The Zen Master

alongside steaming bowls the chanting flows and forty orange robes bow receiving rice vegetables a smile some owls call the day is not dawning the light is dim i do not find him in the early morning

go to the forest an old man says not saying where i tread the path feeling the rising ground in my knees feeling the warmth of early sun reaching his hut among the trees i do not find him there is a breeze

a scent of flowers, blossom on a limb a young monk is cleaning he will be on the mountains for hours look for him there i follow where earth becomes bare stones the rock bleached bone
mountain ash yields to stubborn pines that toil growing meagre fiercely holding to thin soil

i feel the shadow of soaring flight the fleeing mist releasing the cool of night the path becomes the light a pine on the ledge below the eagle’s lair in the mirror of the tree i see that the place is wholly empty
i hear the world sing i sit and wait for nothing this is where i find him he is not there