Tag Archives: Buddhism

Poetry Corner: Shadow Haiku

I am a shadow
as insubstantial as this –
A fear or a strength?

Poetry & photography (c)2018 Michelle M. Welch

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Poetry Corner: Samsara

What do you call this, human?
The animal realm,
full of seeking and longing,
ignorant of anything but the chase,
never satisfied?
But it’s not bad to be an animal
if you’re an animal, is it?

Poetry & photography (c)2018 Michelle M. Welch

I posted this photo of Penny previously on Facebook with the caption, “Birds are taunting her. She can’t see them, but she wants them.” A Buddhist friend commented, “Samsara at its finest. I feel for you, kitty.”

Poetry Corner: Contentment

Contemplate the experience of contentment,
the teaching says,
of pleasure, of joy,
not the object of the experience
but the experience itself:
Where does it reside in the body,
What is its texture in the mind?
How difficult this is –
how quickly the noise starts up again,
describing the cup of coffee,
finding words to document the meal,
telling a story about how the cat
came to be curled up at my feet,
Herself content, not asking why,
feeling none of the disconnect between body and mind
that so plagues her two-legged companions:
Wondering where these things went a moment later
and how we missed them going

Poetry & photography (c)2018 Michelle M. Welch

In response to a teaching on positive emotions, “The Real Source of Happiness,” which appeared in Lion’s Roar magazine but is not linked online.

Poetry Corner: Child

I am a child.
I don’t want to be a child –
I want to be tall and strong and powerful,
not crying, frightened,
jumping at shadows,
full of sniffles and imaginary hurts and flash-paper anger.

I close the door on the child,
wonder how many chores will convince it
to grow up,
how many toys I have to take away,
but it doesn’t work.
All I can do is open the door,
take the child
– runny nosed, gap toothed, teary eyed –
to the window,
and throw open the curtains
so we can smile at the sun.

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

This is another pairing of elements that weren’t created anywhere near each other: a shot of a sunset in Sedona, and a poem I wrote during a meditation retreat that spent some time focusing on difficult emotions. The sun is a frequent symbol of awakening in Shambhala Buddhism.

Poetry Corner: Tiger

Be confident like the tiger,
the teachers say –
strong, wasting no effort with his elegant steps
Meek – the word Rinpoche used

But he can’t mean that
It was just a translation thing,
one of his odd usages,
hunting the English language
for a word that almost meant what he wanted.
No, I’m the one who’s meek,
too timid to take a confident, tiger-like step,
too afraid of mistakes and their consequences,
resigned to being a wallflower, grumpily

But what if meek really is the right word,
(for me if not for the tiger)
in the manner of all those Zen koans
with their inherent contradictions:
timid and confident together,
expanding to encircle the whole of it,
somehow walking anyway, step after step

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

Rinpoche is a title used by certain Tibetan Buddhist teachers – in this case, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who came up with that unusual term meek to describe the traditional Tibetan dignity of the tiger. I was about to take a class on the topic when I wrote this, feeling a little perplexed about what I could possibly get out of the class.

Poetry corner: Raft

Random Buddhist’s random shrine: repurposed things, thangka booklet handout from a class, cheesy Buddha statue on a keyring

Clinging to a raft
in a rough sea,
tossed around by anxiety,
crowds of nagging memories,
flashpaper bursts of anger

Looking at the people on the shore,
watching –
They’ve figured it out, haven’t they?

I wave,
letting go one hand with trepidation –
Hey, Sid?
Little help here?

He just looks up, smiles,
takes the raft away.

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch