Last Day

Each morning, a Buddhist monk
asks an imaginary bird sitting on his shoulder,

“Is today the day I will die?”

The bird doesn’t answer, its perching reminding
the monk to decide how he wants to live
his last day.

If today is the day I will die,

I want to write a poem,
send a silent blessing to two people quarreling on a street,
address by name a cashier at a grocery store,
express compassion to a despondent brother,
seek forgiveness from those I have grieved.

If I awake tomorrow, I’ll ask the bird again.

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David was a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 35 years before the publication of his first collection of poems, “A Heart on Fire, Poems from the Flames.” He continues to write poetry and makes presentations on poetry of Eastern and Western Mystics and leads poetry workshops as a faculty member of OLLI College at the University of Southern Maine. David is a regular contributor to KindnessOverMatter. David plays the “Shakuhachi,” a Japanese bamboo flute used in Zen Buddhist meditation and celebration. He combines his flute music with poetry readings. He has taught Tibetan and Western poetry to Buddhists monks at Sera Jhy Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in South India. He earned his Master of Theology and Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology degrees from Boston University. You can follow David on his website.

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