ERR GO

There is a reason for all things
and therefore there is a reason for this
although we cannot begin to fathom
what that reason could possibly be, which
should be reason enough,
for reason has a twisted soul:
now playful, now angry, now vengeful
in irregular turns without warning.
The problem with seeking the reason
for things is deeply hidden, and not
as some imagine that it is difficult, no,
the problem is that the search for the reason
has its own reason needing to be discovered
and so on recursively back to the Big Bang
which still, to this day, has
the ultimate undiscovered reason.

UNKO SENDS CLOTHES 鐵笛倒吹 七十八

If I receive warm under robes
to ease my winter meditation
I will refuse them.
If you ask me why, I will say
I was born with such robes as I need.
If you ask what I wore before birth
I shall remain silent.

In the deepest winter
there is no chill
that can reach
the empty mind
for it is full of a warmth
that cannot be replaced
and one needs no shelter,
for ashes know no temperature.


A reflection on Case 78 of the Iron Flute Koans

OR NOT

He screwed up his face into the scowl
that fairly shouted to all, “Don’t Ask!”.

She knew better but knew also that she
had no choice, “What’s the matter now?”

“It’s just,” he said, softening a bit, “that
I so seldom get the weather I need,
much less the weather I want, it’s never
the sort I ask, no matter how nicely I put it.”

She threw caution to the wind, smiled
and said, “It isn’t, of course, that the weather
isn’t what you ask, it most certainly
almost always is. It is simply that the weather
is perfect and you always show up
in precisely the wrong place to enjoy it.”

THE SPACE BETWEEN

 

The space between
want and need
is at once a vast gulf
and the width of the hair,
much the same as that
separating luck and greed.
It is only in the eyes mind
that the gap is insurmountable
and we give up hope
that those who live
in the land of wants
will ever look across
the border of tears
and truly see those
who are doomed
to toil endlessly
in the land of need.

AROUND IT

It is remarkably simple, really,
a single circular brush stroke
in a monochrome black on rice paper,
always nearly perfectly round,
never is the circle complete,
always some small thing left wanting.
You stare at it, more
at the small gap, imagining
it filled, hoping it cannot be
for it holds out the promise
that this moment is all
that matters, that you are,
at any moment, where you
ought to be on your path,
that thoughts of tomorrow
is no more than an illusion ,
nothing other than 
the enso’s blank space.

TAI YRA MANO MOTINA (THIS IS MY MOTHER)

It’s odd how your stature
has grown as I dream of you
occasionally staring at
your yearbook picture.
It was only four years ago
that I knew you existed, but
hadn’t the faintest idea of who
you were, anything about your life,
why you gave me up, and, therefore
who it was I might have been.
Now you are a selfless icon, caring
more for siblings who needed education,
at the immediate cost of your own,
a child who needed two parents
in a world that frowned deeply
on anything less than a pair.
Someday soon, I will visit your grave,
place a small stone upon your stone,
and a kiss, the closest
I can ever hope, ever dream
to coming to the face of my mother.