Audience of One

earth below, sky above

When I was young and serious, I remember
studying some Zen philosophy. It's been years...
many years ago now since I sprawled on soft grass
like this, the whole world pressed firmly up
against my back, sky spread out wide blue above
me everywhere. Turning over, there

within its concrete border, unwound balls
of pill bugs tractor through the garden's debris
and tiny red specks of insects and little
jumping spiders; an entire world miniaturized
(I thought) in the span of a curling cherry leaf—
Blake's universe in a lost thimble down in the

marigolds. The tight–wound white cord running up
the hard, erect length of the bronze orb—
tipped flagpole delicately pings, waffling
in the mild breeze of premature summer. This time
of afternoon kids are still in school. At the sitting,
the fat, black butons, flounced and set in the center

of the straw mats, are sat upon like taking checkers
squares by ardent students eventually filling the Zendo.
The tight muscles running along my spine relax,
for once, as meditation facing the blank wall—
begins. I remember the Roshi has said something about
"no–mind" or "great shining mirror mind" (but I believe
that's documented Mahayana doctrine). I puzzle

the difference then clear my thoughts. Under this
crinkled sheaf of self an entire world
without which what's left? Joining
the chlorophyll air, floating above iron earth—
itself floating through rare, sun–flecked space—
the dry leaf molders: A fine dust.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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