ROSO FACES THE WALL

Come before the Master.
If he turns from you
and faces the wall
he honors you.
If the Master enters your room
and you turn to the wall
you will deserve his stick.

As you cannot sit
in the Master’s seat
he may not sit in yours,
but all seats are one seat,
no wall is all walls
and neither of you
should give a damn.


A reflection on Case 56 of the Iron Flute Koans

DOING THOUGHT TIME

 

 

The hardest prison to escape
is the one whose walls are built
by the mind in fear and trepidation.
It is like the open gate you dare
not enter fearing that you are leaving
and will not be allowed to return.
Atop a pole there are
an infinite number of directions
in which you can go and only one
is straight down, but you fear
selecting any, for gravity
is a fear as great as death,
yet you can feel neither.
The prison of the mind
is impregnable, for there
fear and pain live in conflict
and you are a small boat
on an angry sea staring
always at the roiling waves.

BOUNDARY

What is on the other side
of this wall that is just
too tall to peer over?
No one seems to know,
though many have surmised
it is a completely different world
looking little or nothing
like the one we inhabit.
Last week a young man
picked up a ginkgo leaf
and said “ahah, it is Japan
across that wall,” but we
mostly thought he was crazy.
Once, when the world was flat,
people knew if you sailed
too far you would fall off.
But the brave ones then
always wondered what sort
of world existed on the other side,
was it desert or tropical jungle
and when it was night here
was it day there or did the sun
simply sleep for ten hours?
This morning a young man
leaned a tall latter
against the wall and slowly
and carefully slipped over the top.
We shouted after him, asking
what it was like: did rainbows
look the same, was grass green,
but all we heard was his
retreating footfalls, and
his plaintive voice shouting:
“Eve, are you here?
I have the apple.”