"Namaste"

Don’t be troubled that

I want to split you open

and decant you into my palms

and sip you, all of you.

 

Why do you whisper

these flecks and dots

when I see

mountain-sky

and I hear

thunder-wind

when I gaze and gaze

at you.

 

Don’t look away --

I am open,

I am scared,

so tell me you,

your stories

of agony, of light,

of pet rabbits

murdered by

the neighbor’s dog.

 

Show your

exquisite scratches

and welts,

show the green

shoots of your heart,

sing what aches

to burst from your

cells.

 

Yes,

Yes,

Namaste, my friend,

Namaste, dear one,

“The divinity in Me

BOWS

to the divinity in You.”

"Namaste" first published in Here Comes Everyone

Notes: This word is everywhere these days, and not just at the end of yoga class. It's emblazoned on totebags and t-shirts ("Namastay in bed") and sung in music and videos. That's all well and good, but I wonder how many people understand its beautiful meaning: "The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you."

     In this poem, I wanted to pause and examine that greeting. I wanted to consider the magnitude of acknowledging each other's spiritual nature at every human encounter, small and large. Wouldn't such a greeting, mindfully spoken, remind us of the other's basic human dignity? Wouldn't respectful treatment naturally result?

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