Harley White

Selected poems





Do not give me words of wisdom

Give me of yourself

in gentle flow . . .

When I am mute

be not my voice

Let me wander the shores of your silence . . .

Take not my anger on your shoulders

If I ask you ‘How?’

answer that nothing more

Join in my laughter if it be your pleasure

When I cry out ‘Help!’

give not advice –

whys and wherefores dos and don’ts –

Hold me that my tears may come

and go . . .

If I fall do not lift me to my feet

Stay by my side awhile I’ll right myself

Please don’t speak in tones of reassurance

Give me your trust

and your hand . . .

When I cower frozen in fear

give me not protection

safety would suffocate

Let me but linger before the warm fire of you

till my own rekindles . . .

I may scream my anguish

do not silence me with words

Mine is my pain

only embrace me in the strong circle of your arms

Yet do not fill me when I’m empty

Share share where you are

that I may feel your presence and my own . . .

If I’m lost choose not my road

My direction I will find my way

Give me no vows speak not of promises

All the rest of your tomorrows cannot touch today . . .

I would know you here

in the now of our being

meeting anew each liquid moment into another

One and one are we


I giving

you giving


in gentle flow . . .



















I am the metronome

mover of measures

wide . . . . . . . . wide . . . . . . . . . . . . swings my pendulum

tracing the tempos of time


my hands

a poco a presto



the strings of my mind

I am the hollow


Trickle my tunes

to the tilt of the times

The see-sawing sea

paces my sands --

murmurs ageless songs

in major

and minor

Sharp waves

crack my still mirror --

capture the startled sun

in splintered rays

I am the pulse of the wordless deep


constant my cadence


the play of my tides


the gravity of the moon





Once upon a time I dreamed

I dreamed there was a once upon a time

I dreamed with the mind that dreams

I dreamed in the darkness of dreams

I dreamed the delusion of dreams

I dreamed was asleep and dreaming

I dreamed a dream in the depths of a dream


Once upon a time I dreamed

I dreamed a dream within a dream

I dreamed a dream dreaming a dream

I dreamed and was lost in a dream

I dreamed a dream in a dream

of the sorrows of birth and death

I dreamed a breath outgoing

had no dream of an incoming breath


Throughout my giddy-paced time

I strutted my reason and rhyme

like a phantom floating

whisked away in a wink

from the lapis lazuli home

where life is fleeting and fragile

more flimsy

than bubbles of foam


Once upon a time I dreamed

of present mirth and present laughter

a dream of birth with no hereafter

I dreamed a dream

with the wind and the rain with hey and ho

I dreamed a dream

that that is, is -- the world begun

I dreamed a dream

but that’s all done a great while ago


Say it again above the din the pomp and show



The worldwide seekers of peace

with their bland brands

of human-ism delirium



the darkness of dreams

the darkness of delusion

which manifests

in greed maddened rampaging rage

ignorance and hate

the fundamental darkness innate

as is the reality

of original enlightenment

inherent in the dreamers

who are asleep and dreaming

the dream within the dream


Once upon a time I dreamed

I dreamed I was dreaming a dream

I dreamed I had been dreaming

I dreamed of dreaming a dream

I dreamed a dreamy dream

I dreamed a dreamer’s dream

I dreamed of a ceaseless self

within the self

within the self

I dreamed of my self

I dreamed I would awaken

awaken from the dream of death and birth

I dreamed I would be born and die

on an endless inner enlightened earth


Once upon a time I dreamed

I dreamed a dream of inspiration

I dreamed a dreamer’s aspiration

I dreamed I would not speak

the babbling gossip of the air

I dreamed I would not write

wild words and ornate phrases

I dreamed I would borrow

the language used in dreams

I dreamed I would entice

the dreaming people to awaken

I dreamed the dreaming people

would awaken from the dream

So on and on I go







Life flashes by in a moment of time.

Late twilight’s rose fades, the sweet songbirds leave.

Though we strive to remain in reasoned rhyme,

All living will die, the joyful will grieve.

What vision can guide us? What blinding sight

Could glow like a lantern to light the night?

The sages and prophets the wide world round

Still fumble in darkness, fall to the ground.

The winds of impermanence blast and blow.

Yet ages ago did the truth resound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

How swiftly we play out our pantomime!

Companions with whom on an autumn eve

We versified the moon’s heavenly climb

Have vanished in silent recitative.

The tiger of death with eyes burning bright

Does roar long before we must bear its bite.

But thralled in the lust to be world-renowned

We hear not, nor heed this frightening sound.

