NOVEMBER 9, 2018

Drifting

 

“Liu. To drift, to flow. The three lines on the left side indicate water. The top part of the right side shows a waterfall; below, a river flows away from it. If we trust in Tao, then life flows for us. If we follow Tao as we follow a stream, then life is easy.   – Deng Ming Dao, from “Drifting”

 

Drifting

 

Afternoon sun sinking behind Lake Wingra.

We seek a mushroom under autumn leaves.

We find instead a rockfall from ancient glaciation.

One all alone is tipped toward the cattail shores

as if poised longing for open water among the gulls.

The rest of its kindred rockfall sit open shouldered

above the shoreline out of reach and watching.

The ancients said that shi, a rock, can be broken

but cannot be forced to become something it is not.

We wished for it that it could return to friends.

We wished it might imagine itself a small boat,

escape at night from the tangle of bittersweet

and drift across the moonlit lake by the light of white oars.