Tuesday, January 31, 2017

San Bruno Mountain

Putting myself in various spots 
  and observing the mind that happens there—
    I want to meet myself.

                         —Haya Akegarasu’s, Wind of Early Summer—

Two poems from San Bruno Mountain

Today in the saddle, a hawk, I think it was
a hawk, took me off-trail, aside the brush,
back and forth above the gorse, 

crossing so low, quiet opened 
across its back a patch so white
became my sole delight.

It took me today, that hawk,
took all of me with it, as surely 
as it took its name.

For a man of my age, whatever that means,
if anything of consequence at all—for a man 
my age, slopes and distant ridges cease 
to be events of contest, become collaboration.

The mountain sets the pace, sets the sights, 
as well as lays the music for the song 
that comes there through us—our role, 
to wake enough to take it in enough 
to see the gift for what it is, and be glad 
that we did: that song.


Hearing Buddha’s Names

I've done the philosophy, studied doctrine, 
chewed soothing words for rightness, onliness, 
only to find, for me at least, 

that every heart-felt vowel, cupped
and cut by any consonant, can well be held
as primal, as pregnant, with meaning 
and fulness resounding simply in saying. 


Days and dates come and go like snow 
that thinks of spring as “not yet,”
and is wrong.


By its very nature, question 
slows us down enough to open room
enough to listen rather than speak,
to learn rather than critique, 
and to share in the joy and release
of certainty displaced 
by surprise.


Begin by peeling away layers accrued 
through no one’s fault, then probe the obvious 
for its footing.


Standing as we do in clearing
morning skies, lingering shadows 
of night’s passing, the tree and me 

exchange glances 

in puddles still holding 
to the street—somewhere, some one
might well have a name for this.


Grace abides in the ordinary, in the daily 
release of daily anguish, perennially.

This unrest of this day, turns the breeze 
and the rush of the next breath of liberation.


Rising in the dark in the rain in the streets,
the rustle and rush of shadowy presence,
sound without voice, the voice of sound
unrestrained by singularity—sky’s chant,
full to brim and over 
            with heaven’s nectar. 


Unthinking, unblinking, water rushes 
any available channel—in humans,
this is thinking—think about it—think
too, if thinking were the whole of it 
for us, how sad we’d be—how fortunate
we are.


Some years ago, after several days 
along high country river banks, alone
with a favored field guide, I learned
of the willow well enough 

to know the family each time we meet
or pass close by—the turn and shape 
of leaves, the way it shapes the place
it’s in, its silhouette—

the kind of knowing
that stretches that word beyond itself
to what some call love.


For this final leg then, opting to put this pen
to work for that peace that comes of connection,
I’ll choose that “enormous journey of everything 
around us.”

                               —after Andrew Schelling


Wind-blown clouds of rain pass by
our bedroom windows, dancing songs
of winter’s promise wrapped in cold.

Wondrous—the folded legs, enfolding
quilts, body-fired memories—these,
the comfort blessings of this having,
simply, home.


Inspiration comes as it comes, 
in whatever way…

the light in the ceiling in the room behind me 
shines back at me through the lowered curtains
of the window in front of me, beyond which 
stars are veiled by rain’s clouds, which in turn 
are veiled by morning darkness, out of which 
a dog which cannot be seen, barks 
but once, 

while all the while the rains, 
and the stars I suppose, remain and continue 
unrestrained reports of the perennial.


The poem
is that part
of the report
that eludes
linguistic capture,

yet still appears 
to reside there, 
more than having 
just passed through.


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