Can You Bow?

Can you bow like a broken necklace, scattering

your brightest tears? To bow is the first asana.

All yoga postures simply remove the stiffness

so that you can bend. To bow is freedom.

Don't just bow to a master, bow to a grain

of pollen like a bee. Genuflect like a thirsty panther

drinking from a pond at sunset. Bow to Spring

like mountain snow that melts into brook laughter.

To the sound of a tree frog in a jasmine vine at midnight,

bow down. To the plums of September thumping

the ground, showing you the way to fall, the way

to split open and offer your juice, bow down.

Bow to the silence of the doe who after all

is eating your roses. To your own breath, bow.

Fill the hollows of your body with the sky.

Bow so completely that you shatter your crown

and sow the earth with stars. It is a most sacred art.

God bows to the Goddess in the bridal chamber

of your heart, the binaural pulse of awareness aware

of its own radiance, its Self almost an Other,

a rhythm within the One. Let your knees grow weak

with the power of this melting. Let your forehead

strike sparks of grace in wet soil, the evanescent galaxies

that bowed to you before you were born, each atom

of the cosmos saturated with thanksgiving.

But please remember, gratitude is not a practice.

Your bow was always here, pervading the night,

conceiving your flesh to humble its curved space

with gravity. Bow to your mother and your father

right now. Bow to your child. Bow to your teacher.

Bow to your ancestor, and his most terrible enemy.

Bow to a ladybug, a cricket, blue emptiness.

But please remember, it is not your bow.

Bowing happens, a gift of grace, a first cause.

Your bow is God, bowing to you.

Photo: camellia blossoms on my Winter alter,
fresh from the present moment.

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