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Wendy Stern

If I could


I would gather

All the kindness

Of the world, my love,

And lay it before you,

Soft petals around,


So that you might soften so deeply

As to be free of the mind,

Soften so fully

As to be whole,

And let go so profoundly

As to make the move

Towards death




And ready for that which awaits you.



Pieces of suffering


Be your suffering,

Hold it in your hands,

Feel it – smooth, clay, porcelain,

Feel the enclave

Of its cheek-bones,

The protrusion of its lips,

Search its detail, its intricacy,

With the intention

Of wisdom,

Of acceptance,

Of acute subtle awareness.


Watch it as it changes,

Melts, dissolves,

Falls to pieces in your hands,

No longer defined, definable.


No longer "me”

And “my suffering,”

Just suffering,

Coming and going,

Passing through,

Coinciding with the self.


This way and that,

Time and time again,





Nothing unique,

Nothing personal,

Just the mind

Clinging to an idea of itself.


Pieces of clay,

Pieces of suffering,

Fragments of change,

Resting in my hands,

Ready to become anything...




If all you see is cityness,

Heavy cement, paving stones,

Concretised un-breathing,

Can you still notice out of the far corner of your eye

That solo flying buttercup,

Rooted in the crusty soil,

There between the cracks,

Amid the greyness, the bleakness,

All radiant yellowness?



No matter what,


No matter where.


All radiant yellowness.



Wendy was a Buddhist and poet who lived in Bristol, in the west of England. For many years she was completely bedridden, and her poetry therefore came from an unusual perspective.  Writing poetry was Wendy’s passion and her only form of creativity and self-expression. Her work was produced without the capacity to look at text, to write or to use a laptop. Dictating the poems and then editing them aurally took an immense amount of energy and concentration.  Wendy passed away on April 8, 2015.