Josh Mitteldorf

Josh Mitteldorf Poems

Sweet creation, source of grace divine
For all that ails us, offer consolation!
Incarnate for our human exaltation,
To salve our tears, a transcendental shrine.

Accept this promise from my heart!
Your soul from mine shall never part
Exploring, venturing from the chart -
Seeking, chasing Atman's beam

With Affection and All Respect for Dear Rudyard

If you can keep your heart when all about you
__Are stretching reason to its reasoned end;

Thou art enjoined to enjoyment,
Exhorted to exultation.
Thy responsibility is to be responsive,
and impishness be thy imperative.

If all life is a dream, is it your dream or mine?
And why should our two worlds agree?
An answer avails if we're both The Divine,
At our source, I am you and you're me.

In perfect rhyme and strictest meeta,
I sing in praise of Annelida.
(If high school Latin made you squirm,
You may not know that s/he's a worm.)

I might have been embodied animal.
Instead, I wear my brain outside my skin
And touch the world through thought, unlike my kin
Who know th'immediacy of Gaia's pull.

A horde of lovers you've invited in
Accosts me as I enter at your door.
Though liberality be far from sin,
This strikes me as a venal bidding war.

No, dear heart, you are not dumb,
But nor are you a mystic sage,
Of wisdom you have ne'er a crumb
But you can read what's on the page.

This is the doctrine that condones no doctrine,
the rule that forbids all rules.
Each moment fresh and free of expectations.

How long have I carried this burden of feeling
that something is tragically wrong?
What might I have felt or accomplished
if only my grip on this chain were less strong?

Feeling you, I touch feeling
Touching you, I feel touched
Knowing you, I know knowing
No noetic notions know such.

We come into this world awash with tears,
Mourning our incipient separation—
And soon we age and leave it, mired in fears,
So loathe to part with individuation.

Bliss is your birthright. God is within.
You have but to unmask your light, and
Your power is vast. Perfection is
In your grasp: You create your world.

Portrait of the Artist as a Graying Adolescent
with Apologies to Ogden Nash

It was my father who first told me, when I was a boy as yet unschooled in biology, but curious about why the bee buzzes and the bird sings

Awareness flashes forth from waking dreams -
Amid the clouds, a peek-a-boo of sun,
Mere thought of self can be the death of fun -
My consciousness, more fractured than it seems.

Shed fear. Sprout wings. Float out from arbitrary time.
Transmute the ordinary; prospect the sublime.
Twirl till you collapse, exhausted;
Taste ambrosia; scale the frosted

I might knock off writing now
And join friends in pursuit of holiday cheer,
But I choose to stay the course I find more comfortable.

The great and ancient creeds all have their laws—
We drink them deeply in when we are young.
One day, we recognize that we've been stung—
And wrest ourselves from long-familiar claws.

Josh Mitteldorf Biography

I started on a career path toward theoretical physics, and was waylaid by the cultural transformation of the 60s and a year in Taiwan, beginning a lifelong love affair with China. After finishing a PhD in physics, I went on to develop software and raise two girls, among the first adopted from China in the 1980s. Currently I do research in the evolutionary biology of cooperation, and study aging in particular: How is it that evolution which is supposed to be so concerned about making us strong and fertile has arranged for us to die? My book on the subject is Suicide Genes I put in some time each week sounding the alarm about America's colonial wars and descent into fascism. I am an activist around issues you can't read about in the paper: stolen elections, the hollow lies of the War on Terror, state-sponsored assassination. I have taught a weekly yoga class since 1983. My 'anti-blog' at Daily-Inspiration is a personal mix of poetry, music, science and uplifting stories.)

The Best Poem Of Josh Mitteldorf

Sweet Creation

Sweet creation, source of grace divine
For all that ails us, offer consolation!
Incarnate for our human exaltation,
To salve our tears, a transcendental shrine.

And if the herb and blossom—nature's spice—
Intoxicate our bosom with their charm,
enchant us—Please, thou needst not take alarm—
If human wings seem bent toward paradise.

For was't not thou bestowed imagination
Upon our thought, a crowning gift so rare—
A glass to see the world's reflected Stuff?

Our hearts behold thy world with trepidation;
In awe can we but clasp our hands in prayer;
We feel thy smile, and know it is Enough.

- translation by Josh Mitteldorf

Josh Mitteldorf Comments

Kayoko Kan 17 July 2012

I like the variety of style and spirit in your poems. Tenderness mixed with great mischief and adventure, thanks!

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