Thursday, January 31, 2013

Skinned


My skin is not what
separates me from
the rest of the earth.

It's my awareness
of my skin that cuts me
loose.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Light Power


Sunlight powers growth.
Shadow coaxes reflection.

Growth demands change.
Reflection discovers wisdom.

Change creates motion.
Wisdom empties into stillness.

Motion powers time.
Stillness coaxes light.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hard Winter


Winds strip the leaves.
Ice prunes the branches.
Winter thins the trees.
Spring replants the forest.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Above or Below


Change comes either
from above the surface
or from below the surface.

The surface itself
merely reflects the change.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Simple Life


A simple life is attractive,
but how to maintain it?
So many distractions among
the ten thousand things.

When I learn to live simply
even among distractions,
the distractions themselves
become as ordinary as grass.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Six Reflections


Trees on water.
My face in a mirror.

A night sky in the mind.
Grain in a farmer's hand.

A baby just come into the world.
The empty chair at dinner.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Does It Mean?


We overlay meaning
on everything we encounter.
This is how we make sense
of our universe.

Making sense means
learning what to expect.

When we live
outside of expectations,
our need for meaning fades.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What We Care About


We want to protect
what we care about.

The more we care,
the more set we become.

The more set we become,
the more willing we are
to give our life for it.

Or to take someone else's.

Some things are worth a life.
Most things aren't.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nothing of Itself


A river gives up
nothing of itself
to reflect the sky.

The sky gives up
nothing of itself
to reflect on the river.

The river is still a river.
The sky is still a sky.

Both unchanged.
Both always changing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rhythm Method


Breath.
Heartbeat.
Footstep.

Our bodies are
syncopated
machines.

If they can work
in rhythm
within themselves,

they can work
in rhythm
with each other.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Downpour


The sky wrings itself
out like a rag.

Towns flood downstream.

Tao wrings itself
out like a sponge.

The ten thousand things are born.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blink


Night after night,
the moon goes
through its phases.

Mountains come
and go under its light.
Rivers surge and dwindle
below its changing face.

The moon blinks,
and we've already
come and gone.

The sun blinks,
and the moon is
just a flash in the pan.

The universe blinks,
and our sun never existed
at all.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Root Pain


When a hurt
has roots
that run
all the way
to the bone,
was it planted
by a long blade,
or did it grow
like a weed
from within?

One is cured
by forgiveness.

The other
needs wisdom.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Nothings


Say nothing,
and you become invisible.

Do nothing,
and you become expendable.

Think nothing,
and you become gullible.

Believe nothing,
and you become dangerous.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

World Line


Humanity
has its own
world line.

The universe
has one, too.

The ten thousand things
arise and return.

Tao alone is free
of time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Not Allowed to Choose


Born in a mansion.
Born in a manger.

Grow up in a house.
Grow up in a hovel.

Live a short life.
Live a long life.

Die in a bed.
Die in a battle.

There are many things
we are not allowed to choose.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Promotion


I am nine.
I am in the third grade.

I am nineteen.
I am in the third grade. 

I am twenty-nine.
I am in the third grade.

I am thirty-nine.
I am in the third grade.

I am forty-nine.
I am in the third grade.

I am fifty-nine.
I am in the fourth grade.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Five Gifts


First is the gift of sight.
It cures spiritual blindness.

Second is the gift of heart.
It cures spiritual coldness.

Third is the gift of pain.
It cures spiritual apathy.

Fourth is the gift of noise.
It cures spiritual aloofness.

Fifth is the gift of wisdom.
It cures spiritual pride.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inexhaustible


Tao is inexhaustible.
Nothing can be added.
Nothing can be taken away.

We, too, are Tao.
Nothing can be added.
Nothing can be taken away.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lawmakers


When money makes the laws,
weapons proliferate.

When age makes the laws,
change becomes a challenge.

When power makes the laws,
the disenfranchised become dangerous.

When wisdom makes the laws,
compassion and justice expand.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lost Along the Way


Lost travelers are
more willing to accept
bad accommodations.

This is especially true
along the spiritual road.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lost Within


One day, we may discover
electrons have moons of their own.

And fruit trees and orchards.
Continents of indigenous people.

Oceans and tides and coral beds.
Storms raging across tiny lands.

More worlds lost within themselves.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ideals


We build temples of power
as large as our best ideals
and wring our hands when
we can't live up to them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

An Enemy's Oldest Pain


What advantage is it
to have an enemy?
No one is a clear stream.
Everyone is polluted somehow.

When you know the source
of an enemy's oldest pain,
you possess the power
to forgive.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Elders


Age spots, white hair.
Paper skin, deafness.

What fragile vessels
for such accrued wisdom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Clarity


Clear sight is a blessing.
Clear thought is a curse.

One shows the road to follow.
The other keeps us still.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Journey of Cities


Cities begin as towns.
Towns begin as settlements.
Settlements begin as crossroads.
Crossroads begin as paths.
Each path begins as a single journey.

No telling what might happen
when we step beyond our door.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seasoned Listening


Listening to winter
is not the same as
listening to summer.

One offers the silence
of bare trees.
The other offers
the nervous singing of birds.

Every season speaks
a different language.
Listening carefully
is how we discover this.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mirror Views


Everything I think is true
has an opposing mirror view.

The reflection of trees on water
reminds me of this.

Every point of view
is like this reflection.

An ever-changing illusion.