Caroline Reddy - poetry and events       Caroline Reddy - poems

Plum Blossom (Baika)

I might have sensed your first laugh 
at a lantern festival 
when yellow threads of light
flickered the reflection 
of a distant shore in your eyes.

I might have brushed by your shoulder 
while you tamed your flute in the woods;
and in that frequency, I also heard 
the faint tappings of a drum
spread across a mossy rock. 

It must be in this fleeting moment
that bits of our lineage crossed
as we watch snowflakes 
soften underneath the moon
making space for plum blossoms to bloom.

published by Braided Way, March 25th, 2022


The sacred waters of Kyoto
drip a bit of Dharma into my crown as I bow to my katana
and sensei,
allowing kata
to sharpen my mind,
and shape me
into a peaceful warrior. 

My beloved Zen teachers,
long gone wanted me to move on for I was low in ki
even though I practice reiki. 

I called upon Manjushri
to help me wield wisdom and find the way once again. 

A dojo in Japan found me through a lucid dream and reminded me of

the Diamond Sutra, Shinto shrines 

deep bows—
the sound of the hanh
as I breathed from my soul: pouring pure water
to cleanse my body,
and connect earth to sky, and sky to earth. 

I rise blurry eyed at dawn
and perform basic steps:
Tai Sabaki
and review my shukudai,
layering a new move
wondering if I could find my balance in this world when my heart, 

the altar
has been empty for some time. 

I whisk matcha tea at dusk
and wipe my katana with choji oil before bed,
a meditative practice
in this world where making contact has become so limited. 

In each fleeting moment
I perform a new kata
and imagine the plum blossoms
that are blooming across the universe as the harsh winter settles

into the scent of a new spring moon.

published by Clinch Lit, April 28th 2022

The Final Dokusan (My Zen Teacher’s Last Breath)

I watched 

as your body shriveled before me 

and meditated in stillness— 

wondering if your ashes 

have kept the turtles company.

After our last dokusan 

when I told you about 

how music had been murdered 

you wanted me 

to keep the legacy 

of the living world alive 

through whirling words on the page 

like a Merlin-magician 

but I wasn’t sure if I could 

unscramble my brain 

to make sense of your directions 

as we approached the sesshin 

at The Garrison Institute… 

and after our last dokusan 

I went for a hike 

and took pictures of the amber 

leaves as the sun burst 

through the camera 

not knowing that it would 

be the last time we spoke. 

I held onto the ceramic 

statue of Jizo 

and found a monk’s smile 

to help me untangle the strings 

and emptied my hands 

so that I can continue 

to chop wood 

and carry water.

published in Seedling Poets 2022

A Sacred Dance

Twirling in a tattered tribal scarf
and an empty room,
I remember the empress flame
that lit the embers of an old Sufi heart.

I dream of a womb
where the ashes of a wounded bird
do not spoil.

it has been abandoned in a crypt
hidden beyond cypress trees
and tigerlilies to serve
me now.

Reserve these shimmies
and protect lost goddess shakes
maddening masquerades
in this sacred dance of stillness and shifting space

published in Active Muse 2021 and in Soul-Lit 2021

A Star Being’s Chronicle 

I thought about this book 

I own as I was floating 

on the surface of a bubble– 

human etiquette for a new world. 

By the way, 

there are so many concepts, 

besides why a bride 

never gets to relax, 

that I don’t understand: 

the imbalance of power, 

the brutality of war, 

the destruction of our planet, 


why humans settle 

for a life that isn’t truly theirs. 

I decided to write my book to help humanity: A Star Being’s Chronicle 

I hope you get past the importance of hydration

and skip the advice on first dates, 

and flip the pages to this section: 

how to measure your mission; 

when soul, 

the main engine of your domain, 

has crashed. 

My own began years ago, 

when the doors of a Zendo, 

led to a Dojo: 

all that bowing, breathing and blocking

beckoned me to activate my DNA, 

and work with the lightbody healer, 

to serenade my cells, 

and travel through the dimensions.

I thought wishing on stars was silliness

but manifestation is not a sham… 

those ideas sometimes disappear 

into the atmosphere– 

but a few are captured by comets 

and sent to the meteorologists 

and dispatched through bursts of sunbeams

that pour through our pores. 

I also have these enchanted map cards

that are quite handy 

as I loop back and forth through space and time

and relive harsh moments that get triggered by

the mere scent of laundry detergent. 

When your life reboots your plans—

shift out of your comfort zone, 

sift through the time-lines of your

life, lift your body to the skylights, 

as you shed lesser forms. 

I know that this office-desk-thing 

was not your ideal career– 

you wanted to swim with dolphins 

and decipher their alien language 

or become an anthropologist 

and travel to New Zealand 

to study the Maori culture, 

instead you are feeling confined 

and itchy in your human suit… 

You can borrow my steampunk space suit

and see if it fits— 

maybe the titanium seeds 

can reveal the right chemical reaction

to free your true nature 

so you can dance with your

photons in the Coast of Papua New Guinea 

and smile at the yellow lipped sea krait.

published by Bethlehem Writer's Roundtable 2021

Star Being 

Serene beings nestle 

alongside scattered entities; 

tiny seeds plucked from the stars, 

their cells speckled with morsels of dust 

that shimmer and caress us when night terrors

and old wounds drip brain saliva onto-do lists

and daily meeting notes. 

A gentle wind beckons us 

when clocks unwind 

Underneath the canopy of a willow tree. 

A tearing through time releases 

toxic thoughts and limiting beliefs 

that have binded our feet to 

brick buildings and brunches. 

Sentient beings exhale 

thin slices of the moon into the cosmos 

and breaths that sheathe sunlight around our tender

hearts. Some might see them as lanterns among matter

that cascade in and out from where ripples form;

retrieving a rare moment of mermaids playing in the

sand, long before our original face was born.

published by Star*line 2021

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