It is Autumn again

and my neighbour Jane is sweeping the leaves.

The leaves fall and fall

and Jane sweeps and sweeps.

Again and again she goes out

with grey broom and brown sack

to fill bag after bag

with bulging foliage.


These leaves, falling and falling,

Jane, sweeping and sweeping,

it is like constant process,

like Time enacted :

sands trickling through an hourglass,

waves breaking on a shore,

the sun rising and setting

as days come and go,

as seasons turn,

as years pass.


As I watch her sweeping

she grows into an emblem,

an icon.  

She joins the ranks

of Old Father Time,

of Death the Reaper,

Primavera, Ceres,

but especially Kanzan and Jittoku,

those cheeky cosmic sweepers

of Zen lore,

sweeping all clean,

embodying clarity and emptiness

and the passing of all things.


There are so many lessons

we daily, too easily miss,

so many truths

wrapped in the ordinary,

so much to pass by, unread.

As with the lesson of Jane,

The Lady of the Broom,

who sweeps and gathers the leaves,

the dust, the litter of decay,

as it falls and settles around us,

endlessly, day by day.