Sound of Scattering


A gift of papalo seeds from Jane Hirshfield. Photograph by Ian Boyden.

November 20

Sound of Scattering

                              —for Jane Hirshfield

The hand a shadow puppet,
a black sun flashing,
each seed falls into its own shadow.

I think of Hakuin,
whose final enlightenment
filled the hollow of his palm,
a thousand seeds
of monkshood
swirling in the wind.

The child digging in the earth,
finds chimes of ancient stone
sheltered in the roots
of dandelions.

The child now
a thousand yellow stars,
the sound of a single field,
a symmetry answering the sun.
That same symmetry awaits your breath,
and your breath awaits your wish,
and your wish awaits
a shadow to call its own
and fall into
its own giving to another.

Perhaps today this name
will take root in its shadow,
become the cloud
rising above itself.

The hand a shadow puppet
reaching into the bag,
and then the toss of seeds,
palm to the sky,
the fingers spreading out
like rays of light,
as if the hand
were conversing with the sun
were conversing with its shadow-
black sun.

Undifferentiated, unconditional—
such a hand tosses without
the expectation of being
there for the harvest.

—Ian Boyden

Constellations of Humanity

Each luminous dot on this map represents one reader of this poem. As the number of readers increases, the stars begin to cluster and form an increasingly detailed constellation. My intent is to show how brightly a poem glows across our world. I welcome your light.

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