Saturday, February 26, 2022

once one, always one

 When I look at things

The thought occurs — how

is this not me, of a piece?

All spirituality

begins with one, goes with one

from epigraph to poem ‘accidents of birth’ by meredith

Je vois les effroyables espaces de l’Univers qui m’enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans savoir pourquoi je suis plutôt en ce lieu qu’en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m’est donné à vivre m’est assigné à ce point plutôt qu'à un autre de toute l’éternité qui m’a précédé, et de toute qui me suit.

Pascal, Pensées sur la religion


I see the terrible spaces of the Universe which enclose me, and I find myself attached to a corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am rather in this place than in another, nor why this short time which is given to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of all the eternity which preceded me, and of all which follows me.

whither change but change here itself

 Here is how things change

Arrive here, through thither and 

yon, and see yourself

Friday, February 25, 2022

trading bullets for syllables

 If you are poet

write a poem to be read —

That’s called poetry

Once more with feeling — create

something no one can afford

mutual non-invasion commitment

 I will not invade

my neighbor’s home, I will not.

(There’s a beginning!)

If each of us now promise

likewise, then, war will be gone

gassho for sisters and brothers




         (zazen sangha solidarity)

Ukraine, We sit with 

you! Share some coffee, tea. Know

you are in prayer

8:55 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

buon per te, papa francesco

A morning encouragement: 



Pope Francis went to the Russian embassy in Rome on Friday to personally express his concern about the war in Ukraine, in an extraordinary papal gesture that has no recent precedent. 

7:57 AM · Feb 25, 2022·Twitter Web App

an irredentist walks into a bar with a geologist

 If you take back all

Land lost years and years gone

Minerals own earth

grave mistake, think again, scattered elsewhere

 He is not here, he

Is risen — you will find him

Among the living

Only God is Here, the rest

Of us live scattered elsewhere

Thursday, February 24, 2022

sicut erat in principio

 I’d rather hear monks

Chant than pundit voices preach

Drivel so solemn

neglected or forgotten

Being is an issue.

Behind, below, beyond, because -- Being is that for which and into which everything has its particular shape, existence and essence.

Or, as once heard almost daily in philosophy studies in the middle sixties -- Being is. Non-Being is not. 

Heidegger extends Husserl’s concern with epistemology into the domain of ontology and in the process, according to some critics, departs from phenomenology’s original methodological rigor and cautious avoidance of speculation. Being and Time provides a description of the structures of human existence (Dasein, or "being-there"), which can be seen as an application of Husserl’s investigations of consciousness to other regions of experience, including relations with others, the meaning of death, and history. Heidegger’s descriptions of existence as a "thrown project" (geworfener Entwurf) and of "care" (Sorge) as the founding structure of human being are the basis of the theories of such existential phenomenologists as the Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and the French philosophers jean-paul sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Heidegger’s own conception of human existence is guided by his concern with the "ontological difference," the relation between "beings" and "Being." He defines human being as that being for which Being is an issue, although he also finds that for the most part in everyday life the question of Being is neglected or forgotten. In Being and Time he explores everyday existence for indirect evidence of Being. In his later work Heidegger turns to the study of language, which he regards as the "home of Being," and especially to poetry, which has in his view special powers to disclose Being (see "Origin").

(-from Phenomenology, Paul B. Armstrong, cf Johns Hopkins Guide for Literary Theory and Criticism entry, 2nd Edition 2005)

Heidegger felt we'd forgotten Being. His words that language is "the home of Being" have travelled many miles with me. 

When composing haiku or waka there is a feeling that what is Being is being composed for viewing-through in order to see what is there -- beyond, beneath, before, and because of words wording reality. 

Socrates: ...If any one of you has composed these things with a knowledge of the truth, if you can defend your writing when you are challenged, and if you can yourself make the argument that your writing is of little worth, then you must be called by a name derived not from these writings but rather from those things that you are seriously pursuing.

Phaedrus: What name, then, would you give such a man? 

Socrates: him wisdom's lover — a philosopher...

Phaedrus, 278c-d. 

Of course, I concede, anything I write "is of little worth." And this cheers me. Being worthless is a blessing (a consummation) devoutly to be wished.

These two COVID years have thrown me out of all the volunteering opportunities I'd been graced with -- hospice, hospital, nursing home, prison, university -- and thrown me into a new solitude.

