POEM: “I Never Knew”

I Never Knew
“““““““
Take off the backpack.
Lie down in long grass.
Pull up the blue sky-blanket.
Rest.

So many years of Dharma practice,
Straight-spine diligence, straining toward enlightenment.
Today.
This hillside.
Just this.

Lie down in long grass.
Let the earth take you.
Deer tracks and horse dung
and the eye within the eye, revolving and luminous.

I never knew this.
Did no one ever tell me?

I remember my Zen Master in the interview room.
“Trust yourself,” he said. “Just be yourself.”

I think his meaning was this:

Take off the backpack.
Lie down in long grass.
Let the sky take you.
Rest.
Breathe space
into space
into space.

I never knew there was so much light!


Helen Dhara Gatling-Austin
October 31, 1998

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