For over a period of 14 years,

I was pained to witness my older brother

become progressively more helpless

due to brain cancer.

A hero 24 hours a day, I admired his courage,

never complaining of his limited mobility.

He got up as early as ever to enjoy breakfast,

and read the morning papers.

Wheeled out to his garden to watch humming birds

gorging on his feeder, he’d water the flowers,

harvest a Meyer lemon, and pluck a ripened fig.

He told me he didn’t want to sleep away

a moment of the time he had left.

Without a visit to Kripalu or Esalen,

and never sitting in zazen,

he managed the ups and downs of his life

with great equanimity. I never saw him angry.


Now, as my days dwindle down to a precious few,

I also don’t want to waste time sleeping.

Awakening early, I climb up into the tree house

built for my kids, survey the horizon,

and watch the changing light of the sun.

I focus on the glow of the morning star

which quiets the noise of the inane chatter

in my head, so I can join in the silent chorus

of sane voices.

I write poems to turn my soul into flowers,

avoid the inessential, and jump back into bed

to hug my sleeping wife.