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Sestina of Loving Kindness

A silent pleading, uttered in compassion

– A wish? A prayer? – to set its object free

From fear and suffering, held instead in love:

In such a holding find a ground that’s safe,

That rooted, nurtured, bathed in beams of joy

The tree may reach its fullness, ripe in being.

It is not some constriction of our being

That calls us first to look with warm compassion

Upon ourselves; let swell a tide of joy

That looses our false moorings, sets us free

From fear of unknown waters, calls it ‘safe’

To venture out beyond ourselves in love.

Then holding in attention those we love,

We here invoke such fullness in their being

That they may be aware that they are safe

And held within the mystery of compassion,

Ever welling up and flowing free,

Crowning them with coronets of joy.

That, bursting banks, the torrent of this joy

May breach the narrow limits of our love,

And those indifferent in our hearts be free

To likewise grow fulfilled throughout their being

We ask that radiant ripples of compassion

May compass also these, and keep them safe.

With growing disregard for what seems safe,

For those we fear would harm us we seek joy:

Though raw red wounds have clouded our compassion,

We plead for those we count as hard-to-love,

That, finding a true worth within their being

And loosed from all that’s false, they may be free.

So now may all the Cosmos be set free,

The sum of points in time and space be safe

To nurture growth in every sentient being

That all may flourish in primordial joy;

Each speck of matter sound its note of love

In one harmonious chorus of compassion.

How free we are, so spacious, full of joy!

How safe as we call forth a boundless love!

Our smallness held in Being’s vast compassion.

Desmond Alban SSF

Titlington Pike, Shepherds Law, 1st July 2015


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