Early Morning at Retreat

by Colleen Shaw

I like the morning sits
coming out of sluggish sleepy half-dream
into Zendo stilled hush
Incense drenched darkness
Black shadows leap at black zafus

In the early morning sits
the candlelight squeezes
the edge of its flicker
under my eyelids
The Maitai thunders then
on its way
to mingle with vastness
One lone bird -a tui perhaps
(why don't I know?) -
beacons dawn
through thick misty murk
my breath a portal
for the ebbing night

I like the cup of tea in the morning sit
The cup is warm and round in my hands
the right weight to hold to sip the warm
Silent steam moistens my face
The server gasshos his offering
to the hungry ghost
who, startled by the clappers,
hovers on the last thin arc of the Jikki's bonggg
then slides beween warble and chirp
of the now crescendoed chorus
to dive down
deep deep down
to the Maitai rumble beneath

The morning sits witness Creation
Each kinhin another path
through crisp Eden unfolding
As my feet, safe in woolly socks,
ponder verandah grooves,
my new naked face
pushes back by degrees
the soft greyness
between the hills


No reproduction without the authors permission please.