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The Parting Of Monks | by divakarchopra.newaesthetic
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The Parting Of Monks


It is against the nature of a monk

To loosen his tongue, to turn garrulous;

My limbs the limbs of an oak, my word stone.


Straighten your spine; hold my gaze like a man

Who matched my quiet with his own,

And in the face of grief, grow not feeble.


You have shared my bowl, my hunger,

Kept stride with my strides and measured my land.

With me you fought the fear of gods.


Your skin was soft; your bones were green,

Yet to my sun, you gave the softness of your hand,

And to austere nights, your dream.


Rest your staff now. Lean it against the door.

Return my bowl. My scrolls. My ink. My reed.

You have outgrown these woods, these waters.


Turn to the south now, the cities, the hills.

There merchants in soft robes, and travellers

Waylaid and restless without love making

Walk the streets; there women teach

More ways of pleasure than you can learn.


Go. Drink of each cup. At each door.


There is nothing to fear but your shyness

And an anger that you lack,

And nothing to carry but my name

And the splendour of learning upon your back.


Now the sun sets and it is time.

I have duties by which to abide.


It is enough to remember

That you were a monk once

And the strongest rock by my side.


Poem by Arvind Joshi

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Taken on October 5, 2008