Friday, April 30, 2010

looking toward the coming weeks

These quiet hours, the first

in the days of this season long in light,

broken only by the occasional cloud,

accompanied always in bird song,

softest undulations rising and receding

within that most intimate presence

we know so clearly

as silence.

These, the quiet hours.


Decent registers of concern come in colors

both varied and unexpected, beauteous unfolding

of life likened to itself, in kind, in shape and inclination

to recognize patterns of sameness

for what they are:

opportunity to converse.

Would that we would

more readily see our dissimilarities

as such.


The days begin now to play

toward gravity,

approaching a departure of consequence,

measured moments add to the scale

weightless layers of freely given intent.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oxalis, free ranging spring poems...

Over and again,

pressed and trampled grasses

pulled back into the sun.


This body, healthy

in old age, complaints passing

like yesterday’s gas.


true haiku, others

may do—I enjoy the pose,

absent any real work


I tire quickly these days,

of formalities

with no obvious center.

Friends inquire, but all I can do

is point to the cloudless sky.


The make-shift altar

in the dining hall, they strain

to follow this hakujin,

chanting ancient sounds of joy.


Three red cabbages

from winter’s garden; give one

away, one we keep

and the last, too loose,

we add to spring’s efforts.


Sounds of spinning wash

from behind the garage door

—morning clouds gather.


Heron’s Point, Bear Dance

April 17th

Gulls and geese clearing the sky

of the last of daylight,

raise a collective call to witness

the silence of coming stars

and the waiting drums.


This spring afternoon danced

with hailstones,

lingering recollections

of winter

demanding one last look.


Borrowing sun tones

from an early sky, the bay

whispers salmon-pink.


Light bounces from feet

unrestrained by gravity

—girl cousin-grand daughters.


Morning pours blue light,

horizons humming rain free,

full breathed songs of spring.


The sun casts light to east facing slopes

cast light through west facing windows

throwing shadows of flowers

on the wall

above the stove.


It’s not that each word is pearl pure,

but the source

behind the impetus

is just that.

Prayer resides here,

in the quiet sweep of attention

before words.

Monday, April 12, 2010

March Meditations

The secret life of nembutsu

The plane’s television monitor tells us

we’re passing over northern Canada, toward Calgary,

while outside, below, the white sheet stretches

well beyond what any eye might imagine,

what any words might clearly say.

Buddha’s teaching of nembutsu, the mindfulness

of utterance,

is like this too: no need at all to add anything

—saying itself, deep and whole

in and through the silent expanse of the heart—

only listening will do




What do poets do?

Light struggles through tangled shadows.

In waiting branches, dark acacia leaves chill,

still to the windless morning’s entreaty to the new spring

come quietly between grey rain days

that leave the last of that which only they can bring.

Cold Mountain, the poet-monk, tells us

similar scenes appear over and again;

it’s what we do with them

that differs.


Certain mysteries

Clear blue, the Saturday sky lifts

from the crisp green hills,

arching invisibly over the roof top,

waiting, watching,

a lingering presence supposed, but not known,

not seen;

perhaps then, lifting

simply lifting…


End March

The day unfolds utterly absent uncertainty, each morsel

of air-buoyed water running its inevitable course, specific

to conditions within the collective spread called clouds

that span a breadth of hilltop some three miles in length.

I sit watching this, faltering in a mind a’swirl with ambiguity

at what the weather might bring, what that might mean,

while the day simply continues its quiet way, delivering all

it has to give.

In search of those still practicing, Bill Porter,

once known as Red Pine, roamed near-empty crevices

of modern China, and reports:

every adept he met followed some regimen

of chanting and meditation, morning and evening--our practice,

our teachers say, brings us to nembutsu, song, twice a day,

the straightforward gathering of body sound and sense,

turned in the direction of full completion

of living gratitude.


Best friends

Placed in a small black vase

in the corner on the alter

below the framed scroll,

flowers with white petals

and yellow centers

call into the chill and dim light…

Hearing this implies

a world alive,

the resonant pulse of wholeness

linked and woven,

the tiniest thread

a call of fully extending family,

a world of best friends…