“The Canticle of the Void” by Paul Murray

Morris Graves,

Morris Graves, “Bird, Snake and Moon”

“Smaller than the small
I am that still centre
within you
that needle’s eye
through which all the threads
of the universe are drawn.

Perhaps you think you know me
but you do not know me.

Of everything that is,
of every word that is spoken
on the lips
or in the heart,
of every thought and hope and wish,
I am the silent witness.

Nearer to you than ecstasy
in the blood
yet more mysterious far

I am the guardian of every colour
that catches the eye,
of every taste
that pleases the tongue,
of every word
that speaks to the heart.

Perhaps you think you know me
but you do not know me.

Mine is the voice
that sings out of the voiceless
night, that rises
like music out of the root
of the dark thorn, out of the lucid
throat of the fountain.

Smaller than the small

I am the seed
of all that is known
and unknown.

I am the root
and stem of meaning,
the ground

of wonder. Through me,
each leading
tendril of desire
is drawn,
and breathes in
consciousness of Being.

And yet when you open
your ears to my voice
and listen with all your hearing
and listen again,
no subtle joining of notes and words,
no vertical song is heard

but silence is singing.

And when you open your eyes
to my appearance
but cannot see me,
or when you close your eyes
and close your ears in concentration
and look with your hands
and turn back again the pages
of sleep’s dark scripture,
no great or terrible sign awakes,
no vision burns

but absence is shining.

Mine is the secret
that lies hidden
like the lustrous pearl

within its oyster

the deepest secret
the secret
hidden within the secret.”

By Paul Murray

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17 Responses to “The Canticle of the Void” by Paul Murray

  1. litebeing says:

    Such a profound choice Monika. It is provocative and universal, with a slight hint of humor.

    Happy and Prosperous Eclipse to you!
    love, Linda

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Reality” by Peter Kingsley about Parmenides, who was an Ouliades or “son of Apollo the healer, of the god who destroys but also makes whole” has a lot on the subject of stillness, silence, incubation. From fragments in an ancient Greek book regarding the teacher of Parmenides, the main detail learned is that his teacher “introduced him to stillness: hesychia.”

    “To be told that the father of western rationalism, the founder of logic, was introduced to extraordinary methods of reasoning by his teacher: this would be easy enough to understand. To be told that he was taught great metaphysical truths would be quite believable, too. But to be asked to accept that the one thing his real teacher taught him was stillness- this should come as something of a shock . . .

    . . . For over two thousand years now, people have thought and thought about what Parmenides says about thinking; have written the most persuasive and learned books, all of them disagreeing with the others. But trying to think about thinking is utterly futile. There is only one way to understand and discover the nature of thinking- by arriving at the standpoint of stillness that lies beyond thought.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jesusolmo says:


    A Poem by Sunil K. Vidyarthi

    From time immemorial, I am trying to wake you up but you don’t.

    Not complaining, for such is not my nature; mine is to wake you up.
    Not frustrated for I can’t be, just know that I have to wake you up.

    I put melody in bird’s chirping, coolness in the summer breeze,
    Burning heat in midday sun and deafening noise in monsoon thunder
    To just do one thing, wake you up.

    Spark in your first kiss, comfort in mother’s embrace,
    Rush in your home run and the musky flavor in lobster bisque,
    I did it all to do just one thing, wake you up.

    Desire to own, taste, destroy, love and hate,
    I placed so you’d WANT to wake up.
    Also put the fear in you
    So you’d keep on desiring all and to wake up.

    I made life beautiful,
    So you can love the beauty and wake up.
    I made it miserable
    So you will hate the misery and wake up.

    Now I think it is time you woke up.
    Don’t argue about genetics, Darwin, evolution and creation.
    I made them so, don’t ask me how and when,
    All I know is why, and that is to wake you up.

    You say, you can’t or you don’t know how?
    For millions of years, in thousands of ways
    As guru’s, gods, priests, friends and lovers,
    I have been telling you how.

