The Excellent Eightfold Axe

writing is like any other bodily function
when you have to go you have to go
until you find that you are mostly gone
little more than a shadow cast
from the shell of what you were
by the fierce light of the future


I sit and contemplate the flow of time and tide
I at the edge of the stream
an eddy swirling

I live in a tower with eight sides
and climb a spiral stair
past eight windows thru which I see

that all things interexist
that form is empty of any unchangeable core
that emptiness is form—just as it is
that form evolves
that evolution produces mind
that mind maps existence to see
that mind too interexists with all things and
that interexistence minds

I built this tower from rough planks of truth
hewed from half-truths I have found
in the forest all around
a forest of ignorance and lies
that cause a world of pain

this eightfold tool helps this fool
make sense of the world and keep my cool
it takes a well-tempered person
to sit quietly in a room
holding the horror in one hand
and the beauty in the other
some are tempered harder than
the back of God’s head
some are tempered too soft and
some are not too much of either
to be a sword for life
but we must be honed each day
on the cold steel of practice
a practice employing eyes, ears, heart
and tongue

so I keep one eye for beauty
the other for the lie
one ear for truth
the other for the lie
I keep a heart submersed in love

and in the forest of the Lie
my tongue lets in a little sky
with words sharp as the kiss
soft as the whisper
of an axe

About Douglas Wilton

Doug Wilton was born in Toronto, grew up in small Ontario towns and ran away with the circus during the seventies, ending up in the Kootenays after a long exile in Toronto and Vancouver with side trips to Korea, Ireland and Spain. He has always believed that poetry should reflect fundamental truths about being human and spent his life in pursuit of same. He is the author of To Break The Wheel of War (New Orphic Publishers) and is currently fashioning what he has learned into useful implements for those who also see poetry as a tradition of awakened perception. He currently lives in Nelson where he edits The Elephant Mountain Review.

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