on 18 October 2001
The Enlightened Heart is a collection of joyous poems that come from many cultures and from across the ages. These poems seem to have been chosen because they try to express the inexpressible! Moments of feeling close to the the "invisible and unknowable essence" and how a seeker treads that path. Mostly short poems, they have been translated, where necessary, into simple and beautiful English by some of the major poets of our time. There is lovely balance to the book, as in the brevity of the poems and the depth of the theme. But the depth of the theme never leads to seriousness. Rather it is full of humor and passion. There are strong women poets included for the beginnings of a much needed gender balance.
Each poet's dates are given, and in the back there is a set of background notes on the poets that makes great reading in itself, and includes books for further reading. The book doesn't try to be comprehensive - not every poem ever written about "true poverty and absolute nothingnees" is included, nor does it try to cover every culture. However it stands alone as a delightful collection, never sentimental, which can be dipped into, or read cover to cover, as I did on my first encounter.
In the years since then I've often opened it, and usually keep a few copies - as I'm now prone to giving it away to anyone who shows a little excitement about their own path, or just a love of poetry. It's also a great taster for someone who thinks they don't like poetry.