Upon the peak of Mt. Fuji
the first snow is shrouded
by the mother clouds.
In the shadows, rice shoots
stare up in reverence.
As you stoop
to pick up fallen leaves
are you cleaning spring,
summer or autumn?
What seasons are deep
within the winter branch?
How does your work
and that of the tree
truly differ, and
do you shed?
A reflection on Case 83 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)
above only sky
beneath only dark gray clouds
the sun is content
a mountain of clouds
rises from white tufted bed
the earth is watered
in winter’s icy chill
ripples from autumn’s pebble
await the spring sun
the leafless ginkgo
taunts the first snow of winter
with the dream of spring
The crows were at it in the park today,
unable, it seemed, to agree on anything
and unwilling to let any other have the last word.
I asked them to stop, and that bought
all of fifteen seconds of peace before one
decided the debate needed to go on.
It was a cacophony hard on the ears,
and I wondered if the person who decided
that crows in groups were a murder
had ever stopped to listen, for to me
any group of crows is a cacophony.
As I thought this a small gathering
of wrens took up their autumn song,
and in the face of that sweet,
trilling chorus even the crows fell silent.
The hawks have been circling
more frequently of late,
but in the early autumn laziness
of merely riding the breezes
that seem to pick up in the mornings,
before the midday sun bids them
be calm so it can make its transit.
By afternoon, they tend to roost
high up in the giant pines, peering
down as the flow of people flows
along the paths seeking to grasp
the fading warmth and last blooms
for a few moments longer, and
as evening approaches the hawks
take flight again, knowing the moon
can move the tides, but is powerless
to change the winds which blow
when and where their sky mother chooses.
As night settles in
the clouds grow uncertain
of their intentions.
It is hard to realize
that a boundary
is silently crossed
and summer has
retreated into the past,
leaving a new season
in its wake, harder
to know that tomorrow
we will awaken into
an autumn that at first
seems no different
then her mother, only
the promise of fall-
ing leaves soon painting
her in her true colors.
The problem with bringing then
into now is that now slips away
and then no longer really exists.
You may wish all you like for summer
to remain, but Autumn demands her due
and even the leaves grow tired
and need that final rest.
Do not deny the clouds, but treat them
like a stray thought, let them
be present, and let them leave
and take what they offer
without complaint, for they
are fragile and will flee
like the kitten, and you
will never be able to coax
a return until they are ready.
Now, where were you?