Wonder

The wind drops, but the flowers still fall;
A bird sings, and the mountain holds
               yet more mystery.

-Zenrinkushu (tr. R. H. Blyth)

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Viewpoint

Life is like a sword that wounds, but cannot wound itself;
Like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself.

-Zenrinkushu (tr. R. H. Blyth)

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Devotion

When spring comes, many visitors enjoy
    themselves at the temple;
When the flowers fall, only the monk who
    shuts the gate is left.

-anon (tr. R. H. Blyth)

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Letting Go

The skies seen in the dawn of spring,
    Seen with the moon of autumn, —
Were they real? Were they a dream?
    Namuamida butsu!

-Sonojo (Deathverse), (tr. R. H. Blyth)

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Soft

    Yield to the willow
All the loathing, all the desire
    Of your heart.

-Basho (tr. R. Blyth)

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A Flower

    A flower of the camellia-tree
fell,
    spilling its water.

-Basho (tr. R. Blyth)

I’m going to be putting up some favorite poems from haiku poets and zen poets over the next week or so. These are such wonderful poems, both beautiful and inspiring in a spiritual sense. I hope that you’ll enjoy them!

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Happy Prints, by Robbie

Even his footprints
are bright with life
and happy delight
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Robbie’s Day

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From this Ruin

Maybe what I didn’t know all along this path
was that all my heart’s feeling was nourishment,
like rain water filling the roses.
I thought it was a fire in a tinder dry wood,
a hail of flaming comets at world’s end —
I had to hold onto the rails.
I hand-cuffed myself to them.
And I closed my eyes and ears.
Then Life crushed the chain and tied me to the mast.
And they came…..

The sirens came with fire, with oil, with electricity.
Their laughter was a sword through my heart.
Like smoke in the house they flew past locked doors.

Now, as I walk the abject ruin of the past,
I see, because the sun is up,
it was grace that came in guise of destruction.
Grace that came with weapons and a blazing eye.
Grace that sat beside me and tried to push its sword into my hand.
I’d swallowed my heart and had not the eyes to see.

Grace brought:
Flame that cauterizes the insidious infection of involuted thought,
it purges the contagion;
Oil that dissolves the heavy tar of fear;
Lightning that comes where the heart lay in ash;
And roses begin to pierce that mantel —
an attar of intoxicating fragrance rises.

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Ibn Arabi’s Nazim

Epilogue

He: She was
mysteriously veiled
She was
the magnet for my eyes
She was
a woman
and
the magnet for my soul

She: I was
mysteriously called
I was
the space where his eyes learned to see
I was
a woman.

… All paths are circular …

Ibn ‘Arabī

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The Cat’s Comfy Corner

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A Day in Her Company

Kevin Trammel · A Day In Her Company Duet (Clarinet & Bass)

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Yeats Via Kilmer

I think it was Yeats who said… You see a tree, and you observe a truth about the tree. And you’re hit with it. The magic of the tree. It’s a spiritual thing. Beyond the physical life form of the tree. So then you write, and write, and write about the form of the tree, and the life of the tree. And the spirit of it. Until your own personality is gone from the words. When you’re gone from the poem, it’s a poem.
-Val Kilmer, Val

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The One Who Carries the Knife

“God guard me from those thoughts men
think in the mind alone.”


-William Butler Yeats

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Water with Friends

With Tu Fu and Li Bai I drink
this wayside rock-spring luminous water
missing not at all
the wine we shared
at the Temple Mount Tavern
just the night before.

The belly-deep laughter it brings
rises even more easily
and cleans away the heavy air
that clings from city troubles.

-Kevin Trammel
9/18/2021

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Late at Night

The swirl of wind relenting; 
the turn of water descending;
the slow winding down
        of the cat into sleep.

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Caravan

It seems to me from years of grace
that the best poems come out of the night.
They softly, swiftly descend
on wafting leaves with starlight glistening.
They never guess nor ever look back.
They mince no words and pour images
that tingle in the heart like flowing wine.
They reach forth from before time
and travel from their origin
like the khabir leading a long awaited caravan
of treasures ’til then unguessed and ever unsurpassed.

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Love’s Stride

Life is sacred and holy.
Life is free and lovely,
free as the summer breeze
that turns silver in the trees;
lovely as my sweet belle
bent over the brimming well
and beaming surprised when I from behind
reach ’round to make her mine.

How sweet the breath of life,
the pruning of our strife,
the lifting of the heart
in the brilliance of day’s start.
Like the face of the sea,
life’s face chameleon be,
and tunes its shape and color
to the air, the sun, stars, and wonder.

What she tells in her stride,
and all her majestic abide,
extols the smallest thing
and graciously humbles the gravest king.

-Kevin Trammel

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Robert Frost’s Alchemy

He came from the orchard with something new —
fruits of unseen forms, containing
rhythms before undanced, rhymes ’til then unsaid,
born forth in a long meter indulging its labors,
like a man with a load going uphill
and coming back down again just for the thrill.

He grasped the dust of sunset
settled upon the farmer’s brow
and unwound threads of apple burlap
which he steeped with dew from sunny vines
on which the sprinkled dust became gold.
He held the weathered industrious sparrow
gently in an equally weathered hand,
and whispering to it what he couldn’t write
brought song that made the workday trials light.

When a man in an empty house is graced
with a rosy-cheeked guest from winter’s waste,
he raises the hearth-fire and brings
a jar of hard cider from rare visited wings
and a pipe and ‘baccy are brought to bear
and soon the stories spill forth to share —
this is Robert’s gift and grace.
We come for warmth and leave drunk from his place.

-Kevin Trammel

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Sweetness

The cat while hunting pauses
and lifts his nose to taste
the nectar of morning.
He softly blinks his amber eyes
from the pleasure of the kiss
of dew scented air.

-Kevin Trammel

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