Saturday, April 30, 2011

sing a song of sixpence..end of poetry month

a living history is sung by telling its melody.
~antonio machado

salutations to poets, poems and poetry!
we know all about the authentic life,
a life well-lived, the quality of a day,
a day in the life, it’s a wonderful life..

all these inspire us to live,
dare i say..a poetic life..
to seek out the things that are similar..
while we recognize the differences..
hidden resemblances within the contrary..

see how the great cosmos
is the mirror for the wee speck of our lives..
look..the dust of the world turned stars in the firmament..
hear the ten thousand things sing praises of the one..

everything seeks everything,
without purpose, without end, without cease.

~ hugo

poetry brings the looking-glass of reflection to our front door..
we open .. see ourselves and remembre..
our mistaken identity, our heart of understanding,
our misshapen relationship with self and other,
our original goodness...

bowing to the yes that leads to freedom..most often..
to the no that sometimes does,
to the maybe that gives us breathing room, the interval..
dropping our answers in the lap of the gods..
from pause, we rise up whole .. only a moment..
embodying every meter of our humanness
with greatfulness to the cell song .. i ..

i, for one, would like my life to be a poem..
all the and thick and slurpy ...silky, tender, meek..
easy on the eyes, the razor’s edge, somewhere over the rainbow..
an aria of the all and everything - reduced to zero..

poetry is the antidote to technology and the market.
~ octavio paz

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

starbucks & sony i phones

piraeus, the ancient port of greece
has a starbucks ..a few years now..
they were not able to accept
my starbucks gift card, however..

the fish market stalls are snestled
right up to the fruit and vegetable stands..
the butchers next to them..

cheese pies on all the corners ~
along with o so many hawkers selling
quart size lighters and bizarre sewing kits..

sitting on a harbour park bench
with an elder woman..
like two old pigeons resting
in silence and the intermittent sun..
cooing ever so cooly in our different tongues..
the smell of sweet orange sneaking up our noses..

a flying dolphin will wing me to aegina..
the commuter island for athenians..
slowly i will make my way back to the world..
then i'll take on athens..

a fast talking hustler approached me..
you want this sony iphone..
the best..only .
no, no, no..i tell him
sony is not iphone -
that is phony iphone

i love you, he tells me..
i love you back!

Monday, April 25, 2011

heading home..

the voyage of the best ship
is a zig zag of a hundred tacks..

~ralph waldo emerson

the road maps i use
are not time-tested ~
making the journey a voyage
into the unknown..
the greatest friend of our soul..
john o'donohue tells us..

dangerous business....going out of your door..
you step into the road and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to!

~ bilbo baggins

the planning and computing part
are slack in the likes of me..
enough to get from here to there, yes..
and then..
the sea ruffles up rough,
the road bumps and grinds..
the long way 'round - the uneasy highway ..
the road less traveled - the long and winding road..
you name it; i'm on it ~

loosening the grip on getting a grip..
i cast the net a savvy fisherman..
reeling in a bounty to nourish self and other..
always circling for 'home' sooner rather than later..
on a wing and a prayer..

where is home ? *
the family tree?
how is it planted? by whom?
what is a blood line?
do any of us truly know?
we follow the trail of genealogy ~
to where?

where the heart is.. eh?
the only answer to all the questions...

please, celebrate me home....

*see blogpost home 1 april 2007

Sunday, April 24, 2011

kalo pashcha!

what light is to nature,
love is to the heart of humanity..

while in california this last trip,
i picked up a cross made of tin -
at its centre..a red heart..

the criss cross of time and space..
at the crux.. the heart..

i will love ~ i will give love..
this, the mantra for these days

lord of love,
make me an instrument of thy peace.
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, unity;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is error, truth;
where there is sadness, joy
where there is darkness, light.

o divine love mistress,
grant that i may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

may all we see be blessed by our sight..
every word spoken be a benediction..
our smile, a prayer of grace..
our listening be deep; our touch, healing..
our laughter, an invocation of lovingkindness..

we have but a flicker from the eternal flame
to witness the spark in one another..
let us see clearly..
remembre to remembre..
free from small mind...
into the great vast ..
into the clear light..
shall we be the luminosity
we imagine we might become?
no becoming..
only being
..and forever.. hold your peace..

