Space you measure in feet and inches
and shoes by where your big toe pinches;
seasons by cherry, rose and snow,
when may comes and swallows go:
empires by rise and fall of kings;
weather by rain and drought and flood;
dead trees by whether the dragon sings,
flowers by when they seed and bud.
But how do you measure silence?
Or the space between two thoughts?
Or the point where forces balance?
Or the product of two noughts?
Or where the shadows fade to
when the sun sinks in the west?
Or how your deeds are weighed you
as your life drifts into rest?
Houses go from stone to dust.
The builder is himself undone.
The gate is broken and gone to rust.
Nothing survives from sun to sun.
What was there before the beginning
lingers when stars now born are dead;
in the absence of suns is ever shining;
when nothing is thought and nothing said.