Sometimes it’s more important that we talk than what we say.

I wrote this in 1995, when a book by a medieval Zen master (Dream Conversations by Muso Kokushi, 1275-1351) seemed to intersect with a romantic relationship. The story and metaphor are from the book, though the author was applying it to religious conversation and here I’m applying it to relationship conversations; I think the same principle is at the root of both.


i woke up this morning and your smell was in my hair;
i breathed it in and thought of you last night.
i’d asked a lot of questions, and i’d said a lot of words.
you were too tired to talk a lot...
i want you to know that it’s all right.

two lovers planned to run away in secret:
out her window they would fly away like birds.
all that evening she kept calling loudly for her maid.
she made up things for her to do...
it was so he’d hear and know which window was hers.

when i ask unanswerable questions,
or talk about the passions in my heart,
or bring up fears we both know can’t be hurried,
i’m just “calling for the maid”...
so we can find each other in the dark.

    i’m not looking to define the truth,
    though i may talk about it quite a bit;
    it’s just my way of walking back and forth
    along the ground between where you and i sit.
    my head will always ask and wonder why,
    and try to understand the master plan,
    but all my heart will ever want to do
    is love you in whatever way i can.

so the words that i know may not be the best ones,
but i’ll say the words that i know how to say.
the sound of a caring voice is sometimes all we understand.
so i’ll keep on calling the maid...
till we can see each other in the clear light of day.

la la la...


tjw: two acoustic guitars, electric bass, synth flute played via MIDI guitar, vocals