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Bernard Joy


the first buddhist poem was short; 
            the last, may not
have words at all 
            but, because I never learned
not to fall in love with sounds
that curl like scented thoughts
from an incense bowl,
this poem
will be longer than the rest 
            I will imagine him
first poet, intimate of Siddhārtha,
sat in the shade where the lavender grows
writing a verse for the white elephant
swaying through a dream
its curled trunk, like thought, delivering
spirit’s lotus to the mother’s body
            I think of that third line, how beautiful,
the opal eyes the buddha would inherit
the elephant’s ancient brown stare
            then into the purple scent
a bee delves; and suddenly
the poem is three lines long
the poet lost to lavender and an amber body; 
to silver wings in concert with the air   
            and so he goes, attentive to everything,
save his poem,
unable to renounce
a single insect of this flowering spring
            and here, too, am I,
unable to renounce a word of witnessing
            I write, list-like, the ten-thousand things
            wave, stone, earth, aether; the moon, the sun,
the frosted and the nectared rills 
            until, on a near pane,
the quiet thud I might have missed
of the bee I dreamt of in a poem
waiting to usher me
through the violet haze of truth 

A Footprint-

laughter inspires more echoes than the sound of tears
walk the shoreline, pausing here and there in beauty,
your footprints in the sand will outlive every edifice
speak poetry as easily as sparrows sing,
experiment with awareness,
love like breathing
            or don’t
this is the passage you take through narrow light
the only moment for adding your fire
to the fire of the world
            and this?
this collection of sounds?
this echo of an inner voice? 
            this is only laughter
simple and unreasoned
being washed away by time
of all but essence
            like a footprint in the sand  

Spirit And Mind-

your spiritual practice has been
like the sun renouncing the moon
as a light-thief
            like the moon asking the sun
for nightly alibis

B.T. Joy is a Scottish poet, haijin and haiga artist who received his honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies in 2009. He has written two volumes of haiku: In The Arms Of The Wind and The Reeds That Tilt The Sky, and his writing and art has appeared in journals in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland, the USA and Britain.