Buddha man

-- Jerry Costlow

In fevered state, one winter night
I tossed and turned in lunar light
that shone through frosted window 'pon my bed.
When finally I succumbed to sleep
I found my soul had quit its keep,
and walked upon a sunlit path instead.

With steady step I traveled down
this astral path until I found
a massive tree, and underneath: a man.
In dumpy Eastern-looking guise,
from sandaled feet to downcast eyes,
he waited for me there as if by plan.

In meditative pose, he sat
with folded legs and eyes half shut,
his hands upon his lap demurely placed.
His posture underneath the tree,
reeking of serenity,
convinced me this was Buddha I now faced.

I thought I'd learn about this lore
I'd never understood before,
the cryptic koans and sutras I had read,
But asked if he was there to teach
of knowledge once beyond my reach,
the Buddha, he just smiled and shook his head.

Again I asked if I could hear
some words to make his meaning clear.
The Buddha, he then laughed and just said, "No."
I said, "You smug Enlightened One,
I know your game, you're having fun
pretending you've got wisdom to bestow."

I thought if this was all I'd get
I'd go around this smirking twit,
who's just a figment of my mind, at most,
But as I passed close by his tree
I stopped to touch his arm, to see
if what I saw was real, or just a ghost.

A shock of cold upon my hand
awoke me from the twilight land,
I saw the Buddha I had tried to pass.
My palm against the window pane,
I knew what words could not explain:
I saw my own reflection in the glass.