from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon
Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.
Straightaway she cast into the wine they were drinking
a medicine to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forth
forgetfulness of every ailment to the soul.
Odyssey, Book 4, Homer
I know it may seem strange to speak of flourishing
in this windswept time of trouble
but now is precisely the time
to have a conversation
about our allegiance to cultivation.
Hold your heart-shaped hand into the wind.
Ask yourself, with your comrades as witness:
"In this time of brittle cracking,
am I being as soft as I can
with the wounded creature of myself?
Am I being as soft as I can
with my fellow neighbors in this burning house?"
Surround yourself with Clear-Mirrors —
those who will call you out if you delude yourself;
those who will tug on your sleeve
and pull you back toward Life
if you seek the fruitless way of senseless martyrdom.
Every great being started off with the same seed-center as you.
The heaven-striving cedar.
The blue-eyed monk who brought Zen to China.
The girl with the curls at the lemonade stand.
The 90 year old kyudo grandmother.
The one lost, out on the road tonight,
trying to find the flame of their Nepenthe.
The one by the hospital bed
guiding souls over to the other side as we speak.
I know it may seem strange
to speak of the fruit of practice and loving
in this time of famine and burning,
but if we are ever to ripen, together,
we have to join heart-minds
and conjure the proper weather
for actual growth and becoming tender.
What does the wisdom of your Winter Body
have to teach the longing of your Summer Body?
What can your Lotus Body
to your Pain Body?