Dharma

(here is a poem from deep in zen retreat)by Billy Collins
The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without hat or umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plums of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat outside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.
from Sailing Alone Around the Room

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