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Wendy Stern

Every day

Every day,
Every day it seems
A raindrop rests in the crook of a fragile willow branch
Outside my window.

Not all day,
But at a precise and special moment
As if by some strange and prearranged agreement.

It is a glow infused with light,
Effortlessly yet magnificently reflecting the early spring sunlight.

Does it cling,
Clutching ferociously with all its might,
Trembling, terrified
Of that which is to come,
That which is yet to face it
As the gentle breeze quivers the surrounding leaves,
Rouses and awakens the freshly formed blossom,
Lightly brushes against your cheek should you notice it?

Or does it rest,
Nestling in its willow branch home
Undisturbed, idle,
Complacent and unbothered even -
Just is?

Will we ever know?

Every day,
Every day it seems
A raindrop rests in the crook of a fragile willow branch
Outside my window.

Dusky blue

Because I want to be free of the entrapment,
The tight suffocating skin,
Of identity,
Of the thick-layered bandaging of the personality,
And of the cage
Of attachment,

Because I want my hands to be rested
On my open lap,
Palms facing upwards in meditation posture,
Instead of the seemingly thousand arms
Reaching out in endless need, clutching, grasping, holding,
Meditative, calm, equanimous, still,
Letting go,

Because I want my belly
To be soft, relaxed, undefended,
No need for armouring,
Room for the breath,
Room for life,
Room for it all,
Accepting everything,

Because I want my mind
To be like the sky at twilight,
Vast, clear, empty, an indescribable blue,
Just a few stars,
Shining brightly,
Mind like the twilight sky,

Why am I a Buddhist?
Because I want to be free -
Free of the bindings of the Self,
To sit, hands rested in meditation posture,
Heart open with compassion
For the suffering of all beings,
Belly soft, spacious,

And because I want my mind,
To be like the sky at twilight,
Just a few stars,
Dusky blue.

Trapped on the inside

Life came to me today,
Through my window,
All feathers and passion,
With more colour, intensity, swiftness and determination
Than perhaps I've ever known before.

It perched, finally,
Trapped on the inside for once,
And it looked at me.
I spoke to it, calming it,
And then I set it free.

Life came to me today,
Trapped on the inside for once.

I set it free...

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.