Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion
or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any
origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.
Translated by Coleman Barks
I was in Wellington on Sunday and went to see the exhibition on at the City Art Gallery - Roundabout. An amazing feast of ideas. My attention was caught by this poem, written on a wall in explanation of the exhibition's themes. I love the way it circles, eventually distilling its wisdom of what it means to be human.