Masses: The Way

painting by Marlene Vine (, poem by Roy Herndon Smith

the way

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
—Lao Tzu

bereft, one wanders
off the path, one arrives here
where the blue earth breathes

one breathes in, breathes out
one is, one is not, the breath
of the lost mother

of heaven and earth
who breathes out, shoves out, shouts out
the ten thousand things

she swells and falls there
she does not swell and fall there
she is and she is not

the ocean crashing,
now there, now over one’s head
now all that is here

bang it up, mama
now, bear it, birth it, hold it
sing it out, name it

’til all fall breathless
nameless, lost in each other
and drowning in names