Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friend to Friend

Arrogance—yours or mine no difference—

always misguided, rarely instructive of anything
other than itself, and often simply meanness
cloaked in good intentions,

like building character, in someone else.
Though at the lake that day, it clouded
crystalline waters so, what might have been

rebuke, instead glowed with the clarity
of genuine kindness, a flash amongst shadows,
not so much unexpected, as from one unfamiliar,

now known from the inside, out—a gift.


We cannot know for certain,
but the effort, beyond all reason,
the effort so fruitless reveals nonetheless
continuous, even uncalled for delight
and richness—reason enough then,
reason enough.


Take your teacher by the throat
and listen—it’s the gurgle
that’s most important.


We think

as we live, the promises
we make ourselves, vows,
intentions, grand plans, sweeping vistas,

like so many heart-felt leaves blown
to tremor, even before their saying is done—
bud to spread to color to mulch,

all returned to the earth sustained
and richened within the blanket embrace
of the myriad workings of the sun in its sky.


Place specific, local,
as in heart beat—how the universe conspires
continuations of each and all throughout their time,
questions of purpose, intention, of direction,
value added, or allowed, all implode
right here—seamless, seem-less wholeness,
each complete in place and time, rightful roles
forever fulfilled—inevitable—amen.


They say, just before death arrives, life
sometimes surges, energies push the furthest
reach, new horizons replace the old, space awakens,
shadows fall, imagination stretches to follow the light
to the other side...


In the steadied silence of a Sunday morning
begun before the promise of a spoken sun, the roses
on the altar slump, and the two of them, cloaked in clouds
of circling smoke of incense burned to dust,
take their turn to cry—for Buddhas forever gone
and for those about to come.


The way it is

There are times when, despite myself, I raise my voice,
when the thrust of my heart pushes through the words and past,
leaves them limp on the empty air, only to fall
to the floor, ill-spent.

And I know, it’s the breath
that words ride that makes them all they are
and its absence that undoes them.
I know.


On trust and praise

It’s the urge to engage through syllable and sound
the shadowy horizons of awareness
not simply our own.

It’s the desire to use all that we have
and all that we cannot hold, to articulate the wish
that we cannot speak.

It’s the depths of our need, though not so clearly seen,
to affirm the connections, to return as community,
as is already given.


Thresholds of sorts, arise
as we identify what is no longer essential.

Letting that go, of itself lightens
the next step and wherever it may lead.


As the chest rises and falls
almost imperceptibly, we conceive
the body alive with the flow of breath—

Buddha’s Name as utterance
makes real the potency of language
as a vehicle of awakening…



The desire to make something happen
will make

something happen—while all the while,
the world

inevitably delivers
the inevitable, 

making us wonder,

which end of the effort
we’re really on.


The ancients speak
of clear and certain vision
amidst that most certain ambiguity
that is the foundational reality of our humanity.

How to live unruffled in a ruffled universe?

Allow each answer its flutter
before letting go…


Morning fog rolls in over the ocean
that lies west of here,

shoulders inland hills,

then tips and pours toward the bay,
leading puffs tinted pink.

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