Massive, the sea sweeps
and swerves, furious as a dragon.
roughed, it troubles the thirteen
swallows who cluster—
to build one steady thing.
Mist wets their breasts
and makes flying heavy. The sea
has no shore. All middle,
dense as middle age.
Birds may be welcome, then,
as minor miracles, granting grace
to that universal struggle.
—inspired by “Swallows and Waves,” a painting by Okamoto Shuki, 1785–1832, Japan
Read and listen to five additional poems from this series, paired with their inspirational images, here.
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.