The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eleven O'Clock At Night

I lie alone in bed; cooking and stories are over at last, and some peace comes.  And what did I do today?  I wrote down some thoughts on sacrifice that other people had, but couldn't relate them to my own life.  I brought my daughter to the bus--on the way to Minneapolis for a haircut--and I waited twenty minutes with her in the somnolent hotel lobby.  I wanted the mail to bring some praise for my ego to eat, and was disappointed.  I added up my bank balance, and found only $65, when I need over a thousand to pay the bills for this month alone.  So this is how my life is passing before the grave?
The walnut of my brain glows.  I feel it irradiate the skull.  I am aware of the consciousness I have, and I mourn the consciousness I do not have.
Stubborn things lie and stand around me--the walls, a bookcase with its few books, the footboard of the bed, my shoes that lie against the blanket tentatively, as if they were animals sitting at table, my stomach with its curved demand.  I see the bedside lamp, and the thumb of my right hand, the pen my fingers hold so trustingly.  There is no way to escape from these.  Many times in poems I have escaped--from myself.  I sit for hours and at last see a pinhole in the tip of the pumpkin, and I slip out that pinhole, gone!  The genie expands and is gone; no one can get him back in the bottle again; he is hovering over a car cemetery somewhere.
Now more and more I long for what I cannot escape from.  The sun shines on the house across the street.  Eternity is near, but it is not here.  My shoes, my thumbs, my stomach, remain inside the room, and for that there is no solution.  Consciousness comes so slowly, half our live passes, we eat and talk asleep--and for that there is no solution.  Since Pythagoras died the world has gone down a certain path, and I cannot change that.  Someone not in my family invented the microscope, and Western eyes grew the intense will to pierce down through its darkening tunnel.  Air itself is willing without pay to lift the 707's wing; and for that there is no solution.  Pistons and rings have appeared in the world;  valves usher gas vapor in and out of the theater box ten times a second;  and for that there is no solution.  Something besides my will loves the woman I love.  I love my children, though I did not know them before they came.  I change every day.  For the winter dark of late December there is no solution.

--Robert Bly
from What Have I Ever Lost By Dying

thanks Mini for the lovely book....

No comments: