|The Hoop and The Tree
Chris Hoffman – ecopsychology, poetry, sustainability
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“A rich volume of poetry about life's flourishing.”
– Roshi Joan Halifax
|As with a mountain,
are part of my shape.
OasisOn this clear night
a small watch fire is flickering
and waving its tendrils of spicy smoke
beside the well in the inner courtyard.
Your host has served you
lamb with pilaf and sweet tea
and now you are alone in the late hours,
within these four sturdy walls,
watching the stars swing imperturbably
as they have for generations.
A meteor strikes like a match across the sky.
From somewhere, muted by the distance,
comes the music of a lute
and the rhythm of hands on a drum skin.
Looking back on the long journey
it seems the days were beaded on a string
that led inevitably here,
though at the time most were just an effort
to discover how to do one’s best,
and some just felt like failure.
But now the gems of days stand out.
And now the name of names
forms on your lips,
not to attain or ask for anything,
but simply in gratitude
and to participate in the flowing forth of life;
for nothing is ever completed,
Handies PeakWhen the whole mountain
lies under your feet,
put there with leg muscle
and deep breathing,
you begin to see
what the mountain sees—
through the polished air,
the steep falling away
from this high reach
of rock and talus with its scabs
of orange and gray-green lichen,
the trickles of sky water from snowfields
and, far down, the brief summer flourish
of alpine meadows, and farther yet
and wide away rolling on and on
the velvet blanket of the forest
to a narrow yellow band of lowland
curving at the horizon.
Like a cone of seeds,
under one of those numberless trees
lies your bundle of daily cares,
You see daylight and drifting cloud shadows
play across the undulant land
like a blessing
for the largeness of life
and a tap on the shoulder
for the shortness of days.