The Buddha’s Last Instruction

handmade greeting card, collage art

º º º

“Make of yourself a light,”

said the Buddha, before he died.

I think of this every morning

as the east begins

to tear off its many clouds

of darkness, to send up the first

signal—a white fan

streaked with pink and violet,

even green.

An old man, he lay down

between two sala trees,

and he might have said anything,

knowing it was his final hour.

The light burns upward,

it thickens and settles over the fields.

Around him, the villagers gathered

and stretched forward to listen.

Even before the sun itself

hangs, disattached, in the blue air,

I am touched everywhere

by its ocean of yellow waves.

No doubt he thought of everything

that had happened in his difficult life.

And then I feel the sun itself

as it blazes over the hills,

like a million flowers on fire—

clearly I’m not needed,

yet I feel myself turning

into something of inexplicable value.

Slowly, beneath the branches,

he raised his head.

He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

—Mary Oliver

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yourothermotherhere
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 06:52:58

    It is at those times, like now reading your words, that I feel connected to all. It’s an indescribable, wondrous feeling.

    Reply

  2. Evolution of X
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 07:57:13

    Cool. I really love her.I haven’t read poetry regularly in a long time. Maybe it’s time to remedy that.

    Reply

  3. David Kanigan
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 17:03:39

    Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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