Sunday, January 16, 2011

if you’re longing for a clear answer to your questions- a poem

if you’re longing for a clear answer to your questions

to be sure
the Mississippi is too busy
making its way down south
to stop and tell you

to be sure,
it’s too busy being itself
to warn you of the myriad of ways

just turn away –
under the pines behind you,
how those mangy feral cats
lift their legs without a trace of shame,
spray the trunks of the trees
with hot urine, and then claw
at the bottoms
as if to signal
to the world
that they have finished
what they came to do.

surely there is nothing else,
don’t you think

as the wind burns the tips
of your ears,
of your heart

and the river
so seemingly still,
long and fabulously ordered,
breathing in every cloud,
fallen branch,
and ray of sun

taking you along for the ride,
whether you like it or not.


  1. Beautiful image: a fabulously ordered river.

    The poem brings to mind the story of the young monk called Kyosho who came to Zen Master Gensha to study under him. Kyosho said, "I have come over here seeking the truth, where can I start to get into Zen?" At this Gensha the Master said, "Kyosho, can you hear the murmuring of the mountain stream?" "Yes, Master. I can hear it." "Enter Zen from there," was the Master's answer.

  2. Ah, yes, thank you for reminding me of that story. I recently heard a talk where the final line was used, but couldn't recall the rest.


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