Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Zeyar Lynn

I am smarting today

Instead of saying that, why not
say “Today the unattended patio orchid
is blooming profusely,
golden bud in the white petals.”
He who sees its fresh innocence 
is awe-struck.
Despite your guilt of negligence
you are absolved by the plant
that has bloomed.
The choir of feathered stems,
the mudra achieved only at a mountaintop,
the treatise of life-giving force
hibernating in the roots.
I can’t help being pained by the sense
of beauty,
pricked more than skin deep by its thorns.
What am I saying?
What am I thinking of?
The way the orchid opens up makes me
mindless about the dharma 
that was nailed in my head.
I get washed-up & tired.
Pain too is a mother of beauty. Is it not?
I am smarting, as if I were enlightened,
as if I were preaching enlightenment,
as if I were the embodiment of enlightenment!
Let’s do away with those as-ifs.
Anicca, the law of impermanence
Dukkha, the law of suffering –
the orchid, too, shall bloom.
Anatta, the law of non-self –
the orchid shall sway against its will.
My pain is my entrapment. And yet 
don’t I pain myself to bloom
my own flowers of Anicca, Dukka & Anatta?
My cat, Ping, jumps onto my lap, 
looks at me straight in the eyes, & miaows 
before curling up into a fur ball in soul-to-soul trust.
Wife comes to give me my night pills.
“Does everything bloom amongst Chaos?” I ponder.
No, everything is the doing of Chaos.
No, everything is . . .
if only I could understand,
would I, like the orchid, bloom in pain? 
O . . . how I am smarting today!

Het doet me vandaag zeer

Waarom niet, in plaats daarvan,
zeggen: “Vandaag bloeit op de binnenplaats volop
de verwaarloosde orchidee,
gouden knop in de witte kroonbladeren.”
Wie haar frisse onschuld ziet
is vol ontzag.
Je bent schuldig aan verwaarlozing
maar wordt vergeven door de plant
die bloeide.
Het koor van uitwaaierende stelen,
de mudra die enkel op een bergtop bereikt wordt,
het traktaat van de leven schenkende kracht
die in de wortels overwintert.
Ongewild lijd ik onder de zin
voor schoonheid,
die me prikt tot onder mijn huid door haar doornen.
Wat zeg ik?
Waar denk ik aan?
Door de manier waarop de orchidee zich opent
vergeet ik de dharma
die in mijn hoofd was vastgezet.
Ik word verslagen & moe.
Ook uit pijn wordt schoonheid geboren. Toch?
Het doet me pijn, alsof ik verlicht ben,
alsof ik verlichting predik,
alsof ik de belichaming van verlichting ben!
Laten we ons ontdoen van die alsoffen.
Anicca, de wet van de vergankelijkheid,
Dukkha, de wet van het lijden –
ook de orchidee zal bloeien.
Anatta, de wet van het niet-ik –
de orchidee zal wiegen tegen haar wil.
Mijn pijn is mijn gevangenis. En toch,
doe ik mezelf niet zeer om zelf
Anicca-, Dukkha- & Anatta-bloemen te dragen?
Mijn kat, Ping, springt op mijn schoot,
kijkt me recht in de ogen & miauwt
rolt zich dan op tot een bontbal in ziel-tot-ziel-vertrouwen.
Mijn vrouw komt om me mijn nachtpillen te geven.
“Bloeit alles te midden van chaos?” mijmer ik.
Nee, alles komt uit chaos voort.
Nee, alles komt . . .
als ik het kon begrijpen
zou ik dan, net als de orchidee, bloeien in pijn?
O . . . wat doet het me vandaag zeer!

Close

I am smarting today

Instead of saying that, why not
say “Today the unattended patio orchid
is blooming profusely,
golden bud in the white petals.”
He who sees its fresh innocence 
is awe-struck.
Despite your guilt of negligence
you are absolved by the plant
that has bloomed.
The choir of feathered stems,
the mudra achieved only at a mountaintop,
the treatise of life-giving force
hibernating in the roots.
I can’t help being pained by the sense
of beauty,
pricked more than skin deep by its thorns.
What am I saying?
What am I thinking of?
The way the orchid opens up makes me
mindless about the dharma 
that was nailed in my head.
I get washed-up & tired.
Pain too is a mother of beauty. Is it not?
I am smarting, as if I were enlightened,
as if I were preaching enlightenment,
as if I were the embodiment of enlightenment!
Let’s do away with those as-ifs.
Anicca, the law of impermanence
Dukkha, the law of suffering –
the orchid, too, shall bloom.
Anatta, the law of non-self –
the orchid shall sway against its will.
My pain is my entrapment. And yet 
don’t I pain myself to bloom
my own flowers of Anicca, Dukka & Anatta?
My cat, Ping, jumps onto my lap, 
looks at me straight in the eyes, & miaows 
before curling up into a fur ball in soul-to-soul trust.
Wife comes to give me my night pills.
“Does everything bloom amongst Chaos?” I ponder.
No, everything is the doing of Chaos.
No, everything is . . .
if only I could understand,
would I, like the orchid, bloom in pain? 
O . . . how I am smarting today!

I am smarting today

Instead of saying that, why not
say “Today the unattended patio orchid
is blooming profusely,
golden bud in the white petals.”
He who sees its fresh innocence 
is awe-struck.
Despite your guilt of negligence
you are absolved by the plant
that has bloomed.
The choir of feathered stems,
the mudra achieved only at a mountaintop,
the treatise of life-giving force
hibernating in the roots.
I can’t help being pained by the sense
of beauty,
pricked more than skin deep by its thorns.
What am I saying?
What am I thinking of?
The way the orchid opens up makes me
mindless about the dharma 
that was nailed in my head.
I get washed-up & tired.
Pain too is a mother of beauty. Is it not?
I am smarting, as if I were enlightened,
as if I were preaching enlightenment,
as if I were the embodiment of enlightenment!
Let’s do away with those as-ifs.
Anicca, the law of impermanence
Dukkha, the law of suffering –
the orchid, too, shall bloom.
Anatta, the law of non-self –
the orchid shall sway against its will.
My pain is my entrapment. And yet 
don’t I pain myself to bloom
my own flowers of Anicca, Dukka & Anatta?
My cat, Ping, jumps onto my lap, 
looks at me straight in the eyes, & miaows 
before curling up into a fur ball in soul-to-soul trust.
Wife comes to give me my night pills.
“Does everything bloom amongst Chaos?” I ponder.
No, everything is the doing of Chaos.
No, everything is . . .
if only I could understand,
would I, like the orchid, bloom in pain? 
O . . . how I am smarting today!
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