Poetry by CM Brown

Mountain Cloud Zen Center

Sitting on the ground.
The howl of the coyotes.
No thing. No sitting.

 

Zazen

At the Zen Center in Sante Fe
sit in silence, eating our breakfast
of oatmeal and fruit.

The shapes of tables,
the shapes of eyes and arms,
the shapes of the chevrons
carved into the backs
of the wooden chairs,
the shapes of straw,
and the shapes of tiny cracks
in the adobe walls are still
and always listening.

After the last of the oatmeal disappears
I walk into the kitchen
with my empty bowl
and place it in the sink.

I too am a shape.
I change as I move.
I am a shape that shifts.
I pass into another blue morning
that flows over the tops of the trees.
The stars and the half moon
gradually fade into blazing desert light
as this body, that I mistakenly
call “me,” sits down on the black cushion.

I have no ambition.
The shadows of the pinon trees
flow along the brown, pine needles
on the desert’s shifting floor.

Shadows have no ambition.
I listen as the silence returns.
Always a returning; a body,
a thought, a cough, a silence.

I’ll sleep in the desert tonight
and listen to the coyotes howl and the
deep, round bell on the Zendo floor
calling us home again;
home to the shape of the space that
has never left, nor has it ever arrived.

Can you ever
arrive where
you already are?


CM Brown is a poet, painter, and Integral Yoga and Meditation teacher, practicing yoga and meditation for more than twenty years. He is the author of two books of essays on meditation, Let Go and Live and, The Beautiful You. CM Brown lives in Louisville, Colorado (near Boulder, CO) and is a longtime practitioner of Zen Buddhism.

First published in the Buddhist Poetry Review, Fall 2020 Issue.

Artwork by Christy Hengst inspired by Mountain Cloud Zen Center

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