Tessa, The Heart Knows

In the amiable heat,
we ambled on the rickety paths
with the festive air
of chanting monks
egging us on.
They’re translating
the world for those who stood
in line behind the joss,
after having just had lunch
and having left the gambling
to the ghosts.

We were teeming with
a sense of being one;
of being other;
of wanting to be;
braided into whatever it is
we had called love, that only
the heart’s counting knows.

Prompt: So is love a prayer? Is it ascetic? One often thinks the carnal part of it as being the deal maker but is it?

In Sung China,
two monks friends for sixty years
watched the geese pass.
Where are they going?
one tested the other, who couldn’t say.

That moment’s silence continues.

No one will study their friendship
in the koan-books of insight.
No one will remember their names.

I think of them sometimes,
standing, perplexed by sadness,
goose-down sewn into their quilted autumn robes.

Almost swallowed by the vastness of the mountains,
but not yet.

As the barely audible
geese are not yet swallowed;
as even we, my love, will not entirely be lost.

So what does it take to love and hold on to it? Perhaps let Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “The Heart’s Counting Knows Only One”, inspire you. Just don’t let your poem be clouded by the doe-eyed romantic in you. In case you missed the thread, I’m prompting for the theme of heart in the Fall/Winter 2015/2016 issue of Red Wolf Journal. If your poem is selected, it will appear anytime on our site from September 2016 onwards and submissions shall remain open till 28 February 2017. Read the submissions deadline here.


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