108 Beads: Poems on the Way


Like the 108 beads of a Buddhist rosary, these 108 poems thread together to form a singular object of meditation and reflection. They are poems that interpret and expound upon the timeless teachings of Buddhist and Taoist thought as I document and chronicle my four-year journey of wandering transience and renunciation.


They may accuse me of wasting my life,
but what can I do?
There are no certain terms to explain these things.
An hour’s standing in a smiling storm.
The bend of a leafless tree.
A single noon with pavilion birds.
A circle. A square. A sphere.
Nothing suffices, but that still
I should continue sure in my knowing
that nothing remains
better than most things.

I would rather live fully
for just one moment
than partially for a millennium.
And if I should someday slip
from the cliff’s edge because of this,
let it be known
I want not to be mended.
I will have lived already.

The poem I have spent my life writing
would not be worth reading.
After all, to others
it would not look like much.
Just a list of the names
of those I have loved.
Though to me such a poem
would say it all.

108 Beads: Poems on the Way