OH, THE PLACES

“Every book is a picture book,”
she says, with that certain wisdom
the that comes from being seven,
even though eight is far off on the horizon.
“The difference with some,” she claims,
“is that someone already drew all the lines
and colored in the pictures.”
She likes the books, she concludes,
where she gets to draw the pictures
in her mind, change them freely
and choose whatever colors she likes
at any given moment, and the next time
she reads the book, they can all be different.

TEN FOLD PATH (PT. 2)

6.

Ox and man
walk the dusty
path to the small hut
sit along the fence
and look deeply
into the bottomless
night sky
as they have
for the endless
journey

埃だらけの道をたどって
男と牛は小屋をめざす
塀にもたれて腰かけ
果てのない夜空を見つめる
終わりのない旅路で
いつもそうしてきたように

7.

Each morning
the man senses the ox
is in the pen, the ox
smells the man
in the small
slowly collapsing hut.
there is no ox
there is no hut

毎朝男は
牛舎に牛の気配を感じ
牛はゆっくりと朽ち果てていく小屋の中に
男の息づかいを感じとる
小屋はなく、牛もいない

8.
No man
そして男も

9.

a brilliant sky
painted neon
a rhapsodic stream
stones clattering together
in equipoise rhythm
the cedar smells faintly
sweet in the honeyed rain
of early autumn.
All is present, unnamed
unnamable.

青く澄み渡った空
滔々と流れる小川に
小石が奏でる単調なリズム
かすかな杉の香りが
初秋のやさしい雨に甘く漂う
何もかもがここにあり
名前はいらない

10.

Old man, now,
steps toward the market
one among hundreds
he sips sake
speaks to many
many men, women, children
many oxen emerge.

年老いた男は市場に向かう
時折酒を飲みながら
数知れぬ男や女、子供たちと
道すがら言葉を交わしながら
ふと気づくと、
どこからかたくさんの牛が現れる

CHILD OF GHOSTS

I am a child of ghosts, my parents
adopted and birth, all visit me,
but only in my dreams, for ghosts
prefer the reality that dreams allow.
Some say that dreams are not real,
but they live in the mind as do
every other reality I experience
each day, my senses merely
inexact lenses for the mind.
Perhaps dreams are more accurate,
a deeper reality in the end,
for they arise without passing
through the lenses of the senses,
whole and complete, and as quickly gone.
I am a child of ghosts, and I
will eventually join them,
haunting the dreams of others.

A PERFECT MOMENT

A week ago there was a moment
that perfectly summed up life,
at least as seen by a three-year-old.
Three-year-olds know far more
than they are given credit for knowing,
far more, they are certain,
than their parents, and just enough
to make their grandparents laugh
at the most inopportune moments.
It was lunchtime, always a period
where so very much can go
so very quickly wrong, but all
was peaceful on this day, much laughter
and conversation until the moment
he twisted his mouth, and in a voice
more suited to an arena, announced
“I can’t believe . . .
I have salad . . .
in my mouth!”

GIVE US THIS DAY

The old bus shelter
has spray painted walls
and a broken metal bench.
Each morning
he shuffles
up the hill,
a battered leatherette
briefcase clutched tightly
in his right hand,
a copy of the Seattle Times
“Nixon in China”
in the other.
He sits calmly
on the bench
case between his knees
and waits patiently
for the bus
that hasn’t run
this route
for the better part
of sixteen years.
Still, he waits
until the sun
sinks behind
the 7-Eleven,
when he shuffles
down the hill
toward his small apartment
satisfied with another day
successfully done.


 

THE REAL WAY 碧巌録 二

Heed Joshu’s words
the real way is not difficult
look within the mind
come across words, thoughts
and cast them over
the edge into the abyss.

Continue searching until
no words or thoughts remain
and you are left with mu.
Then carry mu to the precipice
and cast it, too, into the abyss
make your bows and retire.


A reflection on Case 2 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record).