Discovering Original Face*

For Reinier Jesserum and My National Chinese Students

by Melissa (Mei An) Reed

Waterfall and hidden birds beckon — initiate
an extraordinary human
experiment.

Supine on Classical Chinese Garden ground, we give
ourselves to gravity, slowly, deeply, evenly breathing
into pulsing star shapes.

Supple in the Green World’s hand, we surrender
vital radiance, receive all needed frequencies of light, relax
deeply into the Book of Earth, the Teacher who cradles us.

Transparent to all Gaia has to give us, we forget
ourselves — discover,
We are rich!

Is this the face we have lost?

We notice how more light radiates
outward through our upturned palms where sunlight meets
and radiates in return.

Levity pulls equally, oppositely from gravity to exact
new vertical balance. Floating
effortlessly between sky and earth we rejoice,

We are free! —
free artists
of our characters.

Is this the face we have lost?

Lips curve skyward, eyelids close earthward aware
of how protected we are from Earth’s hot lava core
and Heaven’s solar oven.

Beneath green jeweled Laurel and Plane umbrellas,
we discover that breathing no longer hurts,
that we, too, can make oxygen.

Is this the face we have lost?

We thank the burrowing earthworms inching
in geotropic trances toward the sun, thank
the footsteps, slowed by curiosity, of passersby, forgetting

agendas, arguments, destinations, thank
the happy warbles of unknown birds, resting
in candelabra arms of giant plane trees opening,

opening, always opening to warm odysseys and
longings for flight. Between longing to fly
and to swim, we choose our constellation:

We lost ourselves in the burning
flowers of the sky and woke up
among friends.

Our faces are this garden
where dreams live and move, breathe
and have their being —

where we change every second.
How can we judge ourselves — or anyone else?

Is this our original face?

*Moshe Feldenkrais’s name for one of his attention through movement practices. This time participants are National Chinese students. The poem also salutes the I Ching (Book of Changes) now scientifically verified by the number of cells dying and reborn within us each day.


Journal, Volume 3 Issue 1