    As Krishna, I told you to see me, see you
    Not yours who you kill, to rid the world of evil.
    As Buddha, I told you to pay attention
    Be mindful of sufferings (good, great and bad).
    As Shiva, the Tantric, I asked you to find me
    In all ecstasies, from sex to breath of fresh air.
    As Nisargdatta Maharaj, I told you,
    You are That whom you look for.

    Do ask me why I want to wake you up?
    That is simple; you are asleep.
    Do ask me, who am I?
    That too is simple; I am you, asleep

    Liked by 2 people

  4. herongrace says:

    Thank-you! Happy lunar eclipse..”a white triangle with golden wings”!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful reading, Monika.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jesusolmo says:

    Hymn of Apollo
    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
    Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
    From the broad moonlight of the sky,
    Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,–
    Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
    Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

    Then I arise, and climbing Heaven’s blue dome,
    I walk over the mountains and the waves,
    Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
    My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
    Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
    Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

    The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
    Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
    All men who do or even imagine ill
    Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
    Good minds and open actions take new might,
    Until diminished by the reign of Night.

    I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
    With their ethereal colors; the Moon’s globe,
    And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
    Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
    Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine,
    Are portions of one power, which is mine.

    I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
    Then with unwilling steps I wander down
    Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
    For grief that I depart they weep and frown:
    What look is more delightful than the smile
    With which I soothe them from the western isle?

    I am the eye with which the Universe
    Beholds itself, and knows it is divine;
    All harmony of instrument or verse,
    All prophecy, all medicine, is mine,
    All light of art or nature; – to my song
    Victory and praise in its own right belong.


  7. jesusolmo says:

    The Other
    by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
    (From “Poems for People who Don’t Read Poems”, 1971)

    one laughs
    is worried
    under the sky exposes my face and my hair
    makes words roll out of my mouth
    one who has money and fears and a passport
    one who quarrels and loves
    one moves
    one struggles

    but not i
    i am the other
    who does not laugh
    who has no face to expose to the sky
    and no words in his mouth
    who is unacquainted with me with himself
    not i: the other: always the other
    who neither wins nor loses
    who is not worried
    who does not move

    the other
    indifferent to himself
    of whom I know nothing
    of whom nobody knows who he is
    who does not move me
    that’s who I am


  8. jesusolmo says:

    by Juan Ramon Jiménez, from the book ‘Eternidades’, 1916)

    I am not I.

    I am he

    who walks at my side without my seeing him;

    whom, at times, I go to see

    and whom, at times, I forget.

    He, who, composed, is silent when I speak,

    he who, gentle, forgives when I hate,

    he who walks where about where I am not,

    he who will stand up straight when I die


  9. jesusolmo says:

    “Algebra of Feelings” (excerpt)
    by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (from the book ‘Kiosk’)

    I often have the feeling (intense,
    obscure, indefinable etc)
    that the I is not a fact
    but a feeling
    I can’t get rid of.

    “The Entombment”
    by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (‘Kiosk’)

    Our mortal frame,
    they call it.
    But what did it hold?
    The psychologist will say:
    Your psyche.
    Your soul,
    the priest.
    Your personality,
    the personnel manager.
    there’s the anima,
    the imago, the daemon,
    the identity and the Ego,
    not to mention the Id
    and the Super-Ego.
    The butterfly which is to rise
    from this very mixed lot
    belongs to a species
    about which nothing is known.


  10. jesusolmo says:

    ‘Alter Ego’ by Gwen Harwood

    Who stands beside me still,
    nameless, indifferent
    to any lost or ill
    motion of mind or will,
    whose pulse is mine, who goes
    sleepless and is not spent?


    yet cannot name, or see
    save as light’s sidelong shift,
    who will not answer me,
    knows what I was, will be,
    and all I am: beyond
    time’s desolating drift.


  11. Amy Campion says:

    I know I am late to comment, but just wanted to let you know I love this. Thanks! x

    Liked by 1 person

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