A cloud obscures the moon.
A dismayed teenager takes to her bed for three days, then cuts herself.
A fragment of the mind breaks off,
floats to the ceiling,
and surveys the scene, asking:
“Is this poem even in English?”
When we live in exile, we may think we are flourishing: we have a loving
husband and two children . . . but the longing for home arises.
We ask: “What can I rely on?”
We ask: “Shall I follow the minor precepts to the letter,
or follow my heart?”
Then abruptly: the sight of blood, the hand leaving the handrail . . .
and we resolve to return home to family,
to Old Plum Mountain.
When they meet, Sei and Sei-jo melt together,
and her father Chokan rejoices!
Compassion is the child of wisdom.
In the Biblical parable, the prodigal returns home
amid wonder and redemption and feasting;
But this miracle was possible only because of the primal rupture
and the bitterness of long estrangement.
When you hit the boiling water, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Mountain and valley: not two, not one.
present moment wonderful moment
—Gyoshi Kirei Rob Lyons