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In Royal Park, Thinking of Shaolin Temple



My body has thoughts that are not my own.

I run along the edge of native grassland,

Beneath eucalypts, under the magpie’s warble,

A mess of badly drawn limbs –

Skeins of chi tumbling forward in tangles –

Coloured-in with lines of gold by the back

and forth of a child’s hand, free of care.


Go slowly, slowly, the monk tells me,

He takes the pen and completes the approximate edges

Of the hollow sutra characters I’ve been filling in with golden ink.

The bells gently sound from the temple’s fēiyán flying eaves.

And in your life, he says, not too fast,

Go slowly, slowly.

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