Vajra (Water song)

Kevin O’Keefe


Some day, a day not on your calendar

And it shouldn’t be long from now

You’ll leave behind your shelter of

Practiced spontaneity and dull knives.


Passing through the meadow, you’ll part the ferns

And cross over a rock wall, just in time

To hear curtain rise on an almost silent

symphony: Welcome to the Dark Woods


Pause briefly at Royal Arch

Here’s your opportunity to release any weapons

Or plowshares. You won’t need them

Where you’re headed.


Maintain your bearing and soon the

Autumnal sun will punch through the canopy

Inviting you to unfold your black oily,

Cormorant wings to dry.


Further down the trail, as your foot falls on

Their talon-like roots, you’ll encounter a

Variety of hardwood trees. They’ll pay you little

Mind because they are leaning in to shelter the

Message of the whispering stream.


Some spirit shakes their tops, sending burgundy

Emissaries to journey downward. Most sink to the bottom, or

Are pulled under by the current. But a few

Float and glide sideways, this way and that,

Steering past the jet-black rocks or navigating around

Mossy green boulders.


Let’s, (all of us) meet at Crystal Lake

  • The eight year-old boy from last nights’ dream -the one

    you held to still his weeping

  • The grandmother selling peanuts by the side

    of the road outside Tegucigalpa

  • All our Beautiful Monsters

  • All of Fellini’s freaks and goddesses

  • Everyone we’ve ever met

  • Anyone who has ever lived

  • All of us

  • Every Stalin, Pol Pot and General Custer

  • Every ancestor

  • Every parcel of our personas, unpacked from

    our stuff-sacks

  • They are all welcome


Likewise, all accumulated karmas, causes and conditions

All kindnesses and love, even our greed

All of it held in our two cupped hands

Water spilling over the edges of our begging bowls

And back into Crystal Lake.


Drink, quick before the authorities find out.

Kevin O’Keefe – has published in stories and essays in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, The Commons, The Brattleboro Reformer & Spectacle. His poetry has been published in Snapshots of Dry-docks, Meantime, PoemCity, Poems in the Time of Covid and Bloodroot. He is the author of the memoir A Fire Somewhere (the opening chapter won first prize from Writer’s Advice). His novel about climate collapse, Mammoth: The Story of Iron Shaggy, is forthcoming. He is the founder of Circus Minimus, CircusYoga, and the national non-profit The American Youth Circus Organization. He lives in Vermont.