of the world
The writing, for me, says more
than the written.
Words bang around
as best they can, push
but what they know
and what they say
is mostly missed.
The writing itself
is clearer than this.
on day three in Tokyo, a long walk without getting lost
goes a long way to settle the senses. Trains sound
less foreign now, people wait for signals, for breakfasts
of fish from venders and generally appear to ignore
the grey-beard gaijin passing by—we’ve arrived.
Iris in the royal gardens
is said to signal early summer,
but late spring rains slake the thirst
of violet-rimmed tongues,
choked with gold.
Mists and clouds suddenly rush aside
to reveal Fuji,
buck naked, under a hat
of the whitest snow.
At Hokone Inn
at sunrise, the public bath
washed away the night.
Multiple temples nestle in the wooded foothills
on the eastern edge of town—stone Buddhas watch,
large bells, quiet and ready, waiting the streets,
the freshly leafed trees, almost as if, in first light
only the river moves.
Second only to Fuji is the Hakusan range,
pure, sacred, covered with snow and run through
with the river Sho—Shokawa, river of a hundred miles,
plumbs, penetrates and tunnels deep, blessed
with prayer and spring-borne petals.
The Kyoto National Museum
celebrates Zen forms. Old friends
show up of course, though we don’t talk
so much as smile, nod and bow—reminds me
how neglectful I’ve been; but no one mentions
this, nor the sense of warmth coursing
the crowd, that one form, for me,
that continues to stick, impossible, so it seems,
to shake: Buddha’s call, there even if
no one shows.
Sometimes wind sings
through others’ voices. Birds
take it where they can, give it back
with gusto. Others think of it
as their own, have to be taught.
In time, we all learn—the blessed
do so a bit sooner.
Tokyo lets us go today,
the gentle release
Found the well last night,
an open-centered spring, deep
in swimming dreams,
a silent illuminating presence,
not still, nothing shown upon, just
The heart falls back
on itself; first trust there,
then follows the rest.
Recognition by name is nearly everything.
But witness, claiming only presence,
May 10th, at 10:30 evening time, the moon
high in the west, fully half-way to full,
freely blankets the world at large
in unbinding silvered light.
Resting on the slope of the shell mound in Buckeye Canyon
in a bouquet of a singular flower reminiscent of lupine,
bright white and violet, with dusted leaves, differently shaped.
Getting close, getting to the ground to press this vision
to memory, I remember Thoreau—curious intentions
flowering with poems of joy and delight.