meditation melody

Large Bowls Of Water

Large Bowls Of Water

“If you want to know the taste of water drink it.”  Buddhist saying
Our canteens are empty deserts.
Our bodies are empty vessels.
Can we know the taste of water
if we never are able to drink?
What can refresh one more
than to stop along the journey
on the road that life has to offer,
even here in the roadless jungle
under the midday sun
and drink large bowls of water,
not a cloud or a bird in the sky.
Unlike your mind which watches
the young American gunner,
your cohort, your friend and fellow
as he cuts off the ear of a VC,

and slipping it into his pocket

smiling looks around him.
But an extra ear in the pocket
does not improve anyone’s hearing.
He breaks up the silence further,
of my thoughts and meditations
and pinpoints our location
for those with ears left to hear
with a burst of machine gun fire.
A celebration he says,
for his twenty-first birthday. His last.
Vietnam is an out-dated map,
that someone has torn in two,
To be empty. To be full.
To be at war. To be at peace.
We all are empty vessels
longing to be filled.
Dead men do not need ears. I think
they have heard enough about war.
It’s the living who need to listen,
the living who need to hear
that a poem about war should say peace.
Richard K. Olson

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