Friday, June 26, 2015

Tom Barrett: "Empty Mind"

Writing about empty mind is not easy.
When I have got it, there are no words.
When the words come, it goes away.

Sitting in anger and fear,
Mind is full of the past and future.
Images of catastrophes big and small
Jostle for a seat at the brain.
Resentment, incredulity and disappointment
Slide their way into heart spaces
Pushing out loving-kindness.
Equanimity lies in pieces.

Some of us scrape up that slimy
Emotional stuff and put it in jars
To carry along with us,
And then we complain that
Our load is too heavy.
We need to put down that
Lumpy sack of ooze
And take a breath.

The sage said,
“I pack no provisions for my long journey—
Entering emptiness under the midnight moon.”
He did not pack his ego,
Or his remembrance of self.
He carried no big plans
Or regrets of the past.
Like a wise fool he may have
Even forgotten to leave.
While he sits still in darkness,
The moon travels the sky.

"Empty Mind" by by Tom Barrett. Text as published on the poet's website, Interlude: An Internet Retreat. Reprinted here by poet permission.

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

1 comment :

  1. My favorite lines are the ones that are the least abstract: "We need to put down that/ Lumpy sack of ooze/ And take a breath." Poetry thrives on the concrete, and these lines seem most vivid! And I do like the image of small catastrophes jostling for a seat at the brain! That's lively language.

    I may have to reread this poem to appreciate it more deeply.


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