Challenge

nondescript tension fills the air
as some challenge looms high
wondering if I am fit for the task
I shiver for a short while
feeling weak and exposed
neither history nor prospects
are on my side now

which is my secret drop?
where will I find the key?
that will take me over
when both slow and fast
commonly unconventional
this mountain pass
I shall climb

a puzzle within a puzzle,
life just this single struggle
to strike a victory over my shadows
calling on my inner strength now
as the challenge gets closer
a daring vision, a living spirit
and a gentle Sun.

Marcus Antoninus

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Becoming

remember who we were
when philosophy wasn’t our guide
do not be ashamed but reflect and decide
becoming who we want to be now
setting sail on that bold course
keep spirit, body and mind at work
growing them strong, flexible and free
rich in options the world becomes
nurturing the inner trinity sane
silence, enough and calm, faithful tools
on Earth no storms, winds or waves
can hamper us from becoming sages

Marcus Antoninus
Inspired by Epictetus, in deep gratitude to his pupil Arrian for having compiled the “manual” with the essential teachings of the master.

Harvest of mistakes

no poems, no books, no bells
could steer failure away
failing to master my shortcomings
I harvested the sour grains of my mistakes
once again

Stoics and Epicureans from the West
Taoists and Confucians from the East
wise minds from every time and sort
all have me in deep contempt
today

back in my garden I now in earnest work
to allow that gentle sunshine return
to learn back what I mindlessly forgot
hoping that once again, as a student of life,
I will stand up straight and walk

Marcus Antoninus

Finding a vision

among the profusion of stars
there are a precious few
that without pretense or delight
guide my way through the night
the humble mission to care
the noble task to provide
the lofty goal of an understanding mind
while holding them close to my heart
I no longer fear the dark
sailing away with renewed strength
amidst long sought inner peace and calm

Marcus Antoninus

Rain at dawn

high latitudes
bring short summer nights
very early at dawn
pouring rain wakes me up
drops splashing sharp
crisp voices all around
reminding me at once
never to let pass
this clean slate
this new chance
to grow out of failures
and embrace the joy
the fortune of being alive

Marcus Antoninus

From the innermost shores

Deep introspection
brought me long ago
to these poorly known
deep innermost shores.

Keen on the harvest of the spirit
but weary of ritual and dogma,
I was neither leader nor follower
and so these lands alone I entered.

In becoming faithful to myself,
self-reliant and authentic,
I stayed close to the essential and simple
and away from extremes and excess.

Along rough paths I progressed,
felt terror alongside crags,
suffered thirst on dry hot plains
and in pestilent mires delayed.

I settled at last in a simple hut,
plucked weeds and cleaned around,
planting with great care some good seeds
brought from the ancient West and East.

Under a gentle Sun steadily I worked,
in earnest this inner garden tended,
taking at last of myself possession
and becoming one with Nature.

In arriving back to these shores,
I finally feel a calm strength,
hard-won and deeply felt,
crucial to set course and sail,

out in the unknown again.

Marcus Antoninus

Crossing the threshold of meaning

days and nights
self and community
hermitage and service
voices, smiles and frowns
silence and solitude
ten thousand early mornings
ten thousand late afternoons
a million thoughts
this winding path
wherever it leads
the mere fact of remembrance
the austere peace of understanding
what we learned
what we left
what we meant
not passing clouds
but gentle suns
shining upon each other

Marcus Antoninus