Deng Ming-Dao writes how silence has sound. When I meditate, the sounds I hear strike me. Leonard Cohen’s quote echos that with “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Our senses cannot be totally shut off. We feel, hear, see, smell, taste, etc. even when we do not realize it. It is in the moments of quiet or darkness that we see sounds and light are always there. When we are mindful and attentive to our activities and senses, what we did not sense is there. It is in the mindful and meditative moments that the world–its allness–are there for us to soak in.
I told my students that much of the meaning to be found in poetry came in the pauses and silences between words, lines, and stanzas. Poetry touches our souls in those silences. When we pause and soak in the poetry, including the silences it shares with us, the meaning comes to life, only to change the next time we read the lines. In this sense, poetry, like life, is about living its meaning, sensing that is fleeting, incomplete, and fluid.
Even in temples
Where residents vow never to talk,
And silence is worshiped,
There is sound.
There are songs.
There is poetry.
Lifetimes pulled through a thousand minds,
Cadences bearing time,
Rhymes connecting life,
Stanzas stacked like the generations.
Those who follow Tao write poetry.
And enter Tao through its lines.