Sunday, August 5, 2012

Inspired by Awe for Another's Words

I have recently started reading the works of Pema Chodron, a wise Buddhist teacher , and found poetic inspiration in a parable she wrote, titled "How To Defeat Fear." My poem, launched by Pema's wisdom, appears below:

Fighting Fear

By Susan L. Lipson

inspired by Pema Chodron’s parable “How To Defeat Fear”)

Preparing for battle,
She bowed to her opponent,
Avoiding his gaze.
He only nodded,
His eyes burning holes in her armor,
His stature seemed to dwarf her.

As she took deep breaths to prepare for her first strike,
He interrupted her: “Before you strike, are you sure you’re ready?
Is your armor thick enough? Are your weapons sharp enough?
Are you strong enough to defeat me?”

Stammering, “Yes!”, she raised her weapon,
Hastily sharpened it on the rough, gleaming rock of courage,
And flashed the point before him.
He laughed, “Try to destroy me! You’ll only miss your mark!”
She clenched her teeth and shut her eyes
As she thrust the spear forward,
Enabling him to block and deflect her strike with ease.

“Please,” she pleaded, “may I try again?”
He thanked her for asking, smirked, and nodded.

She examined her weapon,
Now damaged by his block,
And looked for the rock on which to re-sharpen it,
But the rock seemed to have disappeared,
And all she could hear was him chanting under his breath:
“Surrender…just give up…surrender…just give up…”

She cried, “Why should I?!”
To which he replied snidely, “Because I said so."
She hissed, “But why should I listen to you?!”
He raised one eyebrow…
And before he could retort, she met his gaze.
And he shrank before her.
So she could answer the question for herself.

The battle ended.