Zazen last night at Red Cedar for the first time in some weeks. My mind was a drifty sleepy jello, nothing new there. I moved from following my breath to following sounds. No alertness for me there so I switched to taking refuge
I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dharma
I take refuge in the Sangha
one on each exhalation. Just the utterance for itself, not trying to connect with what it means, I don’t know what they mean, honestly I don’t. I mean, I could try to explicate it, but phhhht. Nothing special happened and I left before service, tired after a long day and under the weather.
What we want’s so simple. To be loved. It’s so little and so much.
This morning, two poems by Jean Valentine, facing pages, saw me face to face.
I lay down under language
it left me and I slept
—You, the Comforter, came into the room
I moved my head—
my blood, my mouth
all buttoned away—
Makers of houses, books, clothes-
A LEAF, A SHADOW-HAND
A leaf, a shadow-hand
blows over my head
from outside time
now & then
this time of year, September
—it’s well known—
a soul locked away inside
not knowing anyone,
walking around, but inside;
I was like this once,
and you, whose shadow-hand
(kindness) just now blew over my head, again,
you said, “Don’t ever think you’re a monster.”
That Comforter, that kindness, I know them, & not just in memory.
& not only, please let it be, their recipient.
Image above, from a work still incipient, Dura Mater. Click to go bigly:
Sumas Mountain ochre, olive oil, egg yolk, water on paper.