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Divesting of the Self

Updated on November 07, 2011
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Moving through emptiness

Carried on by the whisper of water

To a dry sea where I fossilize

Leaving others to theorize

My demise


Somewhere

Not far off

Twelve thousand miles of waterfall

Thunders

At the edge of the World


I steer straight for the rainbow

Misting over the bright edge

Crossing over

I see the waters of the Earth

Cascading into the depths

Of eternity


Beneath me

The weight of my boat falls away

Paddling is superfluous

Yet I continue thus

In a now translucent canoe


Glittering droplets

Bead up on my brow

Leaving it full of holes

Through which Light shines

Like a crown of rays


The roar fades behind

As the canoe slowly fills

My legs disappear


My paddling has no meaning

The canoe

Invisible and light as air

Carried forward apparently by its own momentum

Into the ever brightening mist

Gradually fades


I dissipate into light

As warm and wet as a womb


Penetrated by gentle questions

My self is gradually dissolved

With a sigh I cease to be

And return to being



Explanation:

Everyone must leave the physical existence. I choose to leave by canoe.

Ah, my ball and chain. I love my ball and chain, my body: this thing that has carried me though this journey. It has been my home of flesh, my vehicle and my plaything, and my means of experience. Yet I have waited all my life for this day, and I cannot take it with me. Goodbye, body. I’m not sure whether I’ll miss you or not.

I push off and coast over unseen waters toward the roar of oblivion. Even as I dip my paddle, both paddle and water fade. The illusion is fading. How I loved the illusion! I remember the vivid colors and the wonderful animal sensations in their complete wildness: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.

I recall the music I made and the music of others ringing in a symphony suddenly harmonic beyond all earthly reckoning, blending into the singular roar of the Universal Self exhaling existence with the sound of all matter and energy, deep and sonorous in everlasting perfection and peace.

As I continue paddling toward the growing white light ahead, I am lightened to the brink of nothingness, my substance little more than the air. The moisture of the birth of all things envelopes me. I am bathed in warm, moist love. With a little last tug of self I relinquish all to love, submerging at last in the vast sea of energy that connects all matter.

There are other voices, all of them mine, yet not. My substance dissolves into their questions, my essence shared to infinity. I quiet the last fearful gasp of ego with a loving caress of goodbye. No longer a self, all experiences are simultaneous, the stories told without endings for they, in fact, do not end. There is neither ending nor beginning unless I imagine it.

And because I am Me, I imagine, and become my imaginings as they manifest and expand outward, searching always and always finding and bringing back to me the myriad variations of the infinite possibilities of space/time, my creation.

When I manifest some version of myself again, let’s have lunch, shall we?

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    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

      I'm really enjoying this piece Tom Rubenoff, the artwork, the poem, the prose poem, what a way to go...

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Nice work poet. Better in fact than nice. Aren't those wild mushrooms just simply magic? Voted up and awesome.. thanks for sharing.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 5 years ago from United States

      Loved the poem, loved the explanation behind it, and loved the art!

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Senoritaa 5 years ago

      Amazing poem, and more amazing paintings. You are really gifted.

    • Keith Matyi profile image

      Keith Matyi 5 years ago from Denton, TX

      Excellent hub presentation. I loved it!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Oh yes, let's definitely have lunch. What a grand idea, what a lovely way to go. I can really picture this as a possibility. Beautifully written as usual, Tom.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks very much, everyone. I enjoy your comments very much. I had a lot of fun writing this and creating the images. I'm very glad you enjoyed the result. :)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

      As Capt. Kirk said right before he died, "oh my." I like to think this was what he saw. But of course that was a movie. My beliefs differ greatly from your vision, but I have to say it was wonderful to submerge myself in your end / beginning reality. I hope we will be at the feast table in heaven together in our future.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      I love that there is now a Star Trek reference here. Thank you. You know, I do feel kind of hungry after my little voyage there....

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Your poems are so deep and ethereal, very visual and beautiful for the reader. It is always a lovely experience reading your poetry.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, RebekaELLE :) That is a wonderful thing to say!

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations Tom Rubenoff for your Grand Prize winning poem! Regards, snakeslane

    • Nicky Page profile image

      Nicky Page 5 years ago from Indiana

      Congrats on winning the grand prize in this poetry contest!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations, Tom - a marvelous and thought-provoking work.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Congratulations! Well done Tom!

