The road is long. So do no mind the
smallness of the present.
PRAJNADEVA IN A LETTER TO
XUANZANG, CIRCA AD 645
I. SAMSARA – THE WORLD
“Journey long,” the teacher says,
so we go down, deep and deeper,
till we see ankles first, then feet.
And only after touching our heads
to the diamond back of the earth,
do we rise again, arched like curls
of river silk, emptying our souls
into the sky, forgetting the world.
II. DHAMMA – THE MEANS
We meet as lovers do, through births
and deaths, worn-down nubs of thigh
and breast, silent spaces of inadequacy.
“Come through the gates of drowning,”
the teacher says, so we cross with lotus
rafts and abandon them at the water’s edge
where love’s refrain is whispering: The world
begins and then it ends. Begins and ends again.
This poem appeared in Everything Begins Elsewhere (HarperCollins India / Bloodaxe UK / Copper Canyon USA)
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