The following is a poem written by Leonard Tuchyner. Many thanks to Leonard for sharing such a personal message.
T’ai Chi, an Abiding Teacher
Friends now for seven years,
introduced at a Chang Ming school,
you an ancient, sage teacher,
I a new naïve student,
antique by human standards.
Your slow steady ways were strange,
showing strength through balance and grace,
balance through timeless patience,
patience through flowing motion,
power through quiet presence.
You were a demanding teacher,
requiring my dedication,
rewarding me with inspiration,
a sense of internal focus,
a bounty of satisfaction.
Affliction pushed us apart.
My aortic valve was closing,
too much for my struggling heart
to breach across the narrowed gap.
Surgeons split my breast asunder,
restrained my heart from beating,
removed the ailing valve
and replaced it with bovine tissue.
I longed for you in my exile.
You were never far from mind.
I tried to recall your touch,
the wisdom in your lessons,
fearing you might be lost to me.
When I dared to stir my arms again,
free of fear for a ripping sternum,
I returned to your abiding school
and found that you were still there for me.
The skills and lessons you taught remained,
residing in my deepest reaches.
Too many times life draws me away
from your sacred place of learning,
but T’ai chi now resides in me
and holds out a hand of welcome.
There is much work to be done.
My path is a road without end.
Every step is a refinement,
every juncture an extension.
Even when I’m beyond repair,
Our partnership will still be there.
This union is deeper than
my corporeal existence,
which is simply a tool for learning.