Poetry of Stephen Levine

by Stephen Levine

Stephen LevineEvery once in a while the Inner Directions Journal was graced to receive a poem from Stephen. Here are a few.

Dragon Fly
a dragon

the last
time you
forgot your
true heart?
It was a
hell of a
but none-the-less

a dragon

Elements of Grace
A Benediction for the Millennium

There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.

It is an insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us to surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.

We know we must pass beyond knowing
and fear the shedding.

But we are pulled upward none-the-less
through forgotten ghosts
and unexpected angels
knowing it doesn’t make sense
to make sense anymore.

This morning the universe danced before you
as you sang—it loves that song!

How odd it is to have this much love
and still not be free.

What terrible fate do we fear
more than losing this heart
shared with all that is?

4 am
Buddha recommended meditation
In “the third watch of the night”
In that stillness, in that darkness
The light becomes most intense
At the dark window numberless faces
Dissolve one into the wretched next
In crowds that push forward
For your blessing
And each gets what they came for
An open heart attracts the penitent
For other worlds


joie de vivre
Happiness is a superstition
but Joy is our birthright

Happiness comes from getting
what you want
Joy from being
who you really are

The deeper
you go
the less definable
you become
and the realer
you feel

There is nothing for us to get
and everything for us to be

Joy is who we really are
when we stop pretending
we’re not free

Half Life
We walk through half our life
as though in a fever dream
barely touching the ground
our eyes half open
our heart half closed.
Not half knowing who we are
or meaning half we say
we watch the ghost of us
drift from room to room
through friends and lovers,
never quite as real as advertised.

Not saying half we mean
we dream ourselves
from birth to birth,
seeking some true self.
Until the fever breaks and the heart
cannot abide a moment longer—
and the rest of us awakens in the dream,
summoned by the vastness
to unrealized realms of being,
born into a more authentic life
not half caring for anything but love.