safe bowl 274w - September 24, 2015s

author’s note:

In my experience, small dark spaces can have wide boundaries.


I journeyed down
to our lower coastal regions
in search of
a legendary vessel:

an orb, a womb
to hold me in safe-keeping—
a sacred space where I could sit
in peaceful solitude

while watched by a distant eye—
enigmatic as a blue opal.

And indeed I did find
a boulder at the edge
of a deserted beach
with an opening in its top
inviting me to crawl inside.

And though I still could hear
the brutal waves
beat against the rock
I felt secure within its walls

at least, at first…

but gradually
the wave sound expanded
until my entire being seemed consumed
by that merciless noise.

Finally, with nowhere else to go
I dove down deep—
hoping to discover
something monumental
to give me confidence
against the storm.

I only uncovered a little pebble
in the black of my belly.

Nonetheless, I held to this
intangible tangible
with whole heart:

not for the purpose
of ending the fear
but to assure myself
that despite my doubt
I could endure.

And to my surprise
even when the boulder shattered
after repeated bashing
I still felt the solidity
I’d found in that speck—

even as I walked along
the shifting border between
ocean and land:

I knew myself to be
definite proof of the good work
that can be done in the darkness
of small spaces.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Listening to Silence: poems of meditation