The Singing Bowl becomes a lockdown poem!

become an open singing bowl

become an open singing bowl

We are in the little lull and pause between the end of the After Prayer sequence I have been blogging, and the full sequence of poetry for Holy Week and Easter which I will start posting on palm Sunday. In the interlude I thought I might repost the title poem of my book The Singing Bowl. Revisiting this sonnet, with its celebration of centring and stillness, and its injunction to ‘remain within the world of which you’re made’ I realise that it could have been written for these times. Perhaps it was, by a kind of premonition, for poetry often peeps over the ‘event horizon’. Anyway here it is again, with my original audio recording made before the book was published, seven years ago, and also a video of my reading it in the Beautiful Box Canyon of Laity Lodge up in the Texan Hill Country. I hope it offers some solace or depth in your isolation, wherever you are.

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button. The video follows after the text of the poem

Singing Bowl

Begin the song exactly where you are,
Remain within the world of which you’re made.
Call nothing common in the earth or air,

Accept it all and let it be for good.
Start with the very breath you breathe in now,
This moment’s pulse, this rhythm in your blood

And listen to it, ringing soft and low.
Stay with the music, words will come in time.
Slow down your breathing. Keep it deep and slow.

Become an open singing-bowl, whose chime
Is richness rising out of emptiness,
And timelessness resounding into time.

And when the heart is full of quietness
Begin the song exactly where you are.


Filed under Poems

24 responses to “The Singing Bowl becomes a lockdown poem!

  1. Priscilla

    In tears. It happens this pandemic has coincided with redundancy due to a restructuring at my company. So tricky season. Thanks too for the library videos, loving them!

  2. This has been one of my favourites since I first read it. Thank you for reposting it now.

  3. Janet Thorpe

    Beautiful, Malcolm, thank you! And thank you for all your daily poems over time, and especially your own books which I read afresh each year.

  4. Bethan Scotford

    As always, there’s a huge economy in how your message is expressed and delivered. An ideal piece to help one( a beginner perhaps) to centre down into depths that open on to deeper depths, Richness rising our of emptiness – words for our time.
    Thank you;

  5. Bethan Scotford

    Every moment is a ‘full’ moment – offering each of us so much-if only we would ‘aquaint ourselves with’ the moment, the here, the now, enwrapping me

  6. One of my favourites. Thank you Malcom. And how lovely to see you reading it in a landscape. 🙂

  7. One of my absolute favourites! Timely for many a season. I love the video as well. Thanks for posting this, Malcolm. Bless you.

  8. Silvana Tei Kenney

    Your poetry, dear Malcolm, speaks to my heart
    Thank you

  9. Daphne Facey

    On this Sunday morning in WA your poem ‘song’ had touched my heart and mind .Thank you Malcom

  10. ran davis

    Your Poem is Jam in my machine

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  13. Melinda

    I’ve read (and listened to you recite) this deeply meaningful poem several times this week, and I shared it with my pastor today. It reminds me so much of what he has said in sermons and Bible studies about the importance of getting out of our heads and being in the moment. Thank you!

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