Poetry is a wonderful accompaniment to meditation, especially when the poet speaks of a deep spiritual, human truth through skillful use of words. Naomi Shihab Nye is such a poet, and I first found her through her popular poem, Kindness. Here, I share a poem I read at a meditation group recently. I was guest teaching for Heart of Light Meditation in Berkeley, California. At the end of a silent sit, I read aloud these words.
The Music Box
I don’t know who gave me this instrument,
what happened to the box that once housed
this now-bare motor … I turn the knob,
again, again, till the thing is tightly wound,
then watch the intricate wheels spin against one another
clicking out tiny metallic notes.
It is a familiar song but I couldn’t name it.
It repeats over and over, a miniature anthem
vibrating in my hand.
I feel there is something I should remember,
at least who gave it to me, but this memory has fallen away
like so many others. Sometimes I feel the mind’s
thin shavings scattering the minute they fall,
like the notes of this music-box disappearing into Monday,
even the ones that play together, the highest note,
even the pause.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under The Words