by Judith J Gadd
Sunday, August 26, 2001
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I wrote this poem while living alone. I spent my days thinking about Buddhist philosophy and talking mostly to my dog. It is about my inner journey and my explorations with the idea of emptiness.
The world goes on I know;
Kingdoms rising and falling,
Cycles of change,
While in my little hut,
The dog barks, the kettle boils,
Moments of inspiration
Swept up with the dust of the floor.
Where are my castles? My prince?
Wise men and fools alike
Pass by my door.
She sweeps the step,
Old woman mumbling to herself.
Who would seek treasure here?
Who knows if the fire within
Burns with a holy light?
The dog barks, discouraging the bold.
The wind blows the dust back across the step.
Tomorrow she will sweep again,
Leaving not even a brush stroke in the sand.
Days pass, the stars shine bright at night
In the silence and the dark
The old woman counts the stars,
Rearranging them with her broom.
Her body grows stronger,
The days lengthen
As she holds the sun and planets
In her womb, rocking gently,
She sings the songs of lovers, of oceans,
Lullabies to the night.
In the darkness who will come?
Seeing the strange light from the windows?
Who will stand outside the gate
Sensing the inevitable?
Listening in the night,
She hears the far off, lovely singing
Of some star.
She sleeps. Day comes.
In the morning she puts on the air of spring.
In the mirror no face appears.
The sparkling glass without image
Holds no clue.
Sweeping again she pauses in her yard,
No footprint in the dust,
Only a feather catches her eye.
Tonight she will sing to it.
Tonight she will teach it to fly.
The pockets of her aprons
Are filled with the days and nights
Of earth, the songs of stars,
Bones the dog has chewed smooth.
Who will look there for the Tao?
And if they looked
What would they find
But bits of string and colored threads,
Scraps of paper, words of half remembered tunes?
The laughter of babies, the last sigh of death,
Recipes for balm, and the cure for warts?
An old woman's pockets to be sure.