Every Particle of the World is a Mirror


Every particle of the world is a mirror;
In each atom lies the blazing light
of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a rain-drop,
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at a grain of sand,
the seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water
is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barley-corn
lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed
an entire universe can be found.
In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds
gladly makes a home there.

— Mahmud Shabestari, from The Essential Mystics, edited by Andrew Harvey, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with this poem by Mahmud Shabestari. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. low clouds
    above a gray branch
    with peeling bark and spiral grain

  2. Janet Stanwyck says:

    This really touched me. The minimal words that convey such a picture. I am in awe of how so few words can set such a scene.
    I think in inner pictures with some physical response, now what does that mean? When I read this I feel a spiraling in and down, this is all inside, that just wows me as to what a scene can be described with so few words. I seek to achieve this and get caught in my attempts to make sure you know what I mean and that is so unnecessary.

    Thank you for such a great example of what I want to achieve.


  3. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Forgot to click on notify me

  4. Brad Offutt says:

    tree has calm fingers
    deep in earth and reaching sky –
    universal guide

  5. Sent to me from Sharon Nowicki, one of the participants in my recent online class, “Looking for New Life – Starting a Nature Diary”

    Dead leaf found
    Nature sketchers delight
    Journal entry
    Dead Leaf Skeleton from Sharon's Nature Diary

  6. c. temte says:

    a burst of diamonds
    ignites the dark heavens
    star gazer