NOTELESS

He says, “I write songs
without music, my head
is a libretto warehouse.”
She says, “You string words
like random beads, no
two strands the same.”
He says, “Symmetry is
for those with linear minds,
who can’t see out of the tunnel.”
She said, “Dysentery
is a disease to be avoided
particularly by poets.”
He says, “I’ll sing a song
for you, if I can only
find the notes.”
Se says, “fine, but know
it is the silent spaces between
the notes where music truly lives.

HEART OF NIGHT

The morphology of dreams
is partially reliant
on the whims of a single
god, and Morpheus
is, to say the least,
a truly fickle bastard
who dangles before us
joy and nightmare
each always just
out of reach, but never
out of sight or hearing.
So we are left
to grasp like marionettes
operated by an unseen hand.

TOKUSAN’S ASSEMBLY 正法眼蔵 三十六

When the Buddha offered
true wisdom, no one
was present to hear it.
Those who were not there
understood it fully.
Where will you look
for true wisdom?
Will your ears here
what your mouth cannot say?
Only with closed eyes
will the light become clear.


A reflection on Case 36 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye).