The King and Seer

The King asks, “Tell me, what is the highest meaning of the holiest truths?”
The Seer answers, “Emptiness, without holiness.”

The King is a restless seeker.
The Seer is a ruler and thief.

I am seriously watching how trees are always missing some leaves.
They sweep the air looking for them. Nothing distracts them. Nothing.
Where leaves are missing between the branches, beautiful sun porches,
which disappear when the tree reaches them.

“Who are you?” the King asks.
“It is not like that,” the Seer says.

The Seer leaves the King alone in his throne room
and starts walking to China, kicking up gravel,
hurrying to find the next king.

On the road between country houses,
he stops to listen to trees digging the air for crickets.
He wonders whether the King is mad now like the trees,
or dancing and recounting the story without an end.

More Poems by Emily Warn