May 4, 2021

POEMS FROM LAO TZU PROMPTS

Previously on the Medusa's Kitchen site.

--

a grab at the brass ring.


                it's better not to make merit a matter of reward

                lest people conspire and contend. -lao tzu


we are tattooing dollar signs on the foreheads of the infants,

and dicing up the elderly and the homeless to use as chum

when we fish for more bankers and loan officers.


on the crucifix that we use for only decoration

we have replaced jesus with paper money.


these things happens daily.


night will come, then dawn, right on time;

we cannot prove it will happen, but it always does.


reward the wealthy for being wealthy

and punish the poor for being poor.


it's blood. drink it. it's greed. worship it.

aren't we tired of this yet?


war for profit. jails for profit.

has it come to this - living and dying for someone's profit?


friend, it's only a goddamn brass ring;

why even try to grab it?

pass it by, pass it by.


it is nothing. 

--

cupping my hands to hold the water.


                gravity is the root of grace,

                the mainstay of all grace. -lao tzu


cupping my hands like the fresh snow on the mountain.

cupping my hands like pulling pearls from mollusks.

cupping my hands to the chilling sound of another round being chambered.

cupping my hands like the moon whispering stories to the starlight.

cupping my hands like the government that spies on its own people.

cupping my hands as the refugees are turned away.

cupping my hands like the hungry, frightened child who was jailed at the border.

cupping my hands to hold the bread.

cupping my hands to hold the water.

cupping my hands like the baked, dry land that cries out for water.

cupping my hands like the wind as it slides through the trees.

cupping my hands like the tears of the forgotten.

cupping my hands as even more people become homeless.

cupping my hands as even more people fall to the bullets and bombs.

cupping my hands like the intentions of the river.

cupping my hands like hope when it bursts into blossom.

cupping my hands to offer love.

cupping my hands like the truth of the prophet, bless'd be his name.

cupping my hands like the truth of the buddha, the dharma.

cupping my hands like the final breath of the very old.

cupping my hands in prayer.

cupping my hands in prayer.

cupping my hands in prayer. 

--

i choose to believe. i don't care what you do.


                                why are the rivers and seas

                                lords of the waters? -lao tzu


the sea? the sea does exactly what it wants. you know that.

the river is subtle, changing course once in a while on a whim.


my eyes are blue seas, not a river. (i just had to say that.)

great white sharks are circling, so swim at your own risk.


is there hope? of course there is. faith has been left up to us.

i choose to believe. i don't care what you do. it's a funny life.


why are the rivers and seas lords of the waters?

why are the mountains and hills lords of the land?


everyone and everything needs someone

or something that they can look up to.


i look up at the birds when they fly, but by god,

when they walk they look up at me. 

--

like a stream in the hills.


                what is more fluid, more yielding than water? -lao tzu


life rolls by on steel wheels, as a train does,

and yet  the afternoon seems small anyway,

like a child or an unfinished thought.


the dogs have lapped up the butter from the dish

and summer is half over;

would you rather feed the poor

or buy more guns for the soldiers?

bigger guns? bigger bullets?


what was odysseus thinking when he had himself lashed

to the mast of his ship and the sirens sang so seductively?


prometheus returned the use of fire to the humans;

he must have known there would be hell to pay.

chained to that rock an eagle ate his liver every day,

and every night it grew back again. zeus was a republican

and he chaired the senate finance committee.


be the water, slipping down to the lower places,

flowing easy and slow. like a stream in the hills.

a young girl comes to the bank

and eases her feet into the blue water.

isn't she lovely? do you hope that she is kind?

--

something greater than this life.


                those who know do not tell,

                and those who tell do not know. -lao tzu


you can teach a dog to fetch a stick;

but can he understand the truth of the trees?


a cooper can build a barrel;

but he cannot know how you will fill it. 


take the key and wind the old clock; time has no real meaning.

we could start the count over at any point, if we so choose.


some people believe there is something greater than this life

and some do not. who is correct? how could i possibly know that?  

--

stay in the moment and move to the beat.


                rid of formalized wisdom and learning people

                would be a hundredfold happier. - lao tzu

               

the drumskin counts off the beat and lets the past go,

and in doing so the music travels from its soul to yours.


what's this? the drumskin has a soul? yes, of course,

so does the sun, the moon, and the world itself.


when you let the past go  your soul is more free

and so can then dance to this music.


so dance, the past is gone

and tomorrow can care of itself.


-for d.r. wagner

--

the savagery of the flowers.


                a sound man's heart is not shut within itself,

                but is open to other people's hearts. -lao tzu


tell me what i wish to know.


tell me how the savage flowers ate the air, and the soil, and the sun.

tell me if these flowers will now cover the earth with violence or with grace.

and tell me why the world spins one way but not  the other,

and why the flowers have grown long legs like people, and stalk

through the cities where the dead have been left untended

on the broken streets, left there by cruelty and unending war.


hear me, these blessings are my desire.


i want to open my heart to the passing of the moon

through his monthly stages and i want to learn to love

the sun as she blesses our lives with light.

i want to open my mind to the knowledge of kindness.


and more than my desire is my need. 


i need to become a better man than the one i have been.


tell me again of the savagery of the flowers.

tell me again of an earth covered with stems and blooms calling

for the return of the bees.


tell me what i wish to know.


i want to open my heart and leave it so.


-for william o'daly-

=

-by jobe

No comments:

Post a Comment