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J.R. Solonche

THE FIRST SEVEN STEPS OF THE BUDDHA-TO-BE

In the Qing dynasty bronze,
the First Seven Steps of the Buddha-to-be,
the Buddha-to-be has completed the seventh step.
He is standing motionless squarely on both feet.
He is pointing down with the index finger of his right hand.
He is pointing up with the index finger of his left hand.
He is saying, I need go no farther. This is the way.
Here is the place between earth and heaven.
So with his eighth step, the Buddha-to-be
will stop counting steps forever.


THE DANCING BUDDHA ON MY NEIGHBOR’S LAWN

The dancing Buddha on my neighbor’s lawn
says to her:

                        The god you most desire to worship
                                    is the one who refuses to be a god.

The dancing Buddha on my neighbor’s lawn
says to her:

                        I am not your dancer.
                                    I am your teacher of the dance.


The poems of J.R. Solonche have been appearing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY.