The Art of Pearl Diving

comments 15
Christ / Poetry

See if this helps:

Christ is a fisherman
whose nets are cast nightly into
the sea of non-existence,
pulling haul after haul
of shimmering beings
out of the abyss.

The seas are black as ink,
the waves like rolling hills
of liquefied obsidian,
impenetrable to plain sight,
but the nets emerge from the deep
full of wriggling, unspeakable colors.

We were each caught like that,
scooped out of the darkness
in nets woven by angels,
hauled up to the light of day.

And for what?
some ask.

The audacity of the question
is eclipsed only by the audacity
of Life itself.
Is it not self-explanatory
to see the
fluid of existence
whirl itself into a skin
that reflects the light
in every direction at once?

I think maybe
the catch-and-release part
has proven a tad disconcerting.
Recognizing that every skin
is but a passing word
in an eternal conversation,
we peer over the side of the boat,
losing sight of beauty’s enduring premise,
waiting our turn, petrifying in place,
unable to see beneath the surface,
squinting, gasping in panic
at what can never be seen.
We play organ music
and stand at attention
when a faded dollop of color
slips over the side.
We forget the two worlds
are interwoven,
each reaching into the other
like hands held in prayer.

It’s a false divide,
this here-there mentality.

For some, this culture of choosing sides
has become a tad theatrical.
If you happen to look up
from the next bagpipe procession,
you’ll see Hafiz has set up
a folding table on the poop deck
and is taking volunteers for tonight’s
combined plank-walking
cannon ball competition.
At dawn, Christ will be offering
lessons in the art of pearl diving.
Beings without misperception,
experienced travelers like these,
are the stitching together
of both worlds.
They are clasped hands.

See if this helps:

Buckminster Fuller
once wrote that
our ancestors
were sea-dwelling beings,
and that our evolutionary path
involved learning
to carry the sea inside us
wherever we went.

I think,
at least as a starting point,
that sums it up
quite nicely.


    • We know these things, don’t we? We always have. Life is far more than is apparent… In a way, all that is apparent to me is that appearance is merely an artifact of some greater movement…



      • Yes, I agree Michael, the surface ripples themselves emanate subtle implications of the existence of hidden depths; whilst their movement provides a superficial allure which distracts, entrances and bewilders our ever-thirsting minds.

        And yet that which permits of this distraction, that patiently tolerates this entrancement, and which abides unfazed in any bewilderment, remains immense and silent in its elusive obviousness – just as the ocean’s depths do likewise.


  1. Pearl diving indeed Michael. You have pulled up a great catch today! False divides, catch and release, skins as words in a conversation. Awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing your treasures! 🙂


  2. Your writing never leaves me indifferent Michael… I always hold my breath waiting to see what happens in the end 🙂
    I didn’t know that Buckminster Fuller wrote that our ancestors were sea-dwelling beings. But I can sooooo identify with that and with carrying the sea inside of me wherever I go!
    Whenever I say that I carry the sea inside of me people assume that I was necessarily born somewhere on the coast – which really makes me laugh 🙂 xox


    • Thank you for such a compliment, Miss Tracker. That holding your breath thing, it’s deliciously not required in these inky black seas. Pearl diving is just the pre-requisite for tomorrow’s class: Breathing Eternity.

      Buckminster Fuller said some wild stuff. He was thinking about the fact that our bodies maintain a particular salinity that is not in keeping with tissue that evolved from freshwater sources, and I think coupling that with the knowledge that life ultimately began in the sea. It was just a quote that jumped out at me. He also had one about putting a dome over big cities because it would probably be cheaper to just air condition an entire dome than a bunch of heat transfer fins (buildings) sticking up all over the place. I like minds that are free enough to dwell in the radical… to see black dragons… 🙂



  3. Yes, yes been tasting a bit of that salt on the fingers as of late as the ocean with emotion spills a bit from the inside out, but I am very happy to report that just yesterday the sensuous salty seasoning was enjoyed from a hand dragged joyfully along over the edge of a little boat out on the bay. Several seals said hello and then went on demonstrating the stitching as we floated and boobed along within the womb like comfort of the little vessel, both boat and form (mine which made it’s start 44+ years ago doing the same in another inner sea).

    Lovely. Just lovely.


    LOVE the feeling of being at home in the water captures in this piece:


    • Sounds lovely, Maren, and glad to know the healing is re-balancing the distribution of inner and outer salts. Drifting along on a boat, trailing a hand through the water sounds wholly divine at the moment. Right now, I’m enjoying trailing an ear lobe through silence, and imagining the seals’ exuberant faces bobbing up from the water. That’s an animal I don’t think about too often, but always equate with playfulness. Just what the doctor ordered…



  4. Isn’t it so nice to imagine Maren trailing her fingers in the water?
    I am entrapped within so much of your imagery, especially, “Recognizing that every skin
    is but a passing word
    in an eternal conversation,”
    as I swim about in this skin, wondering when I will be fished out for the next round, imagining there is some debate about how I go about selecting my one word contribution this time. There is a pungent smell to the locale of this little fish’s home, for now, that rises every low tide, of pluff mud and minerals, of salt and sea, and sometimes I imagine of all the souls who passed through the ports in perhaps some in joy, but many in suffering, fear and conflict. Every 12 hours, this scent rises in creeks running every direction for miles, reminding me of these things.
    Your words are so skillfully playful yet mostly provocative! Thank you, Michael.


    • Yes, Marga, I am inclined to pour another cup of coffee and live vicariously in Maren’s world for a while… 🙂

      The thing about the one word contribution… one word can have so many meanings… Every word is kind of a unique starting point to reaching every other word, so we can’t go wrong, really. We live up a river from the sea, but within a tidal zone, and low tide does indeed exert a certain molecular pressure upon the sinuses… Amazing how the rhythms of nature bring us back to visceral, felt impressions. Experiences that haven’t changed in thousands of years link us each to each… We remember our word is not an independent contribution, but an ingredient, one of many, to an ancient sentence…



  5. I really love your poems. They always feel like a warm hug.

    Pearls are one of my favorite symbols. They are such significant symbols in the alchemical process of allowing our irritants to become beautiful and life-giving by accepting them, loving them, and integrating them into our very being. The process of creation of pearls, is, in and of itself truly miraculous, isn’t it! How oysters take something that was at first a foreign object and organically transform it into something so lovely and lustrous…I have heard pearls called “nature’s loveliest surprise.”

    For some reason your poem led me to a bible verse actually, another nod to the symbolism of the pearl: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46

    Glorious pearl-diving, indeed! ❤

    PS. Seeing Hafiz with a folding table on the poop deck was a sight I won't soon forget – always bringin the gifts, Michael, thank you!


    • Thanks, Amanda! Pearls are definitely fascinating. I am finding myself thinking of both pearls and clouds, and their similarities in the sense that they both require a nucleation site upon which to build. In the case of both, it is some particle we would tend to view as being slightly out of place– some dust in the atmosphere that makes it less than clean perhaps, an irritant in the mantle of the oyster. There is some given condition that enables development and expression. I am struck by the fact that what we express in our lives requires a nudge, a starting point, some set of circumstances that we can build on. We all have our set of ‘givens’ that are in one way or another particularities, uniquenesses, limits or frailties perhaps, inclinations and tendencies. Personalities, ultimately, I suppose. We can’t express the divine without having a little personality to build around… 🙂

      Mari Perron, the receiver of A Course of Love, later wrote a book called The Given Self that was all about this… That there is a perfection in all these givens…


      Liked by 1 person

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