The hardest prison to escape
is the one whose walls are built
by the mind in fear and trepidation.
It is like the open gate you dare
not enter fearing that you are leaving
and will not be allowed to return.
Atop a pole there are
an infinite number of directions
in which you can go and only one
is straight down, but you fear
selecting any, for gravity
is a fear as great as death,
yet you can feel neither.
The prison of the mind
is impregnable, for there
fear and pain live in conflict
and you are a small boat
on an angry sea staring
always at the roiling waves.
The man liked to cry out into the night,
asking questions for which he knew
there could be no answers, or if
there were, they would be things
he would never wish to hear.
The coyotes in the hills would listen
to his pleas, his entreaties, his
moaning, and they would remember
the spirits of the old ones gone,
and yet back in their now-animal forms.
One night a trickster sat on the mesa,
and when the man began his questions,
the trickster, orange eyes aflame
spoke clearly, loudly, telling the man
that the answer to each of his questions
lay within himself, and he need only
look there, if he had the courage,
which the coyote knew, he lacked.
Each day I am certain something
more slips away, forgotten, no
longer able to be recalled, lost
in the vast abyss of yesterdays.
I would like to think this happens
because something new, something
better has taken its place, and I
had no choice but to displace it.
That is the convenient story I tell
myself, although I am rarely convinced,
and know that there is a good chance
it is no more than a lie of sorts,
but one that will slip away
and be replaced by something better,
or perhaps I will just forget
that it was a lie in the first place.
The pelican dives
beneath an ominous sky –
this is no Koi pond.
Snowy egret stares,
his reflection returns it
calm pond undisturbed.
Haiku is perfect
if you adhere to the form
in all four seasons.
The light always enters
unseen, knowing without it
nothing can be seen. Light
sees the infinite green pallet
arrayed on a single leaf,
the complex hues of a rainbow
painting the white
wisps of morning clouds,
the blaze red
forehead of the moorhen
patrolling the pond. Light
will always willingly
share its vision
if we are not
too blind to see.
How far must you wander
to taste the pure essence,
hear the pure note,
see deeply into beauty,
smell the first flower of spring,
touch another heart?
Will you grow tired
from standing still
in total silence
A reflection on Shobogenzo Case 65 (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
On this night
the moon retreats
from the sky,
leaving the stars
hide and seek
behind broken clouds.
The silence is enfolding,
save for the whistle
of a distant train
traversing the city,
and the whisper
of the wind caressing
the needles of the pine
wih a passionate moan.