Wednesday, October 23, 2019


    (In praise of learning)

if water takes shape
whatever carries it holds
each drop as itself


Il pluie

La nuit



Sunday, October 20, 2019

when am I done

What does it mean to say I love God?

lo amo Dio
         (a haiku) 

when all  
is said 
and done -- 
you finish me

Perhaps it is that time when nothing else remains. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

this poem

Conversations in Future Time

You see, darling, 
The biggest problem was that they

Could not seem to agree
On whether they all were the same animal

Nor could they agree, therefore,
On whether they all had equal value. Value

They measured, not merely by the fact of breath,
Rendering value obsolete

As a matter of course, but by paper
Dyed into various colors. (They could not agree

On a single color, colors were very
Hard for them, darling.) And that paper 

That was dyed and used to measure
Value, passing from hand

To hand, from lover to lover
And so on and so forth,

Came, of all things,
From their trees, when their trees

Created the very air they breathed
Which, though of life, was, to them,

Not of value. And so we know
They had gifts great enough to see

Into and out of their condition: the voices
They sang with, the music and poems

And toward the end, before the fire rain
Came and the oceans lifted and merged into one,

Even the structures they lived within
Which healed them as they slept. And though 

The minds of many were truly formidable, truly
Formidable, the hearts of some

Alert and alive, they were so detached
From one another, even from those they chose

To birth or raise or walk beside, often existing
Entirely in their bodies, or not at all,

They required something they called a self
Which I think, darling, 

Meant they would have believed that
You were not I

Not ever—
Which, to us, now, would seem silly, wouldn’t it?

(—Poem by Charif Shanahan, in American Poetry Review, vol.48 no. 5)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

sit here


In the morning

Nothing other

St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

if that's all there is

I asked someone what they thought about the story we read

They said it was one point of view, as though done

Nothing about implications, import,

nothing about content, or feel

Thinking has disappeared

into personal opinion

dooming us to

who cares --

I declare

I do


Sunday, October 13, 2019

for sweet compassion and kindness

Someone, when we'd just arrived at 2:35am, Saturday morning, no names need mentioning, had unplugged, unbeknownst, the internet to plug in a lamp at this lovely Cape Breton farm house overlooking sloping meadow to Bras d'Or Lake in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We finished apple pie and ice cream just after 3:20am. Discovered the severed connection of this Sunday Morning. Hence, two days respite from internet and associated viewpoints.

Naturally I went to New York Times Editorial Board Opinion Making America Worse, 12oct19, writing my response:
Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" said it clearly and pointedly, and it resonates regarding Mr. Trump:    "What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."
One can only trust, with joyful anticipation, that the prevailing smell will disappear soon and the White House will throw open the windows to aerate the office, to return the fresh air of truth and authentic governance.
Even escaping to beautiful Celtic Colours music does not take me far enough away from my desultory opinions.

On a cheerier note,  you’ll never guess whose event-ticket name was picked at intermission to win the signed-by-performers wood plaque at the concert we attended,

Truth be told, I had a notion I’d win. So, I’d showered and practiced my walk (with applause) to the winner’s table. Part of my acceptance speech acknowledged my gratitude to all who love poetry and music, for their youthful exuberance for the festival and for sweet compassion and kindness. Not a dry eye in the venue.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

