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Ken McKeon

Exercise A

 

The quarter starts and here's a class,

All ready to explore the inside life,

And the instruction:

 

     Go within, find a something, an anything-

     Thought, sensation, feeling, whim-

     Then expand it until it won't anymore, then condense it.

     Questions? None. Let's begin.

 

     Time passes, bell rings, reports come in:

 

      Large fellow, bald and fit, says:

 

       There was this strawberry, got very large,

       House large, lake large, world large,

       And the filament like hairy sort of stemming, 

       Immensely vastly rising tall tree tall,

       Rooted in strawberry fleshy red moist berry-ness

       Tasted quite good as I on strawberry planet picnicked for a while,

       Then arose and sailed around as spontaneous orbiting view master guy

       For some time, must say I was having a lot of fun, then bell rang

       And here I am where I was before.

                           

                          Smiles and laughter, and others spoke, and then:

 

Older somewhat grayish sort of round faced grim woman took her turn.

This surprising for she had been a nearly featureless presence in the room.

 Wondered would she tell a tale of horrifically judgmental train wreck this-is-foolish

 Summary canceling out all hope of playfulness for the rest of the term.

 

And she said: I was a rose, a blooming fully opening light petaled rose,

Graceful arching of elegant multiple perfectly balanced rose emergent rose

Of earthly delighting heaven embracing all elegant presence of beauty rose,

 

And then seemingly diminishing petal infolding loss of light became

Loss and fade of vision, and the reach of love lost collapsed and turned,

To my delight, into fabrics set before me, richly textured, variously hued,

A fullness of living all available now, and I began to plan what I would do. 

 

And she returned to her silence.

And class began again and continued on until it ended.

 

 

Ken McKeon is a retired teacher and active poet living in Berkeley. He serves on the faculty of the Nyingma Institute.