For Ikkyu

images 

Spoon strikes cup,

Sound made flesh

 

Each time the door opens

Something is given and given up

 

 

 

Upon waking: The corpse dances

In the empty casket

 

Rock on the ground

Moon in the cosmos –

Breathe this.

 


Leonard Cohen: Still Writing and Rolling

cohen30075The poet Leonard Cohen, one of the originals who came out of the ’60s, is still writing and performing at 80 years old. A poem/song from his new album is linked here.

Unknown


The Ghost of Poetry

In 1968, Roger Waters of the rock band Pink Floyd borrowed lines from the poetry of Li Ho as lyrics for the song “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” from the band’s second album A Saucerful of Secrets. Li Ho died at 26. His mother said, “This boy will spit out his heart.” One of the “crazy poets” of the T’ang era, his poetry avoided the traditional Chinese metaphors, opting for lines which jumped from his tongue. More of his poems are here. For a good article on T’ang poetry, Li Ho, and others, see Eliot Weinberger’s article here.

The Southern hills, how mournful!

A ghostly rain sprinkles the empty grass.

In Ch’ang-an, on an autumn midnight,

How many men grow old before the wind?

Dim, dim, the path in the twilight,

Branches curl on the black oaks by the road.

The trees cast upright shadows and the moon at the zenith

Covers the hills with a white dawn.

Darkened torches welcome a new kinsman:

In the most secret tomb these fireflies swarm.


Wislawa Szymborska: Where Were You When I Needed You?

images

A Poem

By Wisława Szymborska

Nothingness unseamed itself for me too.

It turned itself wrong side out.

How on earth did I end up here—

head to toe among the planets,

without a clue how I used not to be.

O you, encountered here and loved here,

I can only guess, my arm on yours,

how much vacancy on that side went to make us,

how much silence there for one lone cricket here,

how much nonmeadow for a single sprig of sorrel,

and sun after darknesses in a drop of dew

as repayment—for what boundless droughts?

Starry willy-nilly! Local in reverse!

Stretched out in curvatures, weights, roughnesses, and motions!

Time out from infinity for endless sky!

Relief from nonspace in a shivering birch tree’s shape!

Now or never wind will stir a cloud,

since wind is exactly what won’t blow there.

And a beetle hits the trail in a witness’s dark suit,

testifying to the long wait for a short life.

And it so happened that I’m here with you.

And I really see nothing

usual in that.

—Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

“The world — whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering, of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we’ve just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead? we just don’t know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we’ve got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world — it is astonishing.” – Wisława Szymborska (died February 11, 2012).

Szymborska


About That Bowl

About That Bowl

Round it is, the bowl I placed

in a hut in a mountain valley.

For a moment, its dominion

arises, a matter of form and space,

or so one thinks – that bowl and

emptiness – giving and taking

like nothing else.

But it’s not about one or the other –

or wilderness or hearth. In usefulness,

wildness is swept away,

for a moment, but then it returns

like nothing else.


Morning Practice

Morning Practice

When my eyes open at dawn’s light

the question naturally arises,

whose arms are these – flaccid pink

skin draping off brittle bones?

On the pillow there’s some long hairs – mine

or the two dogs, Roxy and Daisy, sleeping on

the bed? Before, the long hairs were always

a woman’s, her body pressed close

in the morning chill.

Now part of my lung is gone, infiltrated

by swarming molecules hungry to

devour my breath. It’s rationed now.

My heart beats harder to help

its neighbor. My heart’s comforting

sound fills my chest, but my morning

cough sounds like a sick man.

 One beat, one breath….

 Good practice for a lazy man.

As Su Tung p’o said,

“I’m a tired horse unharnessed at last.”

 


Minding My Time

Minding My Time

Awash in mind time. Mind’s always mattering,

mothering: words, sensations, feelings always

forming stuff. Words always mattering

in Universe of Matter. That’s all (not really for

Roy & Laddawan and the Thai band playing Eric Clapton).

Mind called self is just the go-between

for no-body. Big Self mothers every thing

– knows like a bone every thing’s just co-

existing meaning-matter like mothering sky.

Right now in Chiang Mai at 1:18 a.m.

as a tiny candle lantern rises golden

in the night like a star.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers