No matter how I turn

the magnificent light follows.

Background to my sadness.

No matter how I lift my heart

my shadow creeps in wait behind.

Background to my joy.

No matter how fast I run

a stillness without thought is where I end.

No matter how long I sit

there’s a river of motion I must rejoin.

And when I can’t hold my head up

it always falls in the lap of one

who has just opened.

When I finally free myself of burden

there’s always someone’s heavy head

landing in my arms.

The reasons of the heart

are leaves in wind.

Stand up tall and everything

will nest in you.

We all lose and we all gain.

Dark crowds the light.

Light fills the pain.

It’s a conversation with no end,

a dance with no steps,

a song with no words,

a reason too big for any mind.

No matter how I turn

the magnificence follows.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a time when you felt liberated and then ran into someone in need. How did you feel? What did you do?

Excerpted from The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting by Mark Nepo, published by Sounds True, November 2016

  • photo credit:

Originally published at