May the Smiles from Our Hearts

Sister Chân Từ Nghiêm

May the Smiles from Our Hearts

May the smiles from our hearts
pierce through the clouds
of our confusion.

May the smiles from our hearts
reach you
continuing your path
with courage and freedom.

May the smiles from our hearts
melt all your obstacles
so you can serve all beings
with peace and wisdom

Let the smiles from our hearts
encourage you on and on,
like the sun
shining everywhere
with warmth and freedom

A Poem for the New Year

Be a source of love

for them, who are sad
and lonely, without homes.
Little things will do,
and tenderness.

Be a source of love
for them,
and for us
treading the path
of uncertainty
under skies
of darkness
and light.

Offer your compassionate hands
to everyone, everyone,

There Is the Letting Go

There is the letting go
of the song in our hearts
we have kept so long.

There is the letting go
that the trees know
so well, when
their leaves fly and fall.

There is the letting go
and wishing you well
as streams of life
flow forward
leaving spaces
of memories behind.

There is the letting go
which is all of life
and reappearing
with the colors and sounds of spring.

This poem was written after the Be-In on 4 December 2021 when we were together with many Sisters who would be leaving New Hamlet in a few days to visit their families in Vietnam, and then move on to other practice centers. We sang songs to one another and shared from our hearts the beautiful experiences we had at New Hamlet.

It was also the anniversary day of my little brother’s passing away in 1994. I remember his qualities of courage and freedom. The letting go is part of being able to continue to live after experiencing the death of a beloved one.

Their Flowers Have Fallen

Their flowers have fallen
but the leaves of the orchid plant
are firm and strong,
spreading their arms of greenness
to the east and west.

Their stems are thin and wobbly
attached to wooden sticks
with pins,
yet tiny green buds
are pushing through
on the branches,
like little lights of hope:
life continues
and will blossom again.

This poem was written to my orchid plant as I witnessed its changing, impermanent nature over the past two months. Impermanence can also be the continuation of life, and we are filled with happiness and joy on seeing this. The flowers have fallen, yet the tiny buds sing the song of life continuing without end.