Saturday, April 23, 2011


friends, every day do something that won't compute.
love someone who does not deserve it.
denounce the government and embrace the flag.
give your approval to all you cannot understand.
ask the questions that have no answers.
put your faith in the two inches of humus that
will build under the trees every thousand years.
be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
practice resurrection.
~wendell berry

as timely as a river
god’s timeless life passes
into this world. it passes
through bodies, giving life,
and past them, giving death.
~ w.b.

kali anastasi!

Friday, April 22, 2011

at golgotha

this poem you will find
on the april as well..
the good friday poem of a thousand lifetimes..

slowly the crowd grew tired of their own jeers
and began to leave. i swallowed,
tasting vinegar again. the few that remained
prayed on the ground below me,
clenching and unclenching their hands.
i noticed the sky, like a large animal
that had suddenly moved closer.
then the first breath came. i remembered
the wooden boat shaking over the rapids
of the river's mouth, bumping
at the sea's gate. i remembered
running my hands over a newly
sanded board...then the second breath
and a singing as of wheels or leaves,
and i felt the clay pot
shatter, the great wings kick once
like a new heart. then the third breath
gripped my body down through muscle
and bone to the small bell
of my birth, and i was gone.
~jay leeming

Thursday, April 21, 2011


the enactment..or rather the reenactment
of the foot washing on the eve of the last supper..
took place here in patmos this morning..
it was only that enactment..
no toes were showing..
the priests had their shoes on..
don't ask me why i was disappointed..
did i want to see the priests feet and calves?
o my o

the washing of the feet..
often times called the great act of humility..
is most humbling ~
for those washing; those being washed
a bowing, a cleansing, a tender act of
the lowering of my will to thy will..if you will..

boobsi's owner..
(see the life as a dog)
the sweet priest..
was the deacon, the canter, the chanter..
his rich desert voice offering the gospel of st. john..
of course, my mind wandered off to boobsi
whenever i looked up...

the square was crowded; i was standing in front
of one of those classic greek elder gents..
so kind to translate much of what was taking place..
his wife was in the back with other women friends..
they had come over from the island of kos
to spend their easter on patmos..

the day was bright and warm..and o so windy..
the priests had to hold their hats and head-dresses ~
the three large windmills were let loose,
the sight of the circling frames on the olde stone houses
was invitation for refreshment..renewal..

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I end up, well, I think only god really knows
I swam across the setting sun, but never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once, no never, never, never

~cat stevens / yusuf islam

the way

this is a lesson in following the way--
remembre it.

how do you follow the way?
go where you are sent.
wait til you are shown what to do.
do it with your whole self.
remain til you have done what you are sent to do.
walk away with empty hands.

how much will it cost?
the cost is everything,
for all you are and all you have
will be asked of you
before the journey runs its course.

how will you know your fellow travelers?
their faces will be marked by scars of love.
no one will ever tell you that the way is easy;
only that it is possible.
no one can tell you if the journey is worthwhile,
for your wages are concealed
and will be shown you only
on the last day of eternity.

but whoever chooses to follow the way
will have company as fellow travelers
and a resting place at journey's end
in the mecca of the heart.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

as you like it..

it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded
of many simples, extracted from many objects,
and indeed the sundry contemplation of my
travels, which, by often rumination, wraps
me in a most humorous sadness.
~ will shakespere

.. jokes can be noble.
laughs are exactly as honorable as tears.
laughter and tears are both responses
to frustration and exhaustion,
to the futility of thinking and striving anymore.
i myself prefer to laugh,
since there is less cleaning-up to do afterward -
and since i can start thinking and striving again
that much sooner.
~ kurt vonnegut..palm sunday sermon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

photo op...

the livelihood for the rest of my days here
has arrived in the palm of my hand ~
along with the swoop of tourists
that are pouring in for these high holy days...

everyone wants their picture taken..
with the monastery in the backgroud..
or the windmills..or the wide open sea...
since i am aimlessly wandering about
on the footpaths from dawn 'til dusk..
i am asked..
parakalo, por favor, s'il vous plait,
bitte, lutfen, per favore
take our picture - take our picture...

the digital camera is a new one on me..
every time i am ready to focus and shoot..
laughter issues from the other side of the frame..
no, non, nee, ochi, nej...
ha! ha! ha!
you not need stick your eyeball onto the camera..
ha! ha! ha!
every time a new camera lands in my hand..
can you teach an olde dog new tricks?
i do it again..

not only am i the questionable
photogragher extraordinaire for the island..
i have become the jester of the hillsides..
though not rewarded
with financial security or health-care benefits..
i am paid handsomely with all these giggles and grins..

someone once said of thomas merton..
'he could hardly blow his nose without writing about it' ~
ha! me too....
say cheese, fromage, tupi, queso, ost, fromaggio!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

hand print..grief notes II

'we shall draw from the heart of suffering itself
the means of inspiration and survival.'

