a poem

Walden Pond

After two years at the pond, Henry David Thoreau knew the time to leave had come because of the path worn between his door and the water's edge. 

Today ropes guide well-beaten trails around Walden.  I wonder, standing at the cairn of stones marking the site of his home, how many pilgrims have drunk this water, as I did.  How many, in both noble and futile attempts at partnership, have laid their stones here?

Late in the afternoon, sunlight from the west lays itself across my floor, and I join it there.  Winter has chilled these bones for long enough.  Would that I could live like the herbs in the window, gorging myself only on daylight and water.  Am I not part leaves and vegetable mould myself?, Henry wrote, undoubtedly while plunging his arm into moist earth.

In the evenings, streetlamps compete with the moon.  The moon always wins.  Before dreaming, I wonder what price there could be to rest among these stars. 

A friend once asked a Japanese monk,
What is dharma?
Takken responded, pointing first to the tree outside,
then to a wooden bookcase in the library where we sat with tea
and fruit:
"Dharma is what is in both."

I would give ten thousand or one hundred thousand years, I think,
then realize I already have.

R.E. Maley
15 February 2015