Just This – a poem by William H. Miller

Just This

From the beginning of time: just this!
Ryokan


The spotlight of awareness locked
on the soundless rocking heel 
of my shoe, gliding to the middle, 
propelling my toes, feeling each touch, 
each finished step, just this. 

How is this solitary step so full 
of quiet refreshment, so great 
a subtraction of choppy waters,
roaring road trucks, the daily news? 

Each kiss of rubber on sidewalk 
sharpens sinews, awakens senses. 
Nothing but this raw and untroubled 
truth. Gone is my usual runaway 
universe of preoccupations. Now 
filled with a chain of nows. Gratitude 
and goodwill after minutes of mindful 
stepping, like the Jainist merging 
with the ant, the postman, 
the mail, myself.

Let life continue as it is, only adding
just this to the steps of the day.

During a career practicing and teaching at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry, William H. Miller published three books: Personal Stress Management for Medical Patients, Systematic Parent Training, and a memoir, Soothing: Lives of a Child Psychologist. He recently rediscovered his love for poetry. Partly retired, he plans to spend his time studying and writing poetry.

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