~ winston churchill

just when i think i am free ~
pushing through
the wailing wall of sadness..
just when i think i am done ~
riding the wave of grief
like a camel underwater...
i crash into myself ..
re-claiming loneliness as my true companion...
there is an art to dying and one to grieving, to be sure..
all coming together, all passing away
om gate, gate..
in one sweep of the hand..
hold mine, will you?

one thing i understand about grief..
the fathomless memory does
rise up as a kind of presence beside oneself..
it is the kindling of this relationship..
odd and intangible,
which entwines
the one in form with the formless one..
this weave of love, of ache, this presence of absence
wraps the mesh tight, tight in..
to become a single prayer rug of benevolence ..
the call to prayer brings forth a bow..
to the the mutable..
this brow down bow knocks
some sense into the grasping one..
the embrace of not two..
'and the fire and the rose are one..'

Saturday, April 16, 2011

great week

the spruced up shoppes and homes and holes in the walls..
(who knew there was a restaurant there?)
bring an aire of celebration to the entire island..
nowhere more so than up in chora,
the petticoat village of the great monastery ~
rising, rising out of the mountain itself..
we are riding the wave to easter sunday..
( a rarity..western and orthodox
share the same dates this year..passover too!)
the wave of great week, holy week..

the greek orthodox believe that
the resurrection of jesus is his actual birth;
his triumph of eternal life from the mortal coil..
lent for the greeks begins on clean monday..
this is a day of celebration..kites fly high,
picnics abound..with meat-less dishes..drink and music..
the lenten fast has begun..
it is a time of spic and span..
rebuilding, releasing..olde for new..
so evident everywhere i look..

saturday of lazarus
16 april
known as the day of the first resurrection..
jesus returned the life blood to lazarus ..
children from the villages travel from house to house,
singing and gathering treats..

palm sunday
17 april
the streets are scattered with laurel and myrtle..
every home is decorated with a cross
of palm fronds braided together as a blessing..

good thursday
21 april
niptira..wash basin..
the scene of foot washing from the last supper ~
enacted here by the abbot of the monastery of st. john,
the monks and the priests..
i have been told:
this en-actment is done only here and jerusalem ..
though others have challenged this claim..
the easter eggs are dyed red symbolising..
the blood of jesus..
during the late night hours,
the women go to the many churches
strewn over the island to decorate the biers..
on which will rest the icon of jesus..
there is great competition betwixt the churches
for the most glorious bier ~

good friday
22 april
this is the day of mourning..
self -restraint and temperance hold the believers in..
the flags are flown at half mast,
the church bells ring prudently..
the cemetaries are visited to
decorate the graves of the deceased
with lavender and laurel..
the entombment of jesus
in mid-afternoon is followed
by the procession of the bier
from the monastery thru the square mid-evening..
the devout crowd, carrying brown beeswax candles,
follows the priest back to the church,
where the bier is taken into an inner chamber
to remain for 40 days..
around 10 pm, lamentations begin
at the monastery lasting about 4 hours..

easter saturday
23 april
all signs of mourning have been taken away
with fresh green laurel and chaste tree in their place -
bells, drums, pots and pans are loudly played
to distract the demons.. who are attempting
to prevent the resurrection of jesus..
the main service begins around 9 pm lasting for 5 hours..
the brown beeswax candles are exchanged for pure white..
these have been lit from the eternal flame in the monastery sanctuary..
one candle to another to another ~
rippling the light, the joy... out and out and out....

cristos anestis..christ has risen
parte to fos..take the light
alithos anesti..truly he has risen

the bells begin to ring loudly now..full gale..
fireworks explode in the night sky..
everyone heads home with their candle alight
to re-kindle their home lamp..
*feasting begins..

easter sunday
24 april
the service of love takes place in the monastery of st. john..
blessings are offered..
*feasting continues..

easter monday
25 april
the mayor invites everyone on the island
for *free food and drink and dancing....

that is a synopsis of what is to come..
we shall see how it compares to the hard copy..
cover me..
i'm going in ~

*this is where
many lambs and goats
are skewered
and roasted
and eaten..

