Rick Kempa

“Be, Be,” Buddha Said.

When we gave ourselves over to this word,

the things we thought most worthy of concern

seemed so small we set them down.

How happy to have the holy sense

to sit still! The stars took us

for one of their own and whispered in our secret

ears. Water closed around us like

a form that prefigured the final sound.


The title is borrowed from William Stafford’s

poem, “The Stick in the Forest.”

In the evening the two of us

In the evening the two of us

kneel before the water-hole

in the creekbed below camp,

filling our bottles. The vault

of the sky opens and down

comes the rain again, big drops

splatting our sweat-rimed shirts,

our sun-burnt necks. We say

nothing, keep kneeling,

filling and being filled.