A profound poem from Karen Karns asks us — WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE?

Last Friday night, as I was walking into Revelations for some dinner, I saw a sign in the window for a poetry reading by a friend I knew. It also said a birthday cake would be shared afterwards. I bought a big bowl of soup and headed downstairs. The place was packed and I had to stand at the back by a desk having my soup. The birthday poet was Karen Karns. Her husband, Don (aka, Ark-hal) Karns, offered me his seat, but the owner brought me a chair in time. Don, Karen and I used to work together as Maharishi Ayurveda technicians in the late ’80’s & early 90’s.

Karen KarnsKaren Karns has a Masters in Divinity from Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary, and is a Life Counselor. She has twenty years of experience in Fairfield, Iowa offering individual, pre-marital & couples counseling, which she continues to do in the afternoons. As a Sidha, Karen has been on the Invincible America Assembly continuously since its inception in 2006!

I’ve always found Karen to be a very friendly, cheerful, compassionate and gentle person. You’d never know she had reached retirement age. Maybe all that meditation has kept her looking eternally young and beautiful, inside and out!

Now I discover she’s a poet! Karen was shy about reading her poems in front of an audience, but she did well. The last poem took our collective breath away as she shared an intimate experience of a poem coming to her during a deep meditation in the Ladies Golden Dome.

When a poem comes to you and you don’t write it down, you never forgive yourself. That’s what happened to Karen the first time. But, luckily for her, and us, it came back again during her next meditation in the dome and she quickly wrote it down. This happened during Guru Purnima this year, a special gift. I’ll let her words speak for themselves as the poem asks us, tells us, what could be more intimate.

WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE
than these shimmering sheets of light
enfolding the features of each face
as we meditate in silence together,
our spines, divining rods for the deepest
currents and reservoirs of peace.

What could be more intimate
than to be held captive by this
moment, its piracy complete
with all the spoils and riches
from past and future laid
immediately at our feet.

What could be more intimate
than this play of hide and seek,
peeking around corners, into doors—
only to find ourselves hidden
in the marrow of every beam
and rafter in our own huge house.

What could be more intimate
than the waking up of sleep
inside itself
spellbound by the sound
of its own sweet voice
humming an ancient lullaby.

What could be more intimate
than the filling and emptying,
the steady pump of liquid love
as it funnels its way into the portals
and pathways of our bodies, joyfully
mothering each tender cell.

What could be more intimate
than the downpour and drench of bliss.
What could be more intimate than this?

Karen Karns
Guru Purnima 2015

I was so blown away I had to post it on my blog. Luckily she agreed, so I could share it with all of you. I also took her photo to go with the poem.

When I asked Karen if she just wrote it down as a scribe or if she had to work at it, she replied, “I scribed and scrubbed both,” with a smiley face.

That’s been my experience too—creative expression is a collaborative process, especially when the muse whispers something to you! You start with a seed idea, words, even lines, if you’re lucky, and you work at it until it’s done, you polish it until it’s right. Karen sure got this one right!

The discussion on Vedic cognition at the end of “Are you Mr. William Stafford?” is very relevant to Karen’s experience as a poet!

I also know what it’s like to have a poem take shape in your mind while meditating. It’s special! That’s how I wrote Coalescing Poetry in a series of seven haiku during consecutive meditations in the Men’s Golden Dome. Each time I thought the poem was complete another haiku would manifest itself out of the gap between the previous ones filling in the sequential elaboration on the Vedic process of Creating a Universe.

A line of a poem once came to me in a dream early one morning a few days after arriving in Indonesia and getting over jet lag. I also had to struggle with getting up and writing it down or not and regretting losing it if I didn’t. So I woke myself up and wrote Indonesian Mystery Poem. There’s a story connected to it, which I describe. It turned out to be the most popular post on my blog with over 10,000 views!

While living in Vancouver, BC, I received a gift from a tree that later unfolded into Being in Nature.

My first published poem was about a creative experience with lotus pads. The editor requested another poem, which became a commentary on that mysterious interaction: Sometimes Poetry Happens.

I talk about this kind of collaboration, if we’re lucky enough to have it, towards the end of an interview on the TMhome website: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin.

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One Response to “A profound poem from Karen Karns asks us — WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE?”

  1. William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Karns’ experience in the dome and subsequent poem, WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE?, is another example of […]

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