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This poem and others are available in my books, Nothing Works: Meditations on Aikido, Buddhism, the Tao, Zen, and other inconsequential things....and, Nothing Special..., available thru Amazon.com, in print and Kindle editions and Barnes & Noble websites.....Also available as an e-book via Smashwords.com. Try this link: www.nothing-works.com for the full array of options.
The mat seems harder today
My body perhaps a little more stiff
A little less responsive
But, the bell rings - thrice
And we bow, and we start
How many years has it been?
How many different faces
Have I bowed to over the years?
We are all here for the same reason -
Practice - so, let us begin...
Though I move and sweat and struggle
My efforts produce little
So, I try again, and again
Day after day, month after month
Year after year, decade after decade
Gis come and go, as do hakama
Weapons sliver and sometimes break
If achievement is my goal
I am in serious trouble
I am a wet leaf
Clinging to the door
A door heavily barred
Against a chill
Not entirely nature made
Still, I cling, waiting
Hoping, in desperation
That when the bell tolls -
Tumbling waves of sound
My desperate patience
Will be rewarded
Talk to me
Let us have a dialogue
An intimate conversation
Attack me! Go-no-sen
Ah, data, information...
One is now two
Two talk - move
Two are becoming one - again
Talk some more Sen-no-sen
The dialogue intensifies!
My body converses
With my mind, my spirit
I converse with yours
I move - you move Sen-sen-no-sen
Come - talk with me!
You can stare into the abyss
And deny its existence
Or, you can look and feel
The normal fear it brings forth
But, still ready to take that leap
That leap from which there is no return
Where you exit from the other side
Either a broken person, mind shattered
Or, you emerge greater than before
Mind sound and soul enraptured
Looking back at the abyss
As though at a small puddle you needed to cross
To reach this far shore where light and joy inhabit
And God is finally within reach
The sound of silence
Is an oxymoron
A nonsensical phrase
That connotes a negative Why won't you say something?
We never talk anymore!
It's so quiet in here - Implying more noise
Is a more preferable state
Granted verbal communication
Can be a good thing
But, silence, silence
Is also a natural language
Be quiet now - listen
Find a quiet spot - listen
Settle yourself - listen
A profound silence can follow
Listen - silence has a vastness
And, if you listen very closely
You can hear faint whispers
From far away - far away
God hears your silence