Photos of Leaves and Trees by Rob Kashey.
Photos of Leaves and Trees by Rob Kashey.
Yoga class at the lake, she catches his eye
An electric charge in the brain…
Not the spring lilac, nor the plum in bloom
Something more unnatural
The odor of perfume, the beauty in surprise.
Waves of the seasons ring the shore
Spirit seeks a form, an afternoon union–
They do not know what
Causes their communion– She invites him
Tilts her head back in abandon to receive him.
Mother of time, days gestate in the womb
Men may spin all to doom, but she is summer
Winter long, spring in December
Meadow of unlived hours
Wildflowers glow in shadows of the moon.
They will say it was not by chance they met
They will claim it no mistake
Birth reveals the truth, was a newborn fate.
To be there, pull back the veil of spring
I am a fool to want that, it comes on its own
Like the weather, unmindful of urging
The thaw in the peaks, the spill of the river.
It all happens for the first and last time
Azaleas, forsythia from the bowels of earth
Lighting the brain, life giving, quickening —
And will this be all, will it be over
This cold flame that moves me, will it ignite
Illuminate a form in which “I” take root again
In the sacred and obscene, birth and death
One stunning blow to what reason leaving me
Gracefully powerless, imprisoned in bone?
Sun warming river rocks, teasing willow tips…
I cease thinking, stop turning
Awake were time and space do not prevail
Breathing, breathing, the vanishing veil.
Photo of Deer is by Rayn Roberts
for Will Petty in Blaine
or wherever he is .
There he is that sassy kid
Head full of wit and fire
Walking the hills like level ground
Hand in a sack full of plums.
Cocky, wild, full of himself
I wish I were more like him–
Take the heat from a flame,
The strut from a cock
The leap and kick from a kid
Break the heart of a nation!
Let be, let the boy go
Who can say
When he eats that plum
Where he spits that pit
A tree will not rise tomorrow?
Balance is that I that I briefly am
As much a father as a mother
As much a woman as a man
Though I disagree with another
Ideas do not offend, nor does snow
Ice, heat or wind disturb my mind.
Just now, as the agapanthus frame
The end of spring in returning rain
I am all I need and all I find
To be at perfect peace with all.
So being, I smile, because I know
I’ll lose my footing soon and fall:
Such perfection lasts, an hour or so.
Out of breath but not energy, I tire on the upward path
Stop to see where I am. The summit’s not far, but I need water.
It is the taste of spring, taste of April I take, the icy-sweet clean
Can-anything-be-so-pure-snowmelt rushing right out of the earth.
This is how I want to be, clean and clear, no phone TV house or car
No worn-out concept, dead-end dogma, news of the dead or war–
Merton had his seven story mountain, but was a monk. I aspire
Only to know myself & poetry. That too is a mountain worth a climb.
To long for, wander out and look for the miracle in the mundane
The unexpected blessing in contradictions, the calm fox napping
A hare hopping by unharmed, the globe spinning from light to dark
In a field of floating stars, sparks rising from a camp-fire
The echo of a waterfall
That is what I want, not to get away
But get closer to what I need most and love, a place
Where the many faces of the mountain are one, where I sit
Allow the toil and grief of life to flow out of my mind, out of my body
Drain into the earth like water, a leave me for good.
“Climbing Mountains” first appeared in Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience by Mark L. Tompkins (Editor), Jennifer McMahon (Editor)
Cover photo for the poem by Rayn Roberts: View of Mts. near Hoh Rain Forest Washington
In the last light of March, under cherry trees as large as the oak
Near the tomb of those lost
in the battle of Seongjin Castle, yet another tale
of the cruelty and kindness of men…
The Japanese hacked off the noses and ears of the dead
took them home, proof a battle won, souvenirs of a war.
The Koreans buried fathers and sons in a common grave and mourned.
Years later, a Buddhist monk went to Japan
Pleaded for the return of the remains–
Ten thousand ears heard him, ten thousand eyes saw him
On Heart of Love opened, Om Mani Padme Hum–
Japan relented and gave them back–
Under a large tree, in a snow of blossoms, the story teller, a Korean friend
Looked at me and said, “Only the oldest trees know the sorrow of the blossoms.
Rayn Roberts 2002
Traditionally, Japanese warriors brought back the heads of enemies slain on the battlefield as proof of their deeds. Ear collection in lieu of heads became a feature of the second Korean invasion.:p. 195  Remuneration was paid to soldiers by their daimyō commanders based on the severed heads upon submission to collection stations, where inspectors meticulously counted, recorded, salted and packed the noses bound for Japan. However, because of the number of civilians killed along with soldiers, and crowded conditions on the ships that transported troops, it was far easier to just bring back ears instead of whole heads.
Japanese chroniclers on the second invading campaign mention that the ears hacked off the faces of the massacred were also of ordinary civilians mostly in the provinces Gyeongsang (where Seongjin Fortress was located) Jeolla, and Chungcheong.:pp. 475–476 In the second invasion Hideyoshi’s orders were thus: Mow down everyone universally, without discriminating between young and old, men and women, clergy and the laity—high ranking soldiers on the battlefield, that goes without saying, but also the hill folk, down to the poorest and meanest—and send the heads to Japan. Many of the ears, noses and heads of the dead are now buried in Kyoto, Japan, but some were returned to Korea. Mimizuka: Ear Tomb
Kuan Yin / Avalokiteshvara in Tibetan, is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion and is said to have ten thousand ears and eyes to hear and watch over the suffering people of the world. Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra associated with this Bodhisattva.
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