the dark teaching

by tendo zenji

Vultures follow
vanishing snows north, feeding
easily on winter-

kill death. How
exquisite the death-

teaching their
flight offers: endlessly
patient, effortless,
indifferent. Some-
times, silence.

grown altogether
dark and deep, I must
decide to
breathe, decide

breath after
breath. And in the silence
before I

decide, I glimpse
how that dark
teaching sets us
free, how it
sets us free, and then

lifts away
again into flight.

David Hinton, from Desert: Poems