We will the sun to rise
it lifts from the horizon
nature knows better
in the depth of night
the one billion trillion stars
always ignore us
neutron stars collide
gravitational waves wash
over the cosmos
while a Goldilocks planet
looks on in childlike wonder
Of course when we lived
up north we wouldn’t
have imagined this, sitting
on our lanai watching the sun
set the patchy sky ablaze
sipping small glasses of port
and wondering if a light
jacket might be in order,
as the beaver moon
of November waxes slowly.
The cat, curled at our feet
cannot imagine the icy wind
howling down the street,
the foreboding clouds offering
their first flakes, knowing
this is a small taste of what
nature will bring forth
before we could again sit
in shirtsleeves on our porch.
We do not like to admit
that nature laughs at us
as we pretend to bend her
to our will and desires.
We dam and reroute rivers,
but the river knows well
that it will return, flow
where it wishes, for it
will be here long after
we have returned to the soil.
Still, now and again nature
grows weary with our meddling
and unleashes her fury
in ways we are incapable
of stopping, and laughs
when we seek divine
intervention from the utter
depths of our powerlessness.
The cat is stalking around the house, wary. She gets this way after coming back from the vet. She actually likes the vet, and not only for the treats she gets, and the pawdicure. But she must stalk and be wary so we will be remorseful for having taken her to the vet. And she knows we will be, given enough time and back turning. We are so predictable. She wonders if we were like that with our children when they were young. Probably, but we must have forgotten. So she will go on with our training, for a cat must bend humans to her will. That is an unwritten law of nature.
then another, another
only this one
a world of delusion
yesterday and tomorrow
Buddha says Now!
Egrets take flight
we stare awestruck
nature pities us
Pause and consider why so many questions
require you, you feel, to consult your watch,
to call up a calendar, to appoint time.
Time has no appointments, time is not
an arrow, though we strive always to aim it,
to send it flying in our desired direction.
Time is a point in space, surrounded by
all ten directions, going toward none of them.
Ask why this moment is not enough, why you need
the next though it does not exist.
What are you trying to escape by searching
for tomorrow, lingering in yesterday?
Yesterday no longer exists, so why
do you assume tomorrow does, and what
of this moment, which exists only now,
and what of the red leaf sitting
in mid-air awaiting your awed attention?
A reflection on Case 6 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)
The Great Egret stands
on the shore of the pond
and stares at the tall grasses
seeing what we cannot.
We are impatient, walk
away quickly, anxious
to get on with our day
although we have no plans.
We do not see him lunge
from the swaying reed,
he sees us blind to nature.
I would like nothing more than
to have a long conversation with the birds,
that there is much they could tell me,
much they know that I should understand
but I am the interloper here, and they
have lost trust in my kind.
I watch them closely, trying
to discern what I can of their thoughts,
but in a flash of wing, they erase
my efforts, their unique version
of giving me the bird, so to speak.
I speak to them, offer apologies,
atone for my presence, for the others
who have taken their space,
and they listen, but in the end,
turn away again, having, they say,
heard this too many times before.
Dusk reflects dawn much as
dawn reflects dusk, and it is
our fear of night and deep need
for direction that sets them apart.
Imagine a photograph of the sun
hovering just over the horizon,
compass-less we do not know
what preceded, what will follow.
We prefer day and dawn, for
it is then we feel in control,
our thoughts leashed, our fears
locked away from sight and touch.
Dusk promises only night,
the darkness where our fears
find corners in which to hide,
only to spring out unwanted.
So we turn away from the sky,
unsinged by its flaming beauty,
hide ourselves from and in fear
as nature laughs at our foolishness.