What Issa Heard

      by David Budbill


Two hundred years ago Issa heard the morning birds

singing sutras to this suffering world.


I heard them too, this morning, which must mean,


since we will always have a suffering world,

we must also always have a song.



From Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse (Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon Press, 1999).