Through slanting doors and broken windows
odd furniture in dim rooms
old books and roses rotting with age
I follow you,
charts and crumpled maps and paper
glitter like a lost hope–
Sudden sky and wide water
reeds along a shore
under a silver willow you call to the other side.
No limb or vine to hold my feet
my boyhood swept away
to a green recess of memory
nothing to pull me back
only rock and sand, sky and air bathed in amber light,
Peace, I am with you
looking in your old eyes, stretching out a hand
sinking in a river of night
transparent stones on the bottom of a lucid pool
I glide in bright shadows
in and out our one and separate selves
All Photos by Rayn Roberts
Apparition by RR
Two monks returning to a monastery in the evening
It had rained
Puddles of water had collected on the road
At one place a beautiful woman
Was unable to cross the road because of a puddle
The elder monk lifted and carried her across
Leaving her on the other side; then went his way
Later that evening, the younger monk approached
“Sir, we cannot touch women.”
The elder said, “Yes, brother.”
“Then why did you carry that woman on the road today?”
The elder smiled
“I left her on the road; why are you are still carrying her?”
Zen Lesson ~ Anon
Edited to Poetic form by Rayn Roberts
I had my annual physical today and all was well.
The Doc. asked if I had any concerns, I said
“I need a strong pain killer for a broken heart.”
He laughed, but I said, “I’m serious.
Nothing but booze helps and that gives me a hangover.
Can’t you give me something for it?”
He said, “Look man, at sixty five
You’ve only just started a difficult walk
Down the senior path and you haven’t seen anything yet!
My advice is enjoy the scenery.”
I wanted to punch him, but his words hit me harder.
— Wasn’t it Harry Truman who said
“I never gave them hell. I just told them the truth
And created it for them.” Or words to that effect?
What is there in the end but forgiveness
And forgiving one’s self.
What is regret when we cannot go back
To change anything done?
We only move forward
To more change, the slow breakdown
Of the body, aging and death,
There is that, of course, but
The quicker one can do it the better:
Live so the need to forgive is less and less.
It is a gift we give, and when we can, is priceless.
Rayn Roberts 2017
Fishing at the river, some boys jump in
Swim across and back so quickly
It makes my head spin.
Were I as trim and lean as them
I’d join in–
I did when I was that age
Set down my rod
Shed my clothes
Took to any lake or stream
Swam my sweaty body clean
Lay on the bank and dreamed of love—
But I am old now, these days
I need prodding
Just to take a bath!
A boy needs no prod, only doing
Without hesitation or regret
Sagacious are the old men, but wisdom
Does not come
Unless the joys of youth are done
And as the mind goes under, we learn to swim again.
Sometime before the land turned away from light
The wind in the wild mustard slowed
The sun, being where is always is, the moon too
Twilight and moonrise were in me.
Something small and quick sprang and ran.
The long grass bent as I watched the urge to chase
Corner and kill rise and fall inside me.
A hawk tucked wings, stooped from a great height
Was high in the air again, a ground squirrel in its claws–
The life of a large snake touched me, I watched
From grass to rock, sand on the road to sage
I heard the dry hiss where a lizard whipped out.
The serpent, licking the air with a pronged tongue
Coiled under a cactus tree, sang a warning–
This was no tree of knowledge, the rattler
Untouched by good or evil, is pure, perfectly pure.
I closed my eyes, sound and light opened the third eye
I saw a human face, half gleaming reptilian green
Half clear compassionate blue– There were no words,
No thought, I moved forward and became that face.
If I spoke from the heart and you could hear
You would ride the sound
Back to the beginning and see who you really are.
If I spoke from the heart, my tears would be a river
Running into the sea, an Ocean of sweetest water.
If I spoke from the heart, my joyful laughter
Would fill the universe
And ring the galaxies like a wind chime
If I spoke from the heart, you would hear my voice call
From time past, present and to come
All our wounded children– It would heal them, every last one
And the world, if ever it were, would be whole again.
Photo by Rayn Roberts