Miriam Ben-Yaacov

The Dukkha of Being

The lamb and the lion
acknowledge the dukkha
of their being
in the implosion
to find God, Allah,
Yahweh, Christ, Buddha -
All projections of personal

*Dukkha - Suffering (Sanskrit); the pain that arises out of the ungovernable nature of events.

Never to Slaughter Nor Butchers Be

The sky is gray, dreary
like pictures
corroded into my cerebrum.

Hungry scarecrows
ghosts behind fences
dressed in gray stripes.
Their tears as feces-stained
as the muddy puddles
in which they stand.

They are
my grandparents, uncles, aunts.

I want it known that
we have no horns, hoofs,
are not devils.

At the cattle ranch where, I,
a wandering poet, visit,
I walk past barbed wire.

Silent eyes follow, watch.
Questioning, ruemy eyes.

Trapped, the calves jostle.
Do they know they will go
to slaughter factories?

Their hides, not lampshades,
but leather for shoes.
Their bones ground to meal.
Their hooves reduced to gelatin.
Their flesh eaten for pleasure

Ways to World Peace

                           Like an oak dormant
                           within an ocean of acorns
                           so world peace, a serpent
                           lies coiled within us

Have a garden
share its corners
with the wild rabbit

Thank the crow
for eating roadkill

Share a peace pipe
even if you fear
the germs left
in speckles of spit.

Venerate teachers
who know they do
not know everything
suspect the teacher
who knows all

Beware the leader
who counts subjects
like a money lender
counts coins

Befriend your nightmares
they are your teachers

"Let honesty be
your divine power
and absence of self
your sword" *

Honor the snake
the giver of the apple
it transmutes poison
to medicine, superstition
to wisdom, then
swallows it's tail

* from "Warrior's Creed" by Anonymous Samurai, 14th Century


There are
many paths,
each guarded
by priest soldiers,
others as if only
one way.

What absurdity!!

There are
no right ways
only ways -

Yet truth, justice
is absolute.

When this is lived
the tower of Babel
will be completed..

About the Author

Miriam occasionally still commutes between Omaha, Nebraska, and Accord, N.Y. She is attempting to write a novel set in South Africa. She enjoys reading, writing, and gazing at the Catskills from the deck of her newly purchased home adjoining Minewaska State Park, and forgets to submit work for publication.

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