I have received water, flowing and pooled, salt and fresh,
cold and hot; wind off the ocean, among the trees,
over wheat fields; wool for the warmth.
I am grateful for these, and for the many-touching octopi,
the common beauty of oleanders, tough-limbed
oaks, lithe ocelots, leather-skinned oranges, and
pungent onions.
About me lie perch from farm ponds, peppers and parsnips,
potatoes and tellicherry peppercorns, pork and
peaches, paprika, together with the sweet sadness of Pachelbel.
I have been given air to breathe, alders leafing out in spring,
crisp apples, deep-flavored apricots, and the shield-
like leaves of aspidistras.
Grapes and goldfinches, garlic and grass are in my treasury;
jackrabbits and jays, ginger and juncos have come
to me as gifts.
I am inebriated on biscuits and bass, bread and bears,
bicycles and barracudas, on basil and brass.
Clouds and rainfall, snow and sleet, sunshine and darkness
are my blessings, as are moonlight and firelight,
starlight and candlelight.
I have been awarded Mozart and Bach, Verdi and Puccini,
Homer and Shakespeare, Thomas More and Martin
Luther, Herbert and Donne.
I have received from on high appreciative dogs and dignified
housecats, deer and raccoons, chickens and grosbeaks,
friendship and children, fuchsias and dahlias, soil,
stone and steel.
May I never be ungrateful for any shelter, any mouthful of
food or sip of water, any friendly gesture, and offer
of help, any touch of understanding.

*Japanese: “I have received from on high.”


Posted by kind permission of the poet.

From With My Head Rising Out Of The Water, (Negative Capability Press, 2014). All rights reserved.