Images of Retreat, Karme Choling Vermont

Recently had a chance to spend a week retreat at Karme Choling, the Shambhala meditation center in Barnett Vermont, one of my favorite places– early season snows, ice, darkness and light.

the lovely ones

it’s always the lovely ones

who brave this world without a shell,

 

fated to feel everything, to snag themselves

on every thorn, strike every sharp corner

of this brilliant chaotic world.

 

yet they rise and rise again undaunted

wounded but alive, shake themselves off

and look the word straight in the eye

 

then charge headlong, raging, laughing

beautiful and free, straight

 

through the narrow rusty gates

of our hearts

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

loss

stones

stones-2

I’m old enough now to see

how I’ve lived my life in dogs,

each a sun-warmed stone

in this stream of loneliness.

by these have I kept my feet dry,

have I so far made it across.

I look into the brown eyes

of my young black dog,

and can’t help but do the math.

My heart breaks in the knowing

of that distant day when he tells me —

it is time. When do we begin

to die? not at birth, surely,

there’s such a rush to life

for so long, but it slows somewhere,

somehow deep inside of itself

it starts to slow, until one day

as we sit together talking,

this slowing shows itself

in our faces, in our eyes, in our first

clear diminishing, and then we know,

yes we know. We’ve had a week now

of cold nights and windy mornings

the clouds dropping down, scraping

the tops of the aspens, stripping them

of leaves. Snow will come soon

to these mountains, but for today,

I still have this chair by the stream,

still the sounds of the stream over stones,

still a black dog warming his bones

in the late day sun. for today,

this is sufficient. for today this

is wealth enough for a life.

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

Moroccan Elements – Part 2

on hearing the voices of children late at night from our riad deep within the Medinah….

 

 

vortex                 last night

last night, just as I closed the door

to consciousness and stepped into

the cool blue anteroom of sleep, I heard

the voices of small children, rising, falling,

echoing through the house, familiar voices

passing just beyond my comprehension.

are these the voices of children

 

 

gone before, or of those still to come –

or are these the sounds of the lost

and harshly punished parts of myself

that are running now, their small

black and white shoes clattering

down the long wooden hallways of time,

rushing to see who’s come to the door,

to see who’s come to reclaim them

after such an unforgivably long time.

 

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com