Life is a Poem

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.
Meeting you,
sitting still,
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.
Peaceful breath
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.

Just a simple monk!

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12 comments on “Life is a Poem
  1. Chan Cām leu Dià says:

    Sharing joy and morning
    Light awskening and Space fill up my Heart with the peace and strength of togetherness.
    Deep gratitude, sister Chan Hoi Nghiem

  2. Linda Cusworth says:

    I sat with you in your beautiful hamlet last September and felt the stillness and beauty within you.
    Thank you for your wise words then and the beauty of your poem now.


  3. Kiyoko says:

    Dear Plum Village,
    I wish to write with loving strokes
    In this comment section
    Sweet words of gratitude
    For weaving (and posting) this beautiful poem :-)

    @Evelyn: This is also an “accidental” birthday gift to me. What a joy and coincidence to read about “rendezvous earlier promised” on the day when the “warming sun” has his annual rendezvous with the natal sun in your astrological birth chart :-).

  4. Mary Latela says:

    I suggest reading this rich poem very slowly, reflecting on words which apeak to you or images which stand out. @LatelaMary1

  5. Mary Latela says:

    This rich poem draws me to reflection. I am using a lectio divina approach, which means listening to each word, meditating with striking
    images, very slowly. @LatelaMary1

  6. Terry Govier says:

    Such a beautiful poem. Your words convey the beauty of your setting within my heart and soul. Thank you for enriching my day

  7. Evelyn says:

    A beautiful poem sent to me on my birthday. Thank You for the reminder of the loveliness still in this world and in the depth of our being.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful poem. I also write poems and this poem is an inspiration this evening.

  9. Glynnis Schwarzel says:

    Touched deeply by this beautiful poem. Thank you

  10. Daphne says:

    What a beautiful poem! Thank you! :)

  11. Angelo says:

    I have descover de joy of life and sodenly I injoy reading poetry 🍁

    Thankjou for this beautiful poem