At the official launch of Yogacharya O’Brian’s newest book of mystical poems, The Moon Reminded Me, a mesmerized audience sat under a hanging silver moon created just for the event, near a living tree that reaches up through the top of the Temple. If you listened hard, the rain could be heard beneath the murmurings of anticipation from the overflowing crowd.
After that, it was anyone’s guess who was the fire and who the grace as the poetry of Yogacharya O’Brian mingled with the music of Virtuoso Violinist, Edwin Huizinga, and an acclaimed master of the steel-string guitar, William Coulter. Poetry and music played off each other like call and response. The in-breath of the music and the out-breath of the poem set up a quietly electrifying night of heart-opening mystical proportion.
Yogacharya’s poetry ranged from luminous echoes of ancient wisdom subtly laced with Sanskrit to the contemporary concerns of everyday life. As she spoke of the two streams of her life coming together in her poems, we understood that those same two streams flow in each of us—the longing for the divine entwined with the ordinary day-to-day grappling with loss, relationship, and parenting. Using images that often go unnoticed, such as “wildflowers blooming on sand” or a lark “singing through the night,” or salt “on the table next to the sweet bread” she reminded us that there are a thousand doorways into the divine mystical heart. No less diverse was the music from Huizinga and Coulter as it moved from a Prelude by Bach to an Irish reel, from a tango by Piazzolla to a Spanish love song. From “Winter” by Vivaldi to a Balkan dance tune. The spiritually uplifting and highly energized music mixed well with the mystic nature of Yogacharya’s poetry that she sprinkled with an occasional, unexpected light-hearted poem that only deepened the pleasure of the performance.
The standing ovation at the conclusion of the evening was mutual recognition between artists and audience that the divine is everywhere—and not only within the mystical poetry and the enchanting music that we let in but in all shapes and sizes. And we are in It together.
“An exquisite evening. The music complemented the poetry and I left feeling full of peace.” – Catherine Ferris
If you missed the event or want to experience it again, here it is for you.
Complement with these featured posts:Spiritual Poetry from the View of the Poet (Interview with Ellen Grace O’Brian)