Hope along the depths of the midway valley

Living in the world
and not getting stained by its ways.
Keeping my heart generous and warm
amidst shallowness and indifference.
Providing for and caring
without wearing out my spirit.
Being close and present
despite distance and meaning.

Overwhelmed by the complexity
of the life I created.
With no possible way back
and no obvious way forward.
Years passing ever faster
oblivious to struggles and joys.
Writing these poems keeps me warm
hopeful, sane and alive.

Marcus Antoninus

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Over my shadows

to slowly grow
stepping over my faults
smoothing my rough spots
grain by grain
and then one day
finding myself a top
with just a few shadows
is lively dreaming of
that quiet glow
that humble pride
the silent but potent wealth
that only comes
out of a daring vision
and deliberate work
a deep and true love
like a gentle Sun
shining upon my inner garden

Marcus Antoninus

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

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