I wait for appearances to present themselves. As a hermit, I recuse and recluse myself from the too overt. Less anti-social than pro-emeritic, there is little desire for conjunct occasions. This desirelessness might be a deficiency. At times it is boon. It is a hat I wear in a chilly room. (Wherein I dwell.)

Such are appearances.

Parmenides is perhaps the first philosopher to draw a firm line between being and appearance. Of course the world seems to be a place of multiplicity and continual change. In the Way of Seeming, Parmenides sketches a natural philosophy which makes the same assumptions as did his predecessors. But the truth is that the world as it appears to us is not an accurate grasp of what really is. Being is. Non-being is not. Those two propositions sum up the truth of the matter.

The reverence in which Parmenides was held is captured by Plato in the dialogue named for his great predecessor. When Parmenides arrives in Athens he is greeted like the prophet he claims to be. Is this simply dramatic license? It does not seem so when we consider post-Parmenidean philosophers. But before considering the role Parmenides plays in the development of Plato's thought, it is important to see his effect on the development of natural philosophy.

The discussion of Parmenides in the Physics does not really belong there, Aristotle tells us, because Parmenides denies the very starting point of natural science -- that there is motion -- and it is not the task of any science to defend its own principles. How could it, since to do so it would have to appeal to those principles. It is the task of metaphysics to deal with denials as sweeping as that of Parmenides.

No one can read the account in Book One of the Physics without sensing that Aristotle, like Plato, holds Parmenides in high esteem. He is concerned to show that Parmenides made an rather elementary mistake, but at the same time he says it is a plausible one. Parmenides stands athwart the path of natural philosophy calling a halt to it. Those who have been giving one account or another of the way things come to be are one and all engaged in a pointless exercise. The assumption of these explanations is false, namely that motion exists. Parmenides asserts that motion does not exist because it cannot. Why not? Let us examine the position in the formulation Aristotle gave it.

Motion or change depends upon the assumption that a being comes to be. The question is, is this tenable? There are two possible antecedents to the alleged new being.

Being comes from being.

Being comes from non-being.

These can be converted into:

1. Being becomes being.

2. Non-being becomes being.

As soon as the assumption is spelled out in this way, Parmenides thinks we will see the impossibility of the claim. To say that being becomes being is to say that there is exactly the same thing before the change and after, that is, no change occurs. To say that non-being becomes being is to identify non-being and being, which is clearly absurd. Since these exhaust the possibilities, there is no way in which motion and change can be regarded as real. 

(--from, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Study Materials , Lesson 2: Appearance and Reality (Parmenides), The Enigma of Parmenides, on International Catholic University website)

There's someone who participates in meetingbrook conversations who feels that people don't change. Her claim is often met with countering thought. But the Parmenides writing suggests a second look. It always seemed like a curious argument between Parmenides and Heraclitus, between their "static/change" different points of view. As well as Zeno's arrow never quite completing its journey. 

There is a saying:  plus ça changeplus c'est la même chose (traditionally translated: "the more things change, the more they stay the same." It is an epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”). Literally “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.” Although I've wrongfully attributed it to Blaise Pascal over the years, I stand corrected. Nevertheless, I've translated it differently, Namely: "The more a thing changes, the more it becomes itself."

Change, in this regard, isn't becoming something else. It is more the shedding of accreted flotsam and jetsam until the core reality or original being (Being) is revealed. One might say that nothing changes, that one becomes itself. 

It answers the question "Who are you?" with "I am this. Always have been. Didn't appear so. But here I am."

Some medieval thinkers thought God to be Being. Contemporary religious thinkers tweak this into "The God Who May Be." (Richard Kearney)

Or the thought of Jean-Luc Marion, whose -- "phenomenological approach leads the philosopher to the concept of “God without being” – God is not a being but love and a gift. The abolition of concepts related to the being in philosophical reflection on God should have a similar place in theology."  (--in Theology of Jean-Luc Marion as Hermeneutics of the Eucharist, by PIOTR KARPINSKI)

Were egos to evaporate and transform, that prospect might be realizable. 


           (on Being-with)

Look around -- see this

There's really nothing to see --

God help us -- see this


Maybe this (love of) God is all there really is.

And, we, accreted beings, long to surrender the flotsam and jetsam of our distressed journeys.

