Wherever the mind dwells apart is itself
a distant place.
– T’ao Ch’ien (“Drinking Wine”)
We have been there, idling across pastures
like cattle to ridgetops with focused eye
turned blurry with the mind’s appeal to wander—
an easy trek in open space, we gravitate
to isolated places where granite rocks
take the shape of animals, where oak trees
dance with sweeping boughs and speak
a language without words we comprehend.
When we come home to flesh, to the clatter
and complicated clutter of more mortal busyness,
our senses shocked and fogged with dismay,
we become the aliens for a moment on this planet
returning with translations, with fresh offerings
of peace and poetry—we nod to all the animals,
leaving little gifts of good-will along the way.