Plum Village, France
Life is a Poem
by Sister Chân Hội Nghiêm
My shadow falls on the body of Mother Earth.
This peaceful morning
sunlight penetrates between the leaves,
making long streaks on the vast fields.
In the enormous blue sky
flocks of birds spread their wings peacefully.
The hills and mountains silently appear near and far in the sunshine.
I hear my stream of consciousness turning to poetry.
How can there be another morning as peaceful and beautiful as this?
The morning sunlight covers Mother Earth like pieces of smooth silk.
I wish to make paintings of the peace and purity
of my youthful past, which is still with me constantly,
so that every cell of the Earth breathes the same air of peace and joy.
I wish to write with loving strokes on the body of Mother Earth, sweet words of the morning
so I may relive my childhood,
unfettered and free among the pulses of a peaceful life.
The morning's sweetness carries me to a realm of of joy and love.
Running freely, I cross the grassy knoll looking for you,
with the heat of anticipation, as if coming to a rendezvous earlier promised,
and with the joy of a first-ever meeting,
I feel the simple joy of knowing that you never wait for me.
in quiet contemplation
listening to the rhythm of the breathing of all things.
Life is so peaceful!
My sufferings, grudges, and self pity from time immemorial
have been reborn as love songs
that follow the winds and clouds in all directions.
There is no separation between you, me, and existence.
Mother Earth is immense,
the sky is immense,
mountains and rivers are immense.
You are immense,
and so am I.
Space and time is manifested in the life of a single cell.
The shadow moves and,
one by one,
the cells are awakened from their deep Winter sleep.
revives the withered cells,
and joyfully welcomes the warming sun.
Beautiful, peaceful, and safe
the sunshine reveals the realm of spaciousness,
natural and generous
to me, you, and existence.
I thank life for forever flowing,
for weaving this beautiful poem for me and you.
The shadow joyfully offers a smile
stable and peaceful as a mountain.
Sister Chân Hội Nghiêm was ordained in 1994. She has been the abbess of Lower Hamlet since September 2014. Her favorite practices are sitting meditation, walking meditation, and writing poetry. She discovered Thầy’s poetry, while she was still in Vietnam, and was greatly inspired. To Sr. Hội Nghiêm, poetry is a medium to share what is in the depth of her inner world. When she feels sad, she reads a poem and after transforming her sadness, a new poem appears in her mind naturally. Now she offers the fruit of this practice, in the form of poetry, in her Dharma talks.