I saw the sun
rise this morning
over Mt. Hood, the
glow that announced
to the horizon its approach.
There should be
in the life of every man,
every woman, that moment
when seeing dawn
lift, peel back the shroud
from Mt. Hood causes the sudden
intake of just that much extra breath
that like the sky’s morning flame
we are consumed by the moment.
If a thousand objects
are arrayed before you
what will you do,
what do you call them?
A sphere has no edges,
I can reach through a cloud.
Why would I try
to cut a moment in two,
or stuff a cloud in my pocket.
A reflection on Case 27 of the Iron Flute Koans
My grandson has a smile
that is as old as time itself,
as young as the mind
of a four-year-old
and in this moment,
beaming, I am left
to guess which it is,
for he won’t say,
I smile with him
and time has no meaning,
no beginning, no end.
Ummon might say
a pile of cow dung
in the road – this
may be the Buddha.
Will you step in
or walk around?
A reflection on case 21 of the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate)
If you come upon
both beggar and nobleman
see neither wealth or poverty,
smell neither the fine rosewater
or the crying need of a bath,
hear neither the ravings of one
or the philosophy of the other,
taste neither the fine curry
of the moldy bread crust,
feel neither the tattered rag
or the purest silk.
In the mirror of Zen
both men have your face
and there is no one
standing in front of you.
A reflection on case 57 of the Iron Flute Koans.
It is her time and she knows
she is ready for this moment, has been
for eons, knows it will come again
but none here will remember this day.
She stares at them, but they ignore her,
and she grows angry, her visage
reddens as she slowly retreats,
know the interloper will move along, hoping
that her return later will provoke
the sort of interest she deserves,
the sort she know she should command.
She teased them weeks ago, but this moment
must surpass that, and will, if only
the clouds play along with her.
She knows clouds are fickle, but
even mother nature usually concedes
if only begrudgingly, and tonight
should be one of those occasions.
She will not see them gather, but
her arrival will be heard in the
collective sigh and the memories she knows
they will carry into their eternity.
The moment you are certain
that you know where
you are going
is the precise moment
at which you become totally lost.
The moment you realize
that you have little idea
where you are and none
about where you will end up
is when you found yourself.
At this moment you are here
which was there a moment ago
and will be there a moment from now
even if you do not move, so it
is easier to say you are nowhere, always.