Memento, homo, quod sinis es
et in cenerem reverteris
To transcend all suffering,
almost unseen, he walks through the forest,
beneath cliffs like ancient thoughts,
beside rivers, streams, caves of the forest,
from small settlement to settlement,
hidden almost from sight in the forest.
But should you be patient enough
to wait near the edge of the forest
where invisible and visible merge
with magic and miracle, meadow and forest,
once in a long while, it could be years,
the monk may step from deep forest,
to stand under the dust lane of the Milky Way,
in the shadow of the forest,
and recite a sutra or the medieval poem
“Erthe upon Erthe”—the forest
moonlit and starlit behind him.
And it’s then the monk of the forest
may bow your way, sensing you there
who are not of the forest
until windswept leaves draw him back,
nothing remains but the forest.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.