The Buddha listens

in the kitchen to a classical program
on the radio, one evening while cold rain pelts
the window before turning into pellets of ice—
And he thinks Mendelssohn’s Octet in E flat
Major, Op. 20 is the perfect soundtrack for this
moment— the violins and their upbow so quickly
spanning and gathering a range of feeling
he did not know still simmered under his skin.
Where did they come from: that flare of resentment,
that thorn of anger, the ache of loneliness
from a love he yearned for but could not have?
How is it possible to cultivate detachment
at the same time that one practices compassion?
He rinses his cup and saucer and sets them
on the rack to dry, his fingers lingering
in midair as if to trace the notes
that exit in the scherzo.

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