Poems by Philomene Long

"As for me, I delight in the everyday way,
Amidst wrapped vines and rocky caves.
Here in the wilderness I am completely free."
Han Shan, Cold Mountain

Silver days at the Ellison
Longest rainstorm in ten years
Beneath the slippery sky
The Ellison glistening
Dangling raindrops
Silver sounds

I slip out to the sea
I am the only person
On Venice beach
Grey sea, grey sky, grey sea gulls
I am wearing a bright pink raincoat
The seagulls believe I am the sunset
They turn their backs to the sea and face me
They assume their sunset viewing positions
Chests forward
Motionless. Except for
An occasional scratch of the ear
The flutter of a wing

We watch each other
I act like the sunset for them
I raise my glowing pink arms
I stand motionless for a long time
Kneel, then recline upon my heels
Alone on Venice Beach
It is all so slow, so simple
Being a sunset

Back at the Ellison.
Alone at the black iron gate
I look up
Soft rain sliding
Over the red bricks
Two red brick wings open
As if to embrace me
Two ghostly shimmering red wings

We watch each other
I look at the Ellison
As the sea gulls looked at me
I love this old building!
I love this old building!

Ah! yes, Kukai, the gulls and
Yes! Even these stones
Will become Buddhas

Philomene Long