her son is a state trooper

May the deer

crossing rt 46

colliding with


be not hurt

and go on

As for the car

towed away

it will stay

in Brewer

for a long


The woman

volunteering to

drive two of four

to motel

was an angel

named Betsy

Two others

in wrecker

make their way

to body shop

then taxi

to Vacationland inn






as it is

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

by ceasing the activity of reification

Looking at dependent co-origination:
The way things are here and now, according to Buddhism, is neither existence nor non-existence, but rather the middle way of dependent co-origination. When this dynamic process of interconnected becoming is radically thought through, according to Nagarjuna, there is no (substantial) “thing” that comes into and goes out of existence. And this means that each and every phenomenal event is marked by—in the words of his famous eightfold negation—“non-origination, non-extinction; non-destruction, non-permanence; non-identity, non-differentiation; non-coming (into being), non-going (out of being).”28 The “uncompounded” is thus not someplace else, but is this world of non-substantial becoming seen aright. According to Nagarjuna, the root of samsaric existence is the activity or disposition (Sk. samskâra) that compounds phenomena into reified forms, forms that we attach ourselves to and then suffer the loss (of control) of. The “wise one” who sees into this vicious circle, therefore, ceases to “act” in the sense of “to create compounds.” But this cessation is presumably not a cessation of all “activity” as such; indeed, as Garfield puts it, by ceasing the activity of reification “we can achieve. . . a nirvana not found in an escape from the world but in an enlightened and awakened engagement with it.”29 The right effort to attain nirvana is thus not a will to nothingness, but leads rather to the realization that there is nothing to “attain.”30 Thus asamskrta refers not to an eternal realm outside the conditioned world of becoming, but to a more originary way of perceiving and dwelling in the world of dependent co-origination. 
(—in, Zen After Zarathustra: The Problem of the Will in the Confrontation Between Nietzsche and Buddhism, by Bret W. Davis, Project Muse, kindle)
 An enlightened and awakened engagement with the world.

...   ...   ...

asaṃskṛta (Sanskrit). The ‘unconditioned’, a term referring to anything that transcends conditioned (saṃskṛta) existence in the state of saṃsāra. The number of items deemed to be unconditioned varied according to the Abhidharmas of different schools of Buddhism. Most commonly, three items were counted: the cessation (or liberation) arising through insight (pratisaṃkhyā-nirodha), the cessation not arising through insight (apratisaṃkhyā-nirodha), and space (ākāśa).
A Dictionary of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 2003, 2004 (which is available in electronic version from

גמר חתימה טובה

g’mar chatima tovah 

May you be inscribed for good [in the Book of Life]

This Yom Kippur.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

כָּל נִדְרֵי

This, tonight:
Kol Nidre /ˈkɔːl nɪˈdr/ (also known as Kol Nidrey or Kol Nidrei[1]) (Aramaicכָּל נִדְרֵי) is an Aramaic declaration recited in the synagoguebefore the beginning of the evening service on every Yom Kippur. Strictly speaking, it is not a prayer, although commonly spoken of as if it were. This dry legal formula and its ceremonial accompaniment have been charged with emotional undertones since the medieval period, creating a dramatic introduction to Yom Kippur on what is often dubbed "Kol Nidrei night".[2] It is written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. Its name is taken from the opening words, meaning all vows. The formula proactively annuls any personal or religious oaths or prohibitions made upon oneself to God for the next year, so as to preemptively avoid the sin of breaking vows made to God which cannot be or are not upheld.Kol Nidrei has had an eventful history, both in itself and in its influence on the legal status of the Jews. Introduced into the liturgy despite the opposition of some rabbinic authorities, it was attacked in the course of time by some rabbis and in the 19th century expunged from the prayer book by many communities of western Europe.[3]The term Kol Nidrei refers not only to the actual declaration, but is also popularly used as a name for the entire Yom Kippur evening service.[4] 
Amends follow.

Monday, October 07, 2019

making way

More about Sandokai:
The Sandokai is the work of Master Sekito Kisen (in Chinese: Shítóu Xīqiān) who was born in in southern China in 700 AD and died in 790 AD. This was an era in which Zen grew in popularity and began to emerge as a distinct school with many strong, dynamic personalities like Bodhidharma and Eno. However there were also disputes especially between the Northern school of Zen which emphasised a step by step, contemplative practice, and the Southern school which taught sudden awakening. 
Few facts are known about Sekito’s life. It is said that at the age of sixteen he was ordained as a monk by the sixth patriarch, Eno. Eno had numerous disciples of which the most important were Seigen and Nangaku. From these two evolved the two schools, Soto and Rinzai. Sekito eventually studied with Seigen and it was from him that he received dharma transmission. 
The name Sekito means “stone head” and derives from his doing zazen on a rocky ledge where he practised continuously day and night with great determination. 
What does Sandokai mean? 
San: the idea of difference, duality,phenomena, existences
– shiki (thesis). eg. Mountains and rivers, parents and children, satori and illusions, life and death, existence and non-existence. 
Do: the idea of identity, origin, the void, essence – ku (antithesis). 
Kai: mixture, fusion, interpenetration, harmony in a broad deep sense –
San and Do are both necessary for equilibrium, harmony. Intimately blended they realise the Middle Way. San enters Do, Do enters San: that is Kai. So, Sandokai means the harmony of phenomena and essence. 
Why did Sekito write it? It alludes to the split between the Northern and Southern schools as well as other dichotomies eg. one and many, light and dark, sameness and difference. It was also customary for a zen master as he neared the end of his life to sum up his life’s teaching in a testamentary poem. 
The Sandokai is very important in the Soto Zen tradition. It is chanted every day in Soto Zen temples throughout the world.


