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.

KEMBO’S TRANSMIGRATION 鐵笛倒吹 六十七

 

Awakening in the morning
when you first see the sun
and the dew resting on thee leaf
which eye are you using.
When you stare into the mirror
through what eye do you see,
and what eyes stare back at you.

When you see the deer
lying in the road
which eye do you use.
In a nightmare, when you slip
into the deeper, darker world,
what eye is used then.
When a friend fades into death,
what eye sees his departure.
Think carefully on this
for only one eye can see
the answer lying within.


A reflection on case 67 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki Tōsui)

A POET IS

A poet is a child who
on seeing a blank page
must fill it with dreams

hears the song of the nightingale
in the din of passing traffic

comforts the lonely mother recalling
the pain of a thousand births

sees in each passing cloud
the tears of a generation

feels the heat of the sun
amidst the winter’s blizzard

carries the bones of young men
from the fields on which they fell

cries with the child
hobbling on war shattered legs

curses the generals whose souls
have been cast off before battle

cannot forget, trading
nightmares for dreams.