Misogi

by Daryl Morazzini

While the world sleeps, I bath under cold flowing waters, hands         clasped in
prayer.
            The ancestral spirits are pleased.
OM KA KA KABI SAN MA HAI SOMA KA
While the world sleeps, I powder myself in sweet sandalwood and       delicate
cedar.
            The body is scented, temple like.
While the world sleeps, my cats pile fresh killed mice under the         kamaza,
delicate purrs an homage to the sun.
           The ears are free to breathe.
While the world sleeps, I give my prayers and prostrations to the       Buddhas
and Bosatsus, renewing my vows with warm Kyoto           incense.
            The spirit is released like rain drops across

     chrysanthemum pedals.

OM KA KA KABI SAN MA HAI SOMA KA
While the world sleeps, I swirl red Miso paste into a cracked forge      bowl, adding bitter
sea vegetables and silken tofu.
The stomach chases golden dragons on paper boats.
While the world sleeps, the sun sings the morning chant,                   Amaterasu’s
golden hues remain a gentle blessing in a                    red bibbed Jizo forest to a
childless mother.
            The eyes listen for the morning bell.
While the world sleeps, I pour boiled water into an iron tea                kettle, bless
with budding Jasmine flowers, springing back to          life arms reaching high to
the horizon.

            The lungs dream the world alive.

OM KA KA KABI SAN MA HAI SOMA KA

While the world sleeps, and most of the world is asleep, I stumble      to my feet,
widen my stance, and awaken Being into the new         day with each counted
breath.
            The Way gains clarity, like pilgrims discovering a timber         trail.