Learning to swim

Photo by Charlie Borden

Learning to swim

The softest bell was calling in the distance

Time again for the one pilgrimage

Friends had made the safe place ready

Fixing food and binding my hurts


Now you lead me to this wide gold green ocean

And invite me to strip down to my skin

Thinking is the dry land I was living in

Diving into this body is taking the plunge

Meditation is learning to swim


Kindness holds my hand so I can take another plunge

A thousand times I turn back to the familiar shore of thinking

A thousand times compassion says “you can do this Honey”

Softening is how we meet the swells


I was afraid to meet the entire ocean all at once

But you told of finding stillness in the deeps

So I open to baptism one wave at a time

And remember joyful awe in the sea


The prairie is the slowly swaying underworld now

Beautiful beings walk on the bottom and float overhead

The sandy sweet healing quiet ever waiting here

When did I stop holding my breath?


Turning, I see billions of relatives standing afraid at the shore

With pain of being so dry and so near to the source

It’s my turn to strike the tone of welcome

Come back to your true home

Then don’t ever stick your head up out of this moistness


Charlie Borden

Prairie Farm Nov 2020

Charlie wrote the above poem while recently on retreat at Prairie Farm. His time on retreat included acting as kitchen manager and helping hold and support the container as Practice Leader. May your time at Prairie Farm be a cause and condition for your liberation and the liberation of all beings.

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