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From a Student to a Teacher (on his birthday)

Dawn.  Walking towards the pale moon
on its downward arc to meet the sea.

The sound of my steps through the stubble
singing softly, a song of autumn.

Remembering.  Today is your birthday –
your ‘continuation day’ you say, and so
I smile.


Every day I walk in these high fields
so close to the sky, so close to you, 
so close to me, so close to this good earth,
so close to all that is.  This you taught me.

When you left this world I felt no loss,
for you said, often, to us all,
“You are my continuation.”

I only felt you grow closer.
Your trust, your love, still guiding us.

Now we must think, speak, act for you.
Continuing you on this difficult life’s journey.

I stood.  Stillness.  Breathing for you,
smiling to the moon, 
the sun rising, warming my back.
Our back.

Remembering.  Sitting with you 
on your verandah,
invited to practise full moon meditation,
Hearing once more the sound of that flute
– irritating for some!

Not for you.  Not for me.

I set off again, towards the moon,
lower now, fading as the sky brightened,
one small white cloud across its face –
walking for you, with you, step by step.
Breath by breath.

Remembering.   Your teaching,
‘A cloud never dies.’

Indoors.  Lighting a birthday candle
for you and the ancestors.

Are you happy to be here
sharing the corner cupboard shrine
with my ancestors?

I know you enjoy
walking these clifftop fields with me,
One day, shall we walk together
among Phuong Boi’s mountain forests?

11 October 2022

photo by Teri West

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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