Friday, April 15, 2011


as the days get warmer and warmer,
the terraced hillsides trade in the plush green
cloaks of early spring for a yellowing head of hair..
the rock rose of white and gold add over-easy eggs
in bunches and clumps and their vibrant pink sisters
give an adolescent girly hue to the stone walls..

to my delight, i find myself out walking
from morning til dusk investigating the flight
of hummingbird moths and their eating habitats..
keeping company with o so many goats and their bell song..
staring mindlessly into the clear, hypnotic whoosh of sea to shore..
dishing out handfuls of friskies to disheveled felines...
uncouthly peering into the noses of red poppies..
and not so keen to be sitting at the desk pecking away
at a frivolous lot of jibbery glibberish..

the boats from turkey arrive daily and spew out,
quite kindly, an enthusiastic bundle of tourists..
the summer inhabitants have descended to polish their homes..
this keeps the shops open, the restaurants fired up
and the greek boys looking for..what, exactly?

the spring wind still holds the chill of late winter
playing with the blue and white flags of its homeland..
off again, on again.. my sweater, like some banner waving..
tying and untying my own yellow head of hair..

i am feeling useless,
which most days rests well
in my heart and mind..
on the off day, when i take
that uselessness personally,
i fall into a deep pit of regret
for not being AT work..
offering whatever it is i am useful for..
to any who would take up the cause with me....

i am less than two weeks out
in this villa on the hightop..
the whole island is moving in unison
toward the great rebirth of their orthodox faith..
it seems i am along for the ride..bearing witness, perhaps..
when the great one has risen, i will also pick up
and take the slow boat to athens to be citified
for some days before i head to paris and fly home..

i didn’t do my homework on the euro/dollar relationship..
though i know we have unlimited funds,
as i am known to say,
it seems it doesn’t all come at once..
ah! so!
i have roughly enjoyed this sojourn into solitary refinement..
looked myself straight in the eye..
hit the mallet on the mark
and seen how high the red ball rises..
still plenty of water to chop and wood to carry..

the Work is mostly in the arena of human relationships..
( the animal realm is golden)
lacking confidence as i put my best foot forward,
i end up tripping over the toes of those unfamiliar..
tongue-tied and bewildered..sheepish..eep!
wondering if i was spit out too early
into the human realm?
-most probably arriving from the canine quadrant-
half- baked, for the tests of interpersonal camaraderie ~
my souffle is not yet set..

hence, my chipper enthusiasm for walking..
for as kirkegaard advises:
above all do not lose your desire to walk.
everyday i walk myself into a state of well being
and walk away from every illness.
i have walked myself into my best thoughts and
i know of no thought so burdensome
that one cannot walk away from it.
but by sitting still,
and the more one sits still,
the closer one comes to feeling ill...
if one keeps on walking everything will be alright.

i move to keep things whole....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From a Western Shore

There is a woman
By a Western shore
Long drunk with Love.
Old she is.
And quiet in her ways.
You might pity her.
But she will tell you
That to know Love
You must fall through time
Until the stars bow down
And whisper the lost way home.

They will say:
“There is a secret path
But your feet won’t find it.
There is a word
But your mouth won’t say it.
An angel knows
But you must not ask it.
When this Love brushes
Your eyes, your soul
You’ll fall so deeply
You’ll search lifetimes
To find its Light again.”

Says she, nodding to the ocean vast:
“What care I for secrets
Or what the angel knows?
It matters not a thousand lives.
And stars may learn anew of Love.
For I know those eyes.
I know that soul.
I know this deepness
This Light
(Beyond all stars,
beyond all times)
Is here
And forever
Shall Be.”

Rosy B
April 13, 2011
The Far West

this from my elemental friend
who is moving ever so graciously
through now to now..
i am apprentice to her strength and wisdom..
i pay tribute to her laughter..

