Saturday, February 18, 2012

So comes to us at times

At old age home. Friday "Poetry, Tea, and Thee." Walt brings "Autumn" by Amy Lowell. He's puzzled over it, he says, and has some thoughts, but just isn't sure. He reads the poem aloud. Then we ask him to read it again, then again, for a total of three times. Maggie, his wife, whose health has been a challenge this past year, hospice designation, macula degeneration, she can't read any more, has her own thoughts about Ms. Lowell. As do Sheilah, Joy, Betty, Lydia, Lee, Bird, and I.

They brought me a quilled, yellow dahlia,
Opulent, flaunting.
Round gold
Flung out of a pale green stalk.
Round, ripe gold
Of maturity,
Meticulously frilled and flaming,
A fire-ball of proclamation:
Fecundity decked in staring yellow
For all the world to see.
They brought a quilled, yellow dahlia,
To me who am barren
Shall I send it to you,
You who have taken with you
All I once possessed?

(Poem by Amy Lowell)
We sit around for almost a half hour talking about poetry once the formal hour is over. We like each other's company. I tell my notion about poetry. I say, "Poetry is Being written" -- as if that says anything at all. Betty says poetry is discovery -- she remembers its first bite.

We each steal, to take away with us, two or more cookies with sweet swirling topping from cellophane covered platter brought from kitchen for the gathering, like the children we are -- these eighty and ninety-somethings conspiring to reward ourselves later with bites of forbidden fruit -- like stealthy phrases from unwitting poem by Amy Lowell no one is sure has been written.

We send it to you, Ms. Lowell, for we are fecund and happy to be together of a Friday afternoon.

Earlier Sheilah brought Longfellow. We were pleased to have him start us in the right direction, his gift reminding us.
The Sound of the Sea

THE sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;

A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.

So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.

(Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
A simple afternoon, being created, our time together!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Are you seeing someone else

One of the men at the prison is going to be married.

He wanted to ask me something, about God, and God being a jealous God, because this guy -- a Buddhist, wants to, but can't, pray as a Christian, and feels ...well, unfaithful.

I tell him God's jealousy isn't like ours. God wants each for himself, herself, itself. Not how we think. God wants you to be you, me to be me, that person to be that person. When each is itself, God is good with that. But when you try to live according to someone else's life, when I am not myself but an imitation of another, God becomes jealous and sad and even a bit angry.

God wants nothing other than you to be faithfully you.
Contemplate the body until you see its true form.
Then you will cease your grasping.
These contemplations will extinguish the fires of desire
In the same way that torrential rains
Extinguish wild fires.

- Perfection of Wisdom
God is all of it in particular.

Can we ever imagine what it means to observe the law of God? The law of God is that you are the law of God. Don't break it. Love it. Share it with others. Be happy in it. Now.

And, forever.

Hold peace as a flower for a holy union.

See everyone as belonging to the One they are.

Practice "Mu."

Nothing special, no exception.

You don't have to say a prayer. You are prayer.

Only be that, what you are, Amen!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Old roads

I don't know. Never have. Still don't. Have no expectations to.

Summa, for String Orchestra, by Arvo Part (b. 1935) plays followed by Koyaanisquatsi by Philip Glass. They are formations of cloud in a damp sky on a Thursday morning. Coming and going like everything else in this ephemeral world. Like this moment of bare awareness called my name and soon to be a forgotten memory in a sudden silence.

I am glad to know this.
Come to say goodbye,
We sit for a while
By the sandy creek.
On far roads,
You hold out an empty bowl;
Deep in mountains,
Walk on fallen flowers.
Having no master, you
Puzzle out Zen on your own;
Observing strict prosody,
Your poems merit praise.
This going-away
Has no circumstantial cause;
A solitary cloud
Has no fixed home.
- Chia Tao (779-843)
In class last night we talked to each other about 'ahimsa' (non-harm) and defenselessness
My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.
(-- Mid-morning reading (Terce), Galatians 5:13-14)
When I finish watching the film Alamar (directed by Pedro Gonzolez-Rubio, 2009) the silence goes deeper as sun now shines into dooryard. Two dogs snooze, one on sofa, one on rug. I am taken by mere noticing. In extra but deleted scene a hermit crab on sandy ground in portable shell decides to move as young boy discovers with father's words the notion of finding home and carrying home with you. It is, for me, the theme of movie, left out.

Then a dialogue between Jorge and his father figure Matraca:
Jorge: Me neither, I drink my coffee every night before going to bed
Matraca: Me too, when I'm with my buddies we always have coffee. But we drink it during daytime
Jorge: With the old guys
Matraca: With my buddies, the young guys
Jorge: What do you mean by young guys. Are they your age. If they are your age than that's not young anymore. You have lived many spring times, you're not that young any more
Matraca: Well, I'm still young at heart. I don't feel old...
Jorge: One thing is to feel and another is to be old
Matraca: - like some guys who feel old. Not me. The only thing that's old are the roads... and we're still on them

(from film, Alamar)

It's true.

We're still on the road.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

delicious / so sweet

The white Border Collie loves his red geodesic ball, running from front room to dining room with green tennis ball in mouth to pursue and return by fancy footwork like a reincarnated soccer star doing time in Maine for being red carded in a World Cup second half run on goal.
The sage sees how to stop clinging
While all others find this very hard.
If you can see through joy and sorrow,
Then you too will glimpse the great peace
- Perfection of Wisdom
Perhaps one of our endearing qualities is the way we respond to heartfelt occasions of ordinary activity. Like the way I imagine the dog marvels at my ability to pick up the red ball, lift arm over shoulder, and toss it. He must be thinking I am a reincarnated goalie surveying the field from crease ready to feed midfielder a new opportunity to dance his way through obstacles to find someone downfield to pass to.

Like the note of the New Jersey doctor to his wife of a morning containing all we need to know of love:
This Is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

(--Poem by Wm Carlos Williams)

The red ball rolls under the rocking chair with a heart carved into it bought for the elderly European woman who knew the value of apology and missing fruit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

don't wish; do

What do I wish for?

"What you don't wish for yourself, don't do to others."
(--Confucius, in The Analects)

Well wishes, all around!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nothing; but...

We do not "meet" God.

We attain nothing but God.

Love it! Dontcha?