a shell of a thing came to be

The storm came one night, you see

The thunder came and fell the tree.

Falling, falling became the tree.

And a shell of a thing came to be.

A small shell of a thing, you see

Flying high above the sea.

There is no alighting upon the sea, you see

For a shell of a thing above the sea.

Searching, searching for her tree

That fell the night she became to be.

Weary, tired – flying, flying above the sea

Wishing for all to see.

Oh how brave, how marvelous she is to be!

As she flies so high above the sea!

Blind to their eyes, she is to be.

Wings flying, trying so hard to be,

Above the torment of the sea.

For there is no rest above the sea.

Only the falling, falling tree, you see.

I grew up…

I grew up in the time of war…The wounds of war in me are still not healed

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching, pp. 4-5
wounds of war…persist

My youth

an unripe plum

Your teeth have left their marks on it.

The tooth marks still vibrate.

I remember always,

remember always.

Since I learned how to love you,

the door of my soul has been left wide open

to the winds of the four directions.

Reality calls for a change.

The fruit of awareness is already ripe,

and the door can never be closed again.

Fire consumes this century,

and mountains and forests bear its mark.

The wind howls across my ears,

while the whole sky shakes violently in the snowstorm.

Winter’s wounds lie still,

Missing the frozen blade,

Restless, tossing and turning

in agony all night.

~Thich Nhat Hanh (cited: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching)

a lone

on a tree standing

by the cliff in an old farm

a dove –

how lonely his voice

calling for a friend this evening

~ Saigyō (cited: Makoto Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)

“Of course you must know that every letter of yours will always give me pleasure, and only beat with the answer which will perhaps often leave you empty handed; for at bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone…” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.