What is this?

with forty others.
We sit cross-legged
in neatly cushioned rows.

If somebody went missing
who would know
or care?

Observe our postures:
motionless, erect.
Our eyes half-closed
our faces still, serene.

We’ve come here to remember
to remember to remember.
The koan for today is
What is this?

Outside, blue tits build their nests.
Robin, thrush and blackbird sing.
Spring pours sunlight on the garden.
It’s only the disturbed who feel disturbed.

I am the disturbed, a hungry ghost,
my neck squeezed tight to stop
the sound of howling in my belly.
What is this thing? What is its name?

No teacher, saint or sage can save me
only this

the long enduring mind
the breathing out
the breathing in.

First published in The Frogmore Papers