MOONING

If you set aside the small fact
that earth is the only inhabitable planet
it’s fairly clear the cosmos gave us
a surprisingly bad deal when the cards were dealt.
It’s true that Mercury and Venus
got no moons, but it wouldn’t much matter
for they can see a sun we can’t
begin to imagine, huge and ever-present.
Even Mars, bloody warrior planet it is,
got two, and it got gypped in the grand scheme.
From there is a wealth and you can be sure
Jovians and Saturnians hardly know
which way to look to see a moon rise and set.
But we have the one, and it is frankly
rather boring, its primary claim to fame
being that it is just the right size
to blot out the sun every now and again,
but the sun never seems amused and quickly returns.

CHAO CHOU’S FOUR GATES

 

Standing on the edge of the precipice
with your eyes closed,  what will you do?
If I turn you around, where is the edge
and where is the land from which you approached?
If I say you must take a step, do you
gently place your toe out and seek
to feel the earth, seek to know where air is,
or do you step out boldly, certain
that you will not fall into the abyss?
From your position on the mat,
the mind is an abyss is all around you,
so you may step out of your thoughts
without care, for all four gates
are open to the ungrasping mind.
And you just might meet Chao Chou
on the path on which you choose to tread.


A reflection on case 9 of the Hekiganroku (The Blue Cliff Record)

KINHIN (WALKING MEDITATION)

The entirety
of this practice
is to learn
to walk
with a lightness,
so that you
contact the earth,
the grass,
not tread on it,
so that the earth
and the grass
caress your feet
and not try
to push them away,
and all the while
there must be
a gentleness of breath,
so the sky
can fill your lungs,
lightening you.

ÁŁTSÉ HASHKÉ (THE TRICKSTER)

The wind takes up voice
as it caresses these mountains,
it’s song a lullaby to the coyotes
staring at the waning moon.
When night grows darkest, they
join in the song, a spirit kirtan
they have practiced for centuries.
Men stare nervously on the mesa
at the stars providing faint light,
the moon wrapping herself
in her cumulus shroud, and
the twinned orange orbs
that peer out from the sage.
They see only fear of coyote,
imagine the trickster
seeking to perpetrate evil
not the Kachina out in the night
to oversee and protect the land
that is rightfully theirs.