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The Guru

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Here comes the wise man in the story of sick times,
telling you how to find the passage of satisfaction.
He is many million years old and has been walking
many thousand miles, more miles, more lengths of road
than the shrunk-up earth of these days possesses,
to find you. He has a veda from before creation
to sing you and, lo and behold, it is about you,
it means everything to you. Though they’ve made a rope
out of rough, heavy smoke, like a whale-thick hawser
for a steamer of dead star, and pulled it through you
from throat to crotch, from ear to ear, and hag-tied
your hands and feet with the ends, though each of them
has your own face molten with leprosy,
though your brain makes the sound of crowded trains
colliding in Kashmir and a stadium that roars hosanna,
it is still possible now, in the next moment, to know God.
That is, not die in confusion. But maybe, then, this guru
is too soon. Maybe he hasn’t come from far enough.
Maybe he’s still much too young. Maybe he’s never
asked himself clearly what happens when someone like you
hears that a lightning-opened living fig tree or a mountain
and a blue sky can be lived in and sets out
on the long road never moving from his realm in pain.

Source: Poetry (January 2006)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Guru

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