Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

…One hates the sanctimonious Buddha-goo
But loves to meditate. To think one word
And the breath balanced on its floor of muscle

… Falling and rising like years. The brain-roof chatter
Settling among the eaves. …  ~ Robert Pinsky

Sometimes, poetry works so well it’s hard to catch my breath. I have to stop, look out the window. Remember that it’s only words, after all.

This is for my friends (and family) who see Buddhism as touchy-feely. Liberal BS, as I read somewhere today. Instead of “the breath balanced on its floor of muscle….brain-roof chatter settling…”

Me? I think Robert Pinsky is the man. No gooey-ness for him, this poet who held his own suitcase in his lap when I picked him up for a gig at the university. I drove him 90 of the pleasantest miles I’ve spent w/ a stranger. Another word-gamer. The kind of kindred spirit who spent hours, he said, looking for the terms used to describe the pieces of a shirt. For a poem, where he used only one.

That’s the beginner’s heart in him. A kind of joyous obsession with something small, something critically important and yet totally not…Just words… Just breathing… But necessary.

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