Walking down the helical
road, untwisting as you go
you discover places
you never imaginged
like the path you
thought you knew well.
Stop and claim
your new heritage,
on an alien map,
bury yourself in books
of new and ancient history.
Pause here and consider
a King of Scotland,
knights and lords,
in the far distance
know that you claim
a link to a man
so honored that he
died by hanging, but
was then beheaded
and drawn and quartered.
Too late to unswab
your cheek, so simply
enjoy your ride.
He imagined the end was coming,
but that was his problem, imagining
for it was about all he was capable of doing.
He started small, near visualization
more than imaginings, but he grew more
proficient with practice, his ideas
his conceptions of an increasingly
grander scale, until from a single thread
he could weave a tapestry that
boggled even his mind, and lent
a reality to his fantasies that he could
never hope to deny, they were palpable.
As his interior world grew larger
infinitely more complex, the exterior
world shrank away until it was little
more than a sensual black hole
swallowing people and places with
an abandon he would have found
fascinating were he not so taken up
with his latest idea, universal in scope
until it subsumed, digested all, including him.
A fool may say
I have been many places
in search of true Zen
and have found it here
and there, go look.
The feet of the fool
have been all
of those places
but have the wisdom
to stay silent.
A Reflection on case 21 of the Iron Flute Koans