Thursday, July 3, 2008

Caledon Reflections

I find myself here today
As if by chance:
Circumstances have conspired
Over the past twenty-or-so years
To bring me here to Caledon.

The first evidence
Of this conspiracy of chance:
An ad for a job.
I applied.
I got the job and
There I met Jennifer in the early months
Of her Buddhist practice.
Her chanting filled her with confidence.
Some days her not-chanting
Filled her face with tension.
As if by chance, I noticed.

The conspiracy continued with
A chance meeting
Of Mrs. Izumi on Bloor Street.
Her radiant life filled
An aura for a mile around.
As if by chance, I noticed.

I heard Jennifer chant for the
First time

On a shared trip to New York.
We wanted tickets for a play
That night.

As if by chance, we got our
First choice:

A Chorus Line.
I later learned

As if by chance, it was written
By a Buddhist
Based on district meetings
Among members
Who were young performers.

The next step
In this chance-full conspiracy
Came from my own inner longings:
A series of repetitive dreams.
In each dream I chanted
And I felt a beautiful contentment…
Only to awake to disappointment
Because I didn’t know
How to chant
In my real life.
Oh, I noticed that!
So, I asked Jennifer to teach
Me to chant.
As if by chance, we both had time
On our hands.
I practised with her each day
And, as if by chance,
My relationship with my mother
Got back on track
After years of estrangement.
Yes… I noticed.

Oh, my!
Twenty years of this conspiracy
Of chance
Have wrought great changes in my life.
Nurtured and protected by the warmth
Of my Soka friends I have stretched:

I sang for President Ikeda in Japan

And he did magic tricks
For us.

Because Veronica asked,

I wrote plays for the
Junior Pioneers
And they, grown up now,
Greet me with hugs.

At the WG General Meeting

I tap-danced for the first time
In 35 years.

Now, I’ve played drums

At Caledon
To find a renewed
Spirit of unity.
And Mrs. Izumi
Played the piano
For us.

All by chance… I know.
But now I understand
The spelling is C-H-A-N-T-S.

By chants I now know
I am Soka Gakkai.
I am kosen-rufu.

What a truly remarkable
and fortunate
Bunch of people we are!


29 June 2003