Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Moment Before

Last week, after posting one of the poems from Dreams of Desire (a small chapbook of poetry I put out in 1995) someone on FB asked for the prose-poem below. It is another piece about our spiritual-sexuality – two of the primary indivisible ways (along with creativity) that the sacred life force manifests in a human life.This piece celebrates the passionate desire for intimacy with another and, beneath that, the longing for a “great love," for the touch of the Beloved. It is an honouring of the spectacular capacity of our physical-spiritual-self for experiencing the ecstatic.

But this piece focuses not so much on the fulfillment of desire but on the “moment before” – the place where, in bringing full consciousness to what is held back for a moment, we are better able to taste fully the ache that opens us to our own longing- that in us which calls out to the Beloved. This awareness, this willingness to slow down, to consciously co-created and fully anticipated what is held back is an element of many tantric teachings. In that moment before, we find the container that holds and directs the fire of daring to dream of union with the Other.

Pausing in the throes of desire, allowing desire to deepen, even for a moment, is a hard sell in a culture of instant gratification and fast-paced living. But the sweetness of life, and love, and learning to let go is in the slowing down and the savouring of the moment before.

The Moment Before

I want to touch
the sharp taste
of the moment in between
the second just before
the place where
the breath catches
in anticipation.

It's the scent of heat held in the air
between two mouths
reaching for each other, hungry.
The shine of moisture on slightly parted lips
just before
it melts into
the wetness of the other.

It is the skin that tingles
fine hairs at attention
It is the places that have not yet been touched
but know they will be.
It is the smooth, quivering paleness
of the inner thigh
as the outer is stroked and kneaded.
The muscles of the abdomen tightening
the back arching slightly
come here

There, in that moment
do not take your eyes from mine.
I am here

I am
to be

Do not touch me and keep your soul
out of your fingertips.
Die into me
or do not come into me at all.
Ever after is in this moment
happily or not.

Sacrifice the daydream.
Dare to hold the desire
for a great love.

Be with me.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer © 1995 from Dreams of Desire All rights reserved.


  1. When we really make love in the fullest sense of what that means, there can be an awareness of time standing still. You've captured this so beautifully, Oriah. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not depriving either myself or my partner, if at times I consciously choose to reject compromise.

  2. I can't promise that this would be my experience every time I make love with my husband, but maybe at least some of the time? When we have the time, energy and space to make it wonderful? Gorgeous poem Oriah.

  3. My mother and I have always talked about how the anticipation of an event can eclipse the event itself in terms of pleasure of an experience. I imagine this comes through the savoring and opening fully to that anticipation. I love this topic and your expression through this writing!

  4. Your writing has inspired me for a while now, and I hang off your words like children at storytime... Thank you for sharing <3

  5. dear oriah,

    greetings from me!!! i know i haven't commented in awhile...been busy with my own writings and just navigating the cosmos of some recent experiences... but i do read as you well know...

    this i had to stop and comment:

    absolutely beautiful lines here:

    "Do not touch me and keep your soul
    out of your fingertips.
    Die into me
    or do not come into me at all..."

    but something else that caught my attention are your words before the poem:

    "Pausing in the throes of desire, allowing desire to deepen, even for a moment, is a hard sell in a culture of instant gratification and fast-paced living."

    and I don't think the "throes of desire" has to be physical or sexual per could very much be to "begin" something with another....

    thanks for giving "holding back" a new perspective...

    your friend of the stars and Grand Mystery,


  6. Hi OMD

    Came across yr blog and poems via Antares @Magic River.

    Beautiful poetry. Very inspiring.

    we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

  7. Dearest Oriah,

    I love your books, but I absolutely adore and treasure your poems.
    You are my female Rumi. With your poems you touch something in me so very deeply and all I can say is "Yeah, absolutely, she nailed it, she expressed what cannot be expressed, only felt deeply".
    Your poems are like a raw rare huge diamond which has not yet been treated by the hand of man. They are a blessing straight from God. They are like a prayer, they give meaning to the meaningless, they give hope and ecouragement to go on when there is no reason left to go on. They are pure love, purely divine. They sustain me when nothing else does and can. They have been my lifeline as long as I can remember. Your poems are undescribable awesome loving art. If God could paint your poems would be the result on the canvas. They are a rare beauty not of this world.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing those poems, for being who you are, for living who you are.
    I pray that one day you publish your collections of poems, it will be a dream come true, it will be my most treasured Oriah book.

    Lots of Love, a warm Hug and tons of Blessings,

  8. so profound
    so beautiful
    inspires yearning
    and depth
    such an amazing poem~

  9. What a beautiful, sensual poem. One of the miracles of life, connecting with another person on this most intimate level. You've captured the "moment" beautifully Oriah.

    Hugs to you, G

  10. Dear Oriah,

    Your poems and your books have being the greatest help in my life. I find when I am struggling with any issue in my life that along with your writings and looking within I find that place where all the answers are held and know that when I don't hold back from living my life fully, that is where there is no struggle.

    Tony L Limerick Ireland