Wendy Stern

Faith Every breathAn opportunityFor wakefulness,Every momentAn opportunityFor stillness,For kindness,For change. Just for a while,Just for a day or two,An hour or two,I was lost to you,Turned my back on you. Just for a while,Just for a time or two,A moment or two,Life heldToo many threatening consequences,Too many to bear. And as the feeling heightenedAnd the darkness intensifiedI saw a sightSo hellishAs to make me shudder,As to make me cover my eyes: Life without you. Tomorrow,Empty meaningless functionAfter empty meaningless function,Every day,Empty function after empty functionTied toCondition, existence,Bound to mundanity,So tightly, so tightlyAs to make my wrists and ankles burn,Make them bleed. And in that moment of seeing,And in that moment of knowing,As I raised my handsTo protect my eyes,And as I shook my headIn cold aversionAnd disbeliefAt the world I had glimpsed,You came to me,As if to hold my very being,And you turned me around,Turned me around,And I was returned to you... All in a moment or two. Every breathAn opportunityFor wakefulness,Every momentAn opportunityFor learning,For deepening,For gratitude. To the Buddha May I devote my life to learning from you.I may be slow, I will stumble,But if I use my breath to move closer to you,And if I use my mind to glimpse you,And if I use my heart toSoften to you,Then perhaps I will achieveSome momentsFree from, and beyond,These ever-turning realmsIn which we are embedded,And some change,At least,To this being, this form,That lies here. Wendy is a Buddhist and poet living in Bristol, in the west of England. For many years she has been completely bedridden, and her poetry therefore comes from an unusual perspective.
Writing poetry is Wendy’s passion and her only form of creativity and self-expression. Her work is produced without the capacity to look at text, to write or to use a laptop. Dictating the poems and then editing them aurally takes an immense amount of energy and concentration.