Origami cranes lumber into flight
and lift into the sky
over the small, back street Temple
somewhere on the periphery of Shinjuku.
They know their flight will be
only temporary, that their wings
will grow quickly tired, that
the rustling sound
of two thousand wings
will soon fall silent
as the breeze bids them
a peaceful night,
and the Temple bell
announces the evening zazen.


The crane stands placidly
staring through the window
as we earnestly attempt
to imitate him, hoping
he will honor the effort
and not the result.
The Master is graceful
and we far less so, and
out of the corner of my eye
I see what could be smile,
but could be derision as well,
and take comfort in the thought
that the root of the term
is shared with laughter,
and we can accept that,
not as a mark of our failure
but our gentle effort.
The crane returns to the pond,
the Master to the neigong
and we to imagining we
are all noble birds
ready for flight.