Featured Poetry

Vanessa Able – Bhakti

In her beautiful poem Bhakti, Vanessa Able gives life and imagery to action—specifically the action of the devotional philosophy of Bhakti yoga, which is focused on the love for a personal deity. Vanessa explained, “Of the Three Yogas – Bhakti, Karma and Jnana – I have always related most intensely to the love and devotion implied in Bhakti. For me, the intense love for a spiritual teacher allows for a wide opening that lets the world pour in. It has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.”


Fledgling bones—the open sky—
no seams or stops; they call and respond,
and write their own verse, the shorebirds.

The same light that touches their tiny skulls
holds this hand and can move it with reassurance
towards an end. It’s okay; all of it, even

the chafe of being alone when the sun drops
behind the black mountains and all rotates
again into the dark. What’s left then is

that debris of devotion cast
around the waterline; the raptor’s eyes
burning through the membrane of a heart.

If you can recall how as a newborn
you warmed your head in the first sunlight,
you’ll also remember the growth down

into the soil—the thin, searching roots
that felt into the loam and rock and touched
those contours of an original verse of love.

Vanessa Able

Vanessa Able is the founder and editor of The Dewdrop and the author of Never Mind the Bullocks and The Nanologues. She is ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition and works as a Hospital Chaplain.

4 thoughts on “Vanessa Able – Bhakti”

  1. Nice, Vanessa that you talk of this Bhakti subject.
    Devotion is the behaviour of the bodhisattva taking care of all human beings. It is love and compassion for them which comes from his true heart.
    Many thanks to associate bhakti to the zen Way.
    A great and deep gassho to you.

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