GAOLER’S KEYS

A poem
opens a window
in the prison wall.

If it’s not a poem,
it’s just a picture
on the wall.

Who paints pictures
on the prison wall
is surely in the gaoler’s pay.

May all beings be happy!
May they be free from ill will!
May they be free from enmity!
May they be well and happy all the time!

When friendliness puts in an appearance,
its starting place is non-interference.
Let the uncaged linnet sing.
Leave the butterfly on its wing.

When friendliness puts in an appearance,
Māra grasps its outward form
and wears it as his own disguise
with which he can his tricks perform.

He chooses it to make him friends.
He uses it to blind their eyes
and so accomplishes his ends.

He puts out bait for fish to find.
He leaves a snare to catch him birds,
sows seeds of craving in the mind
and mixes poison with his words
and all the whiles,
he threats and smiles.

Beware the Smyler with his Knife*
who wants your money and your life!

*Chaucer: The smyler with the knife under his cloke.

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