Green My Envy

for Marie Ponsot

Green my envy
sulking in a pool of rage,
wanting for my own ends
Leonardo’s brain
and all the wit
that ran with bitter ease
down Pope’s scarlet quill.

Let Buddha sit happily
turning his dharma wheel:
lacking Socrates’ tongue,
I would rather be the cat
a Zen monk sliced in two.

Did Aquinas laugh
when you first played the Summa
as a pleasant interlude
between lunch and afternoon tea?
Or was it Joyce I saw
tickling your fancy
after another quiet supper
of Finnegan stew?
If only you realized
how much of your hidden mind
my empty luggage carried
around Ulysses’ cape.
Not your face
but your unfathomable erudition
launched all those jealous ships
my intellect took to sea.

From beyond the deva worlds
a wise monk shakes his head
while my grey ego sets sail
on a voyage
that can only end tragically.
Seeking perfection,
I may well lose my soul.
Only mindfulness is true.