“In every culture, in every place and time, there has always been
religion, and in every one of these there has always been the gesture
of bowing so fully that the forehead strikes the ground.
Why is this?”  —
Lew Welch, Poet; from “Ring of Bone”

When you bow then deeply bow

or why bow at all?bow
If you are deeply bowed
you cannot fall

Begin on knees and haunches,
back and head erect, 
hands on thighs,
skull a thoughtless ball

(you want to form an L
—for love or light or lose)

still as the hole between breaths,
a single pulse of ventricle,
one thump, a drumbeat in a chest, 
echoless, you and it identical
(a car in rain may pass its tires hiss),
then lean and slide hands from thighs
place your open palms before you on the floor
—you may think, what is the sense in this?
and that’s ok, but don’t be bound
(there’s less, there’s more)
now slowly hunker down
expose your spine to what’s on-high,
have forehead and floorboards kiss
as if in making love, as if in bliss,
as if there’s something new you’ve found:
you see your real place in this
—a nut, compact, expressionless and mute,
to be cracked by love — to be love’s fruit

Jim Culleny