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how do poets know?

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I have my shares.
Every day full of ghosts and erasures.
A few remain who live in fear
on their knees in prayer.

I have walked the linoleum halls
of hospitals, my psyche tuned
to those about to depart.
I can tell if the ghost is gone
though the heart
keeps pounding.

I have stood by and coached the dying:
Breathe deeply, more
deeply!

And so I practice
each day.

source: Ronci, S.R. (2008). The skeleton of the crow: new and selected poems 1978-2008. Keene, NY: Ausable Press, p. 40. Seido Ray Ronci is a Zen monk and the director of Hokoku-An Zendo in Columbia, MO. He was a lay-student of Kyozan Joshu Sasaki-Roshi for 20 years before being formally ordained in 1999. Sasaki-Roshi has students all over the world, including the Canadian poet Leonard Cohen who practiced at Mt. Baldy monastery for five years. image: I’ve been unable to locate the source.

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