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“What’s The Point?”: A Poem

Ever feel frustrated and insignificant in your efforts to change The System — or, shoot, your efforts to just get through your day?  For me, one of the most precious gifts of a community of political Buddhists is a shared grappling with the paradox of deep effort and radical acceptance.  “How do we accept things as they are, and work like heck to change them?” Today’s submission speaks to this living riddle, and the possibilities of spiritual grace in the moments when we want to tear our hair out.  (Unless we’re bald … then we rip off our ears!)

Metta & solidarity,


What’s the Point?

Edith Lazenby Trilling


The breaking point isn’t a point.
I make tea and forget the water.
Yet there’s direction.
I got lost driving today.
I feel the moon, but cannot see.
I was terse about using a bathroom.
I found my way home.
I meditated this morning.
I went for a walk, snapped a photo,
Ducks floating on water.
I don’t float. I look out to look in.
The point is one of many.
The studio was locked. 
I lost a phone number. 
Kids waiting in the hall.
I think I breathed. Someone helped.
How do I help? I have entered
Carolyn’s Castle of Teresa of Avila.
The reptiles rule
The first mansion. But in mine they’ve
Crawled upstairs. She offers a candle
In every room. There’s always a letter.
This is the Castle of the soul.
My mother-in-law says intimacy here is hard.
I say I have poems.
I find my next class of beginners.
I learn I am screaming. I step back.
I apologize. I think of fun things to do,
To loosen the fetters in my voice,
The tightening around their hearts.
I try more Carolyn.
I cannot listen to Carolyn now.
Fear teases into a whip
That snaps my heart into a hissing snake.
I watch Madmen. I burst into tears.
Now sits on my shoulders
Like a friend who is too shy to move.
I think am in the fourth mansion, where
Bodies float. Mystical love is a force.
Mystical love is not about need.
Mystical love is God’s grace.
Yet I am holding a snake. I must charm it.
I must not look in its eyes.
In this Castle demons curl my toes
And flick sparks into my reflection.
The refraction started on the lawn in college.
It was finished in Boston. I was nothing but fragments.
No one knows the insides are shattered.
I hold onto this life with unspoken prayers.
I keep it together until I don’t.
My body moves, my voice speaks,
I go to work, pay bills,
And get lost to find my way.
How do I know I am holding on
Until I let go? How do I know when these edges
That frame my soul will sharpen into fine
Shards of glass and those I don’t
Bleed because I cannot feel what’s broken.
I gather now for tomorrow. I get ready to meditate.
I might have to leave the Castle yet my soul
Has learned enough to understand ego’s
Need no longer serves me.
I ask you, how do
I navigate if my lens cannot see
Past mist and shadow?
All I want, is to be touched by grace, in living
In a world where amen is an ending when in truth,
It is only the beginning of many beginnings?


I am someone who loves to share and thrives on being with others. My craft whittles moments into meaning and eases my heart. I learn best by listening. I teach yoga and I write. Life is challenging but simple. My kitties make me happy. My husband is my best friend. Check my blog:



Top Photo: “Frustration” by Peter Alfred Hess, Creative Commons License

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