you were there, the train was pulling away,
and I was watching you slowly eat
a dish of whipped cream and bananas
—the house special—in a cafe
in a city we didn’t know.
When you finished, we started walking
down a road that bent like a smile,
a shy smile, like the one the Japanese cat wore
on your purse. The road, we were told,
would take us to the end of the line
where all lovers in search of joy
packed on bullet trains—they’re the fastest
on two continents—arrive every hour.
If you want to awaken all of humanity,
then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world,
then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give
is that of your own self-transformation.
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood in the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell. Ted Kooser, “After Years” (via oofpoetry)