Elias Hicks and the 3rd Zen Patriarch

marchEyes horizontal and nose vertical,
Elias Hicks and the 3rd Zen Patriarch
Stand still in the Cross, gazing at
Flowers growing on the roof of hell.

Hicks says quietly, “I labor
To be empty, to know nothing,
To call for nothing,
To desire to do nothing.”

Sengstan smiles and says:
“When mind exists undisturbed,
Nothing can offend. When nothing can offend,
We cease to exist in the old way.”

On the vast and intimate way
The only instruction is this:
Me on a journey to the Light is darkness; the
Light on a journey through me is awakening.
With gaze steady in Silence, I know
The personal as already the unborn
The unborn already the personal, asking
“My neighbor, I wonder how she is?”
Having lovingly been made tender,
I pass easily through the gateless gate.
Jesus and the others are waiting expectantly,
Chanting, “Welcome, welcome, everything welcome.”

John March lives in Durham, N.C.

Posted in: Poetry, September 2014

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