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.


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.


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)


He has just returned
from the land of Others, where
he expected to see
all manner of things
that would, could
never happened to him.
He thought he would be able
to explain why this was,
but now those things
are happening to him.
He suspects it is because
he came to close
to the land of Those People,
and he is certain
are the cause
of all the trouble
in his carefully
constructed world.
It is why, he says,
he never wanted
anything to do with them.


We often believe that the best way
to honor the dead is to praise them.
When my time is gone, do not praise me
for your praise will fall on deadened ears.
If you believe in the power of the word
speak aloud in my name,
if you dare, commit the deed
as you believe I might have done,
if you can, lift up someone else
even though my arms may have been
too weak for the task in my own day.
As I am leaving you a world,
you will soon enough leave one as well,
and if that world is better than mine
for the sake of your efforts
that is all the honor I could hope to imagine.