THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

XVI.
The end of April:
In between the new mower sounds, the quickly disappearing sun
With the edge of warmth giving way to
The coolness of this part of the world,
I wonder…
In the summer, will the warmth
Stay long, will I last long enough
To speak about these days
In the past tense?
I don´t know.
Somewhere, in between the day’s events
Life and Light follow me, sustain me,
At least, they attract me.
It´s good to see the summer from here.

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THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

XV.
Cold roses on my grave won´t wake me.
The kisses they blow to the dirt
Won´t bring me back.
There will come a time when this body
Will fall, and not rise again.
It is the way for us all.
At the beginning, the skies are clear,
In the middle, we raise tents to cover us from the storms,
And at the end, they lay cold roses on brown dirt.
From beginning to end a million moments flash by
And yet, we depend so much on this, this
Chunk of meat, to get it all?
We come from Infinite Light and Infinite life-
Don´t get so stuck on finite bags of bones-
Tomorrow, we´ll all sing again,
Once again, in Infinite Light and Infinite Life.
Still, cold roses on warm earth will smell so sweet!

THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

XIV.
Stupid priest!
You wait for the “right time”
Or the “right place” and all the while
They know you can sit still,
They know you have studied the practices,
They know you are “smart”,
And that you can teach them how to
Watch the thoughts pass like clouds.
But you still can´t tell them
Of the Light in your heart
Or the Life you swim in when things go bad?
Stupid priest!

XIII.
I dream of Kokai-ji, my own temple,
“Temple of the Ocean of Light”
My own temple…
It sounds so rich, so big!
Named after me, named after the name
I chose to honor the Light
(And my father who loved the seas.)
Wake up, priest!
There´s no place to build this temple,
And I have no money.
Maybe I´ll just imagine it
In my heart
And welcome my congregants there!

THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

XII.
In Puerto Rico I laid back in the water
Looked up and felt the heat
Pour down while the water
Held me up.
The kids played. The sand was hot.
I rolled over and opened my eyes
To search the bottom and,
Holding my breath, brushed my hands along the bottom
And it was good:
The warmth on my back.
Being held up by the ocean.

THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

X.
Have faith, priest!
Get your faith…be great
Still, I am small and broken at times
And the Light is dim, and the Life is weak
And every day I barely remember
To remember:
She calls me,
She calls
And I responded,
Namo amida butsu
And I am embraced again
And I am embraced, again.

THE FLAME IN THE LOTUS (cont.)

IX.
Don´t go there! Don´t go there!
Don´t be so sad.
I say to myself but still,
I do. The mountains have snow.
The port is busy.
Across the Bay, I can see the old volcano, too.
And now that the days are warmer, it should wash me in Light
But I still get weak and visit the darkness and say
Don´t go there! Don´t go there!
It will get better.
Namo amida butsu.
Oh, namo amida butsu

The Flame in the Lotus (cont.)

VIII.
Oh me…
There was a time so far ago
When the world held me up,
Looking forward to me calling.
Now I feel old, I see signs of it all passing-
Little things fail, the dishes face me again and again.
Every morning I ask “when will it get better?”
Every night, I sigh myself to sleep.
No wonder the old look back on better days.
I do too, now.
But the kids´ smiles, and the kids laughter
And the kids´ love is pure
And the heart that sinks bobbles up when it sees
Them, ridiculous in its
Joyful dance.
Oh me…

The Flame in the Lotus (con´t.)

VII.
The bells ring and I get sad-
They remind me of quiet times
When I never doubted how beautiful it all was,
All of it, all around me.
I walked for hours, smelled the jasmine, watched the rain clouds,
Took in the sunsets, fully alive
Fully bathed in Light.
Those days…
Those days are gone
And now the bells ring and when I raise my eyes
The skies are blue, but silent.
Namo amida butsu…

The Flame in the Lotus (con´t.)

VI.
It doesn´t matter if I forget things
It´s bound to happen anyway.
And as I cross the hump on my downward trip
To the End of my time here, I carry only a few regrets.
But I am anchored to Life and Light
Every day, and everyday
She embraces me, never abandoning, never forsaking,
Amida, Amida…Oh! Amida…
Namo amida butsu.