The teaching of Zen is: drink your tea. —Jane Hirshfield, Agni Online
Which is what the towhee says as he
scratches in the underbrush, searching for food.
Black and white with rusty sides, he loves
the understory, the margins, the hedgerows.
He sinks into the afternoon like brown leaves
steeping in hot water. He knows no ambition
or envy, wants nothing beyond this spring day,
sunlight spreading like honey on toast. Up pops
my list, the items to check off, the errands to run,
the weeds to pull. The towhee sings again:
Drink your tea.
"Rufous-Sided Towhee" by Barbara Crooker. Text as published in Little Patuxent Review: A Journal of Literature and the Arts (Winter, 2014). Reprinted by permission of the poet.
Listen to the "drink your tea" song of this bird (scroll down page to the audio bar).
Art credit: Untitled photograph of Rufous-Sided Towhee by Pat Gaines.