By on Jul 8, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Every breath is a resurrection.

Gregory Orr

Poetry is the thread that leads us out

of the labyrinth of despair into the light

Gregory Orr



This blog posting takes a different form from any I have done in the past. It is the text of a 1115-word poem by Gregory Orr. I am posting it because it is an excellent companion to two previous postings; Apophatic Meditation (10/15/18) and especially The Nothingness of God (11/1/18). I usually keep the length of postings under 1000 words. But it felt unfair to cut out any of Orr’s work.

I hope you enjoy the reading.

Ode to Nothing

By Gregory Orr

Sorrow makes children of us all—

the wisest knows nothing.


  1. At the Heart of It All


When scientists tell us

Atoms are mostly

Made of nothing,

They are speaking

As priests charged

With a deep mystery:


How nothing holds

The universe together;

How nothing

Is the secret force

At the heart of it all.


In the olden days, theologians

Asked: is there an angel

Of nothing

Among the heavenly hosts?

The answer is No.


Nor does an angel

Of nothing dwell in hell.

Nothing is the only

Angel and cannot

Rise or fall.


All of us surround

The angel of nothing,

Whizzing our winged

Elliptical circuits of worship

Like electrons

Orbiting a nucleus.

With our restless fly-buzz

We create

The material world.


  1. If They Bowed

The wisest among us

Always believed in

Nothing. When the lamp

Of faith went out,

They knew nothing

Remained. They knew

Nothing was there

Like a pillar

Of darkness,

Holding up the sky.

They knew nothing

Was necessary

To explain the way

Things were……

Some of them hid

Their belief

In nothing. Some

Even praised

The created world.

And said they loved

Everything, but

Really, nothing

Sat on their heart’s

Throne and held sway.


If they bowed at all,

It was to nothing,

If they prayed,

They prayed to nothing.


Is dew on the grass

At sunrise nothing?

Is the vowel

Vibrating the open

Throat nothing?


Yes. Nothing

Surrounds us.

Nothing is inside us.

Nothing is the pure

Source where the soul

Kneels at dawn,

Where it drinks, then sings.



  1. The Journey

Nothing guides you through the night

Woods. Nothing knows the way.

Nothing conducted all the old poets

When they were lost souls.

Nothing rose up in the form of a crow

Or a figure in a cone of light.

Nothing stood before them and said:

“I am here. You will not perish

Alone in the dark.”

It is true

The lamp of faith has gone out.

It is true, the trees are a thicket

Of skeletal hands lifted to halt you.

It is true the strewn leaves hide

The path. But nothing is here

Beside you. Nothing will lead you.

You can depend on nothing.

To believe in nothing is the first step.


  1. Its Function

Nothing stands between

the abyss and you.

Nothing keeps you

From falling off

The edge.


Is that important.

People think:

“There is always


To chink up

The gaping cracks

In the ruined hour

Of self.”


There’re wrong.

There’s nothing.


  1. Letting In


I’m afraid I’ve let nothing

Into this poem.


It wasn’t an easy decision

Because nothing

Is a difficult theme.


Of course, that’s only

My opinion. Others

Disagree—many say:

Nothing is easy.

But I know better.

From my point of view,

Nothing is impossible.

That’s why I’ve tried

To keep nothing

Out of this poem.


  1. Some of Its Qualities


Nothing has a heart of gold.

Nothing waits up for you

Way past midnight.

Nothing thinks about you

All the time.

Nothing puts your interests

First. Nothing says:

“What would he want?”

“What would make her


From the beginning

Nothing was on your side.

Nothing cares for you

More than your own

Mother did.

Nothing loves you.


  1. A Friend in Peril


“What’s wrong?”


She said.

I saw right

Then she was in trouble.


Once nothing gets

Inside you, it’s only

A matter of time

Before it’s sliding

Along, smooth

As little zeros

Of blood cells slipping

Through your veins.


Before you know it,

Nothing has become


You can’t imagine

Life without it.


Nothing is everything to you.




  1. How I Became Involved


Quite early on, I discovered

Nothing mattered to me.

I felt nothing was near

My heart, but also

Integral to the universe.


I felt nothing explained

All the big questions:

Suffering, the sudden

Appearance of flowering

Plants, the origin

Of the cosmos. Nothing

Answered all enigmas

With a certain equanimity

I myself hoped to learn.


I molded myself to nothing.

Not just the nothing I held

Close to my heart, but

a social nothing also; if

nothing had been cloths,

I would have worn nothing.

If nothing was food, I

Would have eaten nothing.

If nothing was a way of talking,

I would have said nothing.


Nothing seemed to me

The answer to everything.

I remember clearly the moment

This came to me: it was dusk

And I was walking my dog

On our quiet street,

And the next thing I knew

I’d fallen to my knees,

Weeping for the joy of at last

Having understood nothing.




  1. Some Facts About It


Nothing rides a black

Stallion big as the stars.

Nothing lives in a silver


Nothing makes a noise

Like wind in the pines.



  1. My Own conundrum


Many people believed I was committed

To nothing. They were wrong.

My allegiance was half-hearted

At best.

I felt nothing could get

Along without me, and at the same time

I knew that nothing needed

My total loyalty.


My doctor said.

“No,” I answered,

“A spiritual paradox that language

Aches to reveal.


Wishes to show itself to us

And nothing stands in its way.”



  1. A Committed Life

“What are you looking at?”

My mother asked.


I answered.

“I thought

So,” and she turned away.


But I continued to study

Nothing. Noted its features,

Its calm demeanor, its smooth

Uninfected surfaces.


In large books, I read

About nothing—theories

Of nothing, histories

Of nothing. Over the years,

Nothing revealed to me

Its heights and depths.


Almost without knowing it,

I have become an expert

On nothing. People sought

My opinion about it.

“Nothing is important,”

I told them.

They were

Impressed. They lured me

To a great university;

They begged me to teach

All I knew about nothing.

It seemed only reasonable:

A final flowering of my life’s

Passionate commitment to nothing.



  1. Not Without Risks

Nothing has changed.

For me.

Gone are

Her smiles—




Gone, the ways

In which

Nothing pleased me.


I think back to when


Was everything

To me

And filled my world.


I was afraid

I would lose

Nothing if it changed.


My fears proved true.


  1. That it Cares Deeply


So many people I loved

Are now part of nothing.

Nothing took them in

Out of the cold

Where they stood,

Shivering and patient,

Hoping to again

Be part of something,

Which is

Of course, impossible.


When you die, nothing

Has room for you.

Nothing makes a place

For you in its spacious


                     You dwell there,

And nothing cares for you.



From: The Last Love Poem I Will Ever Write

          By Gregory Orr








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