Creative Expression, Life at SMC

SMC in Vogue

by Christopher Seelie

Allen Ginsberg – 136 Syllables At Rocky Mountain Dharma Center

Tail turned to red sunset on a juniper crown a lone magpie cawks.

Mad at Oryoki in the shrine-room — Thistles blossomed late afternoon.

Put on my shirt and took it off in the sun walking the path to lunch.

A dandelion seed floats above the marsh grass with the mosquitos.

At 4 A.M. the two middleaged men sleeping together holding hands.

In the half-light of dawn a few birds warble under the Pleiades.

Sky reddens behind fir trees, larks twitter, sparrows cheep cheep cheep
cheep cheep.

July 1983

Looks Like Someone at Vogue is Reading Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg was no stranger to the sensation of a Rocky Mountain dawn and the unique peace that comes from sleeping in a tent at Shambhala Mountain Center (called, at the time, Rocky Mountain Dharma Center). His grateful bewilderment must have sparked something in a copywriter at Vogue Magazine, tasked with evoking the richness of autumnal colors in a $850 piece of knitwear.

Rocky Mountain Replay

We haven’t been Rocky Mountain Dharma Center since 2001 and in that time there have been many incarnations of Shambhala Mountain Center. However, like the dandelion seed in Ginsberg poem, the qualities of freshness, and what Pema calls “an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity” spread as far as the wind will take it. Sometimes it’s in a gesture we extend to others, sometimes to ourselves, and sometimes it’s a poem that ends up on a desk far from Marpa Point. It’s a little strange to have the old name pop up in one of the world’s biggest fashion magazine, but when life gives you dandelions, make dandelion wine.


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