Inked Love

Inked arms
curling like
incense smoke
around
my heart.

I pray in kind.

He traces
his map
on my skin

where he had
been

dark places
and lost

and how he
only had
a candle –

all this
he draws
onto me

as I breathe
his spiced smoke
and take all of him in

– all

until the prayer
is answered

and I read
his tale
over and over

inked
on my skin.

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Home the Sea

You know this place

where you become

sea kelp,

floating,

hardly solid.

 

You are rocked,

each fear

replaced

by salt kisses.

 

Landwalker,

the moon rules

your veins

and your blood

is salt water.

 

When dry fissures

crack your heels,

hands,

heart,

 

listen for the waves.

 

You cannot lose her,

the sea.

In the shell

of your heart

lies a pearl.

To a Teacher

I had not
tried to meet him
for I felt too small,

so I was unprepared
when the grace
in his words
met me.

They say a
man can die
and his bones
lay in one place
hidden, underground.

His words
came to me
as I walked
through

golden, red and
brown leaves

unexpected,
and I was only
dressed

in autumn,
heading to
winter.

He turned my
mind to Spring.

They say the touch
of a teacher across
time, space, even death
is a blessing-
Adhisthana.

This is written to Sangharakshita who died in late October. I am in the Triratna Buddhist movement and have learned much from his books and teachings, though I had never met him.

Hills of Pine and Oak

Hills of pine and oak
stretch before you,
dun, golden and green,
the colors of a hillside
in autumn.

A lake is visible
below you,
in the valley.
reflections of clouds
move in its stillness.

There are houses
but not many,
most things here are
trees, water,
blue sky and birdsong.

Sit here
and let the cool,
fresh, pine-scented
air fill your lungs

as the sky
fills your eyes
and the land
fills your heart

and your blood
and the tree sap
and the streams
running through it all

pulse
with the same
bright, simple
joy
of living.

This poem was inspired by the ever-reflective Loch Voil in Scotland.

Savannah

History
comes to me,
a dim and starless
unsky.

The truth
lays in lies
by what they
deny.

The flower
in a name – magnolia
belies

the rain

wet green
bog vines

reach
grasp
smother

the rolling rumble
of the land

and the scent
of southern sweetbay

– Savannah.

I spent some time in the south and felt its heavy, rich presence which led my mind to this poem.