Saturday, November 17, 2007

Have you ever seen a light by itself in the woods?
Sixty-six times have these eyes have
beheld the changing scene of autumn.
I have said enough about moonlight,
Ask no more.
Only listen to the voice of
pines and cedars when no wind stirs.

- Ryonen (1797-1863)
Tonight's half-moon is much brighter than last night's unexplained trail light.

There's a candle in middle of stone-face watchfulness keeping frozen ground illuminated.

And asleep, rest in his peace.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Up on wind vane, dory rower twirls oars wildly to northeast.
Beside the Point

The sky has never won a prize.
The clouds have no careers.
The rainbow doesn't say my work,
thank goodness.

The rock in the creek's not so productive.
The mud on the bank's not too pragmatic.
There's nothing useful in the noise
the wind makes in the leaves.

Buck up now, my fellow superfluity,
and let's both be of that worthless ilk,
self-indulgent as shooting stars,
self-absorbed as sunsets.

Who cares if we're inconsequential?
At least we can revel, two good-for-nothings,
in our irrelevance; at least come and make
no difference with me.

(Poem: "Beside the Point" by Stephen Cushman, from The Virginia Quarterly Review: Spring 2006.)
That doryman and I share a skill with one another -- quickly heading nowhere, happily working just to stay in place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

At dawn, silent sitting, chanting, bell sounding.

Then three of us carry this good dog to hillside grave site where his brothers and sisters before him join with earth watching brook fall and turn and continue on.

Brown earth, stones, leaves, incense, candle, fuzzy toy, and lovely poems.

With tears, a smile, and quiet reverence we turn and return.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In the night
a single candle
keeps watch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Richard Hugo is right, "We're seldom better than weather."
To what indeed shall I liken
The world and human life?
Ah, the shadow of the moon,
When it touches in a dewdrop
The beak of the waterfowl.

Today's The Writer's Almanac quotes Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, "Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits."

I'm practicing.
I Used to Be but Now I Am

I used to be inexorable,
But now I am elusive.

I used to be the future of America,
But now I am America.

I used to be part of the problem,
But now I am the problem.

I used to be part of the solution, if not all of it,
But now I am not that person.

I used to be intense, & useful,
But now I am heavy, & boring.

I used to be sentimental about myself, & therefore ruthless,
But now I am, I think, a sympathetic person, although
easily amused.

I used to be a believer,
But now, alas, I believe.

(Poem: "I Used to Be but Now I Am" by Ted Berrigan, from The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan. c. University of California Press, 2005.)
The old dog's grave is dug and open to the stars.

He'll breathe his last at noon tomorrow.

Run the night through free.

Enter earth next dawn.

As for Hugo's words: I was rain last night.

Cloudy this morning.

Some sun this afternoon.

Weather-less tonight.

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's nothing out there.
The world is unstable, like a house on fire. This is not a place where you stay long. The murderous haunt of impermanence comes upon you in a flash, no matter whether you are rich or poor, old or young. If you want to be no different from a Zen master or a buddha, just do not seek outwardly.
- Lin Chi (d 867?)
Gaze within. A brief look.

Return home.

Let('s) go.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

At church the priest said the former pope said that heaven, hell, and purgatory were of the mind.
Every day priests minutely
examine the Dharma
and endlessly chant
complicated sutras.
They should learn
how to read the love letters
sent by the wind and rain,
the snow and moon.

- Ikkyu (1394-1491)
Heaven, hell, purgatory -- a matter of mind.

No mind -- then none of the above.

Just stacking wood. Pick it up, carry it across, put it down.

A metaphor to read love letters by.