Suddenly, wings beat on the air
and I remembered that
a moment's glance
earns a lifetime's misery.
All beauty was your beauty,
so I built a tower on the mountainside
and learned to wait for the moonlight.
What becomes of prayers once answered?
Do they have a beginning or end,
or is there a continuous stream of blessing
that we alternately see and ignore.
Every dream was your dream,
so I sat by the river
and learned to forget about signs.
Over and over the tears and laughter
amid expectation and disappointment
a tiny wind animates a feather
I know I will not see you again the way I did.
Every memory is your memory
such things we wish to remember
these things we wish to forget.
To the body consort who bade me live forever:
how will you know whether
your wishes were granted
unless you grasp the wisp of one desire
driven inside another...
and deeply ask yourself
what was better, what was worse?
This form you caressed with time
itself became timeless
a home to seven planets
and twenty-eight lunar mansions.
All the stars belonged to your heavens
so I listened under the river sky
for every sound to become your voice.
We have reproduced ourselves so often
that the slightest difference
brings the greatest notice.
All appearances dance over your mirror
so I looked with borrowed eyes
and counted on disappearing fingers
what is seven times seven.
Suddenly, that ancient wind awakened
a favorite thought
that comes and goes like a busy child:
"I walked into the middle of a featureless field;
I shot an arrow into the cloudless sky;
I did not care if it was a good day
or a bad day."
Seven lines seven times, for a friend who only pretends to be suffering.