      Highly deserving of a Grand Prize!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much! I'm overwhelmed! My family is gathered around me, hugging me and congratulating me.

      Thank you also to the judges for choosing my poem, and to HubPages for having this contest. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed reading it and everyone who commented.

      Thanks to everyone.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Cpngradulations.

      JT

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      nicely written well done sir!!!

    • TKs view profile image

      TKs view 5 years ago from The Middle Path

      You deserve the award Tom. This piece is well rounded in every aspect. Thanks for letting me know how high I have to aim the next time.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Congratulations on your win. I particularly liked how your illustrations augmented the poem.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      WOOT WOOT!!!! Who's the man? What excitement!!!!!! Congratulations, Tom! We're going to celebrate your success tonight, well, all weekend. Fantastic.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. I had never entered a contest before. I am humbled and overjoyed to actually win. Thank you everyone, again!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Congrats! It's easy to see why you won with this entry. It is beautiful in every way. Goodnight, Mary

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 5 years ago

      Beautiful , congratulations ! :) have a great evening !:)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      One of the excellent benefits of participating in the contest was meeting so many wonderful poets on HP. Thank you. I cracked open a beer in celebration :)

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 5 years ago

      Congratulations Tom, you certainly deserved this one. You had a few wonderful entries and another one of my favorites was The Black Lacquered Box. Bravo, well done my poetic friend. Enjoy that cold one and the cash prize comes in handy for the Festive Holidays.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
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      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Definitely, Saddlerider. Thank you. I thought the dynamic of the required explanation was very interesting. It caused me to go in directions I hadn't gone before. It was a great experience.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations! Your poetry is as beautiful as your artwork!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

      Congrats and very nicely done~ Short and sweet and to the point. I only wish I could express things as well as some of you more talented folks but it is all about just expressing after all, isn't it?

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Expression - yes. Expression eases the feelings of isolation one can have here in the physical existence. Thank you

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This took my breath away, Tom. The remarkable poetry, as well as the explanation.

      "There are other voices, all of them mine, yet not. My substance dissolves into their questions, my essence shared to infinity. I quiet the last fearful gasp of ego with a loving caress of goodbye. No longer a self, all experiences are simultaneous, the stories told without endings for they, in fact, do not end. There is neither ending nor beginning unless I imagine it."

      To say that this deserves the prize is an understatement. I think this work is magnificent.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Congratulations! I'm little frustrated that I did not notice this amazing piece of art until you were announced winner.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Genna. I am glad you enjoy my writing :)

      Thank you, Vinaya. I also am finding much poetry that I have not yet read by many fine poets here on HP. It's very encouraging. :)

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Tom, I'm so happy for you! I was thrilled to see you received the grand prize. I remember when I first read this poem. After I read the third stanza, I shook my head in awe and knew this was the winning entry. Congrats on your win, and continue to grace us with your beautiful self. You are a great example of a winner, not only because of your brilliant, beautiful writing, but you also engage with your readers and the community. Very well done!

      Enjoy.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, RebeckaELLE. I am very grateful for this honor. In the process of the contest I have met many talented poets here on HP. It is a pleasure to be here. Thanks again!

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Well Done and Congrats Poet.. a well deserved spot for such a work (as described previously :) ).. I'm proud to share the champers with you Tom.. take care.. PD

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 5 years ago from Bangalore

      congratulations . The poem , explanation and art is just great. Best wishes.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you. I am still adjusting to the idea! :)

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

      It is a beautiful piece of work. Congratulations on your win.

    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      Congratulations Tom :-) this is a totally fantastic poem and one is carried on that journey with you so effortlessly and so pleasurably. Happy manifesting !!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! No wonder this is a winner! Congratulations!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much. I believe this is the poem I worked on first, soon after the contest was announced. I had written it a while ago and thought it might have a chance in the contest. Little did I know it would win. I am still amazed.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It's a splendid and beautiful work, Tom, and deserves to win.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, WillStarr!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Hello Tom ~ Very cool experience of the soul's journey. A hearty congratulations for the honor of Grand Prize. The competition was fierce. They must have seen the beauty in these verses. Love, Debby

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 5 years ago from australia

      You are awesome Tom did you know x

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Debbie. I was happily surprised to win since there were so many good poems.

