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  • By John Steele

The Gate & Other Poems

The Gate

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:

1 comentario

09 ene 2022

I particularly like the way you're able to unite the three realms together intimately in one poem: the transcendental divine realm of the Hindu gods; and the more physical realms of the natural landscape and the landscape of the human body. I'm sure Gary Snyder would have envied you this ability. Since I think he was attempting to achieve something like that himself. What is even better is that you're able to do this using relatively conventional means and so maintain and develop a great tradition. Otherwise there is the danger that your poems might be too exotic and smack of poetic tourism or 'lifestyle poetry'. Which tend to be rather superficial. And become suspiciously like advertisements. Your poems on…

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