Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Just look at September, look at October!




















"...From the Buddhist point of view, reality itself has no meaning since it is not a sign, pointing to something beyond itself. To arrive at reality - at "suchness" - is to go beyond karma, beyond consequential action, and to enter a life which is completely aimless. Yet to Zen and Taoism alike, this is the very life of the universe, which is complete at every moment and does not need to justify itself by aiming at something beyond.

In the words of a Zenrin poem:

"If you don't believe, just look at September, look at October!
The yellow leaves falling, falling, to fill both mountain and river!"

'The Way of Zen', by Alan Watts

Photos: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/6063982657037278641

Monet Refuses The Operation





















Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.

I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.

Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.

What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?

I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,

becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.

To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Lisel Mueller

Every afternoon that autumn

We Shall Be Released
Joseph Stroud

Every afternoon that autumn
walking across campus
past the conservatory
I heard the soprano
practicing

her voice rising
making its way up the scale
straining to claim each note
weeks of work
of days
growing shorter
darker

storms slamming the campus
the semester staggering
to an end
everyone exhausted
drained
heading out and going home
the campus nearly deserted

but the soprano
still working the scales
when I passed under the trees
the liquidambars on fire
the clouds like great cities
sailing out to sea

and didn't I ascend
with her
my own weariness
and sorrows
dropping away

didn't we rise together
her voice straining
wavering
at the top of its range
almost reaching
almost claiming
that high
free-of-the-body
final note.

Late September




















I often think that the street sweepers must know, more than anyone else, which flowers bloom in which season. In this season their burden is mounds of orange and yellow ....


Late September

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/6061401261572532113

Journey

The mouth of the river may be beautiful.
It doesn't remember the womb of its beginning.
It doesn't look back to where it's been
or wonder who ahead of it polished the rough stones.

It is following the way
in its fullness,
now like satin,
now cresting,
waters meeting, kindred
to travel gathered together,
all knowing it flows
one way, shining or in shadows.
And me, the animal
I ride wants to drive forward,
its longing not always my own,
overrunning its banks and bounds,
edgeless, pilling along the way

because, as I forget,
it knows everything
is before it.

Linda Hogan, 'Rounding the Human Corners'

This is heaven. Sit. Stay.

Heaven
Margaret Gibson

The leaves are turning, one by one carried away in the crisp wind.
In one letter he penned,
Coleridge turned away, calling love
a local anguish he meant to leave
behind him. Away, away,
says the blue and gold day, and no one hears it but the wind, whose law
it echoes. The dog has a red ball to chase.
You pick a flat, perfect stone for the wall you hope to live long enough
to rebuild. I prune
briars, pick burrs from the dog's fur.
I teach Come and Sit. Sit here—
a longer sit beneath the cedars. The grass is freshly cut,
sun low, all the energy
of a summer's day rushing into bulb and root.
The dog runs off, returns. The stones balance
steeply. Good work. Good dog. This is
heaven. Sit. Stay.

After the rain




















If it rains in the night, the streets are plastered with fallen flowers and leaves the next morning. There’s a whole world of colour down there, cleansed and sharpened by water. I am intoxicated at 6.30 in the morning, because the rain is such an artist....

After the rain

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106491954401233999557/albums/6063456309089463601

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jonathan

We are underwater off the coast of Belize.
The water is lit up even though it’s dark
as if there are illuminated seashells
scattered on the ocean floor.

We’re not wearing oxygen tanks,
yet staying underwater for long stretches.

We are looking for the body of the boy
we lost. Each year he grows a little older.

Last December you opened his knapsack
and stuck in a plastic box of carrots.

Even though we’re underwater, we hear
a song playing over a policeman’s radio.

He comes to the shoreline to park
and eat midnight sandwiches, his headlights
fanning out across the harbor.

And I hold you close, apple of my closed eye,
red dance of my opened fist.

Jeffrey McDaniel

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.

Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Adam Zagajewski

Stories

"When you have no one  to tell them to, you forget all your stories."


The Lunchbox


http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/13/lunchbox-bollywood-review-banked-emotions

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poem

The South
To have watched from one of your patios
the ancient stars,
from the bench of shadow to have watched
those scattered lights
that my ignorance has learned no names for,
nor their places in constellations,
to have heard the note of water
in the cistern,
known the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle,
the silence of the sleeping bird,
the arch of the entrance, the damp

-- these things perhaps are the poem.

Jorge Luis Borges (translated by W. S. Merwin), Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999).

Phil bhi dil hai Hindustani

 


















The taxi driver to the airport from Shanghai to Pudong airport that day was a smiling friendly chap. He desperately wanted to chat, but we have no common language. We practise getting each other's names correct and then the conversation dies.

He suddenly remembers. "Hindu?"

And then he beams at me in the rear view mirror and sings the first line of this song......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdQwPwmsUC0

59 years, and still going strong.

Shree 420: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shree_420

That Sweet Moon Language

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise
someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this,
this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one
who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,

with that sweet moon
language,
what every other eye in this world
is dying to
hear?


Hafiz

Everything counts

A Message from Space

Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."

William Stafford, 'The Way It Is'

Just breath

Reading Anna Karenina
Karina Borowicz

In middle age Tolstoy apprenticed himself
to a bootmaker. He labored at learning
the skills of that trade. Sometimes his fingers
bled onto the leather as he punched the awl
or drew the needle in the outline of a foot.

Blisters, he knew, are holier than ink stains.
The boots were ugly and they pinched,
Sonya complained, and she refused to wear them.

Yet she copied Karenina by hand
how many times? It was his words she loved,
how he formed souls out of air. Just breath.

She preferred the page's purity to his
restless hands. If he were a man made only
of words she'd give her whole self to him.

"Reading Anna Karenina" by Karina Borowicz, from Proof. © Codhill Press, 2014.