Mark Hart: “Holy Communion”

Mark Hart is a Buddhist meditation teacher in Western Massachusetts. We’ll be giving a poetry reading together this February in Northampton. The poem below was first published in the Summer 2008 issue of Rock & Sling, a journal of faith and literature (sadly no longer publishing). Listen to an audio recording on the Bodhisara website.

Holy Communion

He spent one June head bowed
staring down from a timbered bridge
into still water mirroring blue.
From under the slender arching grass,
the wet, brown stone
of a muskrat’s head
arrowed grooves in that glass
and buckled a bladed sky.

Here was a quiet kingdom,
well-contained, a heaven on earth
of succulent roots and silken mud
where the brushed grass quaked
of her broad behind
and she preached her silent sermon
of simple grace, a creature in her place
gliding from bank to tufted bank.

She was his secret life
in the clutter of rooms,
the clatter of his kind,
and he knew the spot
where she entered
her cottage beneath the sod,
he knew the two that followed her
to their nest in that womb of earth.

The meek shall inherit
cool water, green fields
stroked by the breeze—
On a pew of creosote boards he sat
dangling his bare feet down
and partook of her holy communion
where air and earth come together
with a rippling flow between.

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