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Playing Native Flute behind a poetry reading is a particularly good combination. Here are some great poems and readings that work in these situations. Ideally, the poetry is read in the cadence of call-and-response with spacing to allow for intervening flute music. A few readings have been very slightly modified to fit the situation.


Where Everything is Music

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and if the whole world's harp
should burn up,
there will still be hidden instruments
playing, playing

This singing art
is sea foam.
The graceful movements
come from a pearl
on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift
and the edge of driftwood
along the beach
wanting, wanting

They derive from a slow
and powerful root
that we cannot see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window
in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly
in and out!

-- Jalaluddin Rumi
13th century Persian poet, founder of Mevlevi order / Whirling Dervishes of Sufi tradition.

Moral Law

Music is a moral law.

It gives soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and charm and gaiety
to life and to everything.

-- Plato


Zen "No" Poem - Memorial Services

Behold she was here a while ago.
Now she is no more to be seen.

She flies over the mountains
Her voice echoes through the valleys

She has vanished to this land of Nowhere

--Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki - Zen and Japanese Culture, 1959



The silence of nature within.
The power within.  The power without.

The path is whatever passes – no end in itself.
The end is grace – ease – healing, not saving.

Singing the proof
The proof of the power within.

-- Gary Snyder


The Soundless Sound – Silence

Music is the art of hearing the soundless sound,
the art of hearing the music of silence –
what the Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping.

When you are utterly silent,
not a single thought passes your mind,
there is not even a ripple of any feeling in your heart.

Then you start, for the first time,
hearing silence ...

Music helps you from the outside to fall in tune with the inner ...
Listening to great music you suddenly become silent - with no effort.

Falling in tune with the music you lose your ego with no effort.
You become relaxed, you fall into a deep rest. 
You are alert, awake, and yet in a subtle way drunk.

-- Osho


The Gift

We all sit in the orchestra of Tao.
Some play their fiddles,
Some wield their drum sticks.
Tonight is worthy of music.

Let's let loose with compassion.
Let's drown in the delicious ambience of love.

-- Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master


from Earth Prayers from Around the World, 1991

Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
within the circles of the seasons,

the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.

Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,

each by all the others held.
In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining each to all again.

And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return.

-- Wendell Berry



In our souls everything moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are un-understandable and say nothing.
The deepest words of the wise man
teach us the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.

-- Antonio Machado


For Drumming:

A beat is like a footstep.
It begins a journey.
Beats are beginnings.

You don't need an interpreter to understand a groove.
You don’t need to speak a peoples language to dance to their drum.
There is a whole world out there making music.
I listen, my mind open and my ears ready.

They say a drummer is never without a drum.
A percussionist can play on anything.
But like any artist, my true instrument is myself.
My song is my soul.

Create your own path.
Keep on walking and don't look back.

-- Bashiri Johnson

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