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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ode to the Mode of This and That

Let me start by explaining that whatever it is that I've learned about Buddhism over the last few years comes from reading and translating classical Chinese poetry rather than from attaching myself to any contemporary school or lineage.  I developed a daily practice that involved reading and translation, at first more than meditation I suppose.

Still I've learned a lot in my own peculiar fashion. Lately I'm surprised to find myself meditating more and translating less or at least thinking these are more or less interchangeable activities. And meditation I increasingly favor, perhaps because I also find it has broader health benefits.

In any case,  I wanted to share with you a poem written this afternoon, which is best described as a meditation, inasmuch as it was composed in the course of spending 15 minutes settling in on the mat.

Ode to the Mode of This and That

There’s so many me's
It’s hard to keep track
There’s the mode of this
And the mode of that
An avatar on Linkedin
At home a married man
Held (I sure hope) in warm regard
By a small circle of friends
Every day it seems
Me becomes ever
More prolific

Then there’s
The meditative me
Sometimes the not me
Sitting quiet and alone
On a blue exercise mat
Without pen and notebook
Ready at hand
Outwardly silenced
And more alert
(though ever elusive
and easily spooked)
Inwardly laughing
Often so hard my sides
Just might burst

The gnomon of nothing
That resides in my frame
The shadow of a wraith
Or an indistinct flame
When breathing falls stilled
The inspiration still remains

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