Sunday, November 29, 2020

hidden behind the leaves

sixteen

the slender fingers stroking the abbot's shiny bald pate meant indecision, anxiety, perhaps frustration, for master ko, though gone, continued to pester the man's thoughts, a letter from that woman pinched between thumb and forefinger, his disciple kneeling just to his right, says, send it on? but he isn't there

a silence
finally, a sigh, no matter, says the abbot; send it on
but ...
it is where he should be, so, too, this letter
but
no doubt like roshi he has dismayed of the world of men and gone off through the western gate ...
reflecting, frowning, but he cannot walk on water can he, this western gate is ...
metaphor, sir, metaphor; have you not read lao tzu?
so many sutras, I ... so much to untangle
no matter
was he so disillusioned then?
was he ...
surely he wouldn't ...
no, no, not that
then he is somewhere
yes, somewhere
with his dismay
yes
should we not look for him?
no
but ...
if you wish to find this fellow, look for him in a wine shop or brothel, caustically said yet pleased with the allusion
surely you cannot suggest that ...
a muted gong, sudden rumble of feet in a distant hall brought a stroke of his head, looking up, is it that time already, he says
yes
ah, no text prepared
averting his eyes, the disciple suggests something on lao tzu and dismay: might that not do?
a silence, a sigh, finally: yes, that might do ... such foolishness
foolishness, master?
folly, standing
the disciple pulls the hem of his robe aside aside and rises, stepping back, deferential
folly, says the abbot again, softly, a sad shake of the head ... lao dan may have left the warring states behind, but to no avail, I say, no avail, for anywhere you go, there you are

Sunday, November 22, 2020

hidden behind the leaves

 

This is the 15th (of 81) installment of the prosepoem hidden behind the leaves. The first poem was published August 16, 2020. The four part narrative tells the story of Master Ko. 'Autumn' is the first part, and the seasons will provide a background theme for each subsequent installment.

fifteen

early snow, windows rimed with frost, small brazier alive with glowing coals, abbot's messenger sending me away as the axis tilts to solstice, sun standing still, darkness lingering, leaves fallen but forgiving, the wind that blows, the stinging sleet, the richman's sneer


Sunday, November 15, 2020

hidden behind the leaves

This is the 14th (of 81) installment of the prosepoem hidden behind the leaves. The first poem was published August 16, 2020. The four part narrative tells the story of Master Ko. 'Autumn' is the first part, and  the seasons will provide a background theme for each subsequent installment.


fourteen

grey predawn, stillness after night of heavy wind, kestrel winging from here to there, eaves to low limb, perched, how they hover with that keen eye, slightest movement catching, rodent lives in its stillness, dies with its busyness, sitting quietly on my rock, the kestrel alive within its stillness, the eyes alive and seeking, light bright off the yellow beak, blood pulsing, rock heavy and hard beneath me, he lifts with a thrust of talon and gone

Sunday, November 8, 2020

hidden behind the leaves

 

This is the 13th (of 81) installment of the prosepoem hidden behind the leaves. The first poem was published August 16, 2020. The four part narrative tells the story of Master Ko. 'Autumn' is the first part, and the seasons will provide a background theme for each subsequent installment.


thirteen

saffron, says mia, a shade, tints of yellow, of orange, from the crocus ... and my tattered robe, says master ko, holding out his arms, bobbing his head, turning, gift from friend, he adds, a frown wrinkling his brow, no longer with us he is, considering the leaves of autumn, but with us still, nodding, he is ... and the wrong color for you, says mia, buddhists here usually wrap themselves in black or grey, turning her head to question as the little man chuckles, and their busy minds hobbling from this to that, stumbling through their days, multi-tasking, says she, ritual rites and wongs, ha, says he, hairsplitting, quibbling and callousness, quietly now stepping along the needles and bits of stone embraced by the sweep of conifer limbs


photograph by m simoni

Sunday, November 1, 2020

hidden behind the leaves

 twelve

rice gruel alone in the refectory, late and alone, if cookie would thicken it a bit be like oatmeal ... but suggestions made again and again become sharp thorn in buttocks, no doubt that frowning rebuke and sullen silence saying loud ouch; and hers to come visit how long gone from there or here, how quickly gone, how quickly gone ... spoon poised over chipped brown bowl, door slam, if wishes were beggars, says master ko, horses would fly