“Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, is the only Kansas City-area venue to host Frida Kahlo’s Garden, an in-depth exhibition focusing on the influences and inspirations behind Frida Kahlo’s (1907–1954) body of work.” Here’s a sampling of that exhibit which is both biographical and educational.
The Silk Worm
I stood before a silk worm one day.
And that night my heart said to me,
“I can do things like that, I can spin skies,
I can be woven into love that can bring warmth to
I can be soft against a crying face,
I can be wings that lift, and I can travel on my
throughout the earth, my sacs filled with the
And I replied to my heart,
“Dear, can you really do all those things?”
And it just nodded “Yes” in silence.
So we began and will never cease.
The dust of my body is the veil of the face of the beloved of my soul
happy is the moment when from off this face, I cast the veil
Even so, this cage is no good for a sweet singer such as me
I will go to the rose garden of paradise, for I am a bird of that field
It is not clear why I came where I went
my regret and pain is that I have been heedless of my own affair
Oh how I circumambulate in the space of the holy world
but in this flat, compounded abode, I am bound to my body
If the scent of musk issues from my heart’s blood
do not wonder, my friend, for I am the musk gland of Khotan
Do not look at the golden embroidery of my cloak like a candle
for there is burning hidden within this cloak
Come and take Hafez’s existence from him
so that by your being, none will hear from me that I am
You look through my two eyes,
you are closer to me than myself
Your light shines brighter than the moon
Come into the garden so that the glory of the rose garden is humble
that it may be more beautiful and blooming
than a hundred gardens and rosebeds
so that the cedar will hide its height in shame
that the tongue of the lily will declare you more lily than itself
When you are kind, you are the candle of the soul, soft and pliable as wax
When you are aloof, you are more iron than iron
Do not be wild because you will meet her face to face
her charm will make you as cool and pliant as the earth
Throw away your armor and bare your chest at the moment of the battle
There is no better protection nor armor than her.
That’s why in every Sufi retreat, all the openings are sealed shut
so that from your light the house becomes more illuminated.
by Mary Oliver
Night after night
enters the face
of the lily
closes its five walls
and its purse
and its fragrance,
and is content
to stand there
in the garden,
not quite sleeping,
saying in lily language
some small words
we can’t hear
even when there is no wind
are so secret,
is so hidden –
it says nothing at all
but just stands there
with the patience
until the whole earth has turned around
and the silver moon
becomes the golden sun –
as the lily absolutely knew it would,
which is itself, isn’t it,
the perfect prayer?
A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?
The Beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I live for you.
I’ve disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learning,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.
I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.
If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.
Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Not asleep but like dreams
that night when golden light beams
spread glowing rays from her center part
and emanated from her Light filled heart
In a darkened archway cloaked she stood
head covered by her dark green hood
behind her a gloomy narrow hall
painted by dusty shadows on the wall.
Exotic cat like penetrating eyes
shown the beauty through her disguise
A stoic reverent pose
as the Light from within her rose
Known as the Light of heaven and earth
From within the heart comes Allah’s birth
as the Light is guided to whom He wills
and into the soul the knowing spills.
For those that wonder what becomes of this
for the righteous waves of eternal bliss
Paradise is not a solid place
but a Light filled spiritual space