The True Way: Poems by Ajahn Abhinando

by Ajahn Abhinando | June 8, 2020

Originally published on | Photo Thumbnail CC0 1.0

Four Steps in The Desert

 for Chandra

Four steps in the desert −
a strange bird singing
neo-romantic hymns to the night.

On the other scale the world
holds the balance,
knowing precisely the weight
of our wounds.

Four steps in the desert −
it is the longing we desire,
not the pictures on the wall
of an imagined future.

If I were a house,
I would have no walls;
if I were a bush,
only my roots would endure;
if I were a river,
in my depths the stones would roll
against any law.

Four steps in the desert −
a nocturne in search
of the lost direction:
the true way
strays off the path.

From: Wolves, Dreams, Transformations, Aruno Publications, Harnham 2013
Find the original German version here.


So when the angel of absence
seizes you again with the desire
to find the right formula for truth,
stay with the desire,
let it burn you inside out.
Let it roll with no resistance
down your scorched slope
spitting gravel, shifting boulders,
gathering momentum,
until it takes the whole
of your realities down
in one grand landslide.
As your knowledge in the end
will prove to be the greater ignorance,
lay it down −
and hear the stern master in your heart
ring her bell again,
sending you back to hug your skeleton
a little more

From: Tomorrow‘s Moon, Harnham, 2005

This Wind

We are standing like broken houses
in a dusty valley
Let the wind sweep the moods like leaves
through your courtyard through the open
doors and windows through the rooms
half-filled with abandoned furniture

How strange: this wind
has neither season nor temperature
It warms or cools according
to what we need to leave
our suffering

Find the original German version here.

Sitting by the Open Window

as every night

tomorrow’s moon is hiding
behind the clouds
of yesterday

a cool breeze
lifts the shadow of thought

your emotions huddle together
waiting for direction
ready to go
or surrender

this growing silence
eats you


Ordinary Things

(Variation on a theme of Adam Zagajewski)

Ordinary things are just as deep
as our nightmares and visions,
they do not hide their invitations.

Remember the Chinese master
who settled for peace
after a long night of rain
pattering his bamboo roof.

Sometimes in the evening
when both light and shadow
are busy shuffling mysteries

we forget ourselves in a lucid
gentle way and there remain
only happiness and sorrow
and the purity that can’t be seen.

From: Wolves, Dreams, Transformations, Harnham, 2013
Find the original German version here.

Safe Journey

You are going on a journey,
don’t ask where to.
Left and right thunders the surf.
Ahead of you opens
an unmarked field.
Of course you can’t see
the hand in front of your eyes:
it is a starless night.

We gladly received your gifts.
The guardian angel for your travels,
a deaf-mute bird,
is ready.
Follow the sound of its wings,
your tracks will erase themselves.

Your father is on his way
in a different direction,
he has his friends,
he doesn’t need you.
Your mother will follow later,
at a safe distance.

Your friends are dreaming of you right now,
don’t wake them up.
We have packed
everything you’ll need,
it is not much.

And don’t worry about your thoughts,
we know them already,
they do not bother us.

You are going on a journey,
go now,
while darkness protects you.

Find the original German version here.