There comes that one moment for each who lives
when he steps out onto the silent stage, speaks such of the lines as he recalls, gives a half-intended bow, and in his rage
curses his lost youth like over-aged wine,
that is now a shadow of its promise and he knows that somehow this is a sign not of what he was but what he now is.
In the evening mirror he doesn’t know
the white bearded face that stares back at him, a far older man who hates the coming of night. He searches in vain for a way to show that the spark that once burned did not grow dim but holds even more tightly to the light.
First published in
Grand Little Things ,Vol. 1, No. 1l, July 2020 grand-little-things.com/2020/07/21/two-poems-by-louis-faber
It seems less than fair that as a child
I was Jewish to the core, adopted, yes, but certainly fully Jewish and not merely by maternal lineage which would suffice.
Christmas was alien to me then, even
when I left Judaism behind, a shadow that would follow me closely into my Buddhist practice and life.
But DNA made a liar of so many,
my birth mother, the adoption agency and my adoptive parents, for I know my Judaism was only half of me.
So now I can enjoy Christmas
and other holidays, listen anew to “The Little Drummer Boy” and relish the irony of my new life.
For I have aged, as has my wife,
and when they sing “Do you hear what I hear?” she sadly says “not any longer I don’t” and then,
“Do you see what I see?” and I
must admit I do so only barely and the doctors assure me that soon enough I may say no as well.
aging, Buddhism, Children, Family, Illness, Jewish, Marriage, Memory, mind, Mother, parents, Poem, Religion, satire, Uncategorized, youth
As you walk
in search of enlightenment stop at a temple and seek it there.
If you cannot find
a temple, build one.
Look at where you are
and be there in that temple and stop searching, for you are home.
A reflection on Case 4 of the Book of Equanimity
As you look at him or her
do you see someone with a beauty you only wish you had, or someone you pity for lacking your beauty?
As they look at you
do they see someone with a beauty they only wish they had or someone they pity for lacking their beauty?
When I look at either of you
I see a person like myself, feel neither jealousy or pity for in those emotions the moment is truly wasted.
We only see the present as history,
by day history is a matter of minutes, by night of seconds, years or centuries.
There is no future to be seen, only
imagined, the mind writing a story that can never be read, never told.
It is only when we close the eyes
that the present truly exists, independent of the past, free
and the past is merely waves
washing over and around us, and the mind can find freedom.
We were certain then that we’d be
a success in life, that we’d drive the kind of cars our fathers only dreamed of as our mothers chuckled about mid-life crises.
They spoke about sons and daughters
of friends who were doctors, or at least lawyers, bemoaned those who taught or held jobs they called manual labor.
But we were going in a whole different
direction, we would eschew medicine, reject law, for we would be titans of retail, and one day we would have too many lemonade stands to count.
You may wrap yourself
with all of the sutras, drink dharma with a straw, look carefully for teachers.
You will drown in the conditions
your breath swallowed but unending thoughts.
The answers are always within
teacher is student student is teacher this moment only moment.
A reflection on Case 3 of the Book of Equanimity
When teacher and student
sit face to face, mat to mat, looking deeply one at the other, which is the teacher and which is the student?
You are wrong.
There is no teacher, there is no student, there is only the silence of the moment in which all dharma is made obvious.
A reflection on Case 2 of the Book of Equanimity
The meaning is simple,
a data point here, another there, an image, an algorithm words written in jest, in anger, regret, withdrawal, cancellation, account closed, remaining shadows, way back, pixels always moving, real friends once touched, I am an avatar to you, I have erased you from memory.
We sit in the waiting room,
for we have grown accustomed to waiting for so many things, not wanting to rush a life that appears ever more finite in duration.
We stare at our phones, struggling
to see, to help bide the time, an irony not lost for we are here because our vision is problematic or worse.
Erasmus said the one-eyed man
is King in the land of the blind, and many here hope for that period of regency before they, too become common citizens of a land they hoped never to see.