Monday, January 31, 2011

Enemy Is Never Singular


Every enemy
must have an enemy
to be an enemy.

When I choose
to have an enemy,
I set a trap for two.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Ground


When the winds are up,
winter ground looks harder
than it really is.

Underneath its skin, though,
it keeps the next generation
hidden and warm for spring.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Becoming the Dance


A dervish spins and dances and spins until the hand of God takes him and spins him and dances him and spins him. When the dance ends, the dervish stops spinning and dancing and spinning and turns back into a man.

Why wouldn't he spend the rest of his life trying to become that dance again?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shadow of Perfection


Perfection is a shadow we cast
whenever we consider our flaws.

Shadows casting shadows.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Addicted to Patterns


We are addicted to patterns.
We seek them everywhere.
It's one of our survival tools.

Seeing what is not apparent.
Discerning what has meaning.
Discovering the familiar again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What Are Liver Spots to a Rock?


What are liver spots to a rock?
What are wrinkles to an oak?
What is white hair to a mountaintop?
What are lost memories to an ocean?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Branching Tree


Trees grow up into air
like arteries under the skin,
branching and branching,
yet fed from one root.

Turned upside down,
the singular root is also
an ever-branching ball
of tendrils in the dirt.

One diversity feeds another.
One is a tree.
Ten thousand things are a tree.
Branches that reflect one another.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Star Lights


We are made from the dust of stars.
We are unique patterns of elements
forged in the foundries of suns.
Why wouldn't we expect to be full of light?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tasting the Apple


"Do you not see the apple on the tree?" he asked his grandfather.

"I don't need to," answered the old man.

"What do you mean?"

"I planted that tree. I know the breadth of its shade in the summer and the smell of its crop in winter."

The child said nothing.

"Who needs to see what is meant to be tasted, anyway?" the old man said.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Continental Drift


When I find myself dreading tomorrow, it's good to remember that continents are adrift under my feet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reflections and Reality


If a tree's reflection
from the far bank
looks like a fallen trunk
under the surface,
it is the play of light
that makes it appear so.

What is real and
what is reflection
is not always apparent
at first sight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

How Many Times a Day?


How many times a day do I have to remind myself I have what I need?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself I'll be okay?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself to stop being afraid?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself to stop worrying?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself to love my neighbor?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself to accept everything as a gift?
How many times a day do I have to remind myself to be ever grateful?

Apparently, more than once.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Evolutionary Question


Loneliness I can understand.
We need one another.

But why did we evolve sadness?
Depression? Despair?

Was it for the same reason?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lost


What do I do when I realize
I'm on the wrong path?

Do I turn and retrace my steps?
Do I study a map to find my way back?
Do I ask directions of those I meet?
Do I continue on my wayward way?
Do I sit motionless in the middle of the trail?

There is always a right way forward
no matter how lost I become.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Two Lives


I have a physical life in this universe of here and now, and I have a spiritual life unbounded by time and space.

How much of each of these am I willing to explore?

How many gifts will I leave unopened?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When I'm Ready


The door will open
when I'm ready.

The path will appear
when I'm set.

The journey will begin
when I'm prepared.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Setting the Clock


When I set my clocks by the Tao,
I have all the time I need.

When I try to control my own schedule,
I slip farther and farther behind.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preparing to Go


Preparing to go on a journey is sometimes active work. Studying maps. Learning from others who have gone a similar way. Deciding what to take and what to leave behind.

Preparing to go on a journey is sometimes passive work. Watching for the right time to set out. Waiting for the first step to show itself.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fetish Stone


I turn the future over and over again
in my mind as if rubbing a fetish stone.
Setting it down is hard when I expect
to arrive in the future in due time.

The problem with the future
is that it can only be based on
my expectations about the future,
and my expectations are based on
things as I know them to be now.

What I cannot know in this moment
is what I will find in the future
that isn't on the map of my expectations.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Six Trees


Which trees feed us?
Which trees shelter us?
Which trees clothe us?
Which trees warm us?
Which trees poison us?
Which trees ignore us?

Fruit trees feed us.
Strong trees shelter us.
Pliant trees clothe us.
Seasoned trees warm us.
Threatened trees poison us.
No trees ignore us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Better Investment


Kind words cost nothing,
yet they can change a life.

Mean words cost nothing,
yet they, too, can change a life.

Which is the better investment?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

That Which Sustains


A glass for water.
A cup for tea.
A bowl for soup.
A mug for coffee.
A pot for rice.
A kettle for stew.

Each sits on a shelf,
ready to be filled.
Their emptiness
makes a place for that
which sustains.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Root and Leaf


Root, trunk, branch, twig, leaf.
A tree both stands and bends.

Bed, banks, turns, current, surface.
A stream both pushes and yields.

Toes, hips, shoulders, head, soul.
Balance is the greatest challenge.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What We Carry With Us


The hands of a surgeon, the hands
that spend a career salvaging lives,
they die when the surgeon dies.

The paintings of an artist, the works
that turn viewers into fellow artists,
they live on even after the artist dies.

Some things we carry
with us into the grave.
Some things we cannot.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Discovering Salvation


If you want
to save the world,
discover your own
salvation first.

To discover
your own
salvation,
look within.