November 14, 2013

Zen Pace

A poemBarry Spacks

Wincing at waste, write pocket-notes
on the innocent sides of used pages, save
long distance calls till Sunday, chase
the last slipping rice grain around your plate
and even hurry slowly, acting
always with trustful slowness within,
mourning even the loss of a friend
with that dignity in her spirit never
gone…you have no need but to move,
sleep to waking, insult to love
happening to happening
at the pace of a gradual smile, at the pace
of the hammer-stroke heart
that proceeds to the next
full beat, and then the next.


Barry Spacks, a poet and painter, teaches writing and literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A busy man, he hurries slowly.

This poem was first published in The Hope of the Air (Michigan State University Press, 2004).

Image © Julie DuBose

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Pamela Gayle White's picture

The only thing better than reading poet laureate of Santa Barbara Barry Spacks's poetry is hearing him read it... on lossar in a beautiful craftsman home in good company. Or anywhere.

shlomo.pesach's picture

The delicate attentiveness embedded in the poem reflects Julie DuBose's image perfectly; the art of Miksang photography and the art of being present are unified.