November 27, 2010

The Altar of this Moment

Place everything you can perceive—
Everything you can
see, hear, smell,taste, or touch,
Upon the altar of this moment
and give thanks.
It is over so soon—
This expression,
This single moment of your precious life,
This one heart
pounding itself open
with fear or wild joy,
This one breath rising
in the cold winter air
smoothly and gently
or coughing and sputtering,
Bow, while you can, before
This one taste
Of afternoon tea
Warming its way to your belly,
Or the fragrant orange
exploding its sweet juice
in your grateful mouth.

You have to love
The antics of your mind,
Imagining life should only be sweet.
The bitter makes the sweet; and life is both.
It is whole, like you,
Before you think yourself to pieces.
Place this moment’s pain and confusion on the altar, too,
And give special thanks for such grace
That wakes you up from sleeping through your life.
Pain is greatly under-rated as a pointer to Unknowing,
yet greatly over-rated when taken as identity.

In this one moment,
Your eyes meet mine and there is
a single looking.
What is peering from behind our masks?
Can it touch itself across the room?
Place your palms together;
Touch your holy skin.
In another moment it will shed itself.
What will you be then?
What were you before you had two hands?
What are you now?
You cannot capture That
and place It on the altar of this moment.
It is the altar,
And this moment’s infinite expressions,
And the Seeing,
And its own devotion to itself.
You are That.

Dorothy S. Hunt

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

blessing the boats

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton