Poem by John Tarrant Roshi. 1985.

Memory is a shed

with a palace inside it,

a grimoire full of spells.

A word summons wide fields

full of the light of hay;

the fragrance

catches me off guard,

the moon and the eggs of childhood

are nestled there.

There are other spells in the book:

The swift exhilarations of the body.

Each of these spells is a fragment

of a mirror

that remembers a world.

You have only to look into it

deeply and, There! you see!

the woman turning, the mist and how

the quick lights of the body rule you

without being truly known.

Some things come back the other way,

luminous, incoherent things:

Obscure indigestions, insomnias,

strange, self-defeating loves,

the way that sorrow is heavy

and linked to a great light;

these are worlds seeking spells

and a true description,

and we must give them a place in the grimoire,

under Great Spells, Poorly Understood,

so that they may begin

to find themselves in us,

and we, to navigate among them.

These, the great spells, are beings

willing to suffer;

they become many for the joy of it,

from love.

We are already in another country.

Here, the most terrible pain

is not to have lived.


the inward maze,

what we do not know,

leads us.

Memoria is a grimoire

full of spells that summon worlds,

and of worlds, longing to be recalled.