Category Archives: blog – 7: POETRY

Finally, I am no longer ashamed of my poetry… so here’s the page with no apologies…

Goddess Of The Azaleas

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Goddess Of The Azaleas
by Barefoot Justine

In a sea with no sound but my own warmth and vibration,
In such resonance Shiva, Atman, Aum and all resolve,
To Destroy, create, maintain, I, one sinuous forever,
In whose gravity particles alive as fireflies revolve.

And I, a Goddess, aglow, the color of the azaleas,
Ten arms undulating in waves of roiling magnificence,
Three eyes closed in the silent harmony of eternity,
No din of thought to dim the melody of pure existence.

Floating in the cosmic sea, a mountain of sacred peace,
Soaring weightless over rock and tree, river and sod,
And I am light, and I am joy, and I am life hereafter,
And light and joy and life in self are all as one in God.

When Shiva Whispers

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When Shiva Whispers
by Barefoot Justine

When solitude comes to me as its lonely worst,
A cloud of suffering mists my mornings.

When solitude comes to me as the breath of Shiva,
my vision is awash with shimmering saffron.

When I am she alone battling in my darkest hollows,
With a soured stomach I long for silence.

When all and one purr like twin tigers in my heart,
Silence flows clear as crystal springs.

When I alone am bloodied by demoniac struggles,
I see no path to virtue or release.

When I alone am one with all and one with truth,
I have no desire for the songs of men.

When Shiva seems to me but paint and fragile plaster,
No wisp of peace wafts from stillness.

When Shiva’s whispers warm my ears full of grace,
I melt into him with tearful trembles.

When maya barks its verses to me the virgin Mara,
I cannot hear the wisdom of the shlokas.

But when I wander quietly the lush green forest,
Every tree drops leaves of grace and wisdom.

Jai, jai! Every tree drops leaves of grace and wisdom.
Har Har Mahadev! Har Har Mahadev!

I Dreamt Of Flight

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I Dreamt Of Flight
by Barefoot Justine

A dozen times two, have I dreamt,
Of flying under my own power,
Of joyous release high above all,
Of boundless breathless deliverance.

All that was needed was to run, to jump,
Until all my dragging anchors fell away,
Until each ticklish jump took me higher,
And I let go of all that held me down.

Such ecstasies I had never known,
Until I broke my body from the chains,
But with time each chain replaced itself,
Like the Hydra’s head, one for two.

After long years my dream was fulfilled,
Ringing clearer than any earthly bells,
This clarity had blossomed in another world,
More solid by far than this one we know.

More true by far than my own beginning,
This flight was my destiny fulfilled,
A second life lived in a parallel place,
Rebirth into a world of other dreams.

Never had I been more alive or certain,
That I was, that all was, or of what was,
Never had I been so singular, or satisfied,
That what I am, and of all that is, is real.

“This time,” I said, “it is no dream,”
And I began to levitate above all,
Above all worry and above all pain,
Above all bounds and limitations.

But for the limits of my rutted mind,
Which worked to root me to the ground,
A mind that had ruled me like a tyrant.
A mind now banished beyond a wall of will.

And all, yes all, I did was one,
Was one sacred task, to simply be,
To simply find clear focus on liberation,
To refuse any doubt that weighed me down.

To say no to any thought that ground me,
To let go, to be, to simply fly,
And I held this singular center in me,
In the third eye, a focus like a fire.

I flew eye to eye with the call of eagles,
Wind danced my hair like ripples on the water,
And all of eternity spread out before me,
No memories, no wants, no fears, just joy.

Yet when I woke, no disappointment came,
No sad regret in waking to this gravity,
Because I knew I had been boundless,
I flew, and I am that girl that flies.

I had lived without limits, I had enjoyed,
A second manifestation, another life,
In a world more real than all my mother knows,
It was no dream, that is stone to me.

And I brought back The Destroyer’s clarity,
That of knowing that I am boundless,
And all I have to do is say no to suffering,
And say yes to the eternal sea of milk.

The mark of a brush free from self doubt,
The beat of a heart free of regret,
The song of a muse free from censure,
The focus of a mind free from distraction.

Without You

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Without You
Justine Mara Andersen

Drip drop on leaves, reflecting,
Shimmering pearls of silver glass,
I sing for fallen drops of rain,
Which never wet the grass.

When no wind blows the mangroves,
When even eagles dare not call,
A silence glassy as the lake,
Becomes in me as one in all.

Between the cries of forest owls,
Above the grass I wait to fall,
And hide my breath from wind,
From God, from you and all.

My voice alone does now endure,
I need you not to praise my song,
Though every verse I sing as one,
Know every fall I take is long.

For any word I write is so,
And any song I know is mine,
For any love I hold is here,
And any words I sing divine.

Therese, the Lonely Otter

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Therese, the Lonely Otter
by Barefoot Justine

Therese swallowed the last sugary sip of tea,
Turning towards the light outside, squinting,
She set her teacup into the saucer with a clink,
And looked across her table at the empty chair.

