I am sitting again with this idea of suffering, and how suffering is wanting things to be different than they are.
I look for a book and a poem, and my hand is drawn to "spring essence," the Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong, translated by John Balaban. She, Ho Xuan Huong, whose name means "spring essence" was an eighteenth-century concubine, who, according to Utne Reader, may have been "one of the most remarkable poets who ever lived."
I open to this poem.
Master and servant amble pagoda paths,
poem bag almost full, wine flask almost empty.
Pond fish, hearing prayers, flutter their gills.
Hillside birds, hearing chants, bob their necks.
Crowds gather at this door of compassion,
placing incense sticks on smoking altars.
Buddha asks so little of his monks.
Blessed, they gather many friends.