Peter H. Kahn, Jr.

Peter H Kahn Jr., Ph.D.


The Wild Side of Love in the Style of Kabir

The wild side of love in the style of Kabir.

Posted Nov 03, 2009

There's a marvelous body of ecstatic poems by the Indian poet Kabir from the 15th century. The translations by Robert Bly are especially beautiful. It's in that style that I'd like to continue my dialog [click here and here] about how wildness exists not just "out there" but through relation.


Suppose you fasted and slapped your head, and stuck
thorns in your lips,
Slept next to a skull and then yelled at dawn
of your love bottom to top
to the Holy One, so that he would hear.

That would be like telling a tick not to bite.

If you imprison the Guest in a synagogue, church, or mosque,
What do you expect?

Friend, listen! When our bodies are close
that heat comes from another world.


The Church-men ask
how is it possible that there is a field out beyond all ideas
of rightdoing and wrongdoing?

They say there once was a Garden, before
Man's first disobedience, before he was cast out.
Now there is a desert.
We are lucky to have water.

Others know that desert, and if you can run long
it's possible to chase down a bull eland in 120 degree heat
and slit its throat.

My friend, listen!
Put all of your attention on doing good and let it go.
That's how the good and bad cannibalize themselves.

About the Author

Peter H. Kahn, Jr.

Peter H. Kahn, Jr. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and the author of Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life.

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