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Instructions of the Spirit
50 Poems & Intimations • 2nd edition

Fearless founder D. Patrick Miller's revised collection of poetry presents 50 poems and “intimations” celebrating the challenges and mysteries of spiritual experience. You can order a signed copy now with free shipping, or order through other channels.

“It is not easy to translate the experiences of the spiritual path into everyday language, but D. Patrick Miller brings his lengthy apprenticeship as a poet and journalist to the task. Alternately tender and rigorous, Miller’s poems record the colors and textures of his journey with skill, subtlety, and compassion.”J. RUTH GENDLER, The Book of Qualities

“This book is one startling collection of colored laser beams, searing to the core of our universal griefs and longings, iconoclastic and incandescent. Miller traces each memory, perception, and sensation to its hard, irreducible spiritual root.”— MARC POLONSKY, The Poetry Reader’s Toolkit

“This intriguing collection of poems is also a record of the writer’s long and winding spiritual journey over the last thirty years. The book is a kind of encapsulated meditation on illness, healing, forgiveness, and the earth, but the poet always returns to love as the root of all Being.” — ALISON LUTERMAN, The Largest Possible Life

 

INSTRUCTIONS OF THE SPIRIT
50 Poems & Intimations by D. Patrick Miller  •  2
nd Edition
Fearless Books  •  ISBN 978-1-7321850-4-3
80 pages, paperback

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from the Introduction...

When I recently titled a poem “Instructions of the Spirit,” I suddenly recognized the role that poetry has played in my life as a writer. For me a poem arises from a mystical instinct, as if Somebody Up There (or In There?) is trying to tell me something, and it’s my job to figure out what it is and get it down on the page. But spirit is formless and so its communications consist of hunches, ah-ha’s, oomphs, and bumps in the night. It’s not that spirit speaks in code, because it doesn’t have a language. In fact I’m the one who’s writing in a kind of code: a translation of the ineffable. Whether I write good code or useless code is really up to the reader to determine. All I can do is pay attention to the input and carefully craft the output...

These poems are followed by remarks and reflections that I refer to as “intimations.” These brief asides are not attempts to explain the poems, because anyone who’s ever sat through Poetry Appreciation 101 knows that explanation can kill a poem right off. But I do try to provide a few intimate glimpses into where poems have come from or where they might be going, much as I would do at a public reading. Since I can’t give readings everywhere this book goes, the “intimations” are my stand-ins for a personal appearance. I hope that these asides also encourage the reader to take another look at each poem, because any good poem usually requires a second reading to really get acquainted with it. The baby who at first seems to be speaking gibberish may actually be giving voice to a revealing code...

 


Hear these four poems read by
author D. Patrick Miller

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Early Darkness

Think of it as ink:
an indigo dye descending
between the leaves of the trees
and down to the grasses.

There is no dying of the light —
just the washing of a bowl,
and overturning it for night.

When day arrives we must write
with bottled darkness.
In the night we can dream
free messages of light.

An artist friend was depressed about the advent of long nights in the winter, so I tried to reinterpret the circumstances for her. This poem is also about how light and dark always contain each other. Our dreams can be full of light in the midst of darkness, while much of our unconscious fades to black in the daytime. When we write, we use little squiggles of black to bring what is hidden back to light.

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List for a Long Night

There is a part of the brain
that knows only faces;
there is a pattern for my hand
that follows your face only:
quiet eyes, skin warm and light,
the upward arching mouth and
fine hair of stilled phrases.
All around your moonlike radiance
there is the darkness.

There are confessions, slow tears,
names, stories, and our
deep, torn trust...

There is soft rocking giving sighs
and touches brief and restrained.
There are cautious lips meeting
to bring together the air

 we breathe:
the hours are silent.
There is the light

A young romance was my first introduction to spiritual devotion, although I didn’t recognize it at the time. What 1 did know was that this relationship required a continuing inner dedication even after its intimate phase was over. This poem marked the first step in years of healing. It’s the brief chronicle of a reunion — a word that aptly describes everyone’s spiritual destination.

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Lullaby

I am not a body. I am the rain,
falling all over your house and
in the deep fold of the distant hills.
I cover the leaf, the roof, the field grasses
and the shiny street. A billowing wind
carries me through the swirling branches
and drives me against your window.
I strike and coalesce, fall and spill
into the soil and the swallowing gutter,
taking a wild ride to the sea.
Later the sun will draw me up,
but the clouds will lose me when
they let down their burden in water
again. I am not a body. You can
sleep to the sound of my falling.

Part of the process of spiritual surrender is learning to release our own consciousness into the watery medium of the spirit. Instead of anxiously planning what should happen to us next, we learn to “go with the flow.” Instead of trying, to make ourselves different, better, or higher than the rest of creation, we learn to be content with the sensations of falling, soaking through, and cycling between different states of being. Science tells us that our bodies are mostly water; spirituality teaches us how to live that truth.

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Low Tide for Oligarchs

REUTERS, 3/3/22: France and Germany have seized two superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs, French authorities and Forbes magazine said, hitting Russia's super-rich under sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine…. "Thanks to the French customs officers who are enforcing the European Union's sanctions against those close to the Russian government," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday after French customs seized the 88-metre "Amore Vero" (True Love)…

The truth is, they’ve always ridden heavy in the waters,
with the wealth of ill-gotten gains weighting them with
a sorrowful ballast. The sea is our one mind. We can
cleanse it not only of the plastic junk of our thoughts
and the overheating of our consumption, but the
flotsam and jetsam of floating greed.

Our one mind is God. May we master the grace
of coolly cleansing ourselves with the simplicity
of kindness, the holiness of shared resources,
the compassion of rescuing refugees everywhere.

May we show mercy to the oligarchs by
running them all aground, so they might stumble
ashore to rejoin the rest of us and discover
the true love they thought could only be pirated.

 

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