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

pocket change & the bank of light...

the far, faraway silhouette
of turkey's mountain landscape
forms the piggy bank slot
for a great hand to deposit...
every morning..
a copper-red gleaming coin
into this skyline cache..
it clinks into the bowl of our lives ..
though a surrounding chorus of hallelujahs rejoice..
rising higher and growing pale ..
into the gold.. then the vivid, illuminating yellow-white
the morning light..a day funded with sun..
vibrant, glimmering with mystery

as the sun sets ... our bank teller
drops the garnet red piece
into that slot of the western horizon...
now we are in the black..
resting in the rich, dark night that waits
whilst the recipient of the sun coin..
rides into red to forge the day awake ..

each and every day ..
we go from wealth to waiting..
we ease away from activity
to hollow out our experiences,
to empty our pockets..
our hands, our hearts..
cashing in the day's currency..
willing to begin again..fresh..
with empty purse and open palm..
to receive with gratitude..
the treasure of the gracious dawn..
that brief wee moment that is a day..

we are with each other for a short time only ~
jingling, jangling..
coinage rubbing together
we spend ourselves wisely..or not..

a hand stretched..
the coin purse ready for the weight..
the gift..
once more..
offering everything..

gayatri mantra :

you, who are the source of all power,
whose rays illuminate the whole world;
illuminate also my heart ~
that it too, can do your work..

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



what is this dark hum among the roses?
the bees have gone simple, sipping,
that's all. what did you expect? sophistication?
they're small creatures and they are
filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not
moan in happiness? the little
worker bee lives, i have read, about three weeks.
is that long? long enough, i suppose, to understand
that life is a blessing. i have found them-haven't you?—
stopped in the very cups of the flowers, their wings
a little tattered-so much flying about, to the hive,
then out into the world, then back, and perhaps dancing,
should the task be to be a scout-sweet, dancing bee.
i think there isn't anything in this world i don't
admire. if there is, i don't know what it is. i
haven't met it yet. nor expect to. the bee is small,
and since i wear glasses, so i can see the traffic and
read books, i have to
take them off and bend close to study and
understand what is happening. it's not hard, it's in fact
as instructive as anything i have ever studied. plus, too,
it's love almost too fierce to endure, the bee
nuzzling like that into the blouse
of the rose. and the fragrance, and the honey, and of course
the sun, the purely pure sun, shining, all the while, over
all of us.
~ mary oliver

and one more....

where does the temple begin - mary oliver

there are things you can’t reach. but
you can reach out to them, and all day long.
the wind, the bird flying away. the idea of god.
and it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.
the snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.
i look; morning to night i am never done with looking.
looking i mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.
and thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree–
they are all in this too.
and now i will tell you the truth.
everything in the world
at least, closer.
and, cordially.
like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
like goldfinches, little dolls of goldfluttering around the corner of the sky
of god, the blue air.

have been without water the last 3 days..
the HUM of the water pump was silenced..
pronounced dead by electrician and plumber..
resurrected in new form..
ah! bowing to the temple of flowing water..
the hum of fluency..
the wet..

birds eye view into inkling
of japanense tradgedy..
what once was ~ is no more
coming into being ~ go, slow, flow..

Sunday, April 10, 2011

keening..grief notes

keen :
from the gaelic..caoinim..i wail..

a young man has died on the road..
rounding a corner on his scooter
he was lifted off.. he is gone..
his father is a shepherd..
there are always 20 men around him..
give or take a few..
as he sits at the bar..
in the square..
wailing, keening..
men keeping company..
circling him in his grief cry..
his mother..the women.. at home..
stitching their loss in their handwork...

death is a lonely visitor
after it visits your home, nothing is ever the same again.
there is an empty place at the table;
there is an absence in the house.
having someone close to you die
is an incredibly strange and desolate experience.
something breaks within you then
that will never come together again.
gone is the person whom you loved,
whose face and hands and body you knew so well.
this body, for the first time, is completely empty.
this is very frightening and strange.
after the death many questions come into your mind
concerning where the person has gone,
what they see and feel now.
the death of a loved one is bitterly lonely.
when you really love someone,
you would be willing to die in their place.
yet no one can take another’s place
when that time comes.
each one of us has to go alone.
it is so strange that when someone dies,
they literally disappear.
human experience includes all kinds
of continuity and discontinuity,
closeness and distance.
in death, experience reaches the ultimate frontier.
the deceased literally falls out of the visible world
of form and presence.
at birth you appear out of nowhere,
at death you disappear to nowhere. . . .
the terrible moment of loneliness in grief comes
when you realize that you will never see the deceased again.
the absence of their life,
the absence of their voice,
face, and presence
become something that, as sylvia plath says,
begins to grow beside you like a tree.
~john o donohue

pushing through
it’s possible i am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
i am such a long way in i see no way through,
and no space:
everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

i don’t have much knowledge yet in grief

so this massive darkness makes me small.
you be the master: make yourself fierce,
break in:

then your great transforming will happen to me,

and my great grief cry will happen to you.
~rainer maria rilke

woodstock by joni mitchell
~ hear her keen at the end....