Yet there’s a chant that can death overthrow,

A single phrase in which blessings abound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

The medicine men have cures for a dime.

Specious magicians with tricks up their sleeve

To treat our afflictions each will say, ‘I’m

The wisest.’ Thus they deceive the naïve,

Look down on the rest from their puffed-up height.

For prizes, awards with great appetite

Wry buffoons, erudite, all capped and gowned,

In circumlocutions their words have wound.

Yet the healing phrase not one can bestow

Is elixir medicine to be downed—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Some live for adventure, hear midnight’s chime;

Others in misery crave death’s reprieve.

Still to waste our precious life is a crime

Or let our days meaningless matters thieve.

Gold will be gold, of great value, despite

A fool falsely weighing its worth as slight.

With profit, fool’s gold, our actions are crowned.

‘We are happy,’ we say, with faces frowned.

Yet one practice gives proof that we can show,

However madly we’ve capered and clowned—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Security, peace are benefits prime—

A fabric of cause and effect we weave.

Dimensions ageless, eternal, sublime—

All are wonders within we can achieve.

In a muddy pond the lotus pure white

Emerges from earth, as wrong turns to right.

In the sea of sufferings most are drowned,

For sadness and sorrow us humans hound.

Yet enlightenment’s path is ours to know,

Where fortune upon good fortune will mound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


To discard the shallow, seek the profound

Takes courage and faith in equal compound.

Yet water of wisdom will always flow,

If we embrace what will truly astound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!























Dharma Gateway

Death, existence, come and go,

Like a tidal undertow…

Waves that toss us, winds that blow,

Raging storms and biting snow,

Hunger, anger, joy, and woe,

Hellish heat with burning glow…

Saints and sages ‘in the know’

Quibble bookish quid pro quo.

Artful seekers high and low

Chase illusions to and fro,

Board their boats and row, row, row,

Partially-illumined, though…

Ever-present, apropos,

Where true wisdom waters flow,

Those mind-opened practice, show

That enlightenment will grow

From the lotus seeds they sow

(Equally for friend or foe)

Of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Mortals here on planet Earth,

Do we see a being’s worth?

Know the gateway to be free?

Realize where lies the key?

Ancient Buddhist scrolls unfurled,

Let us sense our inner world,

Walk around within, explore,

Enter through the Dharma door…

Lost will find what’s gone amiss,

In despair, in want, or bliss…

Humankind at precipice,

Life itself abides in this

Single all-embracing phrase!

Sounds profound, astound, amaze…

Who recites it sings its praise,

Dark of nights and bright of days…

Utterness Dharma

Wholly revealed!

Sentient karma

Lastingly healed!

And we plod on… fast or slow,

With the work in progress, so

As to render what was heard,

Each and every golden word

Of the Oral Teachings by

Nichiren… that is, we try—

Plus some Buddha Writings, more

Handed down from ages yore,

Many from the olden store

Still as timely as before—

Thus to offer, help bestow

This Nam-myoho-renge-kyo…


— Harley White

September 3, 2012



Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam)

the Utterness of the Dharma [entirety of existence, enlightenment and enlightenment] (Myōhō)

permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence

of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts

of the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas (Kyō).

For Martin Bradley and Gerhard Lenz






















I want to learn to live before I die

To glimpse the light that makes my vision clear

To see the truth that lies within the lie.


I freely put the questions ‘how?’ and ‘why?’

And seek the face unknown in darkest fear.

I want to learn to live before I die.


The days and years stream swiftly swiftly by

In shimmering illusions cherished dear

Despite the truth that lies within the lie.


I found my hand in yours, so you and I

Gave each our vows, impassioned, young, sincere.

I want to learn to live before I die.


The teachers teach, the prophets prophesy

But miss the mystic rhythms of the sphere

Nor see the truth that lies within the lie;


Pure-hearted self; I sense a higher cry

To never leave the far yet love the near.

I want to learn to live before I die

To see the truth that lies within the lie.






What inward sight illuminates our way -

Whose lucid eye can all the ages span -

To see the Mystic Law that holds its sway

Beyond the endless birth and death of Man?

The luminary moon, when night is done,

Still rules the tides, though the daylight hides it.

The lotus always turns to face the sun

And yet what blossom eye ever guides it?

The cross-eyed men with intellect adorn

Their intuitions - blind who lead the blind -

The common mortals - blind when they were born -

With doubtful eyes that Truth could never find.

We look - we stare - we gaze and gaze - but we,

With sightless eyes, forever fail to see.


