Poems by Joseph Emet

There is a garden at the bottom of the sea,
And a garden in each heart,
There is a garden in a drop of rain,
And on a grain of sand.
Earth garden, river garden,
Valley garden, song garden;
Touch softly, and walk gently,
For there is a garden wherever you may be.
Cottony rings surround the peaks,
And misty scarves float over valleys—
The clouds have descended from the sky
Like angels from heaven
To hug the mountains with fairy arms.
I must remember: this beauty is always here,
Even when I am far away in the city.
Is this happening now, or a million years ago...
A circle of rocks, the tallest crowned by a seagull;
The sea shivering in patches of blue,
And extending far . . . till it joins the sky,
The waves singing, the sun glittering,
And two cormorants skimming the surface on their way to another bay—
I have been here, looking out and seeing this for a thousand generations or so.
I turn the other way to face a moose munching on maple leaves,
And a little farther on I see
A little squirrel stuffing its cheeks with wild strawberries;
Only an occasional thought intrudes
To mark this day with its date stamp.
Scenes like this make one the past and the present,
For nature is timeless, and I am timeless.
Eating a handful of strawberries,
I'm reluctant to taste anything else,
Or to inhale any other perfume,
From strawberry heaven I do not wish to part!
But oh! the plum has its own heaven, a different one,
And I'm in it when I slowly savour a bite,
Admiring that deep, dark light.
You give me a taste of heaven just like that,
And the small bird I crossed this morning on my walk,
Playfully bathing in a rain puddle warmed by the sun's light.
Making a heaven out of the four elements
Is an alchemy we all have,
And the heavens we each make
Are the only ones on Earth.
The Earth dreams of meadows and forests,
Of the white petals of raspberry bushes
And the soft whiskers of grasses
And it wakes up to bulldozers roaring,
And the heavy boots of tractors.
The wind dreams of the morning mist
Clinging to lakes and streams,
Of colourful butterfly wings,
And of the sweet scent of wildflowers,
And wakes up to the stench of traffic
Speeding violently away.
Raindrops dream of green leaves to cling to,
Long stems to trickle down leisurely,
And of soft dark earth to sink into,
And wake up splattered on asphalt,
Covered with grease and dust.
Our minds and bodies are also dreaming
Of flowering meadows, pure streams,
The company of innocent animals,
And of loving humans.
May we live and think in ways
To make these dreams come true.
I do not see the moon from my window tonight,
But I see the milky sky
Luminous like the early dawn,
And the forest that was gold yesterday afternoon
Is waving silvery leaves in its glow.
This light, suffusing all
Is the moon without the moon.
There are other moons
That I do not see from my window—
Parents, teachers, discoverers
And mother bears in the forests,
All those who ever held
A child to their bosom, and her hand in their own,
And have always known
That kindness travels trrough generations.
It is their light
That makes our world bright.

Lyrics, by Joseph Emet

The river and the sky are singing a Dharma song.
Singing and listening become one, as the sparrow joins their song.
Sing like the sparrow, listen like the sky,
for all is listening, all is song.
Sing like the sparrow, listen like the sky,
for singing and listening are already one.
Watch the rosebud open and watch the seagull soar,
Watch the waves roll on and the clouds drift,
There's no time apart from sun and rain,
There's no space apart from the wind,
Things take their course.
The gift of a quiet mind brings us peace and healing,
The gift of a quiet heart makes love sweet.
Winning or losing, quietly breathing
Watching the snow fall on cat’s feet.

Take your time breathing in, breathing out,
Look deeply as you say "This is me",
You and your breath, you and the wind,
As humming bird and flower, have always been together.
Take gentle steps, feel the ground curl your toes,
Is there a line between you and this path?
You and your step, you and this earth,
As butterfly and blossom, have never been apart.