Diana Woodcock



After the bombing, the taste of hatred
hung in the air, pain of injury and despair,
doubt and darkness in eyes and everywhere—
sadness reigned. I set about consoling,
tenderly loving the wounded, the next suicide
bomber. I gave, pardoned, died a little more
each day—only by grace feeling the embrace
of the Divine penetrating all time and space.

Earth carried on with its task of annual greening.
Maple Syrup Festival in Vermont. Point of equal
balance light and dark. Rivulets flowing with
melted snow. I wondered where the souls of the
damned go. Morning glories climbing my garden
wall might know. Not me—mere ascetic and seeker
still, waiting for a frog to jump into the old pond.

Slightest breeze pleases me these days—
seeking only simplicity, patience, compassion,
emptiness. Pitied a seagull pushing against
a strong headwind blowing in off the coast this dawn.
Begged my neighbor cementing into place a
chevaux-de-frise around his property wall,
Don’t, please!

For ten days once, I listened only to the teachings of
crickets, dragonflies, flowing water. Left even my
divining bone behind. Mad with love, no one around
to see. Thought of freight yards, boat docks, calls
to prayer and ticking clocks—everyone else going
somewhere. Stayed still all those ten long days—
kept silent save for an evening song. No one else to
touch, I threw my arms around sun and moon till all
too soon time came to climb down the mountain,
take the ferry that fortunately was in no hurry
to get me back on the fast track.

After that—and now this bombing
a reminder—it’s all been clear profit:
every waking moment.

Diana Woodcock’s first chapbook, Travels of a Gwai Lo, was published in 2009 by Toadlily Press, which also nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. Forthcoming chapbooks include Mandala (the 14th in Foothills Publishing's Poets on Peace series) and In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (Finishing Line Press). Recipient of the 2007 Creekwalker Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2008 (selected by Mark Strand), Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review and other journals and anthologies. Currently teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, she has lived in Tibet, Macau and Thailand.

(author retains copyright)