May All Beings Be Well

Torn down enough already this morning  (A poem by Ken Mckeon)

To furnish a junkyard,
The chained dogs, my
New found friends,
They bark away at my disarray,
And they are welcome to it,
Crumbled broken up bits,
All shrug and neglect,

Mishap Central,

Hell of a downtown marginalization of all half-thought efforts,
Find them on the back shelves, find them in the trunks
And on the shabby back seats of rusted out Chevrolets,
On the littered floors of seeped out oily brain pans,

Lives spent flipping coins, matching some,
A shrugging loss or careless give away of most,
Should not have tossed them anyway, but did,
Done and down, and here I am, broken,
Chilled with cold rain in torn yard mud ooze.

Astonishing how often down this city’s streets
I walked the ways of purpose, of useful clarity,
And found before me tasks to accomplish,
And for the most, did exactly that,
And when nearly stalled out I
Summoned up the breath needed
To go on, and did so, and that done, I now
Find myself here, cold and wet, breaking down.

Would that I were in a high meadow,
Sweet run of a river, sided by low banks,
And gravel sanded, mud bedded, as it
Slides away its bending ways, so gently
Curved and welcoming, my body open
To touch and scent, and I hear within
The chords I love, and the dust film parts,
And a few trout slow, waver, now brush
And ease through bending grasses, soon
They will shadow the starry pebbly floor,
And gazing so, I become a child again.

But I am not there, and no child, just here, and aged,
Here within evening’s final cresting, such a fullness,
As brimming as a turning tidal flow,
This sky pink lined mute flamed horizon,
Western radiance, a last sun orb bloomed Buddha realm,
Evening realm, where all tired, mistaken, hapless
Ignorant folk show up finally,

It’s a big crowd, stationary standalone’s,
Formality of dark silhouetted stones
So stiff outside, must be shaking within,
And me too, a nearly finished up one,
Hopeless as ever, selfish, childish,
Wishing to sleep curled up, deeply tired,
Falling away, a sunset caught light sliver
Fade out bound, sounds okay
To be boxed up and put down,
To be all gone, but what then?

As if I knew,
Other than practice, the
Habitual instilled sense of centering
And opening, much like breath itself,
Hold and release, and mantra supplication,
Right here as last light begins to fade away,

Why not chant: om mani padme hum hri
Surely it is time to start,
Every reason to-

Our ending lives, this setting sun-

Slowly, softly, continuously.

And the heart opens,
And the mind clears,

This last then, the stayed intent now

Freely given: may all beings be well.

One comment to “May All Beings Be Well”
  1. Ken sent this poem last Thanksgiving with the following e-mail:

    “Not a promising title for a Thanksgiving poem, but who knows? And who is not talking all that much. Have yourself a fine day.”

    Rereading Ken’s poem today, I hear the voice of universal human experience and a timeless prescription for how to rise above our own challenges. I think I’ll now look more kindly into the eyes of chained dogs and at my own selfishness.

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