A Joyful Circle – the Final Lineage Poem. And so we come full circle in this series of Lineage Poems. Like medieval astronomers who took the earth to be the center of all things, so does our ego create the illusion that this individual life is the central point of reference in the infinite sweep of time and generations. Past, future, and at the fulcrum, this single life. And I suppose it couldn’t be any other way, however flawed this cosmology of self.
As I write this, I’ve been down for two weeks struggling to recover from pneumonia. It’s honestly been a frightening time. In an earlier post, I mentioned that my only brother died a short time ago, of lung disease as it happens (https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/03/19/sunrise-and-sunset-the-wheel-of-life/.) So losing the ability to breathe triggered both fearful memories and simple animal fear. Just today, it finally feels like my breathing is softening, and the air is beginning to flow.
And also just today, our next grandchild has begun the long, messy, painful, risky and extraordinary process of pushing into this world.
A joyful circle. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it
And I pray that I will have many, many, more to experience
Little boy, I weep with joy at the prospect of meeting you!
Grandson, Son, Husband, Father, Father-in-law, Grandfather, Ancestor
Two closing poems to bring this home, the first from several years ago
old man in the wild untended fields of my heart sits an old man. the day is late but warm and the low-angled light spreads like butter over the tall grass. his beard is white gone beyond gray, and his hair, long and thin shifts with the wind. he wears a multicolored vest stitched with threads of silver and his boney white feet sit bare upon the land his hands, held still on his long legs, bear the scars of a lifetime of choices -- he sits beyond judgment beyond expectation -- he’s been waiting for a very, very long time he breathes as I breathe his blue eyes are clouded now from having witnessed a life while in the distance the witches’ voices rise in round to the beating sound of his heart he has always known this song has always known all of the songs we are each of us sorcerers all singers of one single deathless song
And a final word written very recently
only that they say it’s our habits, habitual tendencies that are reincarnated, like a wind blowing through a window left open in a newly constructed house. and this makes sense to me – I haven’t suffered enough trauma in this one life to be as confused as I seem to be so I must have swept these old wounds into the womb with me, an intangible blanket of familiar mistakes to keep this newborn warm now, as I stare down this narrowing hall I pray to whatever powers there be to allow me to direct more precisely the next go-round when the last breezes blow and this basket of bones finally fails may only one thing pass into the next life-- may I carry forward only the tender warmth of my fingers as they touch the cheeks of those I have loved most in this world that and only that May these words be of benefit to all sentient beings
To explore more poetry with buddhist themes, click here:https://www.shambhala.com/buddhist-poetry-a-reader-guide/