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I am smarting today
Instead of saying that, why not
say “Today the unattended patio orchid
is blooming profusely,
golden bud in the white petals.”
He who sees its fresh innocence 
is awe-struck.
Despite your guilt of negligence
you are absolved by the plant
that has bloomed.
The choir of feathered stems,
the mudra achieved only at a mountaintop,
the treatise of life-giving force
hibernating in the roots.
I can’t help being pained by the sense
of beauty,
pricked more than skin deep by its thorns.
What am I saying?
What am I thinking of?
The way the orchid opens up makes me
mindless about the dharma 
that was nailed in my head.
I get washed-up & tired.
Pain too is a mother of beauty. Is it not?
I am smarting, as if I were enlightened,
as if I were preaching enlightenment,
as if I were the embodiment of enlightenment!
Let’s do away with those as-ifs.
Anicca, the law of impermanence
Dukkha, the law of suffering –
the orchid, too, shall bloom.
Anatta, the law of non-self –
the orchid shall sway against its will.
My pain is my entrapment. And yet 
don’t I pain myself to bloom
my own flowers of Anicca, Dukka & Anatta?
My cat, Ping, jumps onto my lap, 
looks at me straight in the eyes, & miaows 
before curling up into a fur ball in soul-to-soul trust.
Wife comes to give me my night pills.
“Does everything bloom amongst Chaos?” I ponder.
No, everything is the doing of Chaos.
No, everything is . . .
if only I could understand,
would I, like the orchid, bloom in pain? 
O . . . how I am smarting today!
 
 
 
 
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