Friday, April 8, 2011

high art

to affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of arts.
every man is tasked to make his life,
even in its details,
worthy of the contemplation
of his most elevated and critical hour.


the morning has come in moist..
with a veil of reflective dove grey..
the haze is a mirror for deep mind..
that only stillness, only silence can uncloak..

it is good to be still..
to sit and watch things..
no end insight..
only for its own sake..awake!

the movement and bustle of day's arrival..
winging ones peruse the air currents
for the morning's mantra ~
begin again

Thursday, April 7, 2011


i could feel it instantly..
when i asked the woman for directions
to the faraway beach..
she placed her hand on my shoulder..
such a tender send me on my way..
the great spill of love.. radiating out..
that is the radiance we are worthy of..
giving and receiving..

we choose this..we can choose this ..
over and over again..

all that is exploding on the planet right now..
can we bombard this celestial body with love?
what does that look like; feel like?
a hand on a shoulder, a smile..
trite..yes.. and simple..
the gift of one wee moment of love..

in india, one is warned not to smile at the monkeys;
it is seen as a sign of agggression..
surely we have not come to this..
walking past a fellow humanoid..
daring to offer our toothsome grin..?

it is miraculous, indeed, to move out
from that closed door of reticence ~
to the expanse of placing another before yourself ..
move out from the hidden helpless place ..
with a nod, a wave or a howdy - do..
what unfolds and enfolds
is often full-scale simple love..
whether the love-nod is returned..
no matter..never mind..
one heart has fluttered to the gift..

the 14th dalai lama speaks of training in compassion..
the first ping! of compassion
is actually felt by the compassionate one..
explaining that we are wisely selfish when we
cultivate compassion..we get the first hit..

epictetus taught:
never suppress a generous impulse

i like the sound of that..
it urges me on
when i am under the shell/spell of myself..
~to be generous ~
with whatever i have to offer up in the day..
too often, i curl up and look the other way
missing out on opportunities, no doubt,
for kindness, generosity, love..
i see .. maybe i remembre next time..
come out, come out..
whoever you are...

how could we forget those ancient myths...
the myths of dragons
that at the last moment
are transformed into princesses?
all the dragons
in our lives are princesses
who are only waiting
to see us act, just once,
with beauty and courage.
everything that frightens us is,
in its deepest essence,
something helpless that wants our love
~rainer maria rilke


sometimes it is far easier to offer
comfort and kindness to a stranger..
shall we tell all the ones we love we love them?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

auspicious beginning to spring

homage to the buddha, dharma, sangha treasures!
how auspicious!
the beginning of spring! how auspicious!
the one house of the ancestral teachers and lineage!
how auspicious!
the buddha-dharma prevailing widely! how auspicious!
how auspicious!
the monastery gate prospers! how auspicious!
when many disciples assemble to meet themselves
and to encounter the moment,
the world comes and honors our way.
how auspicious! how auspicious! How auspicious!
the beginning of spring! how auspicious!
how auspicious! the founding of this monastery!
eihei! how auspicious!
the first day of spring

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

exfoliation etc....

laundry here is washed by machine..
praise the high holies..
then hung on lines and drying racks..
i am always amazed how quickly everything dries..
even in this moist island life..
the towels dry stiff as a board..
to be used as an exfoliant for the entire body..
om ah ouch!

this, as you know, is mid-morning tea..
i find it arrives around 10 am however..
since i am up at daybreak..
the sun is rising brilliant red around 8:45 pm pst!
elevenes consist of tea, of course..
usually 2 more pieces of whole grain toast..
with jam and cheese..or maybe olives and cukes..
savory or sweet, either makes the day..
this is post breakfast and second breakfast..
what?..we eat all day.....?
* traditionally the time to have
that whiskey bracer in the midwest..

dress up:
the greeks dress up for church...
holidays, parades and festivals..
really dress up..
it looks alot like milano fashion week..
dresses, skirts, high-high heel shoes, nylon stockings..
men in ties and sports coats..
this presents a bit of a problem for one
who packed only a carry-on
for a 3 month wanderment...
i do my best ~ cause for raised eyebrows..

the swallows have arrived..
early morning and dusk high divers..
their gold bellies (god-bellies) glint the sun rays..
and sci-fi vocabulary chant prayers..wake-up calls..
matins and vespers..
they are the sure sign of spring..
how auspicious! spring!
miracle of miracles..
we begin again and again..

