As ancient Buddhists drank tea

to prevent drowsiness during epic

mediations, we drink of each other’s

pain and joy to prevent our souls

from going back to sleep.

In the second chapter of Lu Yu’s

Cha Ching, the holy scripture of tea,

he remarks that the most potent leaves

have creases that have held the sun

which when softened release

an aroma from the Beginning.

This is what a life ushered into

acceptance looks like: crease,

soften, and in time we unfold

with an ease beyond our making.

The tea hut by design is too

small to enter standing, and too

narrow to bring anything with you.

Like the threshold to wisdom

after a lifetime of trouble.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time when life narrowed your passage to tomorrow. What did you need to put down in order to arrive as you are?

This excerpt is from my book of poems in progress, The Tone in the Center of the Bell.