Zen Love Poem

Sometimes I wonder whether some of my poems are too personal, too full of recent turmoil to post – maybe I should keep them for another day, another month, another year?

I have not made a post for a while, things have been happening. It’s funny you can meet someone and you just have this feeling that something is going to happen, something at least that transcends the ordinary for a while and makes life strange. I met someone recently who turned me inside out, and woke up a lot of things in me that I had kept sleeping quietly. I wrote Zen Love Poem (although didn’t title it until later) about this person just after the second time I met her, because I felt a story was unfolding, the old story of two people getting to know each other and all that entails, the pitfalls of conversation, the disguises we wear, the mistakes we make, the gamble we take when we choose to let another person into our lives, the way the past casts its shadows on the present, the beginnings of affection and the acknowledgement of the unfolding stories of each other. Of course the story ended, all stories end, I knew it would end somehow, it is the nature of things. Thank heavens I am getting good at the Buddhist idea of letting go – and so, in releasing this series of loose haiku, I let her go…

Zen Love Poem

For Michelle

Twists in your hair, the swell of your smile,
Side-stepping reflection I puzzle over
In the half dark between us.

What is this disguise you have brought,
That you play in fancy dress
To my stumbling harlequin?

Quickly we play the game, bend rules.
To and fro we pass the dice
Of questions and half-answers.

You are not your form, nor I mine,
We shift from posture to posture,
Struggling with the act of being.

Mantras in our repitition, the habit
Of saying the the same thing over
Until there is something to say.

The breath you hold in parenthesis,
Inserting your surprise, suddenly
Remembering so many beginnings.

Let go of the past; remember that
Forgetting is sometimes
The first step on the path of truth.

Open your mind, take my hand,
Palm to palm a little of each other,
It begins and ends with hands.

This private story I tell in public
With the breath of loving kindness.
Tell me your story.

4 thoughts on “Zen Love Poem

  1. I like this poem a lot, tender and with a lot of poetry. I know Michelle and this poem reflects her being.

    What is this disguise you have brought,
    That you play in fancy dress
    To my stumbling harlequin?

    I loved this stanza, beautifully drawn and the imagery is exquisite, very fine. This poem has a wonderful lyrical quality, questioning values, reality and also very human. I liked:

    The breath you hold in parenthesis,
    Inserting your surprise, suddenly
    Remembering so many beginnings.

    This reminded me of Michelle, she loves discovering new things. I can hear her voice in this stanza, excellent.

  2. “the half dark between” … where we all live, i sometimes think; this is an almost brutal concept yet it’s also compassionate … a spiritual truth … beyond judgement … and so the poem moves between clarities and masks … vivid motion seems to be the key here.

    i love “palm to palm” .. i have a very old poem called “palm to psalm” … i never have succeeded in getting it “right” but the concept haunts me.

    “Forgetting is sometimes The first step on the path of truth” – how true is that??

    This is a love poem – endings should be as in-love as beginnings … though not many “get” that …

    a deeply moving poem, Rob!

  3. i’m not sure there is a “when” to let a poem fly … i think each has its own timespace … i knew a brilliant visionary poet who said “never edit, just let go and forget it” … there’s a lot of truth in that and your poem says it too.

    i also think that poems find their readers and vice versa. the heart of a poem isn’t about “too” this or that … academics would say that was sloppy thinking but i think they’re often heart-strangers by the time they get obsessed with technicalities … *watches academic world set my pyre*

  4. I like this poem, well described and a good explanation showing real love,”The breath you hold in parenthesis,
    Inserting your surprise, suddenly,Remembering so many beginnings.” just awesome stanza…

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