“Well, old girl, might as well go on out,”
Reaching across the table, she took her hat,
off the back of the chair where it always hung,
And shook yesterday’s leaves from its brim.

She never wasted any sunshine, our Therese,
And soon charged playfully from her well-kept holt,
Into the easy waters of the lake with a splash,
And rustled ashore through the reeds and grass.

“Quite a commotion up there,” she noted,
Dodging cypress knees as she followed the buzz,
Trotting across the old fallen log to the hive,
From a safe distance, she stood for a moment.

“Pardon me, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
Asked Therese of the cloud of busy buzzing bees,
In her experience, bees had precious little to say,
“Fine weather we’re having,” at best.

So it went, indeed, the bees had precious little to say,
Nothing of interest to anyone apart from other bees,
She never fit in with the bees, then, who does?
Why, not even the most cordial of crickets.

It’s no use talking to bees, as everyone knows,
Besides, how could they know loneliness, the bees,
Swarming all together in their hives as one,
With God, queen, and all that dripping honey?

Across the meadow a cardinal pecked the grass,
Picking for ticks and singing all the while,
“Dear cardinal, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
The cardinal glanced suspiciously at her smile.

He hopped two paces away, then glanced back,
Where Therese sat perched on her hind legs,
the cardinal sang a wall of song between them,
Before he flew to his love in the bowers above.

“Not much use talking to cardinals either, I suppose,”
Therese trotted towards the water’s edge,
“They all tweet the same tired little songs,
And what could cardinals know of loneliness?”

Across the meadow came the proud turkeys,
Three adults and nine nervous young in tow,
“Not much use talking loneliness to turkeys,”
So, “Good day,” she said to them with a nod.

“Good day, old girl,” clucked the father,
“Splendid!” agreed Therese, “What a sky today!”
“Splendid sky, indeed… carry on…” the turkey bowed,
And on they went, plucking and clucking along.

Leaving Therese there under her silent open sky,
She sniffed a waft of honeysuckle on the wind,
Smiled, and started towards the winding dirt road,
Where often sat the old tired alligator.

He would know about loneliness, she thought,
After all, alligators eat all their friends,
Or so say the turtles, but Therese wasn’t certain,
So much that isn’t so has been said and said again.

“Hmmmm…” grumbled the ‘gator, belly to the ground,
As much of an invitation as alligators ever mutter,
Therese stood back a safe distance and cocked her head,
“How big and deep can loneliness be?” she asked humbly.

“Why do you ask me such things?” The ‘gator growled,
“I’m sorry, my Lord,” she said, slinking back,
“Get away from me, what’s an otter, after all?”
“Far less than an alligator,” Therese humbly bowed.

“Indeed,” the ‘gator hrumphed as he settled on his belly,
All in the swamp know, alligators need forever appeased,
Lest they snap and make quarrels, as is their way,
And everyone fears the alligators, don’t you know.

Busy on her way, she trotted alongside the iron fence,
And thought ‘I suppose when one is so toothy and angry,
One doesn’t have much time to feel loneliness.’
“Sun is sharp today,” she said from the muggy shade.

Nestling between the broad roots of an old live oak,
She closed her eyes and thought on nothing but silence,
And there she soon found her forgetting place,
A quiet place with no loneliness at all.

A place with no buzzing bees, nor a drop of honey,
A place with no cardinals to snub her honest smile,
A place with no politely gobbling rafter of turkeys,
And where no alligator anger shamed her questions.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?” It lingered,
But dissolved into her silence, then clear as a bell,
“Not as deep as the silence,” whispered the sky,
“Not as deep as the silence,” smiled Therese.

She opened her eyes to find the perfect stone,
‘Just right for cracking snails,’ she thought,
But she wasn’t terribly hungry, so she set it aside,
And looked above, and heard the cardinals singing.

They sang, “How big and deep can loneliness be?
How long can the darkest storm rain?
How hollow the hole in the holy ground,
Where no love, nor rain, can ever be found?”

Funny thing about cardinals when they’re singing,
To you and I it would sound like tweets and nonsense,
But Therese more deeply understood each word they sang,
Than would even the most golden throated of birds.

“How big and deep can loneliness be,” sang Therese,
And on her way she went, back to her wide open lake,
Towards her cozy burrowed holt, to wait for the answer,
Or perhaps, to wait for a friend, who knew.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?”
‘Surely out there some other otter must know,’
Thought Therese as she floated in the water.
“Surely some friend must come,” she cried.

Yet for all her questions, she knew: ‘Loneliness,
Is deeper than the waters of this or any lake,
Ah, but most certainly not deeper than the silence,’
“And never so big as the wise sky above,” she smiled.
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The Battle

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The Battle
by Justine Mara Andersen

A thousand slobbering snarling Rakshasa Demons spit rage,
At my hilltop gates, they know the highest weakness of my walls,
They know every secret chambers in the cellar of my heart,
Though time and again I have thrown myself in surrender,
This once I will hold my own with Ma Durga’s fury as my will,
However foul their jibes and cries, we’ll stare them back to hell.

A thousand Rakshasa Demons spit acid at my every stone,
Fueled by the memory of my many sad sinking surrenders,
They have grown large as elephants and mightier than storms,
These demon fires in my skull surge hell throughout my veins,
And though they bash and batter sorrow at my walls without relent,
I grit my teeth and in my fists clench hard-won holy weapons.

They will not advance a single step under Ma Durga’s tiger’s eye,
Whose breath is like a blacksmith’s sparks spraying through my hair,
With rage and fury we set ablaze my oily doubts and tears,
And fly these black fires from our parapet into the clutching horde,
Ten arms of Durga raise their weapons to shield my every failing,
I still myself on trust in her whilst our fiery blaze consumes them.

Emboldened by so many battles won, again the demons charge,
Battering me with obscenities and curses they’ve handcrafted,
From the rhythms of my beating heart and the crimson of my blood,
In peace and with one breath of God I blow out all their flames,
And in the stillness bind them to each nightmare they inspire,
They’ll not have me, this time at last, for I am not of them.

By the still of day I sit beside the fountain, head in hands,
Bowed down under the weight of battle, we bind my every wound.
I catch my breath and hold still the panic, for even now I know,
What horrors are to come this night, I cry to think them mine,
To Temple I go to silence the raging of such deep infected wounds,
And seek the peace of stillness in the heartless hell to come.

They will come and come again, undeterred and in great hordes,
Until I deny them these coals of cowardice crumbling from my soul,
Until I live less my every weakness and live more my every strength,
By day the birds sing golden sunshine swirls above the temple tower,
From below wafts songs of temple spice and the sweetness of prasadam,
Whilst within the Temple of the silent self waits all I have to hold me.

What Is This Mess

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What Is This Mess
by Justine Mara Andersen

What is this place of thirst and death that father calls home,
That fights and quarrels over gibberish, smoke and nothing,
That is washed in despairs even as it sips, sups and stares,
Through windows and ghosts at the tiny cage of the infinite sky,
To beg for the eternal pains of youth before a waning moon,
Where every soul’s sun sets in spite of all the begging.

What is this self before whom the grandest words fail,
This self which contains the unknown and is unknown itself,
That knows liberation from all foes, woes, words and forms,
That milk of life encased in every shell whether or not,
The shell is cracked and the gold of its light is revealed,
Such light craves only to be and be nothing more than being.

What is this place I know which had once been only words,
What is this place I cannot find without smoke or shame,
Which I know beyond all knowing and cannot know in thinking,
That cosmic sea where I and all together are one in being,
Beyond the heart of tales and time, and knowledge at its wisest,
Where forever shines until the tether of illusion snaps me back.

What now that I have sunk deep into being the truth of eternity,
What is this pinkish mess, I ask as I sink back from forever,
Onto this stuff of mist which once seemed immutable as a mountain,
What are these cuttlefish colors that fade with every breath,
And why all this noise ever increasing in the storm of illusion,
How could I have ever known this pettiness as the limit of all.

What are the rubber tangles of this thing into which I return,
A preposterous self too tiny to be the iron limit of all I know,
Me, a golden god on its belly struggling, returning, slithering,
In the slime upon this mad turtle’s back that I must call home,
Through the muck of dogs and lies into a shell far to small,
Too feeble, bizarre, and sickly to contain this me of liberation.

Why do I ache so now, when I have been nothing less than bliss,
Why must I cry now that I know the heartbeat of eternity,
And why do I fear a descending madness has deadened all my senses,
How hard it is being in the knowing of having been released,
If only for a moment from all desire, anger, sorrow, fear and dying,
Why then do I clutch so at cold damp stones of wind and trouble.

What is this knowing that ravages me in the fires of destruction,
That cannot be known when it is born from womb of words and mind,
That causes such distress at no longer feeling this ashen self to be,
Even as I look out the window and breathe the air of the forest,
What is that which destroys the false self with a whiff of knowing,
What is this tiniest crack in the behemoth shell of my ignorance.

What is this mess I ask in panic of having outgrown this tiny self,
Why does the pain of truly knowing being crush me like a can,
This breathing is a suffocation to me now, this flesh a holy lie,
The effort of living on in ignorance I can bear no more,
No more than the act of being here can bear the weight of truth.
What is this mess, I cry in the distant echo of forever.

Dear Shiva, tell me where to go, and what I need to know,
Who do I need to bow before to stop these siren fevered tears,
To still and mute these thousand untamed chattering monkeys,
To conquer this tyrant child that claims me as its tiny “self,”
What air must I breathe, and what teacher must needs find me,
Dear Shiva take me into your eye of destruction forevermore.

I weep and hunger for nothing more than that eternity,
Where my infantile weeping and hunger are neither fuel nor fire,
That silence where the great green dragon of desire is slain,
Where I can lay down my sword in the boiling blood of all,
I have slain in me to lie among the corpses of all I knew,
To be the self I am that is known in the silence of simply being.