Step Into the Grass

Tonight
I’ll bare my feet
and step into the grass;
and, for the first time
since the sun
last set on my naked
shoulders,
I’ll prostrate myself
before the rising moon.

So much time has
passed since then,
since I last felt raw
moonglow on
my rusty skin,
that I have forgotten
how the breath of night
can upturn a sallow face.

Long ago,
when I could still remember
how to pause,
and how to listen,
and how to breathe,
for more reasons
than just to breathe,
I knew fields
and wood,
and calico aster;
I knew how to kneel,
and how to observe,
and how to bring myself to quiet.

And I knew,
without knowing,
that if I lay
on my back
beneath the reeds
and remained hushed,
as night clouds
floated by,
shadowed and silent,
that my Self
would simply fall
away.

~~~~

Youth!
Numinous
youth!

Youth,
as ignorant,
as simple,
as pure,
and as free
as the flowing
freedom of sudden
Dogen insight—

a sudden insight of…

*

~~~~

Tonight
I’ll bare my feet
and step old and aching
into the caliginous balm
of the cool redemptive night.

 
 

from Poems From the River: a collection of reflections

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