Saturday, May 07, 2022

flagellum corruptionis *

 I remain in this chair

tree in soil

roots without need for air

if all is good, fine

I'd like to think so

just to say I thought so

all the misinformation

and the priggish cogs

clog stairways to the roof

these men, these women

snarl so virulent and slavish

now that power has rotted them

...   ...   ...

                           * the scourge of corruption

Friday, May 06, 2022

cancelling an appointment with nothing

If there is an afterlife

I’ll be disappointed —

    (Someone finds that funny)

I’m not laughing, just bemused

the dark, too, blooms and sings

Reading book, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for American Democracy, by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns 

Scribd says:

This is the authoritative account of an eighteen-month crisis in American democracy that will be seared into the country’s political memory for decades to come. With stunning, in-the-room detail, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns show how both our political parties confronted a series of national traumas, including the coronavirus pandemic, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and the political brinksmanship of President Biden’s first year in the White House.

From Donald Trump’s assault on the 2020 election and his ongoing campaign of vengeance against his fellow Republicans, to the behind-the-scenes story of Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate and his bitter struggles to unite the Democratic Party, this book exposes the degree to which the two-party system has been strained to the point of disintegration. More than at any time in recent history, the long-established traditions and institutions of American politics are under siege as a set of aging political leaders struggle to hold together a changing country.

Martin and Burns break news on most every page, drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-seen documents and recordings from the highest levels of government. The book asks the vitally important (and disturbing) question: can American democracy, as we know it, ever work again?

I might be naïve, but I remain flummoxed and disturbed at the former president's blatant antagonism toward anything civil, respectful, or thoughtful in the carrying out of presidential duties or leadership integrity. He just didn't care. His only obsession was with himself, his increasing of his personal wealth, and capturing the adulation of everyone or anyone.

And it is, God help us, not over.

It is a good time to become a contemplative mystic.

Or read, Gott sei dank, poetry.

To Know the Dark

              by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,

and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

-- from Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds, Edited by Neil Astley / Edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce

(With thanks to Doris for sending Berry.)

Thursday, May 05, 2022

what you want to do

Golfers are back. 

Can't walk Samoset any more until autumn cold sets in. 

Window, however,  can stay open all night.

The cat likes that.  

“The American dream is no longer just to get rich quick, but also to enjoy doing it, the new captains of industry offer various best-selling decalogue for achieving this goal. Their tips range from philosophical (learn from your failures) to the practical (never handle the same piece of paper twice). There’s one insight into both productivity and satisfaction that they inevitably share, however: the importance of laser like attention to your goal, be it building a better mousetrap or raising cattle. Unless you can concentrate on what you want to do and suppress distractions, it’s hard to accomplish anything, period. 
(— Winifred Gallagher in Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life)

Someone ate through plastic opening of bird feeder. Or pecked through. Spring redwing blackbirds arrived and flooded the zone. Green metal one holds true.

 Reading about acquaintance Franciscan hermit sister in Gallagher's Spiritual Genius series of interviews (2002). She begins book with:

A man questioned abbot Nistero: "What good work shall I do?" And he answered, "All works are not equal. The Scripture saith that Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him. And Elias loved quiet, and God was with him. And David was humble, and God was with him. What therefore thou findest that thy soul desireth in following God, that do, and keep thy heart."

(--Verba Seniorum (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Epigraph to Spiritual Genius, The Mastery of Life's Meaning)

 Do you know what you want to do?

(Dog moves from rug to green-bed by cabinet. Snores.)

I don't. Want. To do. Anything.  (At least, not today.)

Letter from prison to read. My thirty-plus year compañero. (He was in first college course I taught there.)

He writes about ghosts. He's ok with ghosts.  He says they want to be recognized, can be great friends, and can understand and respect boundaries set by the living.  (As we define 'the living.') He says there is no death. We've been talking with and writing each other a long time now. He wants to help folks be less afraid.That's a good thing.

I trust he will keep his heart. 

In the stillness of this room, I wish him well. I write him and tell him so.

I'll go walk with the dog soon. It's nice to have been so quiet all day. Whoever visited with me in this still space was welcomed and respectful.

I am not afraid, neither of presence, nor of absence.

At least, I suspect that's the case.

in vacant or in pensive mood,

The world of law and leaks becomes tedious. 

The elbows and ankles of millionaires running up and down basketball courts are uninteresting. 

The craven ambition of cynical rightwing or leftwing media stars snug inside lucrative contracts is dispiriting.

One has to look around.

To remember where, what, and who one is.