May each dwell within (the love of) God, surrendered, salvaged, come to calm homeport!

fallow wrinkled blanket zendo, from trove of fragments

 It is enough to have once practiced.

It is practice that is never enough.

('Once' is missing from second fragment)

involuntary commitment

 Sounds of war and death

Boom from Russian aggression

As world listens to

Its mind and heart on edge where

Nothing will be again sane

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Kyiv (Kiev) and Ukraine are under siege.

Let us not be mistaken.

the diversion of inversion

 Up is down

Bad is good

Out is in

Putin great Trudeau tyrant

Trump saint Biden devil

Slaughter good laughter bad

Murder yes compassion no

Autocrats help democrats harm

Invasion yay diplomacy nay

A strange time becomes a strangle time

No healing, yes stealing

Brake (or break) things don’t create things

We’ve forgotten what we’ve learned

Turned everything into its opposite

Look into mirror, you’re no longer reflective

What to do, 

What to do with

What is being done

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

this way

 Some think the real evil in this existence is our ability to choose.

That choosing means two options. That one opposes the other.

This adversity, this opposition, some call evil.

Hence evil is in the world because we have choice.

And some call the adversary the devil.

I don’t think that way.

I think this way.

This alone.

It rains tonight.

Good choice.

refusing injustice’s game

 Glancing at passing words:

Verse of the day 

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 

- 1 Peter 3:8

Voice of the day 

To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.  

 - Pedro Arrupe, SJ

Prayer of the day

When I move toward self-interest, point me back to love.

(-Sojourners, 21feb2022

Wording a passing glance. 

Wondering — (whence and whither hence) — (seeing, itself) — embodied?

Monday, February 21, 2022


الله (Allah) creator

Even before Islam came

this Arabic word

Pointing to what is beyond

Before and behind, the source

no, there are not too many children afoot

 Saints, parents are saints

Watch them watch their kids, no

Breaks, no rest, no stop

the internet threw me off before end of sunday evening practice

 But not before Doris, Tina, and Tom read Meredith for us:

Accidents of Birth

Je vois les effroyables espaces de l’Univers qui m’enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans savoir pourquoi je suis plutôt en ce lieu qu’en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m’est donné à vivre m’est assigné à ce point plutôt qu'à un autre de toute l’éternité qui m’a précédé, et de toute qui me suit. 

Pascal, Pensées sur la religion

The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach of time out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?

Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

Spared by a car or airplane crash or
cured of malignancy, people look
around with new eyes at a newly
praiseworthy world, blinking eyes like these.

For I’ve been brought back again from the
fine silt, the mud where our atoms lie
down for long naps. And I’ve also been
pardoned miraculously for years
by the lava of chance which runs down
the world’s gullies, silting us back.
Here I am, brought back, set up, not yet
happened away.

But it’s not this random
life only, throwing its sensual
astonishments upside down on
the bloody membranes behind my eyeballs,
not just me being here again, old
needer, looking for someone to need,
but you, up from the clay yourself,
as luck would have it, and inching
over the same little segment of earth-
ball, in the same little eon, to
meet in a room, alive in our skins,
and the whole galaxy gaping there
and the centuries whining like gnats—
you, to teach me to see it, to see
it with you, and to offer somebody
uncomprehending, impudent thanks.
William Meredith, “Accidents of Birth” from Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1997 by William Meredith. Reprinted with the permission of the author and TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press,

(Poetry Foundation)

panoply of february pond skid houses

Below ice fish glide

Under sharp skates slicing chips

Edge holes skimming shut

Sunday, February 20, 2022

old wallpaper and worn linoleum

The op-ed writer asked "Can Dems Dodge Doomsday?" 

I reflected:

Ama Nesciri | Camden Maine

It’s not democrats versus republicans. Let’s stop that simplistic thinking. It’s become the story of who’s going to tear it down first. America is tired, fed up, and at wit’s end with itself. Unprepared and unwilling to do the hard work of repairing and re-creating itself from ground up with authentic justice and compassion, the country, populace and institutions, just want to rip off the old wallpaper and tear up worn linoleum with no appetite or courage to rebuild the moral or intellectual substructure necessary for reasonable, healthy, and viable continuance of our only hope — selfless participatory democracy. Yes, deep trouble nears.

Just an opinion.

Which is, by now, gone and forgotten. 

As is, to be, wished for.