the space that remains
in loving homage to lama tharchin rinpoche

i’m not sure i can write of thisStorm clouds
or even that i should try
the way my heart has cracked
wrung by the thick hands of loss
quiet tears drip
across the schedule of my day

it would be too much
to say we all know about love
how it grows tendrils through time
weaving us
to one another

if this were a poem
i would say that i see you
there in the vast space that arises
on the other side of my windshield
just beyond the edge of my hood
eternal beacon on my way

i would say that i feel you
piercing into my skull
driving into my throat
exploding my ribs

i would say that
my bones have become light

and right here on the flagstones
under the dappled shadows
of the coffee shop’s back patio
i melt
into a puddle of bliss

if this were a dance
i would raise myself tall
spine so straight
hold my hands above my crown
and draw the silver threads of stars
down to my throat
my chest
press myself onto the warm belly of earth
rise again from the wellspring of soil
stand in the presence of you
and bow

but this is neither a poem nor a dance
the words keep slipping off the page
my feet find no solid ground
my grasp returns empty-handed

i am left
in the space that remains

– Charlotte R

kitchen counter dharma

is all i seem to have time for
but perhaps there is more space
in the nature of things
than i imagine

tsultrim gyamtso rinpoche
suggests we consider reality to be
equal to rainbow light
like movies, he says, or emails…
the density of the inbox crushes me
but now i see
that just behind the half-inch depth
of my screen
the early afternoon november sun
is shining in
suffusing my room with
golden warmth

– Charlotte R


Realize the real meaning of the equal nature of all things
– Garab Dorje

ease of night
seeps into my weary bones
a stillness between my ears
relief of simple things
the way children sleep
heart and belly exposed
as though the nature of all things
soft and
forever forgiving

the golden eagle
i found at the top of the mountain
had his belly to the sky too
but it was empty
licked clean
only his regal feathers
splayed in the afternoon wind
i thought of him on tuesday
when the heavy spring snow came down
how the wet flakes
would weigh down his brown wing
obscure him
as a stone

i think i must give up looking for meaning for some time
find respite instead
in the warm pulse beneath my skin
and the silence of rocks outside my window

– Charlotte R



i have come to love them
the rocks of this mountain
i remember the morning i woke early
while they were still dreaming in grey
how they blushed a radiant pink
slanting their faces to the dawning sun

when i walk
i notice how they have placed themselves
like silent dancers
in perfect alignment with their partners
the ponderosas and shrubs and wild grasses
standing tall, head askance
or bowed elegantly to the earth
waiting patiently for the music to begin

some are unmarked gravestones
evoking the quietude of overgrown cemeteries
where everything has already been accomplished
and we are given permission finally
to exhale

my favorite is the tall narrow rock that rises like the back of a throne
it’s the luminescent green of the lichen that draws me to it
the specks of orange
amidst cool greys and subtle shades of brown
how it holds court
speaking of what only stones can know

today, however, as i made my way down the hillside
they were all lying there
just like ordinary rocks scattered about
muted against the hot may sun
almost as though they wanted to uproot
any romantic notion about rocks
this poem might evoke

– Charlotte R


Seeing that everything is self-perfected
from the very beginning,
the disease of striving for any achievement
is surrendered
(The Six Vajra Verses, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)

spontaneous verses

hoping to create the perfect poem
in this moment
the quiche grows cold

my son asked me about how far the universe goes
which makes me wonder about the
very beginning
and what came before
both the chicken and the egg

pink sticky notes
faded jeans
red café chair
two spinning fans
dense collage of colors
that fall between
where, then, is space?

when i lost my lapis earring
he said
it isn’t anywhere
it is in
so i surrender

i touch
with kid gloves
lest it shatter
precious crystal
upon concrete floor
tiptoe around it
grey cat
the unknown insect
lest it bite

– Charlotte R

One thought on “Poems

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