Sometimes I stare, still disbelieving,
at the charred ruins of my burnt ambition,
and the futility of all my former knowledge.
How swiftly the fire of recognition, once ignited,
showed me there is nothing we can cling to,
nothing we can claim or own.
You ask from whence I come.
I answer, “Here”.
These ashes made a fertile womb,
and somehow a living sprout of light
has pushed up through the silt.
Deep gratitude for that light!
Whichever way that I may turn
in the mirror of this ebony vastness,
my own light reflects back at me.
What’s awake is awake in dark of night,
as well as in the light of day.
It’s the light within both, the light
in which both light and darkness
appear and vanish.
To the mind, this radiance may appear as darkness.
In that way, it is known only by its reflections –
these worlds afloat in the same sea of light
which we arise and dissolve in.
To the heart, it will speak if we but listen.
Only our own arrogance and self-absorption
obscures the truths it would have us hear.
Shine on, Dear Light!
Within the darkest night of despair,
there still awaits a hidden joy.
And yet within that hard-won joy itself,
there is a desolate, crumbling ruin of a palace,
stripped of any regal treasure, rain freely entering,
gently soaking the remnant ashes from which I’ve come,
quietly washing them down my cheeks like tears,
flowing tears shed for no one, nothing –
not a sorrow, not joy, not anything
but rain mixed with scattered ash
with no known place to land.
It’s only by letting go and resting here
in this nowhere place, ashes smeared
across my head, bereft of any will
or grace, that I begin at last