Blog, Poetry

The Stowaway Seeds

The Stowaway Seeds

I am afraid to touch the shopping cart, the bright
cool hide of the fragrant orange, the wet sand on the beach.
This pandemic virus spreads RNA
where people pass too close to one another
and gather to buy food, or crowd the ocean’s edge.
“It cannot be killed because it isn’t alive,”
my scientist brother says.

But something unknown has always contained our death,
which is why we are respectful and delicate
as we lift teacups and snow
salt crystals on grilled asparagus and touch one another
and spoons and books and the surfaces of the earth
we will one day be pressed gently between,
like book pages on the fat stems of large leaves.

Such abundant offerings – these tiny crowns
and multiplying stars, the resplendent small burrs
I found in the rough striped blanket
we took to the woods before everything shut down.
They came home with me, to seed
a new world, in which
we aren’t the most important thing.


Mushim Patricia Ikeda is a socially engaged Buddhist teacher; community activist; diversity, equity and inclusion consultant; parent; and author based in Oakland, California, where she helped to found the East Bay Meditation Center, a diversity- and social-justice-centered urban meditation center. She is the recipient of a Global Diversity Leadership award and an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Starr King School of Ministry, and she was named one of Colorlines’s 20 transformative racial justice leaders in 2018. More information on her teaching, writing, and work can be found at www.mushimikeda.com.


Photography by the author


Return to contents page of Practice, Resilience, and Compassion in the Time of COVID-19.


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