12 – And She Is

And She Is
Nine today
It’s her Birthday
And she’s got something to say
So you better listen
She’ll tell you why
‘Cuz she is!

And she is
The bow and the ribbon
The cake and the ice cream
The cutter and the cut up
Laughter laughing itself
The present we all want to open
Yes she is!

And she is
The jumping joy
The latest thing
You never heard of
Just yet
Coming at ya’
And coming fast
She is!

And she is
The trampoline
Of emotions
High as the sky
Watch her fly!
Gosh you’d hate to miss her
Quick catch her
If she falls
You never know
They say she is!

And she is
The belle of the ball
The disco queen
A dancing machine
Just check the boots
Baby!

That Manon!
She sure is!

11 – Arising, Passing Away

All things
That have the ability to Arise
Have also in them
The capacity
For Passing Away

This day
This sun
The fog
Mist
Dew on the grass
Blue air
This Season of Summer
And the next one of Fall
This evenings full moon
All Arising
All Passing Away

These late Blackberries
Tomatoes still in the field
The green houses
Barn shed
Drives and paths
Birds of the sky
Chickens in the hen house
All Arising
All Passing Away

This farm
It’s farmers
This town
And community
The villages
Homes
Businesses
All those in it we know
And those we don’t
Arising
And Passing Away

All nations
And countries
Politics and parties
Perspectives and beliefs
Views, notions and opinions
The doers of good
And the doers of evil
All Arising
All Passing Away

These sands
This beaches
The waves
One Tsunami
Coastal villages
Hurricanes
All islands
Ice and snow
Rain, mud
Heat, cold
Storm and calm
Each one Arising
Each one Passing Away

Reactors
And trains
All cars
And Planes
Buildings and
Armies
Their Hate
Your Love
This Peace
That War
Their Youth, Our Age
All Wisdom and Ignorance
Wealth, Poverty
Happiness, Sadness
Sickness, Health
All Arising
All Passing Away

All these things have the capacity
This step
This breath
This moment
This Touch, Sound, Smell
This Vision
All these
The capacity
For Arising
And for Passing Away

Today

9 – Long to Be

I Long to Be
Lost as a tree
Lost as a tree in the forest

Lost to myself
Shrouded by leaves
Held in the shadows of evening

Letting go of my hold
Hold on this heart
Hold on this heart made of stone

I long to be
Tall as these trees
Tall as the trees in the forest

At home with myself
Covered in leaves
Leaves as bright as the sunset

Learning to hold
Hold other hearts
Hold them safe in this forest

5 – Ruth’s Bell

Note: This poem is dedicated to Ruth Denison.  I invite you to learn more about her thru these links.  She has been traveling from her center, Dhamma Dena, in the high desert of California to Insight Meditation Society in central Mass for 40 years to teach a retreat that begins on Labor Day.  This is and has been the last year…

RUTH’S BELL

This Bell, Ruth’s Bell, is ringing
For you and I
To come
To the meditation hall
Now

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

The bell ringer touches
The brass bell
With the gong
In awareness
Or not…

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

You and I
Must now walk worn stone paths
One foot in front of the other
Repeating it
Until we arrive

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

One last time at 89
She speaks to us
Forty years she has come here
Offering only awareness
And you?

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

The Lioness now in Winter
Strong in all Seasons
She is unaverse
To the coming
Cold darkness

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

A fierce protector
Of the Dharma
She roars with conviction
Comes fanged with insight
Wears a mane of time tested truths

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

A nurturing mother
To young lion cubs
Now come to her side
For tender instruction
This one last time

Mindfully
Or mindlessly
It is time
For us to go
For all things to go

3 – Here Again

Here Again
This place, these people
Why did I return?
Again
To a page already colored
No matter how poorly
By my experiences
Then
No matter how vaguely recalled
Or inadequately lived
Then

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

What about now?
What about this time…
This day and weekend
This morning, this hour
What about this moment?
How can I touch it and touch you
More lightly
Allow it to be more real
Have myself be more present in it
And live it like new
Not life reviewed
Not grasping and held onto
Not granite to be cleft in two

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

I am in love
With my thoughts
That poor compass of self
From their sharp, jagged continual judgments
That only head south
To the soft-spoken, wistful wishes and wants
That swing wildly as if I had no True North
I follow them along
Like Hansel and Gretel
With no crumbs for a trail
Providing only convincing arrogance
They know where they are headed
Now I have ended up
Deep in the forest of uncertainty
Of who I am and
Where I am going

But I am here again
Left to my own devices
But I have no directions or answers
Only questions and broken devices

2 – The Aspen Leaves

The Aspen Leaves
Heart shaped
Lying flat, still in the sky
For so long – all Summer
Hung perfectly, so evenly spaced last Spring For this moment

They now have changed their calm
Even minds
Flutter madly
Scarecrows
Their shine now flickering
Flashing at us like pie plates
Shooing and frightening away the flocks
Of visitors and vacationers
From this place

Why don’t they want us here –
Have we harmed them?
Why don’t they want us any longer –
Have we not been conscious of them?
What do they know –
That we do not?

I join in the parade
Among the countless players
In the endless line of bands
Who pass in front of the grandstand
That is the end of Summer
We move off Island, off Cape
Off cottage and camp

We think we are leaving
Ahead of high winds and hard rains
Season of hurricanes
An orderly evacuation
Following the route
… We are not
We are being sent away
Before being swept away

Our one leaf
In a mighty wind
This season or next
This day or another
We think we are saying our good-byes
But we are being told
In so many ways
It has ended

1 – The Crows

The Crows
Still call you awake
But further off today
Not so intensely nagging
In your ear
You can listen peacefully to them
As if the trouble was no longer in your house
But safely down the street

Relief

You lay there listening
For the first time
In a long time
Something touches your skin
Lightly, new tender coolness
Fresh against you
Can you let this, allow this
This Autumn to be
To become
Your next Lover?

Release