Figure in a small icon
My royal robe is full of blue crosses.
I am looking at you as if into
an anonymous camera that has commanded me
to lay myself open – my short beard, my
clipped black hair. I have just arrived
or am about to leave, and my royalty
or sainthood or status as marked prisoner
gives me the vulnerability of one
who will be eternally fixed – precisely so.
If the earth explodes this night
and I am all that is left of humanity
any future sentient being
will judge us to have been creatures
given no other means of defence
than the nakedness of their gaze.
They will see only the godhead buried
at every moment within us –
not the deceit, the violence, the greed
that ruled our days.
The parade of moments
In the here and now I am restless,
In the here and now I am scattered,
In the here and now it is cold, the sky is a purple tinge of grey and,
outside, a heavy green foliage blankets the trees,
In the here and now a great distance opens between myself
and the simplest shape of beauty, of joy.
And yet I have just been meditating,
And yet I have just been sitting, holding tight to breath-awareness,
And yet a moment ago my life lay before me, threaded together
by long strands of radiance, of certitude,
A moment ago I said, inside myself I am Buddha.
Meanwhile my eyes sting from onions chopped
half an hour ago,
Meanwhile my head throbs for no reason, slightly, persistently,
Meanwhile I squeeze my eyes shut till a quiet pulsing
erupts from the still sadness at the earth’s core.
And today I have listened to Mahler,
And today I have walked by the river,
And today I have filled pages with words broken loose
like chipped stones.
It grows cold in the heavy depths of my boots.
Autumn spills quietly into winter.
Today I may be lost
or today I may be stumbling, more sideways than forward,
while daylight’s ebb and flow
tilts a little more into darkness.
With no time to assemble them,
messages arrive from the vanishing world.
Today the house is still
and, in my shirt pocket, memory places
the note to collect from the Dry Cleaners the trousers
with the hole to be mended
in the right pocket where my life might
any moment slip through.