While we weigh words with memory's lens,
There's a covert language around.
We yearn to learn its syntax, it’s sense,
Stunned by its magical sound.
It's in the night when the muezzin’s singing
And our soul shines in the light of the moon
That this language emerges, soothing and swinging,
A mantra, an Arcadian cartoon.
We seek solace, safety and peace,
Which the senses cannot provide.
Our longing goes toward release,
Towards union and an ebbing of tide.
We find it in the arms of our companion
Who shares with us the dark of the night,
One mind and one body, in sacred communion
And the dark is converted to light.
Thus finally grasping what’s hidden
For a moment of wonder, a moment of dream,
The sweet fruits from the orchards of Eden
Release comprehension supreme.
Striving, with hatred and remorse
Against themselves during the fullness of time
They fret with Christ, Krishna and the Mother Goddess.
And in confusion whisper sweet words of relief
During the moon's pregnancy
And in both they believe and they relish,
Filling the white pages of their ledgers,
With bleached ink, day after day
And not once do they ask the question,
Do they stop the train that carries them in circles
Around that center point where time comes to a halt
And stillness contains the universe's entire movement.
This is the place to share what has been theirs
Only there and then, between before and after,
When time curves into itself
Can two lovers perceive their true being.
Their embrace faradizes the void
From whence they appeared, into which, eventually,
They will vanish again.
An apparition, a dissolving nebula,
Tinted with the color of joy.
The train is moving through the night,
The compartment's door is closed.
We are swallowed
In a void that encompasses
And us within.
An empty bottle of Chablis
In the brass waste paper bin
Whose spirit fills the vacant space
With passion and desire.
No energy is ever lost
Changing its garments along the way
And so do we
Like Shiva and Parvati
Who are all and who are none.
In the glow of a glance,
The dormant energy
That keeps the planets circling
Around their primeval ageless source
Comes instantly alive.
The void shows face,
Has texture, warmth and fragrance
And Buddha smiles.
The Lingam and the Yoni
On the ghats of Pushkar's lake
Are guarded by a sacred cow.
No one is to disturb
The weaving of the umbilical cord
That holds the universe
In an intricately fine spun web.
The sisters who lovingly induced you
To touch Christ's body
With your soul
Still threaten you
Not to speak out loud
About the Spirits of the Forest.
While God looks on in sternness
The spirits are alive,
The hidden knife
Into which priests and scientists
Eventually will stumble.
For an instant
The train has stopped.
Where should it go?
It had arrived
Before it ever started to depart.
It will move on,
Names and dates,
Yet in the speck of time
The moment of timelessness
Lives on, enclosed,
Giving sense and volume
To what is nameless,
What we grasp
In the best of our moments.
For how long have I been searching?
With eyes wide open,
Looking and listening
Into the horizon,
Into the light and the night,
Above and below?
Through thoughts and
Through my senses
I scanned my feelings.
With the mind, without,
And out of my mind.
Even searching the searcher. In vain.
I stood beyond, to measure and to scale,
Withdrew into myself, trying to grasp -
It wasn't there.
The blind man in a beam of light
Trying to taste brightness.
I gave up searching. A charade,
A silly game of thoughts, I thought. Discard it.
I hadn't been moved in spite of all the movement.
I gave up moving and there it was:
Motion in the midst of stillness.
It was neither above nor below,
Neither inside nor around.
Blinded by my senses I couldn't comprehend
That the moving, immovable was I myself,
The wonder of being before and after - throughout,
A solid rock in the center of all storms,
Coated with moss of pleasure and of fright.
While Shiva’s footstep destroys without mercy,
His rhythm discloses the answer:
In the climaxing cadence of his dance
Lies utter compassion,
Here the windstorm subsides.
In the wake of his stunning appearance
The mind starts veering. Astonished,
Confined to space,
It cannot comprehend the void.
While turning anxious somersaults
It is deaf to the rich rhythm around.
The trusted body, crushed time and again
Under the stampede of dancing feet
Remains but ageless dust.
Those who know
Then there are those who know and those who don't,
Those whose flicker of life lasts an eternity
And those who grow old without having ever rejoiced
In the split second that was stolen from time,
In which loving compassion was born.
No, it's not a question of above or below, of more or of less,
Neither of here nor of there.
What I speak of is the fullness of the void
And the fear that vibrates in loud laughers across history.
Let us not argue with a breaking voice
When petals opens to receive the dew of a new morning,
When the flute’s vibrations reach the end of the universe
There is a language in the air, as old as time itself,
Fearless and joyful; creation’s eternal jubilation.
Not you nor I will ever know the petal’s joy,
When on it's lip
The night's dew is caressed by the sun.
But with proper humility,
It will make us comprehend.
Children of our Time
Children of our time
That’s what we are,
Driven by seductive wands
Creating mad modernity.
Perceiving a different world.
The mind swerves and swings
Like an unsteady pendulum
Dazed by the unchanging rhythm around.
We perceive monsters and angels,
Heavens and hells,
We love and we hate
We cheer and we grieve
What is presently in vogue.
Children of a mind-born world
That’s what we are
Following the inescapable routine
Of the changing rules of survival.
With both feet on the ground
But the mind detached from this virtual world
The pendulum swings even
And time stands still
And so does justifying reason.
Then we are able to communicate understandably
With our progenitors
And our unborn offspring.
Across oceans and divides,
Blood and gender, caste and class and time.
The You and I dissolve
In a sea of love and compassion.
Silently we share a universal language
Without the handicap of words.
Conversing through the raindrops that dissolve
In the warmth of the late-morning sun.
Of Demigods and Men
Shuttling between heavenly estates and
Earthly dwellings has been the prerogative
Of mythic demigods, the ideals of our formative years.
Now older, I know about their weaknesses,
Their desires, know about the affliction
They thus endured.
We, too, are not born innocent organic entities.
Between mundane stipulations
And the proliferation of our souls
We suffer and thrive in their wake.
Once stillness rides on the beat of our heart,
Gods have welcomed us in their abodes.
A clement moment, limitless,
Lets us taste the sweet abandon
Of the world dissolving, as we remain.
Where else is there to go
Once you've been there?
© Wilhelm Klein
Wilhelm Klein is an Austrian expatriate who lives on the island of Koh Samu in Thailand. He is the editor or publisher of a variety of books about Burma, the 'New Soviet Union', Moscow, St Petersburg, Vienna and Austria, which were published in several languages. During the last decade his writing has became more spiritual as in 'In Search of Dignity' (Aperture Foundation, New York), 'The Cessation of Time' (Windows on the World, Bangkok), ‘Iraq, a War’ (Melzer Verlag, Neu Isenburg) and 'Bhutan, Landscapes of Spirituality' (Frederking & Thaler, Munich). In Thailand he co-founded a Thai language publishing company that is dedicated to travel, language and education. These poems are from “The Cessation of Time”.