Saturday, March 30, 2013

February and into March

February 25th

This the shortest month,
though not as short as
could be

rushes to close,
leaving only

where we’ve been,
the way headed,

for now: forever
rainless skies and a brim-full moon
of patience.

…and into March…

A song for the manzanita—
five faces, one hill

When I contemplate the life-length of this mountain,
the seventy years it took me
to smell its dust
like this

do not rise
except to its reflection—we together
or not at all,
not at all ever alone.


“Stars,” for us,
but traces, really,
of what stars really are.


Waking in the night
from dreams of frost covered hills—
the sheen of moonlight.


Study, paperwork,
a walk and early planting.

And while standing in the kitchen
before evening chanting,

my life spreads clean
as the counter-top before me,

at my ankles. 


Buddhist contemplative…

No blame. We simply
get it wrong, and are carried
along just the same.


Light inside, dark out,
making mirrored images
where once was window.


Schooley 3/2/13

On the slopes in the sun
amidst the manzanita, he says:

“I bow to the mountain.”


Every thought, same story—like
streams in the darkened sky, trails
of ever thinning light,

precarious blessings,
angels’ exhales,
warmed whispers

on bared fingers,
in the night.


Zuiken Sensei

That cigarette-smoking old man
studied dharma a life-time
or more. Or more.

Left accrued knowledge
to the page, opted
instead for spirit.

That unencumbered
breath rising
through his own.


Low fog lifts, daylight
descends, moist leavings tracing
each step into spring.


Because blossoms’ bouquet.
Because incense burning.
Because the altar’s quiet.

Buddha’s raised hand,
beside, the silent monk,
the gladdened heart, at rest.


Spring Report—March 27th

As light lingers longer,
as sun betrays clinging chills,
your illness withers
and fades, dark winter dreams
heal in the hands of spring.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Re-reading borrowed words

Traceless in the night sky,
distance-hidden light,
yet to be heard.


Where words fail, gassho:

hand gesture of whispered essentials,
dance of timeless connections,
myriad unbound breaths

commingling whole beyond
conception—an ocean reality,
where “wet” has no meaning.

                               gassho: palms together



the sky
doesn’t lie

takes in

just the same




Have you ever, at this time
of day—the sun dropping so early

below even the lowest slopes, light
shifting radical grey, sudden chill

fallen—have you ever been here
like this, and not turned

as to your lover’s lips
just as they say your name ?


“My shadow,” I call him,
walks the morning streets

with me, never talks,
never mentions his name.



Though ill-advised
to try to make them say

more than they do,     they

often do.


The flag
on the pole
on the corner

at dawn.
Folds flutter—

Presidents’ day.


Like this mountain
holds itself
and breathes me,

we can live
this way, alone
with others.


Shadows slant.
“Too soon,”
the wife says.

Day’s sun sets
south west,
moon rises.

Clear and cold,
chilled air 
calls the sky.

Crystalled points
of light
to help us

find our way.


Hanging out with the poet—

watching the moon with Tu Fu,
some twelve-hundred years between us,

the translator says,

as he tips and arcs its image
in tones as soft as its light.

Twelve-hundred years. Tu Fu,
can that be so ?


Lingering questions:

Does life unfold, or do we unwrap it—and, if so,
what does it matter?

Do I learn first,
or does my teaching finally teach it to me?

Can lack of ambition be achieved—can we strive
to be satisfied?

What have we done to deserve so much
light—and what of those who continue to love us, even so ?

And what does all this tell us of how we might better live
the time left ?