Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Gift of Water

Someone who does not know the Tigris River exists
brings the caliph who lives near the river
a jar of fresh water. The caliph accepts, thanks him,
and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.

Since this man has come through the desert,
he should return by water. Taken out by another door,
the man steps into a waiting boat and sees
the wide freshwater of the Tigris. He bows his head,
What wonderful kindness that he took my gift.

Every object and being in the universe is a jar
overfilled with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris
that cannot be contained in any skin. Every jarful
spills and makes the earth more shining,
as though covered in satin.

If the man had seen even a tributary of the great river,
he would not have brought the innocence of his gift.
Those that stay and live by the Tigris grow so ecstatic
that they throw rocks at the jugs, and the jugs
become perfect. They shatter. The pieces dance,
and water . . . . Do you see?

Neither jar nor water nor stone, nothing.
You knock at the door of reality, shake
your thought-wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.