perches tree top
winter barren gray
and stares at stunted pines.
tucked under massive
for distant stars
rides a thermal coaster
waiting for squirrels.
Hills cry out
raging against dawn
tears flow puddling
of a distant god.
She wondered what it would be like
to be an island, set off somewhere
in a vast ocean, tropical preferably
where the only sounds were
the ebb and flow of the waves,
the thunder of the occasional storm
and the whisper of leaves tossed
by the omnipresent sea breezes.
she liked isolation, the silence
of repetitive sounds, free of the shackles
the city imposed on all within.
She imagined she might never tire
of the freedom and island enjoyed,
patiently waiting for the visitor
who might not ever wash up
on her beaches, she indifferent
but willing to accept what the gods
might choose to offer or deny her.
He took copious notes
until he knew
of the proper progression.
He double checked
he missed nothing.
When he was certain
he set out
over the horizon.
One thousand cranes take flight
and there is a sudden silence
as the cat stares up, bidding them farewell.
We barely stop to notice,
despite the rainbow of colors
replacing the clouds, even the sun
seeming to pause in wonder.
Two thousand hands made this
happen, one person, unrelenting,
knowing anything less
would be nothing at all.
Each crane dips its head
in appreciation for its freedom,
no longer trapped
in a two-dimensional prison.
over the Park
a Magritte sky
gather in an old oak
to discuss this,
fly off at the approach
of a black lab
in imagined freedom.
Baso knows well
only the ox truly
understands the yoke
but if you offer it
the ox will not accept.
Why would you seek
to become the ox?
It would be better
to burn the yoke.
A reflection on Case 33 of The Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate)
The hardest thing is knowing that this
precise moment, this precise place
is the tipping point, and things could
go either way from here, although the Buddha
would suggest that there are ten directions
in which everything always can go.
You cannot pause and reflect on this,
for this precise moment, this precise place
is also a tipping point, as is this one
and this one, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
But if you don’t know this, then just
perhaps, all ten directions are open to you.