Notes on a Buddhist path


September 1, 2014 By | 8 Comments


The starlings rise and glint,
skimming against
the pale blue parchment sky,
murmurs of living kites dipping and
sliding on strings of invisible
awareness breaching the abiding sea.
They bank to the right and then left,
winged utterances
whispering their silent dance,
soaring, floating, selfless beings
coursing on the pulse of life.

Are we so different from the stars?
We are, after all,
children of their dust.
The elements in us familial to
the stones and
the seas and
the birds,
our shared inheritance unbecoming
on the precipice of this
only breath.

The leaves of the trees quiver like emeralds
caressed by kin of wind and sun.
A child’s laugh slips by as the thought of
an old lover rises and vanishes in the tide of
the next step kissing the ground.

Palls of memories and
plans of yet-to-bes so easily cloud my sight,
ink in a well of pure clarity.
Coming back to this moment, this one and this,
I sense with new eyes a center as vast
as a universe knowing itself to be borne.

Icarus did not fail.
He heard the murmur of stardust
beckoning him on the crest of longing
for something beyond this indifferent
cell of suffering,
of these misshapened relics of pasts and idolized dross of futures,
pretty shackles of lives exhumed by time and time again.

Perhaps before he fell
he glimpsed something beyond the sun
and a big bang shattered inside of him
all that came before.
Maybe a moment before the wax of his
starling wings dripped to earth
he touched at last the exhale of

Image Credit:

Icarus by rubyblossom via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.


  1. I remain transfixed and transported by your poetry. So honored and blessed to be a part of your journey.

    • Thank you, dear Michaelene. Deep gratitude to you and your words that never fail to touch my heart on this path we share in life. Blessings to you, my friend.

  2. Lois Townsend says

    So beautiful, Tess. Exquisite! I am still soaring, dipping, delighting in the insight, the journey..Thank you!!!!

  3. oh the ‘ink in a well of pure clarity’ yes, thank you

  4. “Perhaps before he fell
    he glimpsed something beyond the sun
    and a big bang shattered inside of him
    all that came before.”

    Now there is a thought worthy of a doctoral thesis, or a mediation retreat. Do we fall once we see the truth? Is it in fact a fall, or a casting off of old habits, views, and forms? A caterpillar shedding an old life to emerge as someone “new”? Does that vision create a new universe inside of us, unconnected to, yet born from, our past existence? Thus, was his endeavour, for centuries seen as folly, actually the fulfillment of the freedom that he sought? And what of other epic falls (Adam and Eve, Alice in Wonderland)?

    As ever, your writings provoke searches to deeper understanding .

    • Oh, David, you do get me to pondering those bigger questions that perhaps have no answers.

      Do we fall? Perhaps it’s more that something falls from us and just lets go of our pesky cravings to reach the sun, the moon, the nearest Starbuck’s. To experience the Four Noble Truths is akin to a new universe declaring itself into existence with a new frontier and new way of knowing everything. All that exists is now, including what came before and what will come. As Krishnamurti said “the future is now.” Everything is now, including our past existence. The difference is we are not stuck to it any longer with Crazy Glue. It is the receptacle of all our becoming in this life and can serve many practical purposes, like finding our way home each night, but it’s like a tool that once we’re done using it we can and should put it away. Carrying that hammer around all the time (or that fight with our boss or our guilt around eating that whole pie) need to be set down because they don’t serve a purpose other than to entangle us in more dukkha.

      As for Adam, Eve and Alice, well, that’s another conversation I hope we may share very soon.

      As ever, my friend, I am glad for your deep questions and finding our way to the answers.

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