Each Thing in Turn
It’s exactly how you imagined.
The pores of the darkness open
And the stars, with their massive
Golden mouths, burn out.
There is nothing troubled about
None of that fallacy
Which tells us
To turn away from our dying.
Rather the earth is touched
By simple acceptance.
The flower with its drooping head
Rises and falls.
The small boat resting on its side
Gently gives way to rot.
Even the man fishing
By the water’s edge
Lays his rod upon the bank,
Slowly becoming convinced
That each thing in turn
Must learn the patient art
Of withering away.
Lessons from Dong Yuan
Silence must be learned.
Though it has nothing to do
With the sound waves in a room,
Or how many miles you have trekked
Across mountains and deserts
Looking for the boundary
Which no voice may cross.
Rather it is a music you must build,
A garden inside the constant city,
A slow laboring of faith.
And there may still be birds there,
Cars with troubled engines,
Old leftover loves that have fallen
On the stone to perish.
But what matters is the way
You let these things
Step one by one into your hearing.
Like those old Chinese paintings
In which the artist slowly dissolves,
His eyes turning to acorns,
His body, a darkened plain.
And in the middle
His heart becoming that emptiness
Which even after the painting is finished
Will continue to listen
For the simple footsteps
Of whatever is yet to come.
The share of duty is divvied amongst the heart.
Each of us indebted to the earth
Must give, just once, our suffering hands.
The world does not need redemption,
The tyrannical howling from below,
But just each miniscule part
To plant its one entrusted seed.
We die and the failure to live
Lingers on in regret,
A ravenous heat that eats through generations.
But to have met even for a moment
Our Star’s singular calling
Urges the sleepy streets to waken.
The light which gives awareness
Needs only a crack to fill the room.
Seth Jani is a poet from the Northeastern United States. He is the founder and editor of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com) and EarthSpeak Magazine (www.earthspeakmagazine.com).
He has spent the last six years working, writing and wandering in places as varied as the Mojave Desert, Seattle and the Croatian city of Split on the Adriatic sea.
His work has appeared in Shoots & Vines, The Foundling Review, Writers' Bloc (Rutgers), and Subliminal Interiors amongst others.
More of his work can be viewed at www.sethjani.com.