a prayer in spring
~robert frost

oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
and give us not to think so far away
as the uncertain harvest; keep us here
all simply in the springing of the year.

oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
and make us happy in the happy bees,
the swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

and make us happy in the darting bird
that suddenly above the bees is heard,
the meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
and off a blossom in mid air stands still.

for this is love and nothing else is love,
the which it is reserved for god above
to sanctify to what far ends he will,
but which it only needs that we fulfil.

nobody's beeswax:
the last time i was exploring the monastery,
a priest found me snooping around..
i was questioned quite seriously..
and proved myself innocent..
there was a candle maker in his workshoppe
dipping and hanging these sleeves of golden wax..
may i come in and watch, please and thanks?
NO! this is no time for distractions!
bowing out, i lit one for him on my way...

the better to see you with:
lizards have a third eye..
the better to zipslip away from me...
it has been drawn to my attention
that i am spending more time with
cats, dogs, butterflies, goats and lizards
than i am with human beings..
if you can't be with the one you love ~
love the one you're with...

Monday, April 4, 2011

sun in my eyes

patmos is still new ..
the sunlight and clouds keep re-arranging
the shadows on the hills, the sea and islands..
when the sun sets, the light moves further out, further out..
catching the white rims that circle each pod in the deep..
the fragrance of every bakery carries a fresh aroma daily
as the bakers roll new dough for easter breads..
wild flowers, hundreds of teeny-tiny vibrant psychedelic angelic blooms
crushed my chagrin.. on the hillside paths..
trillions of brahmeri bees scrambling to make haste!
yet is it only that i am new to this place..?
for patmos is very, very olde ~
i've only been here a month..

whenever i travel quick from one place to the next,
i carry over faces and beings from whence i came..
just yesterday,
i am certain a reporter from the anacortes american,
my local home town newspaper..was on a scooter with 2 dogs
and 3 bags of bread..imagine that?

it's as if the molecules have yet to set:
they require some catching up..
perhaps when the cells all line in..
we are olde to a place..


last night, as i was sleeping,
i dreamt - marvelous error! -
that i had a beehive
here inside my heart.
and the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

last night, as i was sleeping,
i dreamt - marvelous error! -
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
it was fiery because i felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

last night, as i was sleeping,
i dreamt - marvelous error! -
that it was god i had
here inside my heart.
~ antonio machado

Sunday, April 3, 2011

people of paradise

find the seeker!

man has two qualities:
one is need.
through this quality,
he hopes and he has his eyes on reaching the goal.

the other quality is being without a need.
what hope can you have from being without need?
what is the utmost end of a need?
finding what has no needs !

what is the ultimate end of seeking?
finding what is sought.
what is the ultimate end of the sought?
finding the seeker!
~shams e tabriz- maqalat

sufis are sometimes called people of paradise..
they live in the fragrance of the divine..
the way is not separate from the journey to..
the distance is not far for there is no goal..

clear skies, clear sea
others plant for profit.
i just go out and watch everything:
rilling water, sky, slow clouds,
wind and rain, day, dark night.
lying on a cozy rock, watching
clear skies, still sea, calm heart.
a vietnamese folk song
~translated by john balaban

while you live,
practice meditation.
do not meditate only hidden
in a dark corner,
but meditate always,
when your meditation
continues throughout
waking and sleeping,
wherever you are
is paradise.

basileia ton ouranon

Saturday, April 2, 2011


oracle :
from the latin
oraculum ~ divine announcement..
1. ancient greek
a) the place where, or medium by which,
deities were consulted;
b) a revelation or response of a medium
2. a) any person or agency believed to be
in communication with a deity;
b) any person of great knowlege and wisdom;
c) opinions or statements of any such oracle

the first counsel given over the gateway at delphi:
~ know thyself ~

lift up the self by the Self
let not the self droop down,
for the Self is the self's only friend
and the self is the Self's only foe.
~the gita

to study the Way is to study the self.
to study the self is to forget the self.
to forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.
to be enlightened by all things of the universe
is to cast off the body and mind
of the self as well as those of others.
even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out,
and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever.
~ dogen

the second phrase offered:
~ nothing in excess ~

simplify, simplify, simplify...

to be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts,
nor even to found a school,
but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates,
a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.
it is to solve some of the problems of life,
not only theoretically, but practically.