On Retreat and Will o the Wisp

Ajahn Abhinando

On Retreat and  Will o the Wisp

On Retreat

A little closer to the clouds,
above the scruffy heads
of evergreen scrub,
I discover the benefits
of drinking tea and watching
the sky turning pink after sunset.

Only slowly the hard-edged words
of learned truths dissolve,
and a softer voice unwraps itself,
emerging from the inside of
what is here.

What does it say? “You didn’t come here
to succeed” is all I understand for now.
Enough to feel a tiny muscle
in the mind relax,
to drop the programme, pour
another cup of tea, sit back and listen
to the elusive pulse…

Yesterday around this time an owl
came gliding like a giant moth
along my walking path,
avoiding my face by half a metre,
alighting on a branch,
and with rhythmic movements of its head
staring back into my eyes
looking for signs to recognize.

Will o’ the Wisp
Through the crack in personality
enters something tender:

A dark angel deals the cards
building a prison from light.
Faces flap like
transparent flags.
Bright candles, white tulips, dark room.
Emptiness towers in cathedrals.
A tree groans inside the soul.
(Outside the world belongs to passers-by.
Inside we are not bothered.).

The brain-muscle simulates a cramp,
with an empty line expanding:

On the pathways of silence,
behind history’s back,
at the abyss of a concluded thought
the smile of sleeping shepherds
is tending the stars.

These reflections by Ajahn Abhinando are from the book, Tomorrow’s Moon, pp. 12, 46 respectively.