Saturday, August 10, 2019

eating pretzels before dinner

I sat with him and wife for an hour

I stepped out when someone came to visit

I sat with him in silence after he died —

He came back to snow bowl to walk a while

Friday, August 09, 2019

my wish is for all of you

Friends gathered at Friday Evening Conversation

We conversed

The simple loveliness of it

seeking to experience what is hidden

He is sitting as if in dokusan as we arrive next to a fellow practitioner, across from a Theravadan visitor who has not been this way in a year.

The yogin man who welcomes we pilgrims said he is fashioning his own monastery paradigm for the next twenty six years. It includes meditation, personal study, healing groups for men, graduate studies, meaningful conversation, a mixture of solitary and communal time, the work of being human.

He sorrows that a mentor teacher is no longer available to mentor and teach in his monastery.

He welcomes itinerant visitors. Shares his work, his thinking, his life.

These are not easy times for monastics like him -- unaffiliated, ronin within enclosure, wandering sanyassin in a vast empty and thick land of human diversity.

He greets us as our paths cross.

We speak. We sit in silence. Walking meditation once around. We read together.

And end, an embrace. It is what is taken away.

In the prison parking lot, Rokie shakes, now off-leash, and looks for a stick to chase.

We take to the road again.


Our community.

Their cloistered place, yearning for stability, mendicants for donations of presence.

Disappearing down the road at border of Warren and Cushing, we turn left, then right, then left.

shizen ichimi

Minstrel friend from somewhere in her wandering sends greetings yesterday reminding that we had the words “shizen ichimi” inside our small storeroom/toilet/ back entrance to our once bookshop/bakery on the harbor in Camden.

I’d forgotten.   I’m grateful, schooner Susan (there were 6+ regular Susans), for your recollection.
Shizen ichimi, an old Zen saying asserts: “Poetry and Zen are one.” And in the poems of Jane Hirshfield (b. 1953), a leading American poet and longtime Zen practitioner, that adage is borne out in concrete images and recurrent themes. Such is the case in this elegant poem, which hangs on a wall in our home:  
 A Cedary Fragrance
Even now,
decades after,
I wash my face with cold water – 
Not for discipline,
nor memory,
nor the icy, awakening slap,
but to practice
to make the unwanted wanted.

by Jane Hirshfield, from Given Sugar, Given Salt, 2001
In these lines Hirshfield examines a daily ritual: splashing cold water on her face in the early-morning hours. In so doing, she also articulates several core principles of Zen practice.  
(—199. Making the unwanted wanted, 22 March 2018 by Ben Howard)
They are,

You know —


aujourd'hui encore

It's not almost


It is



It's today

all over


Thursday, August 08, 2019

in pace, secundum verbum tuum

To my mother and father,
and their parents,
and hundreds of ancestors

before them —
my gratitude for this
appearance of three

quarters of a century
on a rainy morning
in Maine

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

over the distance

A Boston Globe opinion writer asked Does Trump have even one redeeming quality?

One response:
No, he might not.
A time will come, somewhere down the road, when we will feel sorry for this president. His name will be mentioned and heads will slowly shake, as if trying to retrieve some quality that will redeem his memory. Eyes will look out over the distance and see only moral rubble and broken reputations where Republicans once stood.
I suspect it's no big deal having flaws. What is a big deal is denial and doubling down with defensive arrogance that demeans everyone perceived as responsible for your miserable character.
We'll feel a twinge of sorrow for him.
Sip coffee.
Then we'll go and do our chores.
There is the confessional, the therapist's office, and the barstool.

For the melancholy among us, there is Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723):
Since my house burned down 
I now own a better view 
of the rising moon 
What will we see when we look out over the distance?

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


It's the way nature presents itself.

Without explanation. Without words.
Alone in mountain fastness,
Dozing by the window.
No mere talk uncovers Truth:
The fragrance of those garden plums!
- Bankei (1622–1693) (Dailyzen)
Emerging, warmth of afternoon, between worlds

Truth goes its own way disappearing into green...


how see through transfigured existence

The very odd synchronous falling together of the Feast of The Transfiguration  and the first of two nuclear weapons used on civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, with the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. (Wikipedia)
Seventy four years ago.

The terror of it!

Then, in the story of a man being transfigured to show through his visage the infinite resemblances of each creature, each being, each reality as if through a spiritual holographic collage wherein the viewer experiences a hierophany of all that is real and true and full of compassionate light.
So similar to the Bhagavad-Gita where Krishna transfigures before Arjuna. No doubt a terrifying experience.

Warfare pragmatism, or, spiritual awakening? Two ways of showing through.
Transfiguration by Peter Paul Rubens, (Public Domain)
Would that transfiguration would overcome nuclear murder and devastation as our preference and goal.

I row this morning. There was fog. There was quiet. It has been a while since I rowed Rockport Harbor.

It was my morning prayer for a day of ambivalent moral and religious choices placed before us -- divisive hatred versus fierce compassion.

Terror exists.

Peace exists.

Let us choose well how to see this through! 

How to see through this.

Monday, August 05, 2019

livid chagrin

How is it that no official persons in the United States government have the authority or power to initiate and carry out the removal of Donald Trump from the office of president.

There is no doubt his rhetoric, belief, and antipathy to people of color and the majority of Americans point out his inadequacy and dangerous ideology that threatens the very continuation of our democratic republic.

I am chagrined, angry, and livid.

This must end.

Very soon.


as the continuous coming-to-end

Here's how we ended a proposal from meetingbrook:
Finally, so it is, and such as it is, we will continue — until such time as the continuous coming-to-end comes to us

here are some words

From Barack Obama on twitter:
View image on Twitter


I wish I could read James Comey’s words without hearing the blasting stereo sounds in my ears of his press conferences undermining Hilary Clinton’s final weeks before 2016 election.

His earnestness is welcome but his untimely poor judgment blocks the door. Like an ash and sackcloth supplicant at door of confessional his whispered mea culpas mute the necessary loud urgency of his insights into the man he put into the presidency. 

Tragic sincerity unhappily ushers cynical cruelty into places of prominent power. 

His insights are good. It’s just hard to thank the man who handed a loaded microphone to a trigger tongued serial liar orating intolerance and hate.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

abrazo la compasión.

Huegla! (Strike!)

Bastante! (Enough!)

Nada más! (No more!)

Stop the words, stop the work. What if we all said "We will not go to our jobs until this country pragmatically and humanely makes necessary decisions about assault weapons, baiting hate speech, and arrogant uncaring leaders in government who exacerbate division and intolerance."

Something real and radical has to be begun and done to communicate and convince that we Americans are, finally, finished with the patronizing apathy of those who can and must effectuate legislation and moral leadership to counter the excruciating sorrow and impotence of ordinary people to live safely and fearlessly.

Let's make our prayers actions. Let's make our thoughts an abrazo la compasión.