Show Me the Way to the Ocean: Annotated

Show Me the Way to the Ocean

a collage with words from Rumi, Antonio Machado, Denise Levertov, Dar Williams
woven by Elliott batTzedek

Show me the way to the ocean! (1)
Show me the road that leads to the sea,
the language given into our hands. (2)
Show me dreams of pathways,
pathways over the oceans;
God is the path over the sea. (3)
God created the sea and is born of the sea; (4)
God is distance and absence,
God is the anchor in the sea, the open sea.(5)

We have two battles to wage:
in dreams we wrestle with God,
awake, with the ocean.(6)
We have for too long walked in the surf
holding our robes up—
we should dive in naked
under, and deeper under.(7)
At the bottom of the ocean
there is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can not hope.(8)
Would the ocean refuse to give
this joy to anyone?
Do not be jealous of the ocean’s generosity;
swim in its huge fluid freedom.(9)
No one lives in that without
being nourished every day.(10)

It’s ashes to ashes, but always the ocean;(11)
when it surges, don’t just hear it.
Let it splash inside your chest!(12)
Should the ocean come to you as a lover,(13)
let go and drop into it.
You will no longer have the same form,
but your essence will be the same.(14)
This giving up is not loss.
It is a deep honoring of yourself.(15)

This is what the ocean knows of a body;(16)
You can be drowned in the wave
that rises from the center of your chest.(17)
This is not loss.
This is a deep honoring of yourself.(18)

This is life’s rhythm, waves passing
and tremulous ripples
ebbing and flowing.(19)
Emptiness is a cup,
and holds the ocean.(20)
The ocean that created God,
the sea that was born of God.(21)
And God is the anchor in the sea, the open sea.(22)

_________________________

1. Rumi translated by Barks, The Essential Rumi

2. Denise Levertov “September 1961”
They have told us
the road leads to the sea,
and given
the language into our hands.

3. Antonio Machado, Selected Poems trans. Trueblood, “The Iberian God”
…who dreamed of pathways on the oceans
and said that God is a path over the seas.

4. Machado “Profession of Faith”
He created the sea and is born of the sea,

5. Machado, “Siesta”
…The God of distance and of absence,
of the anchor in the sea, the open sea

6. Machado “Proverbs and Song-Verse”
Every man has two
battles to wage:
in dreams he wrestles with God;
awake, with the sea.

7. Rumi, quoted by Barks

8. Rumi, “A Thirsty Fish”
…through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can’t hope.

9. Rumi
Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?
Fish don’t hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim in the huge fluid freedom

10. Rumi, “The Reed Flute’s Song”

11. Dar Williams, “The Ocean” on Mortal City

12. Rumi “Put This Design in Your Carpet”
When the ocean surges,
don’t let me just hear it.
Let it splash inside my chest!

13. Rumi “The Seed Market”
When the ocean comes to you as a lover,
marry, at once, quickly

14. Rumi, “The Seed Market”
Now, your waterbead lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.
It no longer has the form it had,
but it’s still water.
The essence is the same.

15. Rumi, “The Seed Market”
This giving up is not a repenting
It’s a deep honoring of yourself.

16. Williams “The Ocean”

17. Rumi, “A Thirsty Fish”
Let my house be drowned in the wave
that rose last night out of the courtyard
hidden in the center of my chest

18. See note 15

19. Machado “Songs”
Life today has the rhythm
of waves that are passing
and tremulous ripples
ebbing and flowing

20. Denise Levertov, “The Tide”
…and emptiness
is a cup, and holds
the ocean

21. see note 4

22. see note 5

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