The Barrier Keeper
For you the music is a stillness. Only what is still
Can walk the two roads. Here is your list
Of things to pack: did you forget the water?
Forget comfort? Forget profit and loss which rub
Against each other behind a tree? There’s a fire
In the woods between the roads. Forgetting
How to run you run without pain. The words
In these lines are here as guests and if you do
Not forget them they will have failed
Like guests who stay too long.
Along one road I found Chuang Tzu’s skull.
I only remember because I wrote what it said:
The ukulele and violin have traded hands.
The nine ordinary openings are closed
And the owl guards the dead rat.
This daughter exists because of what you
Didn’t do. Tell her this: As you play
Your fingers change as things change
And you forget them, and there is music.