Hegelian dialectic.

Additional name for healing respite sails vessel — Sandōkai-Edelweiss

Sunday, October 06, 2019

what is...(so great)...about silence

Bruno, seeking silence and solitude, founded a place for both. 

A place for hermits, dedicated to learning and practicing the holy, long loving looking, active contemplative listening, open to the revelation of what is true. 

He died a Carthusian on this date in 1101 in Calabria.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

painting received on Rokie’s birthday yesterday

From one of the men in our Friday morning conversation gathering.

What a beautiful gift!

He titled it, “ the way to heaven.”

A Japanese garden language expert writes and translates, “So beautiful!!  It says (literally) 
’the road/path of heaven’.”

Friday, October 04, 2019

pax et bonum

St. Francis day.

We celebrate his gift to this earth.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

what you can’t find, create

Call it creation.
Say, for instance, there’s no god but god,

and what we call god is
the sound of creation revealing Itself.

Francis along the mountain
Across brook, up trail

Looking at creation looking as god is
Looking at the mendicant

No owning, only use, no other
It is Transitus

Creation is passing
Mountain sleeps

Wednesday, October 02, 2019


We’ve never really understood what “here” means. 

Let’s try.

“Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.


to light and guide

Phrases of intelligent encouragement.

Pauses of reflective gaze.

Practices of light and inclusion.

It is the feast of Guardian Angels.

Those whom we see not but wander near even when we don’t comprehend at all.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

this poem

Aleph Pattern
In Hebrew, the word women is the word men
with the first letter dropped. Not just any letter
but the first first letter, the aleph of the aleph-bet:

אנשים       anashim—men
נשים           nashim—women

The steel band securing the forehead
to the bed is preheated, but cools quickly.
Inside every men is a women
you’ll need to amputate to find.

אלוהים     Elohim—god
לוהים          lohim—to tire

Even the god gets tired in our first story.
Adonai has many lids over each eye
and so she pretends to rest
closing one set of eyelids at a time.
Never a Sabbath of visionless sleep.

אבא           aba—father
בא                 ba—come

Do away with the role charged to the first father
and we will all orgasm more freely.
We will bleat like beasts while we come,
our wooly curls matted and frizzy without a single embarrassed shiver.

אני             ani—I/me
ני                 ni—lamentation

Too many of the dead
cry silently in their coffins
grateful for a place they can finally weep alone
but fearful even now to be overheard.
The dirt we are formed from can seem so thin.

אים            iyom—threatening
ימ                  yam—sea

If the ocean is the first mother
then the lakes are those moments we hear ourselves
threaten our children in our mother’s voice.
Afterward, we absorb the tears into our own waters.

אסור          asoor—forbidden
סור                soor—withdraw

What’s forbidden is often drawn as a circle.
But every circle, no matter how small
contains another circle within.
The way to escape circumscription is inward.

אפשר         efshar—possible
פשר            pishair—compromise

To say possible is to leave someone out.
No one is possible until everyone is.
On this one truth, never compromise.

Monday, September 30, 2019

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Shanah Tovah, u’metuka —

A good and sweet year!

Rosh Hashanah

Sunday, September 29, 2019

helping across, this also can be, love

This looks interesting. 

Yes, ‘this looks’ — and is interesting.
Well, you know that I love to live with you 
But you make me forget so very much 
I forget to pray for the angels 
And then the angels forget to pray for us
(—from, So Long, Marianne, song by Leonard Cohan) 
We are moving from perspectival viewing to aperspectival seeing. Where everything is looking from everywhere and everywhere is being seen.

for here there is no place that does not see you.  
You must change your life.
(—from,  Archaic Torso of Apollo, poem by  )
We don’t see angels because there is nothing to see. Angels are the intelligence behind everything that is. Mostly, we cannot see behind us. Mostly, we cannot read situations. And if angels are the intelligence behind situations, and we are ignorant of the readout of situations, then we need help with literacy.
There is no intelligence the equal of the situation.
(—from, Love, poem by Charles Olson)
Arrive anywhere, intelligence is there. Leave anywhere, intelligence remains there and is waiting for your next step, next arrival.
Many arrivals make us live 
(—from, Manifestation, poem by Theodore Roethke)
Angels are arrivals at situations longing to be seen.

