RE-ENTRY ALLOWED

He sits on the cushion
staring through hooded eyes
at the wall in front of him.
He expects exactly nothing to happen,
expects there to be no sound
within his mind, only what
happens without, expects that time
will cease for him, or
will at least cease to matter.
He is not disappointed.
The bell rings, he arises,
and walks back into the world
where everything happens,
there is only sound, and
he stares at his watch knowing
time has moved on in ways
he can never hope to fully grasp.

FIFTY-EIGHT MINUTES, MORE OR LESS

In a bit less
than an hour
a new exhibit
will open
empty space will
be occupied
with moving
bodies of artist
and viewer,
universes will form
a thousand children
will be born
an old man in
a distant city
will slip away
a contented look
pressed into
his face
world leaders
will ask why
and have
no answers,
but all of that
is not now,
but in a bit
less than
an hour.

A DIFFERENT WORLD

In a different world,
I would write you stories, poems,
that would bring a tear to your eye,
that would make you laugh even when
your mood would deny joy,
that would bring freedom to some
and loosen the shackles on many,
that would reflect peace,
that would lighten your burden,
that would heal, if only small wounds,
that would recall a better world
and enable its rebirth.
In a different world
I would write you stories,
but we live in this world
and these are the words I have.

HOPE ETERNAL

First day of the new year
and there seems an almost
palpable malaise that things
are not suddenly different,
as though the turning of a page
on the calendar might somehow
set us and world events
on a radically different course:
the fool would become wise,
the sage would smile knowingly
and all that to which
we have grown so accustomed
would morph or disappear.
But there is a full moon tonight,
so perhaps tomorrow
will be the day we all
eagerly anticipated today,
or, just perhaps, a black cat
will lead us beneath the ladder
and down the thirteen steps
to the ever-present home
of misbegotten expectations.

DAIZUI’S GREAT KALPA FIRE 正法眼蔵 二十四

All things are born and die
so if this world dies at the end
of its cycle of life and we
are here, do we die with this world
and which of us
will be first reborn.
Only when the mind collapses
is the world born
only when the mind collapses
does the world die.


A reflection on Case 24 of the True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo)