SUNYATA

(for Philip)

We live our lives life in a delicate

Balance between chaos and peace.

Each short-lived, the one the other will implicate.

The ancients wanted neither–sought release.

 

An empty chair in the middle of

A grassy yard, reflecting bright sunlight.

I set it there.  But hesitated when I saw it.

Where is the self that seeks to know despite

The onslaught of experience, who seeks to understand it?

Who tries to grasp ahold of love?

 

The ancients reasoned “no-self” sidesteps Karma;

And David sees Jehovah as a rock;

And other systems turn from social Maya:

Prestige, respectability sneering mock.

 

Paul in prison and Christ a capitol criminal?

Christ in prison and Paul an evangel?

Who draws the lines, who forms the frame?

Living shatters all our images–nothing stays the same.

 

“Because everything changes, all is nothing.”

But I, I sit in the chair, on the lawn.

I hear the many birds singing.

I remember the tree tops’ hue at dawn.

I see the leaves flicker, the limbs’ easy swaying.

 

We trace the lines and leave them drawn.

And we are left with the chair, on the lawn.