The Splendor Of Everything


“The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a fantastic move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over in joy and bursting out in Laughter

And saying, ‘I surrender.’

Whereas you, my dear,
I’m afraid you still think

You have a thousand serious moves.”

—  Hafiz, Daniel Linskey



We listen to Hafiz

and drink from Love

as ink pours from your pen

spilling transgressive ghazals

on my body

and soul, unfolding

odes of silence and





I rise with the sun

and walk in the hills,

the trees’ limbs

surrender themselves

to unbound blue,

so I surrender my arms

to the sky.  I lift my arms,

tree limbs become

my arms, their song

my song, their dance,

my dance.  I surrender,

twirling and circling;

in this sanctuary,

I am a dervish dancer,

branches, trunks, leaves

circle my spinning:

loosing ourselves to

ourselves, trees

and self, one in




rises from the earth,

convulsing in rapture;

I’m engulfed in delight.

I laugh in earth,

trees, sun, and sky,

together we spin,

spin, spin in laughter,

moment after ineffable moment:

the Beloved winks his eye

and laughs, lifts me

into the blue expanse,

and then tenderly tosses me into


the splendor of





we surrender

to laughter.  We

listen to Hafiz then

we burn his chessboard,

calling on the fire

that doesn’t consume.

In radiance its flames transfigure

a checkered playing field

into an acorn, and from

a sublimely rigged game

rises an oak sapling.

You reach for my hand,

my fingers squeeze yours:

together in stillness

we watch it mature.


We climb a grassy knoll;

our oak shades the hill,

an ancient expanse

of root, trunk, branch, and leaf.

In the ground

near its base we find

a knife without blade;

we etch our names in oak bark,

the names we have worn before,

name by name, we cover memory

with naming.  My arms

slip around your neck,

your arms slip

around my back;

we dance, circling

our ten thousand names,

drinking from Love,

a million seasons pass:

a dervish for two,

ecstasy in one.


With our every turn

the Beloved laughs louder,

black eyes filled with the night’s stars,

teeth shining with the moon,

the Beloved surrounds us in laughter;

we spin, spinning

as one, under oak,

stars, moon, laughter

until ecstasy’s circles

surrender to silence.


The Beloved laughs, rolls

us into a ball, breathes

on our round silent joy,

then again tosses us

to the ground.  We fall,

fall from stars and moon, fall

from laughter, fall onto a new

chess board; we forget fire, acorn,

sapling, oak; forget our dance around

ten thousand names.


The Beloved winks, tossing his head

in ecstatic abandon.  We rise

once more, wearing new names,

that we will carve into oak,

with the knife without blade,

when Laughter again remembers


the splendor

of everything.




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