Peace Meditation

Martha K. Grant sent this poem to me earlier this month, and it seems a fitting time to pass it along. In the midst of the holiday season, I need a reminder to take the time to do a little raking. The poem is by Jan Jarboe Russell,  a writer of merit and depth, who also happens to be one of my NIA teachers. If you have a chance to take a class from Jan at the Synergy Studio, or read something she's written (often for Texas Monthly), do so in the certainty that you will benefit, heart and soul, body and mind.



One day I visited a Zen monastery
in Hiroshima. Groups of monks took turns
raking white rocks in a certain pattern,
praying silently that the world might never again
witness the explosion of an atomic bomb.

Standing in the prayer garden,
less than a mile from Ground Zero,
I had an irrational thought:

What if the real reason we have not
blown ourselves up isn’t the billions of dollars
spent on defense since World War II?
What if the real reason we are alive
is because funny-looking guys
are silently raking rocks,
far from the centers of world power?

Nah, I thought—
but then again,
a little rock raking couldn’t hurt.

-- Jan Jarboe Russell


The poem originally appeared in Texas Monthly.

For more from Jan, see her Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson or this column in the Express-News that explained why John McCain and Sarah Palin are not "original mavericks."