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

                                        (--Poem by William Wordsworth) 

In this chair. Looking out. As cars pass. And sun warms porch. Dog snores. 
It is the anniversary of my mother's death. Some forty one years gone by.
Very little sound. 

Peasant woman in babushka walks road aside thatched roofs.

Arab in headscarf meditates in morning light.

Tibetan monks lean over sand mandala.

Dalai Lama sits well within himself.

Peter's banner with fish and ribboned cross ascends wall.

We are orphans and children of orphans.

Given birth by a moment long since disappeared.

Having nothing to call our own.

Holding on with empty hands.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

watchful watchful

 I think I’m beginning to understand why christians continue to emphasize that everyone is a ‘sinner.’

Keeps you humble.

Less inclined to cultivate irascible pride.

How easy it is to fall from a high horse.

this is what you taught me — माझे जगणे,

मा झी भाषा,

माझे जगणे,

माझे बघणे,

सारे काही

हे असे तुमचेच !

तुम्ही घडवलेत !

इतक्या दुरूनही

कुणासाठी इतके बरेच काही करता येते ..

हे तुम्ही मला शिकवलेत



My language

My life

My look


This is yours!

You made it!

Even so far

There is so much that can be done for anyone.

This is what you taught me!

sounds of local voices

It’s complicated —

Abortion, voting rights, war —

Bird song in door yard

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

for a long time

Sojourners Magazine wants to remind us we are sojourners here, on a temporary stay.  

Verse of the day 

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 

    - Proverbs 4:23

Voice of the day 

What we all need to do is find the wellspring that keeps us going, that gives us the strength and patience to keep up this struggle for a long time. 

    - Winona LaDuke

Prayer of the day 

Give us patience on our journey to the wellspring of life.

No matter how irrelevant we might feel, we are here, we have voices, we contribute either to what is true or what is false.

May it be true! 

stay in that room

 Nothing to see here.

Zen practice involves finding and dwelling in emptiness. It’s like a person who goes into a dark room from a lighted hallway. When you look around at first, it’s absolutely black, but if you stay in that room, you begin to be able to operate. You begin to be able to see. 

(-Kurt Spellmeyer, “Seeing in the Dark, Tricycle)

See here…to nothing. 

ask, and not-be conceived

Being is. Non-being is not.

What does not-being mean?

Can you give birth to non-being?

Is non-being the same as not-being?

What is

This debate



If non-being is born

Will we all disappear?

Will everything cease to be?

(Do we need something Supreme

To help sort this out of, or into,


Monday, May 02, 2022

dissipating the mist

Fifty fifty.

Half feel we're doomed. Half say we'll be ok.

 Where am I?

I'm on the fifty yardline.

I'm at half court.

I'm on second base.

I'm halfway in my jump over the tennis net.

    Case 24, Blue Cliff Record

Iron Grindstone Liu went to Guishan.

Might as well gather together, touching the difficult. Playing her part, this experienced old woman does not play by the rules.

Shan said, “Old cow, you’ve come!”

Point—search the grass shadows with a probing pole. It’s hard to say who you meet when turning in that place. 

Grindstone said, “There’s going to be a great assembly at Mount Tai, will you go too?”

The arrow did not miss the target. In Tang Dynasty, beat a drum; in Korea, dance. The release was most rapid; coming to acceptance was the slowest.

Guishan lay down.

Strike—yes! Who turns thus to face Guishan, knows to distance herself, dissipating the mist, having other fine considerations.

Grindstone went out.

Celebration—yes! Meeting the pivot and acting.

Iron Grindstone Liu!


                     -Translation from the Chinese by Dosho Port and friends

We stand in the middle of a dark wood

In middle of our lives

Middle of mind -- half empty, half full 

Eight bells -- now it is the middle of the day.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

verifying trust, stitching squares

 Through words...dialogue

Side by side part of the whole

Gathered difference

nulla niente

 I look out, nothing

to nothing, this path chosen

sheer simplicity

Tell me — when you learn to pray

Does the earth stay mute and still

as bird to feeder

April goes.

May arrives

Night lightens

Morning shows itself

3. Vanum est vobis ante lucem súrgere:

súrgite postquam sedéritis, qui manducátis panem dolóris.


3. It is in vain that you rise before daylight, 

that you rise up after you have sat down, you who chew the bread of sorrow.

 (—from psalm 126)

Prayer is invisible presence

Pray always, unseen,

Ista est speciósa inter fílias Jerúsalem, allelúia.

She is beautiful among the daughters of Jerusalem, alleluia

Maria, Kannon, Quan Yin, Avalokiteśvara, Sophia

It is the month she will burst into flower

Nothing will be hidden

In prayer