bring short summer nights
very early at dawn
pouring rain wakes me up
drops splashing sharp
crisp voices all around
reminding me at once
never to let pass
this clean slate
this new chance
to grow out of failures
and embrace the joy
the fortune of being alive
brought me long ago
to these poorly known
deep innermost shores.
Keen on the harvest of the spirit
but weary of ritual and dogma,
I was neither leader nor follower
and so these lands alone I entered.
In becoming faithful to myself,
self-reliant and authentic,
I stayed close to the essential and simple
and away from extremes and excess.
Along rough paths I progressed,
felt terror alongside crags,
suffered thirst on dry hot plains
and in pestilent mires delayed.
I settled at last in a simple hut,
plucked weeds and cleaned around,
planting with great care some good seeds
brought from the ancient West and East.
Under a gentle Sun steadily I worked,
in earnest this inner garden tended,
taking at last of myself possession
and becoming one with Nature.
In arriving back to these shores,
I finally feel a calm strength,
hard-won and deeply felt,
crucial to set course and sail,
out in the unknown again.
days and nights
self and community
hermitage and service
voices, smiles and frowns
silence and solitude
ten thousand early mornings
ten thousand late afternoons
a million thoughts
this winding path
wherever it leads
the mere fact of remembrance
the austere peace of understanding
what we learned
what we left
what we meant
not passing clouds
but gentle suns
shining upon each other