We come to ‘see’ by feeling what is revealing itself to us in this and this and this.

It is the feast of Michaelmas and all angels.

Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Jophiel, Ariel, Azrael, Chamuel. (Chiefs, all)

Who is like God




A powerful life-force

Helping across

Seeing God

This is what we have.

Moving beyond names.

There are only two ways: 
Create the situation (and this is love) 
Or avoid it. This also can be Love.
(Charles Olson, Love

This is interesting! 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

circumstance graced

Comes Michaelmas.
Now, to get something absolutely clear, you must understand that angels are not humans who have died and gone to heaven. Angels are a different kind of being altogether. For most of the Church, angels are pure intelligences (that is they have no physical bodies) and are among God’s first created beings (insofar as we can talk about creation being ordered or taking place in time). Angels are guiding principles of creation. Stratford Caldecott goes so far as to identify the kinds of animals mentioned in Genesis 1.24 (not each specific animal but the fact that God created them of, or according to, every kind) as angels. He writes:
“I am sure the Book of Genesis still contains many mysteries. We read the story of Adam naming the animals, and then we discover that at least one of the animals in the Garden is an angel. The serpent is that creature of God sometimes called the Archangel Lucifer. What if all the animals in the story were angels? In fact, what if the story is about the relationship of the archetypal Man with archetypal Angels: and the archetypal Animals are none other than the angels of tradition” (The Radiance of Being, 54).
(Angels in Creation: Reflections on Our “Older” Siblings for Michaelmas, 9?29/16, by David Russell Mosley)
Intelligence behind the manifestation of each thing.  A resignation of presence.

Circumstance graced.

Friday, September 27, 2019


In prison today many men share their thoughts with us about death of Rokie.

It doesn’t surprise.

It is our community.

Saskia’s first visit without the pup in over eight years.

The men were kind and empathetic.

That’s what happened.

Staff too, guards too.

Entering without him, leaving without him.

He is in the center doing his work.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

hic, haec, hoc

If God is
What is
Coming to be —

Let’s make
What is

To be
What is coming



Monday, September 23, 2019

monday, monday

Gift of those who opened the mountain

Gift of Japanese lantern

Gift of sweet Border Collie, Rokpa

Become mountain

Become light

Sunday, September 22, 2019

as evening nears

                   was (...)

    now (?)

              (to continue)

sunday afternoon

From Lila, by Roberg Pirsig:

…They were all walking down the road … when one of those raggedy nondescript dogs that call Indian reservations home came onto the road and walked pleasantly in front of them … [the woman] asked John ‘What kind of dog is that?’. John thought about it and said, ‘That’s a good dog.’… The woman …wanted to know what genetic, substantive pigeonhole of canine classification this object walking before them could be placed in. But John Wooden Leg never understood the question. He wasn’t joking when he said ‘That’s a good dog’. He probably thought she was worried the dog might bite her … John had distinguished the dog according to it’s Quality, rather than according to its substance. That indicated he considered Quality more important...

sunday morning

Saturday, September 21, 2019

three words

Listening to psalms, the prayer at end: Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The thought occurs — of another wording.

A wording of the trinity that signifies originating, creating, and including.

Origination. (Father)

Creation.  (Son)

Inclusion.  (Holy Spirit)

Glory be to Origination, and to Creation, and to Inclusion — for all and in all time until eternal now becomes the wholeness of what is seen!

ready to walk mountain

A beautiful Saturday morning!

At practice, Richard Rohr and Sadhguru.

With Rokie on porch.

Resurrection, Not a One-Time Miracle

Where will Rokie go when he goes beyond?

Rohr says there is only transformation.

He’ll most likely go from here to here.

Where he will find us, ready to walk mountain, step by step.

Friday, September 20, 2019

photo taken several days ago

And, as it is, tonight is Rokie’s last night with us.

His kidney failure, anemia, giving up eating, and inability to get up, collapsing when he does, subcutaneous infusion of fluids, have brought us to this final night.

Tomorrow noon a vet will be coming here.

What a sweet pup!

darkness into light

At prison:
God is 
what is 
to be
There is no future and no past.

There is only the immense present which is presence right here right now.

God's name is "I don't know "--and-- "I am here as what is here revealing itself."

This after reading the discourse of the Buddha on the four types of individuals, four types of life brought by one of the men.

The four of us.


Learning about one