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nadruwrini, post 7: not much better than paging through books with clumsy fingers looking for something half-remembered

In the interest of late(ish) and possibly embarrassing things:

When I was in high school, I bought The Enlightened Heart; An Anthology of Sacred Poetry edited by Stephen Mitchell. Many of the poems in it ended up leaving quite the impression on me, even though most of them are now half-remembered. The book was unearthed several years ago, in a box of books that was stored at my folks that hadn't gotten too smoky to be incognito, to look just like books that had never been through a fire. Which most all the books I bought before I was a senior in college have... other than the ones I had with me at my various smallish apartments, my library stayed at my parents' and so became smoke-infused or vanished-to-ash in the fire that was set by some terrible person when I ws a junior in college. (I'll never forget calling all the numbers of my family members from a spring break hotel room with my friend Andi and finally getting my grandma on my dad's side... she blurted out, "Hello, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but your house burned down.")

Anyway, I just flipped through looking -- but not quite knowing -- for the poem I liked best then. I knew I'd recognize it and could almost picture it, the way a poem is an imprint sometimes, instead of just words in your memory. I'm sure I'd pick an entirely different one now, but here it is:

Buddha in Glory

Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet--
all this universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

-- Rainer Maria Rilke


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