to have once

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To Have Once
Alice Walker
For years I meditated
Peacefully
In this small ruined retreat.
It was whole until the hurricane.
All around it now are fallen trees,
Broken limbs,
Broken windows
Broken doors.

Many roofs in the neighborhood
And in the pueblo, both palapa
And tile, are gone.
Nothing,
It appears,
Has remained
Unscathed.

Everything is trashed.

There is a feeling of unreality,
Of sadness that so much beauty
And peace of solitude
Has been destroyed,
But overwhelmingly there is
Gratitude.

Our beautiful friends and their beautiful children
Are alive.

No one was injured, and no one died
From the tempestuous winds
And drowning rain of hurricane Patricia,
Who charted her course
Right to the places
Most out of the way
-Or so we thought-
Of unwelcome visitors.

Impermanence. So the Buddha taught.
And, To have once is to have
Forever:
So certain of the Aboriginal peoples
Believe.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash