Once, I too practised the bodhisattva austerities

Before becoming me,
I was assembled and fragmented a trillion times
by the lapping and dashing
of waves, wind and sun.
One small, foaming persistent corpuscle,
I was incessantly eaten, incessantly ate my swarming companions
before we found another way.
I lurked and sprang and crept in a multitude of swamps,
swam the depths and shallows of the oceans,
was plucked from the waves for food,
drank my young without noticing,
was burned and drowned and poisoned and beaten.
A fleck of life, I helped assemble the great arena of being
with illimitable other flecks;
we flew through storms,
laboured in the darkest bellies to digest for other beings,
tumbled through the hearts of clouds to lodge as seed upon the earth,
died in a million births of insistent child;
slowly assembled flecks of grey lichen in dark damp places
over creaking aeons;
drank tiniest light slipping into crevice,
twitched, groaned, grunted, cried.
Only lately have I had to suffer death by greed or malice,
or become prone to dealing it out;
I still labour to learn more fully how to live
I learned how to weep, and how I have wept,
but I have laughed too, often
I have found pleasure in small things
for that is what I am
and in things vast
for that is what I am.
I eat, sleep, breathe, drink, walk and run and talk.
I seek to see.
I seek to help.
I seek to be and to be.


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