I’ve become more physical with the years.
When I was a child, I started off meditating on clouds.
The wistful smell of freesias taught me breath;
the mufflings inside the willow taught me listening.
I drank the mercury raindrops from my mother’s velvet roses
to discover pretence, and tore apple leaves
to make tiny clothes for fairies that I knew to be false.
At the top of the willow, further than my brothers could climb,
I learnt inevitability.
The old are more physical than we are:
they squabble and gobble their meals with compulsion;
and they revel in their bowels.
The old insist on lotions rubbed into their fragile skins;
they long for hot water sprayed on their backs.
It is not true- the idea that approaching death
makes us spiritual.
We become less and less so, until, finally,
we are all physicality.
That’s when the spirit is so thin and transparent
that, once again, the body is reunited with the dirt.
*The compostela is a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims on completing the Way.