Two Poems on Thoughts During Meditation

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Prodigal Mind

When my mind
returns to the breath
there is such a sense
of homecoming
such a celebration of
this most perfect union

that I would not be surprised
if the invitations were sent out
the band hired
and the cake decorated

were there only enough time
before my wayward mind
sets off to wandering again.

– Stephanie Noble


In the River of Thought

In the river of thought
may I rest like a rock
in the riverbed
cleansing the water so that
downstream it will be clearer.

If I’m not ready to be a rock
unchanged by thought-stream,
if I feel more akin to the flotsam
tossed about by the rapids
of thoughts, then at least

May I keep my head above water
and see the wide world around me
beyond the thoughts in which I swim.

May I find my weary way to the shore
and rest on the banks of the river.

May I discover that I am not the river
and bear no shame for its stench.

May I look upstream and downstream
and see that its course is endless,
that it neither starts or ends with me.

May I know not to dip my bucket
in the river and offer the foul broth to others.

And then someday may I feel awake enough
to re-enter the river for periods of time
and sink deep into the rocky riverbed, fully aware,
able to breathe in the vilest thoughts
with cleansing compassion.

May some day the river itself be so pure
that swimming in it will cause awakening.

– Stephanie Noble

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