Dinky Lakes Wilderness,
Sierra National Forest Mid-August 2014
Late, in the warmth of the bag,
a thin volume of poems
in high country
—eyes still wide,
abandoning the words
of the ancients,
I turn to my back
to return the gaze
of the waiting
sea of stars…
John Muir calls the Sierra, the “range of light,” and so it seems. At 1:00 AM,
the Big Dipper spills southward, luminous dusts of the Milky Way scour the dark
and the moon casts light through the quiet pines, just enough for me to rise and pee.
take again the given winds
that fold the syllabled words
to where the earth and the sky
and water and fire
come to speak and to mean…
“Deep in the woods, unknown to the world,
A bright moon comes and shines on me.”
from Wang Wei’s (?701-761), “Bamboo District’s Lodge”
Directions to the cabin
at Boulder Creek August 24, 2014
Leave Highway #9 to the right,
climb the canyon’s walls
to where the reach of trees circles
a cache of sky so clean
Heaven need only let go
to find its way.
Where Heaven and Earth meet.
We are never not receiving.
It is never not reciprocal.
I can tell you only of my experience and even that is suspect. A dream
within a dream, Dogen said—and our contemporary, Ko Un, living openly
in his native Korea, cautions: inclinations
toward the ‘much more’ that lies beyond imagination, that too:
a dream known as ‘greed.’
At 5 A.M. the streets are still, empty but for lamp-lit shadows
that seem to accept, without protest, every soundless passing, low-looking clouds
the only ones to leave a trace.
In a place with tools that are used,
worked for the fun, for the joy,
where order is not overly so.
A space of movement, sweat and smiles,
of lingering scents of incense and bells,
the hum of human lungs
and that silence that surrounds
the settled heart.
to Robert Lax then
and to the solitary work
of this solitary mystic poet
of the Isle of Patmos,
of charity and grace, received
and the nature of play as prayer
that comes of that.
The work is ourselves,
the dance our living with others
and the foundation the music
that makes it all so.
Life-death has its own reason.
May today and all that it is
bring us closer, clearer…