The Gate & Other Poems
It’s not so hard to turn into a gate.
To do so, just assume this shape:
from kneeling, stretch one leg out to the side,
place your hand down on that shin and slide
it toward your foot. Bring your other hand
up overhead and reach toward your toes.
As you ease yourself into the pose,
let the space between your ribs expand.
Each pose is a gate that opens inward.
Go through. Enter yoga’s vineyard.
Sample its fruit, its storehouse of old wine.
You might become a mountain, flower, tree,
some kind of animal, or mythic being,
a sage who strolls right through the gates of time.
Originally published by The Orchards
One fish lies disguised on ocean’s floor
awaiting heedless prey. If you ignore
this predator, you’ll surely lose your life.
See that fish as Shiva, the Destroyer,
or Vishnu, the Sustainer—what’s the difference?
One sustains, another destroys,
and thus it is you live or die.
If you walk the way of do no harm,
you will fall short. Some won’t take
a step for fear they’ll crush a bug.
Others kill whoever comes their way.
Why not pursue the middle way?
Lie down, legs crossed, disguised on ocean’s floor,
see through the eyes of prey and predator.
Originally published by Muse India
Breathe in deep, then hum the sound of bees.
Maintain a steady drone until your lungs
are empty, then take another breath and hum
again. Now bring your hands up to your face
and gently press your thumbs into your ears.
Close your eyelids with your next two fingers
then rest your ring fingers against your nose
to slow your breath. With your sense gates closed
a thousand buzzing bees resound
inside your skull, down your spine
and through your pelvic floor. A thousand,
thousand sonic waves thrum your nerves,
cull your mind of thoughts that play, replay.
Release your fingers. Open all the gates.
Originally published by Ariel Chart
John Whitney Steele is a psychologist, yoga teacher, assistant editor of Think: A Journal of Poetry, Fiction and Essays, and graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Western Colorado University. His poetry chapbook, The Stones Keep Watch, was published by Kelsay Books in 2021. His full length collection, Shiva’s Dance, will be released in 2022. Born in Toronto and raised among the pines and granite cliffs of Foot’s Bay, Ontario, John lives in Boulder, Colorado where he often encounters his muse wandering in the mountains. Website: JohnWhitneySteelePoet.com