Receiving Without Expectation The now dried and flattened pulp of wood rests bare on the table. She lays open, prone like an invitation, a sky to be painted with clouds. Oh, what will they be? Whispers of white or dark weightiness? A word, a phrase, an idea, an inspiration. She feels the ink flowing like a shower rinsing over her body, a slow tickling roll, gliding gently, gracefully until there is no more room for touching. She hears the s-sounds like singing Sufi spirit sober sweet stretching sky, and the c-sounds like calligraphy commingling colors and confusion. The writer opens her heart and the insights arrive through the allowing, because she is letting it come, like a wave or a storm, maybe dewdrops or a floating powder puff. Whatever is needed is invited to speak its truth. She does not have the answers. She simply holds what the pen voices as he wanders where he wants without willpower.
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I wrote this poem in response to a prompt in my workbook, How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts by Christopher Salerno and Kelsea Habecker, from the chapter on imitation that suggested finding a favorite poem and writing a sequel to it. This poem was written as a companion piece to Rumi’s Wonder without Willpower.
Wonder without willpower By Rumi, in Rumi: The Book of Love with translations and commentary by Coleman Barks) Love’s way becomes a pen sometimes writing g-sounds like gold or r-sounds like tomorrow in different calligraphy styles sliding by, darkening the paper. Now it’s held upside down, now beside the head, now down and on to something else, figuring. One sentence saves an illustrious man from disaster, but fame does not matter to the spirit tongue of a pen. Hippocrates knows how the cure must go. His pen does not. This one I am calling pen, or sometimes flag, has no mind. You, the pen, are most sanely insane. You cannot be spoken of rationally. Opposites are drawn into your presence but not to be resolved. You are not whole or ever complete. You are the wonder Without willpower going where you want.