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Wendy Stern

The compassionate breath


The compassionate breath

Sees it all,

Knows it all,

Accepts it all,

And judges none of it.


Breathe it in,

To your lungs,

To your heart,

To your bones,

To your very being.


Stand back

And watch it,

Expect nothing from it

As it

Sees and allows,

Sees and allows,

And in doing so



The compassionate breath

Has known,



The suffering of all beings,

Through all of time,

And yet it offers itself,

Breath after breath,

Without fear,

Without hesitation,

With indescribable generosity,

Time after time.


How exquisite

Is the capacity,

The potential,

For compassion,

And how rare.


Stand back in awe

And nurture it,

For sometimes

It is

All that we have left.



Prison-like place


This room,

These four walls,

This prison-like place,

Is my shrine room.


And if I cannot

Open your door,

Take my cushion,

Make my way,

Bow to the shrine,

Sit cross-legged,

With hands resting,

Take in the flowers,

Take in the silence,

Smell the incense,

Chant your mantras,

Enter the stillness,

Enter your world,


Then let this room,

These four walls,

This prison-like place,

Be my shrine room




Wendy is a Buddhist and poet living in Bristol, in the west of England. For many years she has been completely bedridden, and her poetry therefore comes from an unusual perspective.

Writing poetry is Wendy’s passion and her only form of creativity and self-expression. Her work is produced without the capacity to look at text, to write or to use a laptop. Dictating the poems and then editing them aurally takes an immense amount of energy and concentration.