"Blindness" by Bei Kuan-tu

Stanley Roseman, "A Trappist Monk Bowing in Prayer," 1982


As a war-weary soul
pursues some form of finality,
the Light,
that lit the hearts of humans 
fell prey to sadistic shadows.
There, carnality found insanity it's logical end.
And the heart
turning diabolical, devoid of heat
became a psychological wasteland
absent of color or being.

It was here, in hopeless ruin
that Wisdom ushered in,
like a seed penetrating an unyielding surface,
rising out of disorder and disarray.

Wise ones, sages of the Light, 
appeared without announcement.
Scattered amongst men 
they were quickly cast as strangers
misfits of the night.
Their jagged staffs, carved by paradox, 
brought piercing expression, 
of word and deed.

Using riddles and simple parables, 
they confounded the teachers of their day
whose hooded heads slithered
in eerie shadows, 
filled with enmity & jealous sneers.

With eyes aglow
these wise ones walked in imponderable liberty.
Onlookers witnessed their radiant freedom,
a childlike serenity
and the power of presence.
Less observant bystanders
kept their distance
meandering in mayhem
casualties of the labyrinth

With leathered hands and steely eyes 
these lowly sages proclaimed the Light of Love.
Simple ones recognized their authenticity,
but the righteous, blinded by fallacy,
found only the allure of their own lunacy. 

It was here, Love lent its shield 
against the stones of ignorance and rapacity
where illusions dissolved like wax to flame,
winter gave way to spring
and life arose from smoldering ash.

People leapt with joy,
hearts caught fire.
For these wise ones were the repairers of the breach
beings of hope
for a humanity who’d lost its way.

For the Truth,
timeless and tender as it was,
was again boldly proclaimed
fracturing the darkest of nights
bringing forth incomprehensible Light
and stirring many to arise from sullen sleep

Shadows vanished forever
and Light, the source of all that ever was or could ever be
again, lit the hearts of all

Surely a new day had come…

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