How to Tell if You’re Enlightened
The sparrow’s songTurns out to
Have been yours
Your joy contains
All the world’s sadness;
Your sorrow, it’s happiness.
Praise and blame
Arise as usual
But, for a while at least,
You’re surprised to discoverThat, even if you passed
Your life in loneliness,
Every love poem was written
Just for you.
And, at last aware of your place
In the sea of delusion,
You keep on swimming.
You Annoy Me
It may be your astounding gall;Your acting like you know it all.
Or how you seem so self-assured
When humility’s preferred.
Or it may be nothing more
Than how you wear your pompadour.
In any case, you wound my eyes,
And though I fully realize
There may be fault within me too,
I’m far less culpable than you,
As anyone with sense would know--
But, for the moment, let that go,
And may our mutual irritation
Lead us not to litigation.
Rather let us vow to see
Each other’s faults quite differently:
As bits of decorative fluff
Adorning the important stuff,
As insubstantial in degree
As tinsel on a Christmas tree.
And worth our love but not our hate,
Because of what they decorate.
Holy Week, 2015
May we lose our certaintyThis year and be as confounded
By the familiar events as were those
Who first experienced them.
Let us be as confused as Peter
When the rabbi tried to wash his feet,
Or as repulsed as they all were
When he started that talk of eating
His flesh and drinking his blood,
And may some illicit sympathy
For Judas thus arise.
And may we be like Mary MagdaleneIn those puzzling moments
After she discovered the body missing.
Maybe she sat down on the grass, bewildered.
Say a sparrow sang, and,
Replete with the blessing
She shed a tear at the beauty of that song,
Wiping it away as she noticed
The gardener approaching.
Thinking maybe he’d have an explanation.
God spoke to me with great persistence
Till I got it. Then I feared
I’d never prove his grand existence.
Then he smiled and disappeared.
I thought I knew something.
I was wrong.
That kept happening.
There once was a lad who liked pandas,
Who saw through all five of the skandas.
He started to shout:
“There’s no ‘in’! There’s no ‘out’!”
“And my ignorance--all propaganda!”
Song of the Morning Commute
“Don’t make hot!” “Don’t make cold!”
Said the Zen adepts of old.
But as the wind chills my behind,
Their teaching sometimes slips my mind.