This Love
(Phil Gable)

I wrote this poem in my head during a sitting period at sesshin. During a break I went to my car and wrote it down on a piece of scrap paper. It is the unedited, unrevised spontaneous product of my zen experience.

I’m a little reluctant to add more commentary because shikantaza isn’t about writing poems, yet when they arise, why not? I guess the poem is a rough expression or channeling of non-dual consciousness. I’ve found over the years that kensho moments defy conventional language because conventional language is intrinsically dualistic. That’s why the language of poetry and metaphor, story and art seem to serve better when the time comes that we have to say something.

This Love

The rose loves the compost
Arises from it, is nourished by it, returns to it.

But that is not this love.

This love arises from Nothing. Returns to Nothing.
This love depends on Nothing.
This love simply re-blooms, recreates, in each budding moment.

The ship loves the sea
Sails from port to port, buoyed by it, rocked by it,
Is tempered by its storms
And learns patience when the winds die away.

But that is not this love.

This love neither arises nor departs
Neither rages nor becalms
This love has no horizon
Rather, it sits steadfast like a beacon
Illuminating all who open their eyes to see.

The leaf loves the tree. Receives life from it,
Breathes life back, then dies, and in falling near the roots,
Provides the very last shred of its being
To sustain the cycle.

But that is not this love.

This love’s every breath is first and last.
This love was never born and so cannot die.

This love is a boundless field
That is not rose, nor ship, nor leaf
Yet holds them all and is held by them.

This love has no edges, no lines, no conditions.
This love is not two. Not you and me.

This love endures moment into moment
Lifetime into lifetime. Forever.

This love is just this: Love.

No comments: