The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

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

Monday, January 24, 2011














The Art of Disappearing


When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.


--Naomi Shihab Nye

3 comments:

Hedwig said...

I love this. This is exactly what I needed to read today.

Anonymous said...

Hedwig, you might love Nye's poems...are you familiar with her? She always finds the right tone and expresses it so simply and eloquently.
I'm aware frequently of how I allow myself to be used up, it's frightening. But keeping that awareness fresh reminds me to do as she says, "walk around feeling like a leaf."

Hedwig said...

I have only read a few of Nye's poems, but your comment inspires me to look more into her work. Thank you. This poem has stayed with me for the last several days, and the image of walking around "feeling like a leaf." Knowing you could "tumble at any second" certainly helps to keep things in perspective and to choose more carefully and deliberately how to spend time.