      BP, we go back to my earliest days here. Thanks so much for reading my poem.

    • profile image

      V Qisya 5 years ago

      Beautiful work! Congratulations!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Congratulations! This poem truly reveals the profound depths of your soul.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, V Qisya!

      Thank you, Martie!

      I very much enjoyed the writing and illustrating and of course all the comments after. Thanks again!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      Congratulations on winning first place. This is a subject on a lot of people's minds. As for my own death, I want to love as long as possible and still die before I lose my wits and independence. Beyond that, I have no preference. (Small request, yes? No. )I don't want to live in a nursing home connected to a bunch of machines and no idea what's happening.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Flora. This is on the minds of many people now. It is possible to live independently until the end, still in possession of one's faculties. I think much depends on staying physically and mentally active. They say a lot depends on genetics. Some say it is possible to simply choose to be healthy until the day you die. I think, personally, that the most important thing is to have faith that, no matter what happens, the universe will unfold as it should. Thanks again.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Nice work. Beautiful. Thank you. I really like the artwork, and the symbolism and imagery. Amazing work. Bravo.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks very much, CCLitGirl! I am very glad you like it.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      Congratulations on a well-deserved grand prize. Kudos.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Sligobay!

    • profile image

      Sandra E 5 years ago

      Gosh! You see the whole package because you are the whole package! Congratulations well deserved.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I am glad to get the opportunity to learn about your talents and will be looking forward to exploring more. Congratulations!

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Congratulations on your win! After reading this, I can see why you took the prize.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you Rebecca and WannB. After reading the other poems in the competition, I am glad I was not a judge! That would have been a hard job. I am very grateful to have won.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Tom, I have read much of your work over three years and I believe this is the best of your best! It contains everything I love about poetry- imagery, imagination, philosophy and backstory. It's about death and in that, it is about life and light and endings and beginnings. Wow. I cannot tell you how happy I am for you, not only to win this well-deserved award, but to have achieved something so beautiful. Huge hugs to you, Tom!!!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      That is so nice, Storyteller! It's great that you not only know poetry, but that you can also express so well and concisely what you like in the poetry you read. Thanks again for the care you put into reading (as well as writing) poetry, and for this praise. :)

    • greatparenting profile image

      greatparenting 5 years ago from philadelphia, pa and corolla, nc

      If you gotta go, going by canoe is a fine choice. Me too...well, maybe a kayak since I already have one of those. Either way, oblivion here I come! Great work.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Canoes and kayaks are elegant craft. What better way to go? Thanks, GP !

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      My hubpage's friend snakeslane led me to you and this incredible poem. What you have described here could easily be my son's final moments as he crossed to the other side and that being so, your poem provides a new and wonderful perspective for me as I grieve for my son.

      "I dissipate into light

      As warm and wet as a womb"

      My son had several years experience rafting and kayaking and he used to tell me that he felt one with the river while paddling. He was drawn to this extreme sport and lived for the exhilaration. One year ago the river claimed him. We, his family and loved ones are devastated. We miss our boy like crazy, but we do believe he left this world smiling. I love your poem and it describes what could well have been his feelings and thoughts during his last ride down the rapids.

      "Paddling is superfluous

      Yet I continue thus

      In a now translucent canoe"

      Thank you for these words.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      I cannot imagine a better way to go than while engaged in an activity you love. Of course we live on in the memories of those we leave behind. My heart goes out to you and your family. Your son has moved on, but his memory remains.

      I am deeply honored and moved that you found comfort in my poem. Love and light.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Congratulations on your win, Some really nice analogies here. The explanation at times, transcended to poem... but that it how great writers work.

      Well done.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Well, you know, if you ask a poet to explain a poem, you might just get more poetry. :)

      Thank you, Twilight Lawns!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Wow, Tom, this is inspiring and beautiful. You're such a stellar poet. The words, the images, the flow of this poem are amazing. So glad you posted on pinterest where I could see what you've posted (at hub pages) that I hadn't read. (I haven't had a lot of time to visit hub pages in the past year).

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image
      Author

      Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed both the writing of this and the making of the artwork. Thank you, Nancy!

      Pinterest is a great place to share visual stuff. You have some beautiful stuff there.

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