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Charlene Langfur

A Peaceful State of Mind

It might as well have a map of its own, fantastical,
one I follow out over the dry backfield
behind where I live, going off searching there
for the peace that tamed the hearts of evil kings
and all such things, the kind that brought Buddha
to sit under the Bodhi tree, you know what I mean,
the big stretch, the reaching out, going full out
after a keenness for less, less mess, less everything
and its opening out from out of nowhere. And I trust it,
what follows after I start out breathing deep, a wave
of it, walking regularly. Rescuing myself exactly as is,
moving over the sand and the dirt path, staying rooted
in my mind, not overthinking, at times I think
I am moving like a boat or a fish in the water,
a smooth movement, lost in it but still moving
somewhere and then back again, over a patch of green
grass in a waterless place, sparing myself of any need
to reach too far, go after what is too big to hit any mark.
You know what I mean. Ignore such urges as what might
sink any of us, stop us along the way, take us beyond
where we are able to go in a physical world. So I make
friends with where I mean to go each day. Make a little
place for peace, a short walk, more. Nothing shadowy,
plain day, out over what surrounds me of earth,
one foot after another, beyond all the rose bushes
and the palm trees, beyond the crows yelling out
in the sycamores, that far out, all the way past
them and back.

The Poem and the World Look the Same Today

The thin new moon and the cache of stars
in the blue black sky. The day opening up fast.
In my pocket a pad with items on it, a list
of things to fix, money projects, food to buy,
and no turning back.
This is one way to face up to the world,
in the moment, face to face. Directly.
I go with it, moving over the common path
and out further on.
Putting ideas together. Taking to the light, the sun
on my face and hands, the wind easy, blowing
through the hair, relaxing the mind.
It all works together. What's imagined. What actually is.
Today, I have new ideas about planting a garden.
Sprouts are already up from sunflower seeds,
a foot high and getting taller.
Next to them dreamy palm trees with fat old crows
in them talking up a storm,
and in the distance out of nowhere,
large birds catching the wind for a good soaring,
up and out through the white clouds, up and back
high and free, out and back and high and free,
that's how high the poem goes.

Charlene Langfur says, "I am a southern Californian, an organic gardener, a Tibetan Buddhist,a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow and my work has most currently appeared in The Kentucky Review, Valley Voices, a series of poems in both Poetry East and Weber-The Contemporary West."

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