Zeniarai Benten

Against the sheer rock face stands a simple stone gate
Is there more? Of course – there is always more,
If you just have the patience
  to look
For the hollow,
For the path beyond the gate
  (That gate?) Yes, there are more
    – there are always more

But you must start here, along the path
On soft footsteps into the mountain’s heart
  (and how many steps into a woman’s heart?)
There are always more

But the mountain, the mountain lets you in on a secret
  (A secret?) Yes. For now, twenty five steps are enough
And you emerge into the swirl of sunshine and incense,
Bells, and the songs of a thousand years
  hidden in the valley cleft

A stone gate, then twelve more of wood
  (and how many gates into a woman’s heart?)
There are always more

But for now, twelve are enough
There is no hurry –
  Here, there is water, shade
    and time enough to rest your feet
    among other weary pilgrims
  as your eyes trace the path ahead:

There, beneath a woody mane,
  in the sheer rock face at the heart of the cleft,
Stands a simple stone gate.

(One of the most hypnotically beautiful shrines I have ever been to!)

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