Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Rider in the Sky

O God, I saw in the sky the other day
Wisps of cloud in the shape of a horseman,
Scattering the other clouds with his cry.

The walls of city towers shook,
And the birds in the sky flew silent;
Yet no one in the city did hear;
No one in the city did see.

Who was this rider across the sky?
Was it truly one of the four the preachers and priests
Have thumped over their congregations’ heads
With the threat of the wrath of You?

I cannot but laugh at the thought of You filled with wrath.
It is like the sky filled with fish.

I know this horseman,
Whose name is Death,
Has been sent not from You,
But from human minds.

How is it that the Eternal
Can know this specter called Death?
Can water know this thing called dryness?

Only those who continue to believe
They are nothing but a bag of flesh and bones,
Who know not the Self,
Will meet this lord of death,
Who rides howling across the sky.

Yet the very ones who created such a god,
Stare straight ahead as they speed down the road,
To lock themselves in little cubicles
And to turn on the magic box.

Lest they see that ride,
Lest they hear that cry.

O silly ones, who close your eyes and ears,
This rider comes not to destroy.
He comes to be released from time’s unending task.
He cries to quit, to walk away from his job.

But no one hears him.
No one sees.
So he must rip apart bodies and draw away breaths,
To knock down the towers and tear away the cubicles,
Until his creators have cried out:


Until they have looked inside and found the Eternal Self,
Where Death is dissolved like a spider’s web
Licked by a dancing flame.

O seeker of God,
Know that this rider of the winds
Is the greatest of friends.

He will only touch you
If you see me and you,
And you chase after this and that,
And think your happiness is but outside.

While, at the same time,
you build security boxes
To keep that same outside from coming in.

Janaka has heard this cry
And has seen this ride,
And has laughed with his pants around his ankles,

As the rider galloped to run him down.

--"Footprints Along the Shores of Time," Janaka Stagnaro

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