Practice Poem

March 1, 2014

Here is a poem I wrote shortly after spending more than 100 days in silent retreat last fall and winter. Poems about spiritual practice often seem to well up out of me toward the end of or just after retreat. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Mystery of Patterns and Shapes

 

A simple, sturdy-enough craft, known as the human body,

Sets forth, breathing in and out,

Going nowhere,

With heart-mind both held and at the helm.

 

Together we ride and navigate waves of sensation,

Waves of movement and pause,

Together we travel to the hidden edge of every known ocean.

 

In calm waters, we rest on gentle swells and shifts

With joy and peace growing, steeping, rising up and through us.

 

In the dark of night, the body seems like distant

Stars, points of light sensation in a vast velvet rest.

 

Storms shake us, toss us, but for now we hold space with massive undulations.

We brace strong legs and soften full, fearful heart,

Calling out this need to feel real, calling out“Is it possible to fall off the edge of this breathy, watery world?”

 

At length, and who can say how long we travel,

Moments or years or lifetimes,

Rest comes on the further shore.

 

In this stillness body-heart-mind are no longer companions.

Unified now, one with the island grounding,

Where wordless asking is answered wordlessly:

“What is there that does not change?”

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