Harley White October 6, 1999







Is time a spiral stairway that we climb

Whose unendingness we seek to borrow

To the last wrought syllable of our rhyme

Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow -

The fusion of the future with the past

In dizzying dimensions ever new

Which hurl us headlong in a void so vast

That what we view as false appears as true?

We must peer through bars forever blocking

Upon the threshold of our promised land -

At the gates of eternity knocking -

Outside we stand - albeit hand in hand.

Through the rush of time we’re ceaselessly swirled.

How heartless is the transience of this world!


Harley White October 7, 1999



When reflecting on the nature of mind

Of what wit or wisdom do we dare speak?

For the wind in the sky is all we find,

In a round and round game of hide and seek.

It’s mind over matter, sages surmise;

With power of mind as their driving force

Deductive logicians philosophize

From ‘We think, therefore we are...’ as the source.

We muse; we spin, in dreaming delusion,

Our webs of thought, until nought we behold,

And heady with sense, fall in confusion.

Or is yet the end of the story told?

As our labyrinth journey turns and twists,

We lose our way in miasmas and mists.


Harley White October 8, 1999










Link to another of my poetry pages, which includes several of my Astro poems, etc.: http://harleywhitepoems.wordpress.com



Once I was

Then I was Harley

Then I was Harley being Harley

Then I was Harley being Harley being Harley

Then I was no longer Harley ... I was Harley White

Then I was Harley White being Harley White

Then I was Harley White being Harley White being Harley White

Then I was no longer Harley White ... but I was still Harley White

Then I was Harley White not being Harley White

Then I was Harley White not being Harley White being Harley White

Then I was no longer Harley White not being Harley White

Then I was Harley White


Then I was Harley

Now I am beginning

to be





Once I was sand dab small

urchin of the tides

shrieking with the gulls

on my blanket of sand

and head high as the waves

I was playmate to the sea

One and one were we

under the clouds of foam . . .

Sand crabs tickled my toddles

The conch sang hushabies of the surf

The horses of the sea

whinnied the tunes

of my periwinkle dreams . . . . . .

Who sells cockles for my suckle?

Who can cuddle stars to sleep?

What Sandman rock-a-byes yesternight’s cradle?

All the sun long day

I melted from green to gold

holding the hand of the sea

for only a rainbow long

and gathering handfuls of mist

I was Captain of the tides . . .

Dolphins dipped to my horn

The turrets of my castles

trembled the wind

The shrill of my whistle

shivered the still

of the serpent’s lair . . . . . .

Who can ride the ebbless tide?

Who can borrow wings from the wind?

What Sandman can cool the burn of my yearnings?

Each stolen night and day

I streaming down the shore

danced the fire dance

in the tongues

of the leaping waves

Neptune strong

Colossus high

I strode the shallow deep

Buccaneer of the boundless main

Captain Hook

of my mussel fleet . . .

The peaks of my mountains

scraped the clouds

The crash of my drumbeats

thundered the sky

The sting of the salty spray

blurred my lordly eyes

Hickory Dickory heedlessly

I waded the Gulliver shore

While sands of the hourglass trails

trickled forever by . . . . . .

Who can caress the foam?

Who can touch nevermore?

What Sandman can dry the tears of the sea?


Seascape painted by Kirk W. Wangensteen, 1996

Ballad of the Bouncing Self

At times I, like a butterfly,

May flit from bloom to bloom,

Or with my whimsy set sky-high

To outer space may zoom.

And yet, when all’s been said and done,

I follow what my fate has spun—

For some may strive and ne’er succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

A Muse impels me on a spree

Of whirling swirling craft

Where poems must not mean but be…

Until I’m going daft.

But words, albeit finely wrought,

Can only catch a passing thought—

For some may strive and ne’er succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

When my reality looks pale

I frolic in a theme

From vivid myth, folklore or tale,

Where dreams are what they seem.

And there where’er I romp and roam

I always feel a welcome home—

For some may strive and ne’er succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

I’ve often fallen to the ground

And picked myself back up.

I’ve hungered for a loving touch

And sipped from passion’s cup.

My longings, cravings ruled my will;

Still never could I drink my fill—

For some may strive and ne’er succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

A life led wrong, though full of song,

Will cause us to regret,

When pondering the winters long,

Our faults we can’t forget.

And then we’re washed in bitter tears

For senseless youth and wasted years—

As some may strive and ne’er succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

I said I want to live before

I die, in villanelle,

To learn where lies true wisdom’s door

And shun the gates to hell.

Yes, wayward ways can still begin

To seek and find the Way within—

For some may strive and not succeed,

While others simply do the deed.

– Harley White (July 4, 2014)