Poems by Mike Heald

September 5, 2001

Mackenzie Falls

In the pool at the foot
of the waterfall,
out where it’s calm,
blocks of granite resting,
as you say,
like the ruins of nothing.

Lifting the Chickens

The chickens aren’t used to their coop yet.medium_7348420096
They’re quiet, pale clouds in the gloom
I have to gather up one by one, and carry
to the perch. But there’s a surprising tenacity,
a principle of balance, as I carefully
release them, and they fluster, then settle:
their poised quiescence passes from my hands
as breathtakingly as flight.

Poem for Jim, on his first Birthday

Jim! Your movements are still jerky
like those anachronistic dinosaurs.
You smile so much, and laugh
at the ordinary, like my friend’s
description of his Zen teacher,
though up in the wattle tree
with the gang-gangs munching
seed-pods is where I’ve seen
your joyful equanimity before.
Jim! Your head on my chest
is a heavy warmth, unfathomable,
like that sphere of pure compassion
the meditator is supposed to let
enter his heart and radiate…
And in these times when armies
are proclaiming from the shadows
cast by luminous books, can I say,
with Mohammed, that I too
would let the worshippers stay
flattened like spear-grass
in a knock-em-down storm
while you finished your game.

Note: There is a story that once when he was leading prayers, Mohammed prolonged the prostration so as not to interrupt his infant nephew who was playing on his back in the mosque.
photo credit: Deannster via photopin cc

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