Sunday Poetry: How to Live on the Planet Earth

Chants, liturgy, and the chorus of hymns are the sounds of Sunday mornings everywhere. In my chapel sounds of gusting wind, red pine bowing, chickadee, finch, and jay birds singing fill the air. A passing car chimes in before disappearing down the road. My in and out breath create a rhythmic flow as I sit like the rock, and just be. Being alive requires no grasping. Sitting still I pay close attention to rising and settling thoughts, breath, and sensations of the body. This is how to live on the planet earth.

How to Live on the Planet Earth
By Nanao Sakaki

Dwell in the neighborhood
Of stars & rainbows.

With donkey’s ears
Listen to the wind whispering.

With monkey’s limbs
Hang around mountains and rivers.

Be rich in the wild life.
Waste not, want not in the human life.

Don’t work without hearty sweat.

From afar
Ah, one of my dear friends arrives.
Let’s have daikon dish,
Home-made Sake & songs.

Shadow’s shadows-
Supermarket, hospital, & bank-
What a perfect sight.

Under the horizon of the void
The authorities set.

The Sun & the moon
To look up forever.

from “How to Live on Planet Earth: Collected poems of Nanao Sakai” – Blackberry Books, Nobleboro, Maine